Which SharePoint business intelligence tool is right for you?




December 19, 2012 —  (Page 1 of 3)
Choosing the right business intelligence tool for an organization can be tricky. There are several dashboard and reporting solutions available in SharePoint, and picking the right tool(s) to satisfy an organization’s business intelligence goals isn’t always as cut and dry as some would hope. A good starting point is to identify what the options are, and understand what they offer at a high level. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the four most popular business intelligence reporting solutions in SharePoint, and what they have to offer.

Reporting Services
Reports developed with Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) are highly customizable, and that flexibility makes them a great fit for a variety of scenarios. While most commonly used for “Operational” or “Static” reporting, it also has a wide array of visuals, including charts, gauges, indicators, and maps that also allow it to function very effectively as a dashboard tool.

Integrating Reporting Services with your SharePoint environment allows reports and dashboards to be deployed directly to SharePoint document libraries. Once deployed, reports can be viewed via the Report Viewer Web Parts, or by navigating to them directly. If you need tight control over your report formatting and layout, there’s a good chance Reporting Services will be a good fit for you.

High-level uses/capabilities:
• Great for reporting and dashboards
• High level of control over format/layout
• Can connect to a wide range of data sources
• Report development will most likely require a technical resource
• Highly scalable

Excel Services
Many of us have some familiarity working with data using Excel. The great thing about Excel Services is that now you can use a tool you’re already familiar with (Excel) to create reports that you can then publish in SharePoint. Excel Services takes care of all the rendering of the Excel document inside the browser, so that the person viewing your published Excel report doesn’t even need to have Excel installed on his or her computer.

If you already have reports in Excel, this is an excellent opportunity to drive traffic to SharePoint to view them instead of using a file share or e-mailing them out. Security can also be applied to each workbook, allowing you to only share the specific sections of your workbook you want to be visible. If your organization is just getting started with business intelligence, this is a good place to begin your journey so you can get up and running fast.


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