As the volume of information in any organisation grows it becomes more and more of a problem to organise it into a usable resource. This is where SharePoint comes in.
SharePoint is a web browser based intranet system from Microsoft that acts as an information repository. This can be take the form of
It's the last of these that gets Purple Frog excited about SharePoint, so let's look at some of the highlights of it.
Microsoft have positioned SharePoint as the primary hosting and delivery mechanism of their entire business intelligence experience. SharePoint brings together a number of different technologies into a single place for easy distribution throughout your organisation's workforce, all accessed from the web browser
Any report developed in Reporting Services can be hosted within SharePoint, making use of SharePoint's security, document library, scheduling and navigation.
PerformancePoint is the dashboarding system which lets you build components such as tables, charts and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), and then combine them together into complex interactive dashboards. Users can click and drill through charts, filter and modify the items in the dashboard, and even view decomposition trees etc.
PerformancePoint is designed to work on top of OLAP cubes, so if you have a cube you can get a lot of benefit from PerformancePoint with very little extra effort.
If you suffer from Excel hell, with spreadsheets dotted all over your organisation and no visibility or control over them, then Excel Services is for you. It allows you to host a spreadsheet within the browser, whilst still letting users view, interact with and update the data (assuming appropriate security)
Microsoft's latest tool for analysing very large datasets is PowerPivot; an in-memory column store plugin to Excel which allows the users to pull in data from a variety of data sources, combine the data together into a single data model and then produce outstanding interactive dashboards, all within Excel on the users workstation.
The natural progression of this system is to host the PowerPivot workbook centrally to share the results with other users. SharePoint provides this hosting mechanism, as well as automating the data refresh cycle and providing appropriate security.
Once you've got PowerPivot workbooks hosted, you can make use of PowerView (aka Project Crescent). This takes the data in PowerPivot and provides a wonderfully intuitive, graphical, interface to create visually rich impressive reports.
Whether you're looking for a central document library, or are embarking on an organisation wide business intelligence platform (or anywhere inbetween!), Purple Frog can help you figure out what the options are and help get you up and running.