Self Service Business Inteligence with Excel 2010 and PowerPivot

In this video, Microsoft show us some of the new features in a product that’s quite close to my heart… Excel. Honestly!

Excel 2010 is the first version of the product that really embraces desktop, browser and mobile channels in a high fidelity way. On the desktop, Excel is better than ever. It’s packed with new features such as Slicers and Sparklines. Slicers are visual selectors that let you intuitively slice and dice pivot tables, and Sparklines are tiny charts that fit in a single Excel cell driven from data on your workbook.

Next is Windows Phone 7’s exceptional support for Office documents including Excel and things living in SharePoint.

Finally, whilst I’m talking about SharePoint, I should mention Office Web Apps – the online version of the Office Suite. You can use this for free on SkyDrive, or to make use of Excel Services and Excel Web App together. Office Web Apps can be installed on top of any SharePoint edition including Foundation.

One of the new features in Excel client is multi-user edit. This tells you when others are editing the document you’re working on. You can see their edits, live, as you move from cell to cell. Amazingly, this feature is also available in Office Web Apps via the browser. Impressive stuff. I really like Excel Web App – just compare it to Google Docs and see how much of your Excel workbook gets lost or deleted by Google.

Excel 2010 also has an awful lot for the enterprise. PowerPivot is a new product to accompany Excel 2010 and SQL Server 2008R2. The Excel end lets business users easily build impressive and useful dashboards out of in-memory OLAP cubes running on SQL 2008R2. Because it’s in memory, a) you need a shedload of RAM, and b) it’s incredibly fast.

Lastly, Excel Services 2010 extends the functionality of the previous products by taking advantage of Windows 2008R2 high performance clusters, and lets us run the Excel calculation engine in a grid or private compute cloud. For customers in the banking or scientific sectors this means it can reduce complex computations from hours down to minutes or seconds.


  1. Nico de Jong says


    you mention : ‘Excel Services and Excel Web App together on SharePoint Foundation’. I thought Exces Services are only there in Enterprise -Is there a way though to install them/buy them for a foundation or standard licence?

    • says

      Thank you Nico! I meant that Office Web Apps are installable on every edition of SharePoint, including Foundation. That’s my fault for writing a blog post at 2am! :)

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