We started the last part of this book with a definition of business intelligence as “the process of deriving meaning from data” and as “the ability to apprehend the interrelationships of presented facts in such a way as to guide action.” In Part III of our story, we built a Business Intelligence Semantic Model (BISM) to support the analysis of our data. In this part of the book, we dive into the clients or user interfaces that our users will utilize to explore the data.
No discussion of business intelligence could be complete without Microsoft Excel. Excel’s ability to clearly visualize and distribute knowledge throughout the enterprise is unmatched. For a large number of organizations, Excel remains an important part of the BI solutions stack and in some cases, for better or worse, still serves as the centerpiece for corporate intelligence. Microsoft saw this trend before the release of Excel 2010 when a program manager from the PowerPivot team stated that “The one thing every business intelligence tool has in common is the ability to export the data to Excel.”
Excel has near 100% market penetration across enterprises today as a data manipulation and reporting tool. Its status as a preferred BI tool is partly due to its ubiquity and partly due to Microsoft’s incorporation of Excel into a broader BI framework that includes the integration of OLAP.
Excel succeeds because of a tried-and-tested interface ...