Monday, October 13, 2008

The Democratization of Analytics - Microsoft Project Gemini

Last week I attended the Microsoft BI Conference. I learned about project Gemini. This project will allow analytics power users in companies to use Excel to do powerful analytics, while simultaneously allowing collaboration among all stakeholders using PerformancePoint. It allows Excel to load over 100 million rows (and about 6 columns) in just a few seconds and then create interactive pivot tables. They are still working on calculations but the demonstration was powerful. If you see Ted Kummert, Bruno Aziza, Kamal Hathi, Donald Farmer, or Amir Netz in a meeting make sure that you let them know that they are doing a great job.

Microsoft is doing a fantastic job at integrating Analysis Services, Integration Services, Reporting Services (the visualizations are robust in SQL 2008 RS), Excel Services, and PerformancePoint. This family of products are very different than SQL Server 2000. If you have followed this products for over 5 years you realize that the 2005 and 2008 products are totally different than the 2000.

A brief note about PerformancePoint and Reporting Services. For the first time I saw powerful visualizations that allow reports to be actionable. This is impressive and tells a lot about the folks working to develop these products.

Sometime ago I wrote: "If anticipation is part of journey, I can hardly wait for the sounds and tastes that will come in the next 12 months when business, technology, and science merge to produce masterpieces to help solve complex business problems." See, Microsoft is providing the right tools for those who do analytics, to do their job in the most efficient manner.

In the Disney-PIXAR movie Ratatouille a Chef says that "anyone can cook". Microsoft is saying anyone can do analytics, and I agree. See,


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great feedback.

One correction though... the name is Amir Netz, not Peter Netz.


Anonymous said...

Dear Alberto,

I sincerely hope that Excel will be able to perform as you expect. However, using the latest version of Excel (with jsut over 1 million lines) performance is a significant problem. Simple things like pivot tables I do agree are impressive but it takes for granted that the numbers are ready. The preliminary steps of cleansing, validating, not to mention missing value analysis are still just too cumbersome in a Office environment. As personal experience, SPSS still delivers the "back-office" processes much better. Visualisation, 50%-50% between Microsoft and SPSS

Anonymous said...

"If anticipation is part of journey, I can hardly wait for the sounds and tastes that will come in the next 12 months..."

Well, Alberto, you'll be waiting 18+ months for Gemini, until the first half of 2010.

By the time Microsoft delivers the software it's hyping in a clear attempt to forestall competition, including products that are shipping NOW, the most significant Democratization issue for analytics will have moved on to data access, including streaming/real-time data.

Roman Stanek said...

Interesting post. I was also inspired by the movie and our tag line is: "Now anyone can analyze data". But I believe that SaaS is a better delivery model for democratization of analytics. The main difference is the support for collaboration. A good analogy is Flickr - everybody had some pictures on his/her computer but Flickr allowed sharing and collaboration and unlocked the picture silos...

Roman Stanek
Founder, Good Data

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