Well radio silence has been maintained quite successfully. Sorry for the lack of updates but with Planning development ended I haven't had a lot to say… Office 2010 (aka Office 14) is finally starting to see the light of day. I know some of you by now have gotten your hands on the Technical Preview and are checking things out. Others probably have watched some of the video recordings that have come out recently.
My team has been mainly working on the Monitoring and Analytics components in SharePoint lately. Not many details are out about SharePoint yet either, so I'll keep quiet on that front. Anyway, most of our work has been under the hood, rather than new feature-related so I won’t have much to say.
So onwards to Excel 2010. The videos I've seen are covering the new Slicer and SparkLine functionality so you should check that out. I like both of them a lot. We got some feedback about how Planning's filters rendered, and I think having end users see all the available choices with slicers, rather than having to navigate to a drop down or through a tree is going to be much more user friendly.
What I haven't seen in videos yet, but am very excited about, is PivotTable what-if and writeback for OLAP (well at least for Analysis Services). I've had to keep quiet about this for a long time. But I've finally seen a brief mention in the official blog and some people are actually using it!
The PPS Planning team had some great opportunities to provide feedback about this feature to make sure it would meet our (expected) needs, as well as pass along the feedback we had about data entry in the matrix. This is probably 40-50% of the functionality in the Planning add-in that is must-have from customers and partners I've talked to. (another 30-40% I would say is workflow but that’s a topic for another post). I think it turned out quite well.
I know a lot of Partners are frustrated with the PPS Planning situation, but I really think you should look at Excel 2010 for your next generation solutions. Excel is now able to participate fully out of the box -- custom code is not required on the client for some of the hardest parts. And it is fully supported through the object model so if you need to have customize, or need to provide additional validation etc, it's all possible. Having writeback as a native feature of Excel is fantastic, so many customizations that weren't supported by the Planning add-in are possible. Plus you get full access to the writeback features of AS, so you aren't limited to the strange spreading mechanisms that the Planning addin forced you to use.
I can’t wait to hear about partner’s using PivotTable writeback.