Adatis BI Blogs

RIP PerformancePoint Planning

It's nearly a week since the announcement that shook the (PPS) world !  It's been a bit difficult to report on; generally the Adatis blogs try and offer solutions to problems we have encountered out in the real-world.  Now I could say something crass here about the real-world and the decision makers involved...but that would be childish right? If I was to offer up my feelings, they wouldn't be that far from Alan Whitehouse's excellent post on the subject.  If I had an ounce of class about me, it would be much more aligned with Adrian's poignant discussion opener, the one with the sharp-witted title, but alas.... We've spent the best part of the week speaking to customers, partners and Microsoft about what to do next.  The timing was choice - would you believe, we actually had three new PerformancePoint Planning phases kicking off this week, according to my project plan - I should be setting up Kerberos as we speak..  [There is always a positive right?] Some customers are carrying on regardless, they... ...already have planning deployments and are too far invested and dependent to back out at this stage or,  ...have a short-term view (That's not a criticism) and need a "quick" fix with a low TCO to get them through some initial grief.  (Typically these customers are going through rapid organisational change, or form part of a recent acquisition and, to help them see the wood from the trees during the transition, require short/sharp solutions) Other customers, with longer-term views, feel the product, or more importantly, the suitably skilled resource pool, will drain away far quicker than the life-span of the much touted Microsoft product support.  I have to agree - Fact - Adatis will not be employing or training anymore PerformancePoint Planning Consultants.  I doubt many other consulting firms will either. It's those customers with the longer-term view that are the ones currently in limbo - they are experiencing pain, they need pain relief, what should they do - wait and see what Office 14/15 offers? (There is talk of some planning functionality appearing in future Office versions - what truth there is in that..?). The Dynamics customers could wait for the resurrection of Forecaster - I do have information on good authority that they will be developing Forecaster to be closer, in terms of flexibility, to PPS Planning.  I had originally heard the opposite view in that Forecaster will be replaced with a cut down version of PPS Planning.  Either way, I'm sure some of the PPS Planning code-base will be utilised, which could end rumours of PPS Planning being 'given' to the community as some form of community/open-source arrangement.  An arrangement that is, in my opinion, a non-starter anyway, "Hey, Mr FD, We've got this great open-source budgeting and forecasting product we think you should implement!" - yeah right ! Another rumour (and mixed message) is that Service Pack 3 will contain some of the requested features that were earmarked for version 2 (After all, the code has already been written, right?) this rumour was actually started by Guy Weismantel in his Announcement Video.  However, the information I have since received, clearly states that Service Pack 3 will contain stability and bug fixes only - so which is it to be?  It's unlikely for a service pack to contain new features, but it's not unheard of; anyone remember the original release of Reporting Services?  That arrived as part of a service pack for SQL Server 2000. The burning question I cannot get answered is, have Microsoft actually stepped out of the BPM market for good?  We are told that Excel, Sharepoint and SQL Server provide BPM - I can't see, without Planning, how they can.  Short of hard-coded values, renewed Sharepoint/Excel hell, another vendor or bespoke planning solution, businesses can't set plans which have further reaching implications; effectively Planning's demise is also, effectively, shelving the Scorecard/KPI functionality from the M&A toolset too !  It will be interesting to see the new Monitoring & Analytics Marketing, will they still demo Strategy Maps and Scorecards, or will they now focus on Decomposition trees and Heat maps? Monitoring & Analytics may, in practice, just become Analytics.. I would have thought the cost of continuing to develop the product (even if it were a lemon, which Planning certainly wasn't)  is far less than the potential loss of revenue that Microsoft will face due not only to the loss of confidence by its customers (who are going to think twice about investing in any Microsoft product now, let alone a V1) but perhaps more significantly, the doors it opens to it's competitors who can offer a complete BI\BPM stack.  Planning was foot in the customer's door for BI - once you put planning in, the customer had already bought the full BI stack, and in most cases, our customers were wowed by what they could now achieve.  I suspect Cognos and SAP are still partying now!

PerformancePoint SP2 - Planning Fixes and a mini-feature

Jeremy has already announced the release of PerformancePoint Server SP2 and it's great to see that the PPS dev team hit their target release date !  I've spent a little commute time this morning checking out the documentation, admittedly I've initially focused on the Planning component and there are no great surprises (Tim has already told you about the new bits) but I have spotted what could arguably be described as a mini-feature surrounding form validation that I'm sure that will come in useful. As you would expect, previously released hot fixes have been packaged up into this service pack: 954710 Description of the PerformancePoint Server 2007 hotfix package: July 1, 2008 955432 Description of the PerformancePoint Server 2007 hotfix package: July 14, 2008 955751 Description of the PerformancePoint Server 2007 hotfix package: July 28, 2008 956553 Description of the PerformancePoint Server 2007 hotfix package: August 21, 2008 Plus fixes to issues not previously addressed: Excel Add-In Related You locally save and close a form in PerformancePoint Add-in for Excel. When you reopen the form, you are prompted to update the form. However, you expect that you are not prompted to update the form because the form is already up to date. In PerformancePoint Add-in for Excel, you open an offline form assignment. In the form assignment, you add a link to an external Excel worksheet in a cell. Then, you submit the changes to the PerformancePoint Planning Server database. However, when you reopen the assignment, the link that you added is not retained. After you install PerformancePoint Server 2007 Service Pack 1, you create a page filter in PerformancePoint Add-in for Excel. You have a user in PerformancePoint Server 2007 that does not have permission to the default member of the page filter. However, the user has permission to other leaf members in the page filter. When the user opens a report that uses this page filter, the user receives the following error message: Cannot render the <MatrixName> matrix. The server returned the following error: The <CubeName> cube either does not exist or has not been processed. However, in the release version of PerformancePoint Server 2007, the next member that the user has access to will be automatically selected for use in the page filter. You define data validation in a worksheet of Excel. However, you can still submit a form in PerformancePoint Add-in for Excel if data in the form is not validated. You have a matrix that is based on a large and complex model in PerformancePoint Add-in for Excel. You open the Select Filters dialog box to change a page filter for this matrix. When you click the Value column of the filter, the dialog box that displays the dimension members takes a long time to display. Business Rules Related After you migrate an application in PerformancePoint Server 2007 from one server to another server, the order of user-defined business rules and system business rules in models is not preserved. You cannot use the datamember function in the ALLOCATE statement and in the TRANSFER statement. Consider the following scenario. You create an automatic rule that uses MdxQuery implementation or Native MdxQuery implementation in Planning Business Modeler. Then you submit changes to the source data that the rule uses from an assignment form. The submission causes the model to be reprocessed. Because model reprocess causes rules in the automatic rule set to be executed, you expect that the target data of the automatic rule will reflect the change by the form submission. However, after the model is reprocessed, the target data of the automatic rule does not reflect the change. Rule expression of system business rules uses dimension member names instead of dimension member labels in PerformancePoint Server 2007. Planning Business Modeler Related You have a model that contains many form templates and assignments. When you try to change objects in the model in Planning Business Modeler, Planning Business Modeler crashes. You create a member property of the Date data type in a dimension in PerformancePoint Server 2007. Additionally, you specify the Set value to Null option when you create the member property. When you retrieve the value of this member property, you obtain a value of 1899-12-31T00:00:00. However, you expect that you obtain a value of blank. You cannot schedule recurring jobs for a frequency that is less than an hour. When a user updates a business rule in Planning Business Modeler, the audit log file of PerformancePoint Server 2007 logs the user ID of the user that created the rule. However, you expect that the audit log file logs the user ID of the user that updated the rule. Consider the following scenario. You create a dimension that has no hierarchy in a localized version of PerformancePoint Server 2007. Then you perform one of the following operations: You run the bsp_DI_CreateHierarchyLabelTableForDimension stored procedure to create label-based hierarchy table for the dimension. You perform the Prepare the Staging DB operation in PerformancePoint Planning Data Migration Tool. In this scenario, you receive the following error message: A problem was encountered while attempting to connect to, or Execute BSP on, the specified Database For more information regarding this error please review the Application Event Log on the SQL Server for any "MSSQLSERVER ERRORS" and\or Please check that all parameters in the UI are correct and try again

New PerformancePoint Contoso Demo - Released

Amidst my write up of the first day of the Microsoft BI Conference, I mentioned a new planning demo suite was imminent, and I would post more information about the demos soon.  Well, as it has now been officially released (27th October) I can spill the beans... Taken directly from the PPS Planning Forum announcement, the demo.. .. consists of Planning and Financial Consolidation demo. It shows how the fictitious Contoso Group uses Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server for planning, statutory consolidation and data analysis. Well, I'm proud to announce that Adatis, in the shape of my colleague Jeremy Kashel, designed and built the PerformancePoint Planning element of the suite.  The PerformancePoint Financial Consolidation element was conceived and developed by our friends at Solitwork of Denmark. The demo can be downloaded from here... ...and is part of the next 'All Up BI VPC' (Version 7). Great work guys!

PerformancePoint Server 2007 Forums - Released

The PerformancePoint Server forums are now part of the official TechNet Forums and no longer limited to Microsoft Connect Beta Forums. For those that didn't see the relatively active Beta forums on Connect, Microsoft separated the product into two groups and this is reflected in the official versions too. Planning: Monitoring and Analytics: At the time of writing the Planning forum was empty and the M&A forum had just the single topic.  It will be interesting to see how the activity picks up through the launch period and into the New Year.

TechEd Announcement: Microsoft purchase Dundas..

..Well, not quite.  Microsoft have not actually bought Dundas but they have bought the code base for the charting, gauge, calendar, map and barcode controls.  This is excellent news - I've used Dundas charting in various guises for a number of years and have been well impressed with the depth and breadth of the suite.  The plan is to integrate the charting functionality into Reporting Services 2008 (Katmai).  Adding this functionality to Reporting Services is going to be great step forward and I can't wait to start developing some presentation ready reports.  Should make the sales pitch easier too !