Post by Rob Collie and Chris Finlan
Datazen (The Latest Addition to Microsoft’s Suite of BI Tools) is a Mobile Monster
(Monster in a GOOD Way. Yes, PowerPivotPro has its own DZ Custom Theme – You Can Too)
Datazen Q&A With Chris Finlan
***Intro from Rob: Today I’m interviewing Chris Finlan of Microsoft about MS’s recent acquisition of Datazen, and what this means to us in the Power Pivot and Power BI community.
ROB: Last month, Microsoft purchased a company named Datazen. Most people had never heard of Datazen before, but you had pointed them out to me last summer I think. You were already a big believer in them at that point, as were your customers.
CHRIS: Yeah, I love Datazen. I’m as passionate about it as you are about Power Pivot. I think it’s an extraordinary product, and have felt this way for quite some time Don’t believe me? Check out the date of my review in the Windows Store. (Spoiler alert: it was April of 2013 – that’s before I even applied for a job at Microsoft).
ROB: You’re truly a trendsetter in tech and clothing. I think one of the natural first reactions/questions from the community is, “wait, did MS just buy one of Power BI’s competitors, and if so, when do I use it versus, say, Power Pivot?”
CHRIS: No, DZ was designed from the beginning to “only” be a visualization layer on top of the Microsoft Data Platform. In your post on Visualizations Layers in Perspective: The Last Mile, you pointed out three key reasons at the end on why you’d buy a visualization tool. Datazen checks all three boxes (and oh by the way, there’s no longer anything to buy – it’s simply a benefit you receive when you license SQL Server Enterprise with Software Assurance).
ROB: Which means it’s free for many existing MS customers. More on that later. But I also want to talk about how DZ can be used to “light up” the great work being done by Power Pivot practitioners, because hey, that’s what we do around here.
Any Flat Table in Excel Can “Power” a Datazen Dashboard
EX: Power Pivot Produces a Flat Pivot (or DAX Query Table),
and DZ Can Use That Excel File as a First-Class Data Source.
(The ONLY Server Required Here is a DZ Server – No SharePoint, No SQL, No SSAS)