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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.
The Business Intelligence Center is not just about bringing your information together. It's also about making it visible and making it easy to understand in the quickest way possible. Now one of the simplest ways of making some of your information visual is to use something called a SharePoint status list. Now if you have a Business Intelligence Center, you'll actually find the samples of the Monitor Key Performance section. Where it shows you a couple of examples here. Morale, Productivity and Expenses. The ideal with a sample indicator, and these things used to be called KPIs or Key Performance Indicators, is that we're not just trying to see a piece of information.
We're trying to immediately be informed if it's good or bad. So it's not just for the massive numbers that everybody cares about, such as what were the total revenues for the month. But it's also about by breaking them down into smaller numbers that are being looked at. So you can scan dozens or hundreds of them at one time. What we're actually looking at on this Sample page is a Web Part. This Web Part is representing an underlying list. Well this being a SharePoint site, I can go and see what the underlying list is by going to my Site Actions and coming down to View All Site Content.
And in my List section, I have a Sample Indicators list. By clicking on that, I can see it's a SharePoint list and in fact this is one of the few lists that feel a bit more like old-school SharePoint. It feels like SharePoint 2007, where the menu bar is for using it are based here, rather than up on top of the Ribbon. And as a trivia point, even the message that they've got here seems to have been drawn from SharePoint 2007, because they're saying these are sample status indicators which are displayed by default on the Homepage of this Report Center.
Well there is no such thing as the Report Center in SharePoint 2010, the Business Intelligence Center is the next version of what was the Report Center, but I guess we got a little bit of leftover wordage there. So what can do here, well by clicking the New button, I can create a new status indicator and what it's telling me here is that data can be based on a SharePoint list on a workbook in Excel Services, from Analysis Services, or just be a fixed value, just to manually enter it. In fact, the three examples here are just fixed value status indicators.
I can either choose to add a new item to this list or I could create a new list. Coming down to the more options from my Site Actions menu, I could create a list that would be a status list. That's how we create our status indicators, what used to be called KPIs. I don't need that. Let me just add it to the existing one so at least we have a few to look at. Well the question is where is my data. Well a short while ago, all I did was to my document library on this site, I up loaded a spreadsheet called Widgets, which was just containing some information on Widgets ordered recently.
And that's what I'm going to use to drive my status indicator rather than having to look at the spreadsheet all the time. So I'm going to go back to my status indicator list, create a new indicator, using data from Excel Services, give it a name, I'll call this Widgets Ordered, could give it a Description but I don't need to and then the actual data, where is it going to draw this number from. Well I'm going to give it a workbook URL I could either go and find the URL or just by clicking the button here I could browse to it. I had stored it in my Documents library called Widgets, click OK, and any indicator essentially needs three pieces of information.
It needs to know, how does it show up in green, how does it show up in yellow or red, what is the actual number, what should it be, what would it be really bad if it was. Formally, that's the indicator value. The goal and the warning. Now luckily, I don't have to manually type these though. If I had named those regions in my Excel workbook, it would be a very easy job for me to just do that. But if the workbook was a fairly fixed layout, what I can do is click the little icon. It opens up that workbook in the web access view of it.
I'm going to click where the total is stored. That looks like what I want for the indicator value. What actually is the number? So with that selected I click the button down here that says Set and then I have in there also a goal and a warning. I don't have to have those in the same place, or I could even manually enter those, but luckily I do have them here. I'm saying the goal is 6000, so the goal is now set and the warning is now set. I'm going to hit Tab to come down to my OK button and I'm going to leave it at that.
You also have the choice here whether the better values are higher or lower. So for example, if what my workbook represented was outstanding customer support issues, I might have a goal that they are less than 20 and if they are that's good, but if they're more than 50, then that's bad. But for me, better values are higher. The more widgets get ordered the better. And to click OK. It's going to fetch that data and we can instantly see that it showing up in red. And depending on how you want to layout your pages, for example on the sample page here, the Web Part doesn't even show the actual values.
It just allows you to scan the numbers and see whether they're good or bad. And then if you want to, you could actually drive down a little further into it by selecting it and finding out what the value is, what the goal, where that information is coming from. But it is dynamic, and that's the great thing about it. If for example, I go back to that library, I go and edit this workbook and I'll just edit it in the browser right now. Take some of these numbers back up. It takes a second and refreshes. Excel Web Access does do auto saving all the time, so I'm just going to come out of that.
Back into my sample page and instead of showing up in red, this time it should fetch the data and say yup, we have no problem. We're showing up in green. Now of course you don't always want to have to drop down to the SharePoint sample page to look at your status indicator, so one thing that we could actually do is change the Homepage to have that Web Part showing here too. I'm going to go ahead and do that I'm going to click the Page section of the Ribbon. If that wasn't visible for you, you can make it visible by saying Show Ribbon off your Site Actions menu and click Edit Page.
And on the main section here, I'm going to add a Web Part. That's a little bit tricky here, because if I look at my lists and libraries, I do have my Sample Indicators list. But when you select it this way, sometimes it doesn't show up the way that you want it to. It actually gives you too much information, but by going through some of the other categories, such as the Business Data section, we actually find a Web Part that's a better bet for showing a status list. So we'll select that Web Part. Now it doesn't know right now where it's meant to be shown.
So it's going to actually say open the tool pane to configure this Web Part. This is a special Web Part that needs to be connected to a Status Indicator list. So its going to ask for the list here, I'm going to go to my Sample Indicators list, which was the name of the list, click OK, I even have the ability to select from a couple of different options of icons such as checkmarks or flat or traffic lights. Let's go with checkmarks. I can select to show only the icon, instead of the value as well, or show only problems, or hide the toolbar.
It's all up to you. You could experiment with this to see what you think best suits your needs, then to click OK, click Stop Editing and go back to the top of the page, where we have our status list in there with our checkmark icons there about whether these values are good or bad. So in just a few minutes, able to stop loading this up with information and usually one of the challenges here is just thinking about things like, where do we formally store our goals and values for the certain numbers.
But once they have been defined, you can be looking at pages full of this information that allows you in just a few seconds to scan massive amounts of information and see whether things are good whether they're bad and need to be paid attention to.
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