As a SharePoint consultant, there’s no way I can overstate the power and value of setting up a business intelligence solution in SharePoint 2010. Being able to both visualize business data and make decisions based on that information transforms the software from a document management and collaboration web app to a full-fledged Intranet portal. And if you’re running the SharePoint 2010 software, then you already have all the prerequisites you need to start creating and surfacing reports for a full business intelligence solution.
Most paid versions of Microsoft SQL Server—the database that serves as the backend for SharePoint software—include SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS). This is the engine with which reports are generated. Reports live in a Report Library on your SharePoint server, are fed to the SSRS Server for processing, and returned as finished reports.
When SharePoint and SSRS are working in tandem, the result is a truly enhanced experience that can reap countless rewards for your business. A few of my favorite features include:
- SharePoint Security – Using existing SharePoint software security groups with Report Libraries allows you to leverage your existing share point structure to keep sensitive reports hidden from certain users.
- Scheduling and Management – Scheduled delivery of reports can be set up and managed from within the software, allowing users to configure delivery via e-mail, file share, or SharePoint library. Snapshots can also be scheduled to reduce the load time for report pages.
- Versioning – Like any document library in the software, a Report Library comes with all the advantages you’re used to, including versioning, report history, and metadata.
- Data Connection Management – Data connections shared by reports can be managed from within the SP software, allowing you to easily change server names and execution credentials from within SP.
- Report Viewer Web Part – Besides running the reports within the software’s integrated report viewer interface, reports can be embedded in Web Part pages, giving you the ability to assemble custom dashboards with several reports, connect reports to other Web Parts, and set execution parameters and permissions automatically.
- Reports with SharePoint List Data – SSRS reports can be configured to use several types of data sources, but leveraging SharePoint list data can provide all new metrics for your business. Who are your most prolific authors? What tasks are aging, and which users have the most tasks assigned to them? You can answer all of these questions and more using SSRS reports that pull the list data.
In order to get SSRS and SharePoint software fully integrated, there is plenty of work involved. SSRS must be configured in SharePoint Integrated Mode, which sets up special tables in the SSRS configuration database enabling it to process reports in the software. It must also be configured to point to the SSRS server. And of course, you’ll need reports. Luckily, the team at Entrance can help you with all of these tasks, from designing your SharePoint solution to creating and deploying reports.