Book Review: Planning with Microsoft PerformancePoint Server 2007

I’ve had this book for a while and have been meaning to publish a review for sometime.  I reviewed the companion book Monitoring and Analyzing with Microsoft PerformancePoint Server 2007 by the same authors, Adrian Downes and Nick Barclay of B(iQ) who have already established themselves as the authority on Microsoft PerformancePoint Server 2007; just like the companion book, this one too re-enforces that position.

As I have come to expect from these guys, the book is just crammed to the 250 page Rational Guide limit with essential information.  It achieves several objectives; it provides a overview of the theory of Performance Management, it introduces the reader to the Microsoft PerformancePoint Planning product and finally it holds your hand through the relatively steep learning curve of implementing a planning solution.

For those who have been involved with PPS-P since the early CTP days, or later, would, I’m sure, have had several frustrating sessions trying to understand how and what is happening.  I truly believe that this book would have removed much, if not all of that frustration.

But, in the interests of providing a fair and balanced review I do have one gripe – It would not surprise me if Adrian and Nick had a couple of sleepless nights and some ‘discussions’ with the Rational editors on what chapters to print and what chapters to provide as bonus material on-line (Yes, just like the companion book there is a whole bunch of bonus material including additional chapters, sample downloads and source code).   The Process Management chapter is one of the online bonus chapters that I definitely feel should have been printed.  Process Management falls into the ‘essential’ category and you can’t actually do any Performance Management without Process Management.  Of the printed chapters, the one that could be argued is better suited for online is the chapter concerning data integration, particularly when this chapter contains approximately 16 valuable printed pages of plain T-SQL script.  So be sure to read the online bonus essential material.

I think the authors would agree; the book does not set out to cover the whole of the product, the product is far too big to cram into 250 pages but it is definitely attempting to be a ‘get up and running quickly with the essentials’ level book and to that end, my hair splitting gripe aside, it absolutely nails it.  Easy to read, perfectly structured and comprehensive enough to give you the confidence to chase that ‘early adopter’ opportunity.

It was always going to be a challenge to write a Rational Guide on PerformancePoint Planning but the boys have come good once again.  I’ve added this book, along with the companion book on M&A, to our internal ‘essential reading list’ – Top job chaps !