You might not have heard of 'Bipnalysis' before ... in fact I know you will not of because I have just coined the term in the hopes that it might become a 'googlewhack' once the crawler finds this entry ... but beware, you will waste hours on this venture. Its a term to describe, strangely enough, 'doin' some data analysis with BI Publisher' ... it will be in the Oxford English Dictionary before you know it.
I mentioned the Excel Analyzer yesterday, today, the other analyzer thats available, thats the Online Analyzer. I was discussing the future of this component this morning with my manager, its a cool component and he uses it every week for doing on the fly bug and enhancement analysis. I always get oooohs and ahhhhs when I first show it to customers but it lacks some vital functionality and awkward questions soon ensue, I'll come back to that.
The analyzer is basically an online pivot table a la Excel, when you invoke it you get a window like this:
You're now in a drag and drop environment, the items on the left had side list can be dragged into one of the active areas on the right e.g. page item, row item, column item, etc. So you can take the flattened data and very quickly build a very interactive cross tab report.
As you drop items, the engine will effectively turn your flat fields into dimensions on the fly
Now it becomes interactive, you can expand and collapse column and row headers.
Even change the summarization calculation
But theres a catch to all this cool stuff ... you can not save this defintion for later use. There's an argument that it is very easy and fast to build the cross tab and if you want to do is do some quick and dirt analysis its great but even my manager has to rebuild the self same report every week because at the end of every meeting he has to throw it away.
So first on the list of enhancements is to be able to save this 'view' of the data for future use ... then with my PM hat on I get carried away. What if when I clicked that analyzer button, it asked me which 'view' I wanted or if I wanted to build a new one. What if you could store multiple views of the data and then show them on multiple tabs across and down the page; what if I could incoporate these views into a regular BIP report and email them off; what if I could pull in another data source or maybe some historical data of the same report I had been running over the last year ... calming back down. We're at least gonna start with be able to save the current view ... and for now I think that would make this feature really useful and the ooooohs and ahhhhs will not be followed by awkward questions but smiling faces.