Business Intelligence in SharePoint
Business Intelligence in SharePoint
The purpose of BI is to provide the business with metrics that can be used for analysis and steering. KPI’s allow a business to measure pre-defined metrics, such as sales for a region or the percentage of staff utilization at a given point in time. It’s a way of highlighting what is happening so that future corrective action can be undertaken by the business.
Business intelligence can support this process by providing an efficient and trustworthy visualization of data. To answer question 3 we need to perform an analysis, this is done by selecting a subset of data that can be used to explain the selected phenomenon. Now that we have established the past, present and the phenomenon driving this trend we can focus on what we want to happen in the future.
All these activities rely heavily on getting the correct data in the most efficient way possible. Normally data is stored in an unstructured way; for instance in accident-reports or ERP systems.
BI transforms this raw data into something that is meaningful for humans and allows managing of data. In the SharePoint context we can simplify this to-
BI provides the tools that enable individuals, teams and enterprises to discover and analyze information for:
– Decision making
The case for SharePoint as a BI tool is that it enables us to create and manage information in an integrated system that includes core business productivity features such as collaboration, search and content management. What we really gain from SharePoint is a BI tool is insight into data.
Microsoft’s likes to stress that SharePoint empowers people by allowing them to access BI data through a familiar interface while working with the tools that they already know how to use, like Excel and Visio.
SharePoint in the BI context
SharePoint can be used with SQL Server reporting and BI tools to surface BI data in ways that are meaningful. A back-end system such as SQL Server Reporting Services provides the data infrastructure that allows report authors and business users trusted, scalable and secure data.
Users create BI assets in SharePoint with tools like Power Pivot, Excel, Visio, Report Builder and PerformancePoint Dashboard designer which are stored securely in SharePoint lists and libraries.
What’s new in business intelligence in SharePoint Server 2013
Microsoft provides comprehensive BI tools that integrate across Office applications and other Microsoft technologies. These tools enable analysis, reporting, dashboards, and visualizations.
These BI tools are: Excel 2013, Excel Services in SharePoint 2013, PerformancePoint Services in SharePoint Server 2013, Visio Services in SharePoint, SharePoint 2013, and Microsoft SQL Server.
Excel Services and SharePoint 2013
Excel Services allows for manual emailing or sharing of spreadsheets that causes manual errors to stop and the ability to share workbooks with others. The following is an overview of Excel Services 2013 and SharePoint 2013:
Excel Services 2013 is a SharePoint service application that enables the loading, calculation, and browser-based rendering of Excel workbooks (Enterprise Edition only).
It’s designed to be a scalable, robust, enterprise-class service that provides feature and calculation fidelity with Excel.
It delivers rich analysis capabilities that are supported in a zero-footprint web client with a familiar interface.
It offers ability for live connections to data sources to be queried to deliver up-to-date data throughout analysis.
Figure shows a graphical example of the moving pieces of SharePoint 2013 and how they come together at a very high level.
InfoPath Form Services (IFS)
Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Reporting Services (SSRS)
Data Sources gallery using SharePoint Designer
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