PowerView in Excel 2013 – Business Intelligence – Second Impression

Well, the more time passes, the more I like it… Somehow I have figured out, subconsciously, how not to make it crash quite as often and also how to work around things that don’t work very well. So, in no particular order, here are few more observations…

  • Map – like it a lot.
    • There is a way to make it drillable, the trick is to start with a Matrix report, enable drilling on rows or columns and then convert it into a Map (so drag your state attribute in the rows, then zip code below it and then click on Design->Show Levels to enable drilling).
    • The only way to show individual location names is to have lat and long geocoded and to have those in the lat and long boxes for the Map, then drag the Name attribute for location to Location box and it will show up on the tooltip
    • The biggest challenge with maps, cosmetically speaking, is to have it blend with the dashboard background because the map background does not seem to match any background very well for any theme that I have tried although there are a lot of different permutations and I have not tried them all…
  • KPI in a scorecard (matrix control) – works pretty well, but it seems to have a bug where it generates a status score even for rows/columns that have not data.  This can be addressed by adding a custom filter to the scorecard (there are two types of filters, Global that affects the entire dashboard, or just about every individual dashboard element has a mini filter as well).  I am seeing a bit of a performance impact with it – I will try to nail this down in the next week or two.
  • Images – this is one feature I am really (REALLY) excited about as this allows us to create really sexy visualizations.  The big issue I have run into so far is, I am unable to use images that are not stored locally on a hard drive.. So images stored in my SharePoint environment are rendered as camera icons.  That’s definitely a bug of some sort (unless there is a workaround, that by the way I am starting to develop a very good track record of discovering).  So what I have been doing so far is create a local cache of images and use that for demo purposes.  It works well as long as the demo is limited to Excel.. Given the fact that CTP 3 of the Service Pack 1 for SQL Server 2012 does not have enough meat in it to warrant all the trouble of installing it, I am sticking with PowerView in Excel and not SharePoint.
  • Scatter plot – definitely a sexy control given it’s ability to play things over time.. I am struggling to understand how to control the bubble size.  For example, if I plot variances to control the size of the bubble, having both negative and positive variances makes the bubbles look funny and not very descriptive for the data I am trying represent.. that’s another area that I will be spending a lot of time on trying to figure it out.

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