Microsoft PerformancePoint Server is a Business Intelligence application that puts business critical information in the hands of users to monitor, analyze and plan.
- Figure: Interactive drill-through
- Figure: Alternate drill-through capability for PerformancePoint 2010
- Figure: Business users can create reports simply with PerformancePoint's Dashboard Designer
- Figure: Business users create KPIs which then create the dashboard
- Figure: Tour a Dashboard in SharePoint 2010
More on PerformancePoint
PowerPivot gives users the power to create compelling self-service BI solutions, facilitates sharing and collaboration on user-generated BI solutions in a Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 environment, and enables IT organizations to increase operational efficiencies through Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2-based management tools. SSW can you help you to design BI solutions with PowerPivot, both as standalone Excel documents or integrated into Sharepoint 2010.
- Figure: Excel with PowerPivot AddIn
Excel Services in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 is designed to help you analyze business data and increase business intelligence. Excel Services is a Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 shared service that you can use to publish Microsoft Excel client workbooks. The published workbooks are available throughout your organization for knowledge workers to use.
- Figure: Business users can modify the reports via the familar tool Excel
Microsoft Reporting Services provides an integrated, end-to-end set of tools for creating, managing, and delivering reports. It includes a scalable engine, for server-based hosting and processing of reports. You have the option of delivering the reports across the organization as HTML/PDF/Excel formats from a central server, or integrated them into your windows applications. Report delivery can also be scheduled, and sent via email. Best of all, Reporting Services is a value-add that comes free with your license of SQL Server.
The SSW team has been writing custom reports since the very first version of Reporting Services in SQL 2000. Since then, our feedback to Microsoft has driven many new features introduced in the SQL 2008 R2 version.
- Figure: Today SQL Reporting Services is the mainstream choice for reporting
Watch SSW Chief Architect Adam Cogan presenting Reporting Services tutorials in a special video training session on DotNetRocks TV.
Also, check the DNR TV videos on "External Links" section of SQL Server Reporting Services Wiki page.
- Figure: Maintaining a report
View sample of a Reporting Services report.
SQL Report Builder is a tool that comes free with SQL Server 2005, and allows your non-technical users to easily create simple reports. The user interface is intuitive and familiar to anyone who has created reports in MS Access. SSW Consulting can help you identify where best to use the Report Builder in your organization. We can help you configure the environment, and train your users in effective report creation.
MYOB provides a simple reporting engine which allows you to customize your reports and save the changed reports. However this reporting engine limit to a number of features that you can do. SSW Consulting can help you migrate your MYOB data to a SQL Server database and write custom Reporting Service reports. You can then take the full advantages of SQL Reporting Services including interactive reports, report scheduling and subscription, variety of report formats (HTML, Excel, PDF), and multiple options of delivering such as web application or windows application.
Crystal Reports has been the premier reporting solution for many years, and is only now starting to be replaced by Microsoft Reporting Services. SSW has plenty of experience with custom crystal reports solutions, and can provide any level of assistance for your projects.
Microsoft Access has a simple report creation feature. These reports can be driven from an Access or SQL Server backend. Generally SSW recommends migrating these to Reporting Services.
SSW has developed a product to bring some of the advantages of SQL Reporting Services to Access. SSW Access Reporter allows organizations to publish Access reports over the web, where previously they could only be displayed on the local computer.
Excel 2010 features powerful and easy to use tools to create reports from your OLAP cubes and relational data. This includes slicing and dicing, filtering and sorting.
Additionally, with SharePoint 2010 Excel Services, you can now publish your excel spreadsheets on the web, allowing non-technical people such as BA and accountants to create and deploy meaningful reports.
XSL FO is a document engine based on XML data and XSL style sheets to render the data. This allows for a very flexible document engine that is more adept at producing documents rather than reports. This is a limitation that some of the other reporting technologies, mentioned on this page, struggle to deal with. The other technologies are very good at creating reports but not so good at creating a document.
For example, if you wanted to produce a document where you have a list of questions and you want to show two questions per page listing the questions horizontally, it is very difficult to do in reporting services and other reporting engines, but easy to do in XML FO.
- Figure: Showing questions horizontally is easy to do in XML FO
- Figure: Sample XSL FO Report
- Figure: You’ve never seen data presented like this!
New in 2012:
- Figure: Introducing Project Crescent
Make Your Report Look Awesome
The PerformancePoint default dashboard lacks visual appeal. There is no ability to automatically brand the dashboard through a template.
- Figure: The default PerformancePoint dashboard is ugly
But SharePoint can look awesome. WorleyParsons and Ferrari are great examples built on top of SharePoint.
- Figure: WorleyParsons is built on top of SharePoint and looks awesome
- Figure: Ferrari also has an great looking site using SharePoint
With the power of third party controls, like Telerik and jQuery, SSW can make your SharePoint portal look good.
- Figure: As good Lucid Designs Group
There are a lot of things to consider when building a Microsoft's BI frontend... initially it feels like so many options. It's recommended you start with building on the mainstream technologies which include:
- Power Pivot
- Performance Point (in Excel)
- Crescent (beta)
Specific UI options include:
And finally you need a User Experience Architect ("UX") on the project
Also check out the BI Case Study for PPS.