Note: The following is a guest post by a respected peer of mine, Peter Sprague. We recently held a webinar together where I asked him tough questions and FAQs on why Microsoft customers would consider this solution given the potential future SQL Server 2016+ Reporting Services offerings. Peter provided me excellent reasoning, clear key aspects of unique differentiation and a demo showcasing Pyramid Analytics as a more powerful on-premises, governed, self-service BI solution that is available today for Power BI Desktop

Best-in-Class On-Premises Business Intelligence for Power BI Desktop from Pyramid Analytics

By Peter Sprague (May 25)

If your current business intelligence infrastructure is powered by Microsoft (SQL Server, Analysis Services, Reporting Services, Power BI Desktop)—but you aren’t using the public cloud then you should be considering the new functionality from Pyramid Analytics’ BI Office.

Power BI Desktop publish

Figure 1. Publishing directly to Pyramid allows users to keep Power BI Desktop content fully interactive, while retaining its original visualizations, design, and query structures.

BI Office will allow organizations to keep their data in a secure on-premises or private cloud configuration. For those not willing to wait until Reporting Services 2016 supports Power BI Desktop reports—and there’s no definitive date for this to occur—or those needing more complete platform with enhance manageability, dynamic text and advanced analytics,  BI office should be strongly considered for their on-premises solution.Starting this week the “Publish to Pyramid” button in Power BI Desktop will go live, allowing organizations to publish Power BI Desktop content directly into BI Office’s on-premises analytics solution. The result will be an integrated, on-premises workflow that provides organizations with a centralized, IT-enabled platform where end users can perform self-service BI.

So how does it work? From within Power BI Desktop, publishing PBI content to BI Office happens using a three-step wizard. Users simply navigate to the File menu and choose “Publish,” then “Publish to Pyramid” to begin the process. Analysis Services cube or in-memory modeled data is then published with a Live Connection to a governed location for personal or organizational use.

Pyramid Analytics governance

Figure 2. Within BI Office, define user roles and access, lineage, and versioning. Plus, gain insight into how users are consuming content at the storyboard level.

The value of the button extends beyond increased governance and security, however. BI Office allows users of varying levels to perform deeper analytics, without having to be data scientists. Users can easily drag and drop Power BI Desktop content directly into a BI Office dashboard and dynamically integrate multiple data sources tied to smarter visuals like BI Office KPIs; third party reporting tools such as Reporting Services; and even web-enabled content, all on the same page.Once the publishing process is complete, users can manage content with security and governance capabilities, giving them the power to define user roles and data access. Importantly, they can secure content and define user groups so that only designated users can view it. In addition, users can track lineage and versioning, and gain telemetry on how users are consuming a BI Office storyboard.

Pyramid Analytics dashboard

Figure 3. Within the storyboard, BI Office can display and integrate views and panels from multiple sources, including in-memory or cube sources, 3rd-party reporting tools such as Reporting Services, and web-enabled content.

The value of this partnership for you is clear: organizations no longer have to wait for Microsoft to release a Reporting Services and Power BI Desktop integration. They can gain a powerful on-premises solution today. More importantly, they gain a complete analytics solution that empowers everyone to make data an integral part of their day-to-day processes and decisions.Users can then switch to the storyboard to view and interact with content in a single analytics interface. Filters can be configured to dynamically change the data from reports generated in Reporting Services, Power BI Desktop, as well as BI Office content (such as KPIs) derived from multiple data sources. Lastly, within a BI Office dashboard, users can manipulate how Power BI Desktop content looks and feels. For example, they can use the familiar Property Pane found in Power BI Desktop to change data, charts, and formats.

All that’s required to add this enterprise functionality to your existing SQL Server BI architecture is an application license running BI Office version 6.1 and a Professional and Analyst seat to publish content (all license types can consume content). This provides a mechanism for organizations to surface data generated by end-users in Power BI Desktop within an on-premises enterprise solution. Plus, when paired with a best-in-class front end like BI Office, your investment in Microsoft’s SQL Server as a premier back-end is maximized.

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