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I started learning BI in SharePoint, I'm not understanding where to start and I do not know what are all the possible options I can try, what I can leverage. I see lot of different categories and terminology when I googled. Do I need to know about MSBI before I start learning? Guide me what are the Trending areas in BI with SharePoint, also I do not want to work on the outdated technology and not going to be used in future SP Releases.

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Great question. There's no good answer.

SSRS (reporting services) is the old man in BI. It produces "traditional" reports, it works with virtually any type of data source, there's lots of documentation, it has robust capabilities in the areas of caching, etc. However, it hasn't been updated in quite a few years, and it doesn't seem like any significant updates are planned. So, while it can produce dashboards, those dashboards will look like they were created in 2007.

Power BI. As in, PowerBi.com. This site (which is a Microsoft Site) allows you to create amazing looking dashboards, as well as allow the users to create charts by typing in english sentences. It's quite amazing. However, it's a bit tricky to get to work with databases that are on prem (as in, not in the cloud), and it's difficult or impossible to create old-fashioned reports. Again, it does cool dashboards, but you're kind of out of luck if you want a report that displays 40 pages of data with 14 columns.

Of course, to the above you need to also add on Power Query, Power View, and PowerPivot, each having their own capabilities, but all involving Excel.

edit:

Power Query: allows you to import data into excel, massaging the data on the way. So with it, you could import data from an OData feed, specifying which columns you want, and then join the result to a previously imported data set. (experienced SQL folks will recognize that this is the role that SSIS plays in SQL Server)

Power Pivot: allows you to work with datasets that have millions of rows. Has functions that allow you to do things like date functions, such as calculating the percent difference of the values from this month vs last month. This is essentially a cube that runs in memory in excel.

Power View: a utility that allows you to create interactive dashboards based on data that has been imported into excel via either power query or power pivot.

So perhaps to start, take a look at Power Query and Power View. Just those two provide a lot of possibilities. Power Pivot is cool, but the learning curve is steeper. So, perhaps after learning Power Query and Power View, check out the PowerBI.com site.

  • So, is it correct to start with Power Query, Power View, and PowerPivot involving excel? Do these involve in all areas of BI? – sekhar Aug 24 '15 at 21:21
  • I don't know if I have an answer for that. You could certainly start with those, and I suppose that MS would certainly want you to start with them. (Or, they may want you to jump right into the PowerBI.com site). But see my edit for more details. Hope it helps. – Mike2500 Aug 25 '15 at 2:11

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