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Archive for the ‘Strategy Companion Analyzer’ Category

Our BI CoP (Community of Practice) is currently having a refresher of SharePoint 2010 during the month of June and it’s my turn to show some of the BI capabilities on offer. Other than Excel and Visio Services, PowerPivot and PivotViewer, SharePoint has a great tool called Dashboard Designer (part of Performance Point).

Instead of using the Contoso or Adventure works datasets to build out my dashboard, I went for a dataset I came across last year which revolves around Tri-nations rugby players. Quite interesting (if you like rugby that is). I used this same dataset when I showed PivotViewer at Tech-Ed Africa 2010 and received some good feedback.

Dashboard Designer allows you to create a host of different objects including KPIs, Filters, Reports, Dashboards, Indicators and Scorecards. Dashboards are the containers and allow you to link up the other object types in one location. Once deployed, a Web Part page will display your dashboard. The only downside to this approach is that if you want to include document libraries and team discussions (as an example) into your dashboard, Dashboard Designer will overwrite those web parts the next time the dashboard is deployed.

Now, you can easily get around this dilemma by not using the dashboard component in Dashboard Designer but instead create a new Web Part page from scratch. One can then quickly include your published Performance Point content in these web parts as well as your document libraries, custom lists or team discussions. One trick, you need to create connections between your different web parts in order for filters to work or for additional reports to be generated once a user clicks on a particular item. Note: connections would also need to be setup in Dashboard Designer.

Here is what my dashboard looks like when you access it for the first time:

Once the user clicks on a player position or KPI, additional reports are displayed:

I’ve even embedded the new Strategy Companion Analyzer Scorecard component:

And finally a little fun with my team discussions. I’ve included some classic one-liners from our coach, Pieter de Villiers.

With just a little bit of luck Oregan Hoskins will see this dashboard and recruit me as a data analyst for the up-and-coming Rugby World Cup!

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Strategy Companion Analyzer (http://www.strategycompanion.com/) is a great web based cube browser that our company offers to clients. I recently had to assist with troubleshooting some connectivity issues at a new site.

Now, there are two types of users in Analyzer: Report Designers that can create new reports and modify existing ones and Users that can only interact with created reports. The client had performed the software installation themselves and the Report Designers could connect to the cubes without a problem but not the standard Users (See Figure 1 below). The installation involved a split environment where Analyzer was installed on a Web server which in turn connected to a separate Analysis Services server.

I immediately thought it was because the users did not have read access to the cube in Analysis Services but a little test connecting to the cube using Excel confirmed that this was not the case. Bummer.

Figure 1 Report Connectivity Issues

While testing with one of the Report Designer logins I received the same connectivity issue as the users had received. It turns out that Report Designers could access the cube when browsing to http://localhost/analyzer/Main.aspx (when on the Analyzer server) but not when they browsed to http:///analyzer/Main.aspx. The client had not experienced this issue as the Report Designers had been logging into the server and had always used localhost.

After a little digging around on the Analyzer discussion forums I found out that the user’s credentials can only be passed between two machines when using Windows Integrated Authentication. To circumvent the problem, we had to temporarily disable Windows Authentication in IIS for the Analyzer website and enable Basic Authentication. This at least allowed the users to connect to the cube but they had to enter their credentials each time the website was accessed.

The ideal solution is to setup Kerberos authentication between the Web and Analysis Servers and then users will be able to access the cube using Windows Authentication.

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