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BI on the Microsoft stack: Can PowerPivot in the cloud steer Dynamics customers to more insight?

by Bridget McCrea
Contributing Writer,
May 13 2013

Today's options for getting started with BI and reporting can seem daunting. Several viable tools and technologies have improved in recent years, from simpler approaches that rely on desktop tools and network drives to sophisticated third party BI solutions that can orchestrate a large scale BI and reporting strategy.

Pivotstream of Independence, OH wants to offer another way for Dynamics ERP customers to consider moving BI beyond the desktop while keeping it Microsoft-centric. Offering what it describes as a "cloud PowerPivot platform", the company wants to convince Dynamics customers and partners that the best BI strategy for many businesses ought to be Excel-based report building technology coupled with a SharePoint-based storage and collaboration platform, but without the typical SharePoint setup headaches.

PowerPivot dashboard on PivotstreamA PowerPivot dashboard hosted on Pivotstream

When developing reports to be hosted by Pivotstream, users create PowerPivot reports in Excel on their desktop. They then upload them and allocate permissions to the report via Pivotstream's SharePoint interface.  Once the PowerPivot file is stored on SharePoint, users can create PowerView reports from within SharePoint (which consume the data stored within PowerPivot reports that they have access to).

When viewed online, report data is, by default, stored in the uploaded file. To keep data current, there are two options - the admin user/report owner can download the report and refresh the data from within their firewall and then re-upload. Alternatively, Pivotstream helps clients establish a secure link between SharePoint and their on-premise datasources/systems to provide for automatic refresh from ...

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About Bridget McCrea

Bridget McCrea covers business and technology topics for various publications. She can be reached at

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