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- Navigating with the Ribbon in SharePoint 2010
- Using the expanded search functionality
- Creating document sets
- Co-authoring documents
- Leveraging rich media support and themes
- Setting site permissions
- Integrating with Access and Visio Services
- Using SharePoint Designer and SharePoint Workspace
Skill Level Intermediate
In SharePoint Server 2010 Enterprise, we have a major new feature called PerformancePoint Services. This is often used together with the site template called the Business Intelligence Center. PerformancePoint was previously a completely separate product to SharePoint. It was a Microsoft product that had both its own server component and its own desktop application, and was targeted at business analysis and business intelligence, to anyone who wanted to bring together immense amounts of data from SQL Server or SQL Server Analysis Services and better understand that data by looking at it visually.
But in SharePoint Sever 2007 we had some of that too with the site template called the Report Center. So what's happened in this version is they've brought that all together. We have the Business Intelligence Center site, which is kind of the next version of the Report Center, and they've integrated in PerformancePoint with it. Now, when you create a new Business Intelligence Center, you get the site that I'm looking at right now. The homepage of it has sections you can mouse over to be introduced to the basic idea of what you can do with the Business Intelligence Center, work with SharePoint Status Lists, PerformancePoint Services, Excel Services, and create Dashboards.
A dashboard in SharePoint is kind of like a dashboard in a car or a dashboard in a plane. It's a way that you can quickly glance at an immense amount of information and see what's going on and is it good or bad. In a car, it might be RPM and the oil level and the fuel level. In SharePoint you might be looking at weekly sales and outstanding customer service issues and bug reports. Now, in this Business Intelligence Center, we don't have to use PerformancePoint. In fact, the simplest way of getting that kind of visual information is using something called the SharePoint Status List.
If I click on the link to view the samples, what we're seeing is these sample indicators. These are Status Lists. They used to be called KPIs, Key Performance Indicators. In fact, you'll still see the term Key Performance Indicator used in a lot of different places in SharePoint. We also have something called the Chart Web Part, which as you can see show some charts here. We can actually select and connect this to data. We can customize it and even get a 3D look, if that's what we're looking for. This chart could be connected to SharePoint lists, to other Web Parts, to Excel Services.
Back on the homepage, I am going to connect to the section that says about Creating Scorecards with PerformancePoint Services. Let's take a look at this. When I first heard that PerformancePoint was going to be included in the next version of SharePoint, I was curious how they were going to replace the desktop application that it used to use. I couldn't see how you could build these complex dashboards using a browser, and indeed you can't. So what happens is when you create a Business Intelligence site and go to this page for the first time, it gives you a button to say Run Dashboard Designer.
This is a Windows application and when I click this button, it's actually going to push back this program to me. Now, I have used it before, so I already have it installed. But if I didn't, it would actually run the install right now and open up Dashboard Designer as a separate application for the first time. In Dashboard Designer, you really do a couple of different things. You define data connections, which is you say where is the data coming from that I want to know about. I've got a couple of simple things created right now.
But if I were to create a new one, I'd select Data Connections, select the Create Ribbon, and say I want a new data source. It's going to ask me, what is this, Analysis Services, Excel Services, another SharePoint list, SQL Server table? There's a lot of different things we can connect to, and this really does support the idea of significant complexity. I am going to cancel out of this, because the idea is once that's defined, you then start creating what's called PerformancePoint content. Now, if you have used SharePoint 2007's Report Center, we created dashboards there too, and we created them kind of from the top-down.
We created a Dashboard page and then added elements to that page. This way round we kind of go from the bottom-up. Before creating these dashboards, we actually start defining all the little pieces of data that we want to use. If I've defined a connection to say Analysis Services, I'll have things like Analytic Charts and Analytic Grids I can use. I can also create what are called Strategy Maps, which are connected to Visio 2007 or later. But if I am going from a simple example, what I can start doing is little tiny indicators, little pieces of data that I want to be interested in.
Here we see we've got an option to create what's called a KPI or a Key Performance Indicator. Creating a KPI really means that you're giving it a couple of different pieces of data here. The KPI doesn't just want to know what's the data it's meant to show. It's trying to show whether this is good or bad or not. So you have both the actual row and the target. The target can be configured as saying whether this number is in a good range, in a bad range, or somewhere in the middle. Now, I've defined a very simple KPI here for Order Quantity, where I have said that my target is a fixed value of 4000, and I'm mapping it to a little piece of data called Quantity in one of my data sources.
So I'm kind of going from the bottom-up here. I've defined this individual one KPI. The next thing I've done is create a scorecard and the scorecard itself has the idea of aggregating together KPIs and metrics and properties. When you have the scorecard, you can then start to create what's called your dashboards. Now, you can even make new dashboards, and these are the kind of connection between here and SharePoint. You are really defining pages. This could be just one big empty zone that you put your scorecards in, or you could have 3 rows or 3 columns or a header and 2 columns. It's up to you.
So I have this dashboard design and I just have my scorecard on it, because it will show up this draggable, droppable content. Obviously, as you can see, there is a whole amount of very complex information that we can do with it. But the idea is that once we have our dashboard created with the scorecards and the KPIs and the filters that we want, we can actually right click our dashboard and say Deploy To SharePoint. Now, this is about as simple as you could possibly get. But this idea now is in our Business Intelligence site we have our first Dashboard showing a scorecard with a KPI in it.
If my organization was based upon the fact that I had one number to look at and I couldn't remember what that was, whether it was good or bad, I would be in deep trouble. The benefit and the idea of dashboards and KPIs and scorecards and charts is that you can have pages with dozens or even hundreds of numbers that you can quickly glance at to see a dynamic view of whether these numbers are good or bad and allowing you to drill down into them. Using filters, we can also break down things like not only show me the overall sales of the company, but show me the sales by region or by individual.
This is the idea of what you start to build out in the Business Intelligence Center. Now, like many other pieces of SharePoint Server, this of course could effectively be its own course. It's a very significant subject and you could spend a long, long time learning how to both use the Business Intelligence Center well and to use the Dashboard Designer. But hopefully this has given you a good introduction to the site templates, the different components of it, and where you'd go if you wanted to explore this further.