Business Intelligence in SharePoint 2013 certainly seems to be having a snowball effect at the moment. Maybe I’m just becoming more involved with these conversations, or maybe it actually is a growing concept for organisations. Either way, I thought I’d share some of the highlights of Business Intelligence solutions in the SharePoint world.

What is Business Intelligence?

Business Intelligence, or BI, is a term that is typically associated with a broad category of applications and technologies that gather, store, analyse and provide access to data that can enable users to make better decisions. These BI solutions include activities of decision support systems, query and reporting, online analytical processing (OLAP), statistical analysis, forecasting, and data mining. BI is always driven or initiated by user demand and are often critical to operations. That said, a BI solution can also be implemented for occasional use or to meet a special requirement. BI solutions can be Enterprise-wide or local to a single team, department, or project.

Sounds great, where does SharePoint fit in?

To quote Microsoft, “Business intelligence applications and tools enable you to organize your vision of organizational goals, processes, and performance requirements in a useful manner, and to present that data as meaningful information”. SharePoint is capable of embracing all of these concepts and delivering them online, directly to your users.

I want it, what do I need?

Slow down, the first rule of BI is understanding your needs and planning. Although this is slightly beyond the scope of something I could squeeze into a blog, I will overview the basic requirements to start your path into BI with SharePoint 2013.

First thing you need is a SharePoint 2013 environment with the following services provisioned:

  • Excel
  • PerformancePoint
  • Visio

In addition, you also need to meet the software requirements set out in this Microsoft TechNet article.