Business Intelligence (BI) is a core part of the functions of SharePoint 2016, and as such, the software suite packs plenty of features to help users perform business data analysis. Add to that seamless connectivity with plenty of other BI tools like Office 365 and the latest version of SQL Server, and you have an integrated system to make sense of mountains of business data right there.
One thing to keep in mind is that SharePoint 2016 is quite heavily dependent on SQL Server 2016 and MS Excel Online for BI operations. If you want to take advantage of the full potential of SharePoint’s BI capabilities, then investing in those two software suites is a logically sound decision. Considering you have the whole set at your disposal, however, here are a few of the stellar features that can help you greatly with your BI tasks.
SharePoint 2016 and SQL Server 2016
1. Power Pivot Gallery: An SP document library, the Power Pivot Gallery offers hassle free document management and rich preview for published MS Excel workbooks and reports generated by Reporting Services, as long as they contain data from Power Pivot tables.
2. Scheduled Data Refresh: If you use Power Pivot data in a workbook, you may look for a way to periodically refresh the data, instead of manually doing that every time one or more of the data sources are updated. Scheduled data refresh can be run to do that, either on demand using Power Pivot for Excel, or in the form of a scheduled operation running as a process under Analysis Services in SharePoint.
3. Power Pivot Management Dashboard: Simply put, it is a collection of web parts and pre-defined reports in SharePoint Central Administration. It can help you manage an SQL Server Power Pivot for deployment with SharePoint. The dashboard shows information regarding data refresh, server health, and activities going on in the workbooks using Power Pivot data.
SharePoint 2016 and Office Online Server
Microsoft has stated that SharePoint 2016 needs Office Online for offering quite a few of the features that were earlier offered by Office 365. Not only that, using Office Online also offers the following functionalities:
1. Editing and viewing files through web browser.
2. Modifying documents and workbooks, changing font colors and sizes, insert shapes/pictures, and more.
3. Creating new workbooks in Excel, or modifying existing ones.
4. Creating charts with Excel workbooks as data sources.
5. Applying filters to those workbooks to see the changes reflected in the charts immediately.
Using SharePoint 2016 with Office Online Server and SQL Server 2016 unlocks some of the most powerful Business Intelligence features of the three platforms. With the right configuration and proper data management, these three can provide the perfect three-pronged solution to all your BI woes.