Interacting With Live Data via Power View During a Presentation: Worth the Risk?

Over the past few months I’ve delivered a few presentations for current clients (and potential leads) covering the “Sharepoint BI Portal”. The presentation is very demo-heavy and focuses on the self-service capabilities of the Micrsoft 2012 BI stack when integrated with Sharepoint 2010 and built upon a well constructed BI Semantic Model (BISM).

This morning while covering the capabilities of Power View, I received a question from a gentleman in the audience that caught me off guard. The question involved a scenario that I’d never considered but one that I should have and will make a point to mention in the future when covering this material.

I’d just finished demonstrating how easy it is for users to incorporate live Power View reports in PowerPoint presentations and explaining how the PowerPoint file connects to the data source enabling the presenter to interact with live data during the presentation.

At this point the gentleman in the audience raised his hand and asked:

Working with live data during a presentation is great, but what happens if there’s a problem with the source system the night before the presentation?

Too which I responded with:

You’re absolutely right. If the data source went down just before the presentation, you’d be screwed. So, if you think that’s a strong possibility and/or the presentation is very important – say if you were presenting to C-level execs – then you should consider an alternative such as building the Power View report on top of a PowerPivot file hosted in Sharepoint.

According to the group over at Brent Ozar PLF – all of whom are well respected technical presenters – being prepared for the unexpected is the sole-responsibility of the presenter.  In fact, it wasn’t until after reading a few of their posts (ex. The Presenter’s Bill of Rights and How to Rehearse a Presentation) that I started making a backup copy of any VMs used in presentation demos and bringing a personal hotspot device (if my presentation required internet access).

I believe this same principle, “Always Be Prepared”, applies equally to business users who plan on including Power View slides in PowerPoint presentations.

By the way, here’s the error message you will see if you ever try to use the “Click to Interact” button on a Power View slide in a PowerPoint file and the data source (in this case an Analysis Services tabular model) has gone down:

An error occurred while loading the model for the item or data source <data source name>. Verify that the connection information is correct and that you have permissions to access the data source.


2 replies on “Interacting With Live Data via Power View During a Presentation: Worth the Risk?”

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