Yesterday Chris blogged about Varigence Vivid and Bonavista Dimensions. His post remembered me that I might share my comments about Vivid and I had to take a tour around Bonavista Dimensions, and here we are.

Varigence Vivid is simply something that enhance PivotTable Excel functionality, especially when you are connected to an Analysis Services workbook. This makes you much more productive while you define your own analysis browsing data coming from SSAS and, as Chris pointed out, you are able to share your workbook also with people that don’t have Vivid installed. If you are used to Excel PivotTables, this tool worth to be tested.

BonaVista Dimensions is a different tool. It works in Excel, it resembles the PivotTable experience, but it is a different thing. It can be connected to an Analysis Services cube  (in the Professional version, more expensive) but it can also import data from external sources, creating a local cube (this requires the cheaper Personal license). Thus, the navigation is always based on a dimensional model, but the tool can be used also by users who don’t have their data on Analysis Services. The key point in BonaVista Dimensions is the graphical visualization and interactive navigation of data. It can be used with Microcharts too and offers a very nice way to create dashboards.

Looking at pricing, I have conflicting feelings. From one side, I think that the professional version should be less expensive, because existing SSAS users probably already have a client tool and would not agree to pay the full-price of a complete tool. They will look at Dimensions just as an add-in, not to a replacement of the PivotTable they probably already use. On the other side, I have to say that its pricing is much more affordable than Tableau, even if I don’t think that the two products can be considered for the same usage, even if their pricing scheme is very similar (personal and professional edition, plus a server version).

However, a completely different evaluation might be done considering that there is also a Web edition that allows the publishing of Excel workbooks created by using BonaVista Dimensions. This doesn’t require any SharePoint installation (but will not offer the same SharePoint additional feature, of course!) and the price is certainly lower than SharePoint, even if you have to contact a sales representative to get a quote.

IMPORTANT UPDATE 24 Jan, 2011: Bonavista published a new pricing offer and the price are really aggressive now. In particular, the Web version is available at a very competitive price and you can start with just one concurrent user, with an entry level price of 599$ for the full featured version and just 299$ for publishing data processed using local CUB files (source can be just Access and Excel in this case).