Sometimes people ask me for the slide deck to my PASS presentation. I send out the deck, but there is only one slide in there that is worth anything. This post summarizes the only useful slide in the entire deck.
Let’s think about this question – why are tabular models necessary when we already have PowerPivot? After all, tabular models and PowerPivot models use the same engine and have the same capabilities for defining rich business logic in DAX. When is it necessary to migrate to tabular models?
There are four things that tabular models offer that PowerPivot does not: scalability, manageability, securability, and professional development toolchain. The following table shows the differences in these feature areas.
You don’t need to move to tabular models because you need BI features such as perspectives, KPIs, hierarchies, date tables, or complicated DAX. You can stay in Excel and write all kinds of rich models. If you have a small team, you can share these models using PowerPivot for Sharepoint. Move to tabular models if you need to scale out, secure your model, manage your model after deployment, or use a formal development process. You can also do tabular modeling if you just happen to like VS better than Excel or if you want to share without using SharePoint.
Now there is not any reason to visit the PASS site and look at the deck. Maybe next time I do a presentation I’ll just show my blog instead of using slides.