Last week I had to travel to China. So far, I haven’t had any experience with Asian countries nor culture, except of the local Chinese restaurant in Switzerland. What I learned, that there are different ways to visualize common scenarios and how important it is to make the visualization readable and understandable, also for foreigners. This sample shows a some sort of limited dashboard technology, which not everybody understands…
Well, this leads us to a similar problem we have in SCOM. We are able to display data in different ways like views, SSRS reports, Visio dashboards, SCOM 2012 dashboards etc.
What I am missing, is the ability to properly visualize the data in a more flexible and adjustable way. Although Microsoft started building dashboards in SCOM 2012 and created widgets which are getting close to what we are going to need, I found another approach to visualize the data, which might overcomes certain scenarios, where the other technologies don’t quite fit. The technology is based on Excel 2013 (yes, Excel) and SharePoint 2013. Sounds cool? Yes, indeed it is.
Ok what is this all about? As you might know since Excel 2010, Excel has PowerPivot built in. PowerPivot let’s you visualize data in many ways e.g. charts, diagrams etc. This is a cool solution, but the downside is, that PowerPivot only let’s you visualize the data within an Excel sheet.
Starting in Excel 2013 Microsoft integrated another visualization option called PowerView. PowerView uses the same data model (data source) called PowerPivot, but gives you different options in visualizing the data. It offers you an additional visualization layer, which can not only live in the Excel environment. You can save the PowerView chart / dashboard in e.g. in SharePoint 2013 and provide this to a broad audience.
Power View is an interactive data exploration, visualization, and presentation experience that encourages intuitive ad-hoc reporting. Power View is a feature of Microsoft Excel 2013, and of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 and 2013 as part of the SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 Reporting Services Add-in for Microsoft SharePoint Server Enterprise Edition. (Source: TechNet)
To give an impression what PowerView can do, I created an Operations Manager Health Dashboard. Believe me, this is just a basic example…
Ok, great but how do we get started? Let’s start with the requirements.