Why are You Still Using Microsoft PerformancePoint Services?

By on March 2, 2017

Remembering PerformancePoint

I remember the days when I spoke on PerformancePoint like it was yesterday. The start of real integration and collaboration on business intelligence in SharePoint. I was a fan of PerformancePoint because it was easy to use, integrated well and allowed organizations to include many types of content into a single dashboard.

That was then, this is now.

Let’s take a look at the history of PerformancePoint to see how we got to where we currently are.

PerformancePoint 2007

PerformancePoint first appeared as part of SharePoint around 2007. The first version was a bolt on application to SharePoint 2007. It was a separate installation that sat to the side of SharePoint with some integration. It actually had two different components, the one we know from current SharePoint BI offerings, known at that time as Monitoring Server, and a little-known version, Planning Server. There were more than a few of us that thought Planning Server required a post-doctorate in order to install, configure and use. Planning Server never gained a lot of traction and disappeared quickly. Monitoring Server was at times challenging and many times was slow. Ironic since the word “performance” was part of the overarching product name.

PerformancePoint 2010

In 2010, PerformancePoint Services was truly integrated with SharePoint as a SharePoint Service Application. Finally, we had a native SharePoint application so we could create graphs, charts, key performance indicators and scorecards. In 2010, with PerformancePoint Services, it was relatively easy to integrate business data into SharePoint. So easy in fact, people might call it the start of self-service BI in SharePoint. SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2010 was a big upgrade to PerformancePoint Services with the move to a SharePoint Service Application architecture.

PerformancePoint 2013

In 2013, with the release of SharePoint 2013, PerformancePoint Services had a few updates but not many. As a matter of fact, even in 2017, the number one Google result for the PerformancePoint search term is the TechNet document “PerformancePoint Services in SharePoint Server 2013 overview”. This document includes a “New features and improvements” section detailing the few new items that made it into the 2013 version. PerformancePoint Services was not seeing much Microsoft love by 2013.

PerformancePoint 2016

Skip forward to 2017. Many SharePoint business intelligence developers were surprised that PerformancePoint was available in SharePoint 2016. The 2016 version of “PerformancePoint Services in SharePoint Server 2016 overview” exists but you have to dig a bit as it’s not a top Google result for the term PerformancePoint. As a matter of fact, only one search result in the first two result pages is about PerformancePoint Services in 2016. That single article discusses a similar point of this post – Why are you still using PerformancePoint Services? If you do happen to find the 2016 version of “PerformancePoint Services in SharePoint Server 2016 overview” page you might notice that there is no section titled “New features and improvements”.

Why the History Lesson?

So why the history in PerformancePoint Services? The reason is simple, I run into clients that still are using and actively developing dashboards with PerformancePoint and I have to wonder how great of a business decision is it to base your business intelligence on what appears to be a dying platform.

PerformancePoint may not yet have an official date for a funeral, unlike InfoPath, but it does look like a product with one foot in the grave. Microsoft is focusing on two different platforms for Business Intelligence: SQL Server Reporting Services and PowerBI. Based on the lack of new features and any relevant content from Microsoft, it might be fair to say PerformancePoint Services is on life support.

Now that I stated that PerformancePoint Services appears to be on “life support” and you are still not convinced to move to another platform, let me try to convince you with a few facts…

The Data Points

Interest in PerformancePoint is waning. Look at the Google search trend for PerformancePoint, SSRS and PowerBI:

Google Trends for PerformancePoint chart

If your organization is still working with PerformancePoint Services, your organization is probably one of the few… PerformancePoint Services is not even in the same ballpark as Microsoft’s other big hitters. Do you expect Microsoft to spend money, time and effort to radically improve a product that appears to have little adoption when there are other products to spend money on?

Still not convinced? Look at the official Microsoft PerformancePoint Services blog at https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/performancepoint.

PerformancePoint Team blog posts

There is no need to add a trend line to this chart to see what is going on. The time spent on communicating with the PerformancePoint community appears to be related to the number of years from the first release of PerformancePoint integrating with SharePoint 2007. As time goes by, the posts decrease. Since the line started bottoming out in 2013 most of the posts are not about feature and functionality but about reporting product bugs.

Finally, everything of value at Microsoft seems to be driven by the Mobile-first and Cloud-ready mantra. There has been no mention of PerformancePoint Services in the same sentence as Mobile-first or Cloud-ready. Maybe it is out there, but I have not seen it. PowerBI is definitely Mobile-first and Cloud-ready. SSRS in SQL Server 2016 is also Mobile-first and Cloud-ready. PerformancePoint Services is not.

What to Do?

I am not saying that your organization should drop everything and rush to move completely off of PerformancePoint. The service is still a supported service for SharePoint 2016. Microsoft has a documented Life Cycle Policy (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/lifecycle/selectindex) for product support and end of life. PerformancePoint is not on this page as of today . What I think you can expect is more of the same… no new features, bug and security fixes. Someday, I suspect we will see a notice to expect no new features or bug fixes and security fixes only after a certain date.

What should you do? Very simple:

1. Stop creating new PerformancePoint content
2. Start planning to migrate away from PerformancePoint
3. Start migrating off of PerformancePoint
4. Remove PerformancePoint from your farm

First, stop creating new content with PerformancePoint that will ultimately need to be migrated to another product. Don’t make it any more painful than it has to be. Next, start creating a migration plan to move off of PerformancePoint. This is a great time to review the current dashboard and decide if it is needed or if it can be improved and updated to fit the current need. Then, start migrating off of PerformancePoint based on your timetable until you realize there is no more PerformancePoint content on your SharePoint farm. Finally, delete the service component from your SharePoint farm and don’t look back.

Summary

PerformancePoint was a great product in its day but Microsoft doesn’t appear to be interested in moving it forward. Most information suggests that PerformancePoint will be supported for some time but probably will be limited to bug and security fixes only. Organizations using and creating PerformancePoint content should consider a controlled move to a new product, such as Reporting Services, PowerBI or even Excel Services, Power Pivot and Power View.

Aptillon can help with your organization’s data and business intelligence requirements. We have expertise in Reporting Services, PowerBI, Excel Services, Power Pivot and Power View. Aptillon can also assist with data management using SQL Server, Integration Services, Analysis Services as well as Azure data services. Contact Aptillon to discuss your business intelligence and data needs.

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