At a Glance:
- Introduction to BI
- Avoiding common problems with corporate databases
- A walk through the Microsoft BI stack
- Building a simple solution
An increasingly popular choice for sharing data is Excel Services, which is available in MOSS. Using Excel 2007, you first create a workbook containing a pivot table that uses an SSAS cube as its data source and you then publish the data connection and your workbook to Excel Services. Although you can publish workbooks that contain data from other types of data sources, one of the advantages of using SSAS, pivot tables and Excel Services together is the ability to use much of the same cube browsing functionality within a pure HTML interface that preserves the familiarity of Excel. Another advantage is the ability to centralize the administration and access of Excel workbooks. For more information about Excel Services, refer to "Excel Services Technical Overview."
Yet another advantage of using Excel Services for cube browsing is that you can embed pivot tables and pivot charts into a MOSS dashboard page using the Excel Web Access Web Part. A dashboard is a special SharePoint content type that allows you to present data from multiple sources on a single page using a variety of Web Parts. You can even add a filter to the dashboard page and connect it to all or some of the Web Parts to dynamically change the content on the page based on the filter selection. Figure 3 shows a sample MOSS dashboard. MOSS also includes a Web Part to display SSRS reports that are stored on the MOSS server (an optional SSRS configuration known as integrated mode), or you can use Web Parts that ship with SSRS to display reports stored on the report server (the default configuration known as native mode).