Cloud Data Like SalesForce Available to PowerPivot as if it Were in a Local Database:
My Long Wish for a “Data Highway” Gets Closer Every Day
(Click for the Webinar Featuring Yours Truly on YouTube)
Flashback 2001: The “Data Highway” Concept
Back at Microsoft in 2001 when I was working on what eventually became Excel 2003, I pitched a vision that I called “Data Highway.” (OK, not an original name considering the Information Superhighway thing coined by Internet inventor Al Gore, but invention is smart and theft is genius, or something like that.)
The idea behind Data Highway was simple: all relevant data made available to the most popular tools (cough cough Excel), in a convenient and refreshable format. No manual gruntwork required to “fetch” data in other words – saving your brain for actual thinking.
There were three elements to the pitch:
- A common internet protocol for exchanging data.
- “Teaching” Excel, Access, and other tools to consume any data source exposed via that protocol.
- A marketplace for data where providers like Dun and Bradstreet could sell data to be piped straight into Excel.
Well the protocol flopped and our VP killed the marketplace idea before it got off the ground. Having good ideas isn’t enough – you can’t be too early, and you also need to execute better than we did.
Fast Forward to Today
Here we are at the end of 2012, and we have all three elements available in different (but robust and real) forms: