Overview of business intelligence capabilities in Microsoft SharePoint Server

Business intelligence can be defined as the aggregation, storage, analysis, and reporting of data for the purpose of informing business decision makers. Using business intelligence applications, you use business intelligence to take data and turning it into meaningful information that enables you to make more informed, better business decisions.

Microsoft Business Intelligence encompasses tools and applications, including Microsoft Office, Microsoft SharePoint Server, and SQL Server that empower users across an organization. Business intelligence in SharePoint Server includes the following tools and applications:

  • PerformancePoint Services in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, which enables you to create and use centrally managed dashboards that are always up to date and include a variety of reports and scorecards.
  • Excel Services in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, which enables you to use, share, secure, and manage Microsoft Excel workbooks as interactive reports. You can display entire workbooks, or individual portions of workbooks in a browser window.
  • Visio Services in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, which enables you to publish visual diagrams to a SharePoint site.
  • Chart Web Parts, which enable you to create and add charts to a SharePoint site, such as a dashboard that will be used by an individual or a team. Chart Web Parts can use data stored in SharePoint lists, external lists, Business Data Services, Excel Services, and other Web Parts.
  • SharePoint status indicators, which enable you to create or use simple reports that show performance information. Status indicators tell whether performance is on or off target for a particular performance measure.
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Comparing different SharePoint business intelligence tools and applications

The following table describes the various SharePoint business intelligence tools and applications that are available.

Tool/application Description
PerformancePoint Services

PerformancePoint Services includes PerformancePoint Dashboard Designer, a tool that dashboard authors use to create powerful, dynamic dashboards. These dashboards are referred to as PerformancePoint dashboards. Reports that are created by using Dashboard Designer are referred to as PerformancePoint Web Parts.

You would typically use PerformancePoint dashboards to bring together a variety of reports and scorecards that use data from a variety of sources, including SQL Server, SharePoint lists, and Excel Services. You would also use PerformancePoint dashboards when you want powerful, robust dashboards. These dashboards can include reusable dashboard content and linked items, such as key performance indicators in a scorecard that are linked to other reports.

To learn more about PerformancePoint Services, see the following articles:

Excel Services

Excel Services extends the capabilities of Microsoft Excel by using server technology to store and manage information. Using Excel Services, users can publish Excel workbooks to SharePoint Server and specify certain settings, such as user permissions. Then, you and other users can easily access those workbooks by using a Web browser, even if Microsoft Excel is not installed on your computer. If Microsoft Excel is installed on your computer, you can open and view the entire workbook.

You would typically use Excel Services to create or use secure, centrally managed workbooks. Excel Services workbooks can contain a variety of charts and report types, including PivotChart and PivotTable reports. These charts and reports can also be displayed as individual reports in PerformancePoint dashboards.

To learn more about Excel Services, see Getting Started with Excel Services and Excel Web Access.

Visio Services

Visio Services extends Microsoft Visio by enabling users to save Visio diagram to SharePoint Server as Web Drawings. Using Visio Services, you can publish Visio Professional 2010 and Visio Premium 2010 Web Drawings that render data-connected diagrams. Visio Web drawings can display data from a variety of sources, including Excel, SQL Server, SharePoint lists, or any OLEDB or ODBC data source.

You would typically use Visio Services to transform complicated text and tables that might be difficult to understand into online Visio diagrams that communicate information at a glance and remain up to date.

To learn more about Visio Services, see the following resources:

Chart Web Parts

Chart Web Parts enable you to create or use charts on a SharePoint site. These charts can be interactive and can use data stored in SQL Server, SharePoint lists, or Excel Services.

You would typically use a Chart Web Part to quickly and easily add a chart to a SharePoint site, such as a Web Part page, that is used by a group or an individual.

To learn more about the Chart Web Part, see the following articles:

SharePoint status indicators

SharePoint status indicators enable SharePoint users to easily create or view one-line reports that show whether performance is on or off target for a particular measure. Status indicators are items in a SharePoint status list, which is a special kind of a SharePoint list.

You would typically use status indicators to add basic performance information to a SharePoint site that is used by an individual or a group.

To learn more about status indicators, see Getting started with SharePoint status indicators.

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Getting started and finding Help

A variety of Help content and information is available to help you get started with SharePoint business intelligence.

Creating or publishing dashboards, reports, scorecards, or status indicators

Use the following table to get more information on how to create or publish dashboards, reports, scorecards, or status indicators.

What do you want to do? Use the following resource(s)
Create a dashboard Getting Started: Introduction to the Business Intelligence Center
Publish an Excel workbook to Excel Services Getting Started with Excel Services and Excel Web Access
Add a Visio diagram that is connected to data to a dashboard Add data-driven Web drawings to your dashboard with Visio Web Access
Create a status indicator Getting started with SharePoint status indicators
Create a Chart Web Part Create a chart by using the Chart Web Part
Learn more about Web Parts, including the Chart Web Part, PerformancePoint Web Parts, and other kinds of Web Parts Types of Web Parts

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Viewing or using dashboards, reports, scorecards, or status indicators

Use the following table to get more information about how to use dashboards, reports, scorecards, or status indicators.

What do you want to do? Use the following resource(s)
Get started using a dashboard Getting Started: PerformancePoint dashboards and Web Parts
Learn how to explore data in a report or a dashboard How to navigate dashboards and explore data
Learn more about Excel Services Getting Started with Excel Services and Excel Web Access
View Visio diagrams that are Web drawings View Visio diagrams in a SharePoint library
Learn more about status indicators Get acquainted with status indicators

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Applies to:
PerformancePoint Dashboard Designer, SharePoint Server 2010