A very common question I get is “What is actually new in Excel 2010 for BI?”. As you all know Excel is a wonderful BI client and many reports eventually end up in Excel. As a result we obviously invest a lot in the BI capabilities of Excel and Excel 2010 is not an exception.
The first improvement and by far the most popular one is probably PowerPivot for Excel. PowerPivot is our new offering in the Self-Service BI space that allows you to import and combine data from different data sources, create your own calculations on them and eventually share them through PowerPivot for SharePoint.
Excel 2010 also introduces the concept of “slicers”, slicers offer you a visual way of filtering data in Excel and the best part is that they also filter out other slicers if the combination is not possible. A common misconception is that they only work on PowerPivot data but actually they work on all PivotTables including those against Analysis Services cubes.
There are many other cool improvements in Excel 2010 for BI but instead of going through them again I guess it is better to hear it from the people that developed Excel. So here is a list of posts the Excel team did on the Excel 2010 improvements. Should I have missed any please feel free to let me know.
What If: http://blogs.msdn.com/excel/archive/2009/10/12/excel-2010-pivottable-what-if-analysis.aspx
Search Filter: http://blogs.msdn.com/excel/archive/2009/10/01/excel-2010-new-search-filter.aspx
Data Bars: http://blogs.msdn.com/excel/archive/2009/08/07/data-bar-improvements-in-excel-2010.aspx
Icon Sets: http://blogs.msdn.com/excel/archive/2009/08/05/icon-set-improvements-in-excel-2010.aspx
Named Sets: http://blogs.msdn.com/excel/archive/2009/10/05/pivottable-named-sets-in-excel-2010.aspx
In order to complete the story a view on the new capabilities of Excel Services 2010 – which is a key component in the complete BI story – is also interesting. I do suggest you look at the REST option and JSOM in Excel Services as they are pretty exciting improvements.
Feature support: http://blogs.msdn.com/excel/archive/2009/11/19/excel-services-in-sharepoint-2010-feature-support.aspx
ps. This is my first post using Windows Live Writer which is really a great tool for blogging. A thank you to Ilse Van Criekinge for showing me the power of Live Writer.