Some background: -I have little understanding of SharePoint as a tool -I work in a large organization that has a collection of sharepoint sites, but where administration of IT resources is highly centralized (and very difficult to influence) -I manage a number of Excel databases, some of them with PowerPivot data models behind and I want to start giving interactive access to other users (in remote locations, but who are part of the organization) to simple pivot tables fed by those data models. -The data models currently reside in my own computer, and are relatively large (>50MB) -When I tried to use Excel services as part of standard sharepoint, I quickly faced performance problems: i) size of files is too large (which may have a simple solution), and ii) users in remote locations would still need to open the data model in their computer if they were to access the file through regular Excel services, and given the type of hardware they have, that does not seem feasible (which does not have an easy solution, from what I understand) -Based on preliminary research, it was my understanding that using Powerpivot for Sharepoint would be the best solution, as it would allow the data model(s) to reside on the server, and users would not need to load them on their computer as such.

When I presented my thinking to IT in my organization, the answer I received was:

Are we talking about PowerPivot or Power BI? There might be some confusion in terms of what the different SharePoint BI capabilities are and how they can be leveraged. The combination of Excel, the PowerPivot add-in and a SharePoint BI center might be enough for what you are looking for, rather than opting for other functionalities that would require new licenses<

I am not an IT person, but I need to make sure I present the case clearly from a technical point of view, so that I don’t get caught up in an unnecessary back & forth with IT colleagues in HQ.

My need is simple: ability to interactively share pivot tables fed by large data models (managed by myself) with users in remote locations. I have powerpivot as it comes already as an add-in in 2013, so the add-in is not the problem.

So the question is: what is the optimal and most simple approach (which does not require additional “products” or licenses) that would achieve that, and how do I correctly describe it to a technical colleague?

1 Answer 1


So from the IT perspective, to get excel services to load and refresh powerpivot tables requires some additional setup in SharePoint that they might not have done. This involves installing 1 or more SSAS instances on 1 or more servers in the SharePoint farm. Each SSAS instance is an additional SQL server license.

The other thing you need to make sure they do (assuming you are on SharePoint 2013) is force SharePoint to use excel services instead of office web apps for excel files. They can run the powershell command located here:


to accomplish that.

My gut tells me that they haven't setup the powerpivot SSAS instances and are trying to not incur the additional licensing costs associated with doing that.

  • Thanks a lot - I think your gut feeling is right, and will try to continue my battle. Now at least I can express it more clearly! Thanks again
    – Jones_1977
    Apr 13, 2015 at 12:49

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