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PerformancePoint Services (PPS) Wish List

Posted by denglishbi on February 11, 2011

I have been working with the PerformancePoint product since the early CTP days back in 2006.  I previously had experience using the ProClarity product that was acquired and partial converted into the PerformancePoint product.  With the release of PerformancePoint Services in SharePoint 2010 last year there have been some significant enhancements and additions to the product, but there are still some items that we would all like to see.  Over the years I have read and heard complaints of features that are missing.  Some of these are valid, but there are others where I can see why it was ‘by design’.  Below I have compiled my list of items that I would like to see included and enhanced in the product.

1. Include the ProClarity Performance Map (Heat Map) and Perspective reports – these are two ‘key’ and extremely informative options that have just been glossed over and would add so much value to the product offering.  I am baffled why they have not been included.  I find these two views more valuable than the Decomposition Tree that was finally added into the current release (although it still can not be a starting point, it is available to use to explore the multidimensional data).  The ability to analyze two metrics at the same time to determine impact and search out anomalies is a must.  Even though ProClarity views can still be referenced in current product, it just is not the same and requires setup and configuration of additional product.

ProClarity Performance Map viewProClarity Perspective view

2. Allow users to save and share analytical views (reports) – often when users are exploring existing analytical reports they come across a new and interesting view of the data.  It would be great if this view of the report could be saved to use as a starting point and shared with other users to help streamline report creation and sharing of information.  Another feature that was available in ProClarity.

3. Provide Analytical Map report – another nice visualization feature that was added in SSRS 2008 R2 and is available in other competing products.  It would be nice to have this option available even though you can leverage the SSRS reports in PerformancePoint to add more value to the product offering.  Enhance the map experience as well with zooming and dragging functionality as well just like users would expect.

4. KPI alerts – this was available in Business Scorecard Manager so that you could receive notifications based on criteria – Scorecard Alerts in BSM 2005.  This did leverage SQL Server Notification Services and I have heard rumors of a new alerting mechanism coming in the near future.  Currently there is a solution that you can purchase – Bidoma Alert.

5. Ability to control chart types for data series in Analytical Reports – current version provides option to include a bar (actually a column, but called a bar…) and line chart option if one of the measures is a percentage (automatically generates second y-axis).  ProClarity provided way to select a data series and chose the options independently of each other and they could be the same data type – this allowed you to show say current year sales measure in columns and previous year in a line.

6. More Analytical Charting options – provide the ability to select or provide a color scheme (you can do this in the other Microsoft products, why not here as well?); include axis labels; add more chart types – bar (in addition to the column charts already included that are called bar), area, range, polar, funnel, scatter, polar, gauges; include 3D option (although I am not a fan of the 3D, it does provide some eye candy); make data labels optional (would be great for Pie charts which are just another bad visualization, but people like them); add zoom support to select and zoom in/out in portions of the reports.

7. More linking (connection) options – ability to link filters to each other to create cascading filter functionality, ability to link Analytical reports to other items (if I can link to them, why not the other way?)

8. Provide dashboard preview functionality in Dashboard Designer – why do I need to deploy the dashboard to view how it will look and function?  I can preview Report Builder, why not in Dashboard Designer as well?

9. Enhance Person Responsible property – tie this into Active directory and provide the ability to quickly interact and view that person’s contact information and status.  Currently have to use additional web parts for this functionality.  Ability to include mailto for hyperlink would be nice, but doesn’t appear to be an option like it was in BSM 2005.  Being able to view status and availability would be extremely nice and you can do this with SharePoint lists

10. Provide printing and export functionality for dashboard and report items – ability to export each item independently is there, but not the whole dashboard, plus printing options to print and scale a dashboard or individual report would be great feature.  There is a printing option you can purchase though – PerformancePoint Print WebPart.

11. Add slider filter option for Time filters – users continue to ask for options to be able to selected a start and end date type of filter.  By adding a slider filter option so that the user can select a starting and ending point range for the filter would be a very nice option.  This is available in other competing products.  So for example here is a slider control filter from Bing Travel that allows me to select a range of time

 slider filter

12. Bring in the Silverlight charts – end users like the eye candy and adding in the Decomposition Tree only brings about the question why not in the other Analytical Reports.  Enhance the visuals so that they look appealing to the consumers.  For me it is all about the data and information, but the consumers also want the experience and visuals (like the Pie chart).  In the end it is the end users that will be using the tools and pay for the product, if we can enhance and make the experience appealing and blow them away with neat visuals than this will only increase user adoption rates.  Unleash the Silverlight toolkit and bring it into PerformancePoint analytical reports.  Russell Christopher has a couple of outstanding examples of the sliding bubble chart and heat map – bring these visualizations into the product to provide more value.  We have all been waiting for the Hockey Treemap Visualization to become a reality and part of the product offering, why has the heat map not been added yet?

sliding bubble chartheat maptreemap visualization

13. Ok, I need one more for the bakers dozen.  Mobile version for phones.  Okay, you can view the SharePoint dashboard pages on the tablet and pad like devices (sorry I just can’t say the Apple words).  The functionality isn’t too bad.  What about for the phones?  Being able to provide a version or app that can be installed to display Analytical reports that have been developed would be a nice feature.  Maybe this can already be done and since I just use my phone for a phone and not all of the enhanced online capabilities it is just my lack of knowledge here.  We can definitely see that the push to mobile like devices and access to information away from the desk/office is definitely happening, so provide a solution leveraging the items that have already been created.

We definitely need a better way to communicate with the product team like there is for SQL Server so that bugs and suggestions can be easily shared and monitored.  Creating support cases and sending feedback into a black hole is not convenient.  Leaving comments on the product teams blog is not a good long term solution either, why can’t we use the Microsoft Connect site to communicate with the team like we do with SQL Server? (maybe we can and I am just not aware of it)

I am not the only one that is requesting similar features and functionality.  For more items (and some of these have been added in PerformancePoint 2010) take a look at this thread in the PPS M&A forum – PerformancePoint Monitoring Feature Suggestions.

If you have more items like you would like to see, please leave comments, who knows, maybe someone is listening and reading this and we can get these on the list for the next release of PerformancePoint assuming that this is still on the radar for maintaining this product and that it will not be swapped out with something else like ‘Crescent’.  I know that ‘Crescent’ is supposed to be a reporting tool, but it sure does provide a lot of analytical capabilities just like PowerPivot.

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8 Responses to “PerformancePoint Services (PPS) Wish List”

  1. This is a great list. I especially agree about the KPI notices. This was a major differentiator between other BI products with the Scorecard Accelerator. I remember demoing that feature and everyone being really impressed with the concept that you could be alerted when an indicator changed. That way, you only had to go look at the dashboards when something changed. This is a major concept that’s missing with PPS 2010.

    I’d also like to add the ability to do totals, sub-totals, and cross foot totals in analytic grids. Every accountant I work with wants to see the total at the bottom or to the right of the grid. There should be an easier way to do than in Dashboard Designer.

    Love the post.

    • denglishbi said

      I completely agree with you on the totals. That is another nice feature that you even get with Excel, why not make it optional here as well. I believe that ProClarity had that as well.

  2. Tatyana said

    I have so many problems with PPS 2010, and so little help! Option to edit MDX for analytic chart , poor sorting options,more informational information bar, for example, what value was drilled and what dimension was used. Top 10 choice while designing cannot be saved for deployed page. Passing parameter to filter is also a problem. The hugest – decomposition tree in Hebrew is urgly, words are reversed and nobody knows when it’ll be fixed.

    • denglishbi said

      Have you posted any of your questions over in the PPS M&A forums? I would highly recommend this and also searching them to see if you can resolve any of your other questions you might have. In regards to modifying the MDX for Analytical reports, you can already do this, but it will remove the option to interact with the report (you can still leverage filters though). The sorting options in 2010 have been greatly improved, so wondering what your issue is? The information bar works fairly well and you can enable this in design if you want. It shows what is going on in the background (dimensions, measures, filtering, etc. – stuff that is hidden from end-users). Not sure what the Top 10 choice is that you are trying to do. Cascading filters (parameters has been a request for quite some time, thought it was supposed to be availble or will be in 2010 product, haven’t seen anything yet though). Can’t help you on the Hebrew item, but it sounds like you might have a support case on that already open. Feel free to ping me denglishbi@gmail.com or post your items in the forums for others to reference and help you out with.

  3. Tatyana said

    Thanks, Deni for your answer! My questions are already on the forum you recommended, still no answers.

  4. Tatyana said

    My posts are “Performancepoint 2010 analytic chart info”,
    “Calendar on PPS Dashboard”

  5. [...] PerformancePoint 2010 Cascading & Apply Filters – SP1 Features.  Dan also has an excellent PerformancePoint Services (PPS) Wish List. Share [...]

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