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In SharePoint 2010 Essential Training, author Simon Allardice demonstrates the full feature set in SharePoint 2010 and the necessary skills to be a SharePoint site administrator. The course shows how to use SharePoint, create sites and site collections, and plan and design sites and portals. It also covers Office integration, security and permissions, and advanced features such as document management and business intelligence.
There's a new site template called the Business Intelligence Center. This only available in SharePoint 2010 Enterprise and only as a top-level site in a new site collection. So I'm going to create one here. I'm in SharePoint Central Administration, which is the only place I can create it, so you may have to get your administrator to do this for you. It's available under the Enterprise tab as the Business Intelligence Center. I'll just give it the name of sites/business. It doesn't matter what you call it of course.
It is a normal SharePoint site so it's made of a collection of lists and libraries, but it's very, very different in intention from typical SharePoint sites like team sites, Document Workspaces, and so on. This site is about understanding your data, not about collaborating on it. It's the site your CEO, your CFO, your business analysts want, the one that allows them to scan the thousand different pieces of information that are changing all the time.
It's a way of getting insight on what's happening in your organization right now. Now there's nothing that would stop you building your own site to do this, but this is the SharePoint-suggested starting point and it's a very impressive site with a lot of new features that we haven't seen before. You'll quickly see that a lot of it seems to be very visual. It's about charts, it's about graphics, and that's absolutely the case. And really there are three primary pieces to this and they kind of go in order of complexity.
At the simplest level, you could use the Business Intelligence Center to create what are called status indicators and Chart Web Parts, ways of getting quick visual information of dozens or hundreds of data points. Going a step more advanced than that, we could actually start getting into Excel Services, as we've already seen something that allows you to consume and have basic interaction with information stored in Excel workbooks. And the most advanced part of this site is using a new feature called PerformancePoint Services, and this allows you to generate what are called dashboards and scorecards, effectively reports and web pages showing up to the moment information.
These can bring together information from SharePoint lists, from Excel workbooks, from SQL Server databases and Visio charts, and merging it all together. And that's what it's all about here, bringing it all together. So it's in front of you. All your data is available, you know what's going on, you can make decisions. As you can see the Business Intelligence Center is a very visual site. As you mouse over these different sections they will give you a couple of starting points, ways of starting with status indicators, ways of starting with Excel Services, ways of starting with PerformancePoint.
But Business Intelligence shouldn't be underestimated. While it is a very specific need, it's a huge and complex area of SharePoint and one you could spend many months exploring and learning. So let's get started.
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