My thoughts on the future of SSAS and BISM (UDM 2.0)
Today there is a lot of talking about the new BI Sematic Model (BISM) released with the next version of SQL Server, codenamed Denali. Chris Webb has written a good blogpost about the upcoming changes and gave his fair opinion to it. In most I agree with Chris, but I think the introduction of the new version of UDM will be the best option for Microsoft to stay ahead of the competition.
The premier reason for me to belief this, is that the IT world is changing and also our capabilities as consultant has to change in reaction. The last time I don’t believe anymore that good knowledge of MDX(script) isn’t our main asset. Our main asset is the power to help our customers with their data problems. And basically we solve that problem by giving them Excel and access to a cube. So most MDX is nowadays generated and we already used to tune the cube on how it is accessed and the other way around.
The steps between the data and the end user will be reduced. And by eliminating a separate store of a cube will be helpful. No more discussions with end-users on why the new data in not in yet. And I strongly believe that the SSAS-team will get it perform really good. And a VertiPaq engine on top of a column-based storage database will survive longer that the classic way of creating analytical environments.
Also the main advantage is that there will be a platform that support the full spectrum of BI solutions from Personal BI to Corporate BI. I want such a feature for a long time (sorry that I didn’t said that before). Today I miss the button is Excel to export a PivotTable to a rdl file, so the end-user can create a nice report and I can, without many investment, consolidate it into the company. How often have I explained to a end-user the complete process of re-creating a Excel sheet to a nice SSRS report. And the basic reason for this re-build: the lack of subscriptions in Excel Service.
My conclusion is that despite it is probably an irreversible decision of Microsoft, this will be a good one in the end. Microsoft stated by Kurt DelBene a part of this change almost two year ago in January 2009:
“The way we look at it, the more employees who have access to business data, the greater a company’s ability to anticipate changes and make adjustments.”
“Beyond that, we’ll strive to develop BI solutions that are affordable and easily accessible with a view to furthering the vision of BI for the masses.”
The upcoming versions of SQL Server will be more and more closer to the end-user and therefor more valuable for our customers. And luckily for us: our customers still need us as consultants to identify, consolidate and validate their valuable data to get the most out of it.
Jan Pieter Posthuma
My name is Jan Pieter Posthuma and I am a Microsoft Data Analytics consultant working for Rubicon, a local consultancy firm in The Netherlands.