Creating Great Business Intelligence Solutions using SharePoint 2010 is the next session. BI represents a major growth area in IT, and SharePoint and Office provide a great set of BI features to build and integrate data-driven spreadsheets and applications with SharePoint 2010. I’m looking forward to hearing about PowerPivot, Performance Point Services, Excel Services, KPIs and such from the one and only Robert Skoglund. He’s a solutions architect for Microsoft Consulting Services.
Enabling BI solutions is greatly misunderstood from a traditional IT standpoint. Because the SharePoint product had to be installed on your machine, it was difficult to do BI in previous versions. In 2010, this has been greatly improved. In the SharePoint 2010 capabilities diagram, these are in the Insights slice: Performance Point Services, Excel Services, Visio Services, Chart Web Parts and Status Lists, Web Analytics and SQL Server Integration.
Visio Services are immensely valuable to provide real-time visual data and updates with data connectivity. See the illustration below to understand the potential of blowing away your boss:
Performance Point Services enable visual scorecards integrated with SharePoint with details KPIs and decomposition trees. A video is really the right medium to explain this further. Here’s a bite-sized one:
The single most interesting thing about BI on this platform for me has to do with PowerPivot Services. It’s important to know this consists of two products that must be downloaded and installed in order to work together: PowerPivot for Excel and PowerPivot for SharePoint.
You CAN use the Excel product separately. If you have the data on your local device, you can use PowerPivot for Excel to deliver a BI solutions that rivals something an IT professional would take weeks or months to deliver. It’s for those of us too impatient to wait and need deeper business insight to shorten decision cycles. But, cominging this with PowerPivot for SharePoint enables administrators a way to deliver this capability to everyone, helping lead to better, faster, more relevant decisions while avoiding the proliferation of spreadmarts and data silos in the enterprise.
Overviews, how-to’s, and linkes to demos and a hands-on lab are available here: http://www.powerpivot.com/videos.aspx
The other content was shared too quickly for me to be able to share here. The rest of the session was spent doing a slow demo and fielding questions from the crowd. I still don’t understand why he recommends separating your BI dashboard from user collaboration…I mean you could just add social web parts. But, I’ll dork around with it and maybe achieve the same epiphany as Robert. But, didn’t Microsoft mean to weave social into all of this?