Sunday, January 16, 2011

PowerPivot versus Analysis Services

Chris Webb has done more to demystify Microsoft's PowerPivot story than any other person. Recently, he has put up a "quiz" to help people decide between PowerPivot and SSAS. The quiz is presented in a light hearted fashion, but it contains a lot of Chris' analysis on the strengths and weaknesses of each technology. You can see Chris' quiz on

If you are really interested in hearing Chris speak on this topic, there is a recording of him talking in Belgium on this topic here

I found the quiz very interesting. Not the quiz final recommendation (PP vs AS), but the quiz questions and how the answers were interpreted, which exposes Chris' analysis. Here is a copy of Chris' quiz with the questions shaded in green and red interpreting Chris' analysis of the question answer here

You can use this copy of the quiz to quickly get an understanding of Chris' analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of PowerPivot.


cwebbbi said...

I knew someone would check up on my methodology sooner or later! There's a mistake on your spreadsheet though: each question has a weight attached for the 'yes' and 'no' answers. Negative weights favour PowerPivot, positive weights favour SSAS. So while you've highlighted the first question red, and said red rows favour PowerPivot, for this question answering 'no' actually favours PowerPivot and answering 'yes' favours neither PowerPivot nor SSAS.

Richard Lees said...

I am pleased that you are OK with me exposing the questions. I should have been clearer in my blog. The questions have been colour coded so that all the green ones, if answered affirmatively will favour PowerPivot and vice versa. Your weightings have been exposed in my version of your spreadsheet.

Perhaps you could simplify the whole matter by just listing the pros and cons of each?

Chris, I really appreciate your contribution to the PowerPivot discussion. Microsoft really should hire; you at any cost. If they could do that and let you have freedom of actions, you would do wonders for this space.

cwebbbi said...

No, I'm fine with it. In fact I'm pleased someone has taken the time to do a better job of explaining my thinking than I did. Maybe I was getting confused with my colours last night... but you're right, looking at the spreadsheet today the colours are correct.

I think one thing that my contribution to the PowerPivot discussion has ensured is that I probably won't ever get hired by Microsoft again (I worked in MCS a few years ago, in fact around the time you were there)!