Unleash the Power (View)

Sit in any managerial meeting these days and you’ll likely hear a bevy of words describing the use of, or need for advanced data analytics. People and businesses are becoming more aware of the need for advanced metrics, as well as the need to analyze the different facets of their business.

In a previous post I described the different ways in which Microsoft SharePoint can be used to build dashboards and analyze data using their BI tools. One of the most powerful tools in the SharePoint BI arsenal is Power View. This is a newer feature that was added in the SQL 2012 suite and combines the power and capabilities of SQL Server Reporting Services, PowerPivot, and SQL Server Analysis Services. That last line really was a mouthful, but Power View does provide much more capabilities than any other service Microsoft had previously offered (although recently released Power BI in O365 is expanding on this even more).

So, at this point, you’re probably asking yourself what is this and what can it do for me? In short, it’s a much more user friendly way to create reports and presents a clean way to present data sets and reports to your target audience. Here are some of the ways in which you can leverage Power View.

  1. Embed Reports in PowerPoint PresentationsYou can embed interactive reports in PowerPoint presentations. For anyone who has ever struggled through inputting twenty different screenshots around the same data set, this is a lifesaver. You can Pivot on different data and show different views during a presentation. This is especially helpful in complicated data sets where your audience will be asking questions on how the data relates.
  2. Embed Reports in SharePoint SitesAlong the same lines as the embedded reports in PowerPoint presentations is the idea that your can embed a report directly on a SharePoint site. This is helpful in creating a collaborative report that many different people can slice and narrow to their own personal needs. The interrelationship between PowerPivot and SSRS allows for interactive reports that are updated in realtime by the data connections on the site.
  3. Build Location Based ReportsOne of the great features in Power View is that you can build interactive reports based off of location data. This allows for a visual perspective on how different areas may be covered by different data sets. If you’re an international business you can build in the map data associated with your sales or metrics reports. If you’re a domestic company, you can build a state or locality view of your metrics. This reporting feature is a great way to visualize your data and the locations associated with your business.
  4. Pivot on Live DataYou can build reports based on live data that is pulled into SSRS. These data connections are available in PowerPivot as well, but the capabilities are expanded in Power View.
  5. Attach Images to Data SetsFor further visualization, you can attach images to your data points and different row or columns in your data set. This doesn’t remove any of the functionality described above, and using images can help to enhance the views you are providing for your audience. This give a much cleaner and more professional look to the reports than PowerPivot and provides an added layer to the overall look of your presentation / or site.

Power View has been available since the release of SQL 2012, and the functionality is only going to get better with each additional release. The current setup is conducive to better visualizations and reporting than SSRS or PowerPivot on their own.

If you have any questions or have anything else to add please hit the comment button at the top of this post, and as always, be sure to follow me on twitter @burked585.

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