While i was reading Pinal Dave's summary on PowerPivot in his blog(blog.sqlauthority.com), It made me curious and wanted to check out what the product is and what would be the features. Microsoft has put a out a nice website with the download option along with videos and try out Powerpivot hands on in the virtual lab. Here is the web site:
I decided to check out the virtual lab of powerpivot. It was a nice tutorial lab experience to begin with. The lab takes you through how to launch the powerpivot window and connect to a sql server database. Then there is a series of steps in the lab manual which appears on the side. This instructs the user as to how to go about creating a Pivot table report along with a chart. Once i went through these steps it became evident that it is going to give the Power Users/Analysts of an organisation a self service BI component. The users can use Powerpivot to build out very useful Pivot tables/charts, it also gives the ability the user to refresh the reports/charts real time. The one thing i noticed as i was going through Powerpivot was that the interface could take some time to get used to along with plethora of other options. I guess main deal with the user interface is the office 2010 layout along with the placement of options. The lab also takes the user through on how to create a powerpivot report using data from the web. I guess with this way of extracting data from the web, it leads the way to accessing unstructured data present on the web. In the final analysis based on the initial looks Powerpivot is a powerful tool for doing BI for power users. It will be interesting to see how Powerpivot coexists with sql server analysis services in terms of how the lines will be drawn between the two tools in terms of usage.