For years I have been integrating Corporate data into my Excel and Access applications, proving the value of the technology over and over. There have been huge gains in connectivity over the years and the capabilities of those two products to reach out to not only Access but also SQL Server, even Oracle and Excel data should be legendary. There has always been “talk” about integration with Excel and the ability of Access to be the inerface between disparate data sources is quietly known everywhere (but usually considered a dirty little secret).
But lately I keep getting stopped out by the “gatekeepers” of corporate data and thanks to many of the things I have discussed here before, this trend is getting worse and worse and looks like it can only get worse still. This is happening to such a extent that committed projects have had to be cancelled (at my loss) and in other cases the manual, kludgy solutions I have been forced to accept have made processes that should be slick and easy look awkard and prone to error. Despite some people getting this fact, nearly all the time it looks bad on me. And it is getting so bad that there is a risk that everything I do will grind to a halt.
The days of applications that stand on their own with only data generated inside the apps themselves are gone. Furthermore if there is not better cooperation from the “crypt keepers” of the Data Warehouses then all the progress made in Office connectivity over the last 20 years will be irrelevant. Such a loss will be significant not only to us Devs but also to businesses everywhere who will end up either spending ten or a hundred times more or even simply doing without the value that can be squeezed out of all the data they collect using Excel and Access.
But now I see “Gemini” on the horizon – a BI tool that will supposedly operate inside Excel ( http://www.olapreport.com/Comment_Gemini.htm ). I am very curious as to where Microsoft thinks they are going to get all that corporate data that they will need for Gemini to succeed on corporate dektops (??). I also wonder if perhaps Gemini actually works against Microsoft’s overall game-plan to become the darling of IT departments. Offering an end-user BI tool that works in Excel looks to me to be about as exciting to IT as a ray of sunlight to a Vampire (nasty analogy I know – but apt).
I don’t see anything that would indicate that this product has a place in today’s Corporation, not because it wouldn’t be useful but because it will run itno the same exact bottleneck when its proponents try to get at the data they need to use it. If it is sold as an End-User tool then it will be totally useless. This would be a real tragedy.
While I see Gemini as possibly just the product we need to up the ante on our offering to existing and potential clients, without breaking this bottle-neck it will all be moot. If Gemini CAN drive a wedge through this bottle-neck (on which I am not betting) then both Excel and Access will benefit. If the data is made availble to Gemini then it will also be availble to Excel and Access. But unless somebody does what it takes to break this logjam then Gemini’s screwed (and so are we).