Speaking the language of business intelligence with an Australian accent

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Office 12 - Don't forget about Visio for BI

Before flying to Redmond for the Office 12 TAP this past August I read through the conference agenda to decide which sessions were going to be the "can't miss" ones. In the BI track was a session on Visio. Visio? BI? Strange... since when was Visio considered a BI tool?

Excel 12 is, of course, going to be the clear BI leader in the Office 12 family. However, Visio's ability to deliver some powerful data visualisations certainly brings it into second place or thereabouts. The Visio 12 blog materialised in November, thanks to Lead PM Eric Rockey, and has a couple of posts which show where the BI goodness will be: data-bound shapes and graphics. This improved functionality is something I have been wanting to explore in Office 12 ever since attending the TAP. I had some time during the past week and loaded up the new version to see what data I could import & link. Very impressive.

Sure we've been able to do some data visualisation in Visio before but it was a bit tedious. The new version makes things far easier, intuitive and really good looking. Combine that with the ability to view these .vsd's through the enhanced SharePoint infrastructure and we're talking about adding yet another arrow to the the SharePoint-based BI quiver. Think of things like sales pipeline reports, workflow diagrams, even store floorplans with areas bound to sales data. Locate these data-bound diagrams next to other web parts containing SSAS pivot tables, SSRS reports and Excel Server reports and you can more of what the BI excitement is about in Office 12 & SharePoint v3.0.

The September PDC Visio 12 PowerPoint deck can be found here on Erika Ehrli's blog along with a post containing links to the other Office 12 PDC decks

1 comment:

Shalin Siriwaradhana said...

Thank for the blog link. I got some graphics (stencils) from it. However I dont use visio now, I use a visio alternative called creately. And I was able to import all my visio files to it and edit.