How 2016 Releases of SharePoint and Excel Impact Power BI

There has been a lot of news recently from Microsoft on the upcoming changes to Power BI, Excel and SharePoint. Some of the changes may impact your decisions regarding report distribution.

SharePoint 2016 has no Power Pivot Gallery

Within SharePoint 2016,  Excel Services have been removed from the SharePoint Server.  The Excel Services didn’t go away, they were moved to the Office Online Server Preview, which means if you want to continue rendering Pivot Tables and Power View via the PowerPivot Gallery, you won’t be doing this from SharePoint. If you are wondering how you are going to be able to view Pivot Tables and Power View reports in Office Online Server Preview, you have a lot of company. Office Online Server Preview is not out yet. What Microsoft is saying right now with the Preview Release of SharePoint 2016 is Excel Services are not there, and if you want to use Excel Services, you will be waiting until there is a Preview of Office Online Server. If you are thinking of upgrading next year to the latest version of SharePoint, you will need to wait to see how to do that and still support Excel report distribution.

Decreased Excel Power

Excel2016 cchangesMicrosoft is eliminating the rampant use of the word “Power” when it comes to Excel tools.  I want to stress that none of the tools have been removed, just renamed. Power Query has been renamed “Get and Transform”. Power Map is now called 3D Map. Only two power words remain, Power View and Power Pivot and the use of the word Power has diminished with both of them. Power View is still there and called Power View but you have to add it to the ribbon to see it. The Data tab now contains the familiar Manage Data Model icon to open up the Power Pivot Window, which you will have to enable the add-in to make it work. The add-in is found in the Data Analysis Add-in group with no reference to Power. A number of new features have been added, especially when it comes to visualizations in Power View, which now has Sunburst, Waterfall, Histogram, Pareto, Box & Whisker and TreeMaps.

Forecasting is Back

Forecasting in Excel 2016I really liked the forecasting Feature in Power BI Office 365, which I wrote about when was disabled in December of 2014. Now it is back in Excel 2016. It works like it did before by looking at historical information in the past and using those trends to predict future values using variables to help you adjust the value for different conditions. This feature provides a simple way to view possible outcomes, which I think is going to be a very popular feature.

Power BI Decision Process

Next year’s releases are going to provide a lot of changes which may impact what your organization may elect to do in the future. A lot of these changes were rather predictable, such as Excel 2016 containing the new visualizations found in Power BI, but others such as the changes to SharePoint, may be a surprise. Since I do not work for Microsoft, I have to guess like everyone else what the changes will be, but I don’t think it is a big stretch to guess that Office Online Server may be cloud based. SharePoint 2016 product announcement describes the product as a Cloud-hybrid, and I am guessing the hybrid part may see your Excel documents on Office Online Server in the cloud. If this is a big deal to your organization, you may want to read the information about this really closely. I know I will and will be writing about them here.  Please feel free to subscribe to my blog to get the latest updates.

***For updates on this topic please see my more recent post Update on SharePoint 2016 and Excel Services

Yours Always

Ginger Grant

Data aficionado et SQL Raconteur

8 comments on “How 2016 Releases of SharePoint and Excel Impact Power BI

  1. ruve1k

    I’m happy to hear that Excel Services is breaking away from SharePoint. Maybe now we might actually be able to utilize Excel services. If we had to wait for our SharePoint team it would never happen (– certainly not the BI features of Excel Services).

  2. Heather

    Thanks for giving us an update on what’s coming. I’ve grown to really look forward to your analyses in your blog.

    1. Ginger Grant

      Thank you Heather! I always appreciate hearing from people who enjoy reading my blog.



    1. Ginger Grant

      Matt —

      Thanks for including this link as it about upcoming SharePoint functionality. From what I’ve heard from Microsoft recently, they are moving away from the Power Pivot Gallery and intend to release the functionality in a different product. I’m still waiting for the official announcement though.


  3. Matt

    Hi Ginger,

    From the following Link

    The following BI features will work in SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2 when you upgrade to SQL Server 2016 CTP 3.1:

    •PowerPivot Gallery
    •Scheduled Data Refresh
    •Workbooks as a Data Source
    •PowerPivot Management Dashboard
    •Power View reports
    •Power View Subscriptions
    •Report Alerting

    Again this seems to suggest that Power Pivot Gallery and Power View will be available (Or already is available) in SharePoint 2016.

    We are trying to determine our BI strategy at the moment and this functionality would be fundamental to us going SharePoint 2016 on premise.

    I was looking to download the SQL Server 2016 CTP 3.1 to give this installation a try but can only seem to find CTP 3.0.

    What are your thoughts?.

    Many thanks


    1. Ginger Grant

      Matt —

      There are a lot of questions regarding the Power Pivot Gallery and SharePoint, and I go back to Micorosoft’s site Here’s a quote from the part about Excel Services “Excel Services and its associated business intelligence capabilities are no longer hosted on SharePoint Server. Excel Services functionality is now part of Excel Online in Office Online Server Preview (this is the next version of Office Web Apps Server), and SharePoint users can use the services from there. For more information, see Office Online Server Preview and Configure Excel Online administrative settings.” The functionality will be there, but not in SharePoint, in Office Online Server.

      I hope this information helps in your decision making process. As the latest information is from last week, this is a very timely question, which now has a better answer.



      1. Ginger Grant

        My latest blog post better details how SharePoint 2016 can be used to access Excel Documents.

        Hope that helps too!

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