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Plan dashboards and filters

Office 2007

Updated: February 26, 2009

Applies To: Office SharePoint Server 2007

Updated: 2009-02-26

In this article:

Dashboards display reports and key performance indicators (KPIs) about the business data and business processes in your organization. The view of these reports can be filtered automatically or filtered by properties selected by users, enabling comparative data analysis across an organization.

As part of planning for your initial deployment of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, you should understand which Web Parts are common to dashboards, how filters are used on dashboards and other SharePoint sites, how to connect filters and business data Web Parts, and how to display those filters for people who use dashboards and other filter-enabled SharePoint sites.

About dashboards and filters

Dashboards, also known as multi-report summary pages, contain one or more Web Parts, such as business data Web Parts, Excel Web Access Web Parts, or KPIs that can be filtered to provide a unified but flexible view of data and content from several sources. The data displayed on dashboards can be filtered at the page level or by Web Part by using the functionality of Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services. For example, you can create a Customer Report dashboard that displays all KPIs and business data Web Parts for your organization's key business processes that relate to a particular customer.

Dashboards are one of the three content types that can be added to a reports library. The Report Center site that is created automatically for portal sites and other site collections contains a reports library, but users can add report libraries to other sites.

Dashboards are composed of a collection of business data Web Parts and a collection of filter Web Parts that connect Web Parts and change the data displayed based on data shared among the connected Web Parts. You can also create sites that filter data such as dashboards by adding connected filter and business data Web Parts to other site templates.

Some filter Web Parts filter data automatically. Some filter Web Parts enable users who view a dashboard to enter values or to select values from a list and then apply those values by clicking the Apply Filter button on the page. The Apply Filter button is implemented as another Web Part that is invisible on the dashboard until one or more filters that have user-specified values are added to the page.

The Apply Filter button and user-specified filters appear in a special filter zone in the dashboard template.

By default, a dashboard contains the layout and Web Parts listed and described in the following table.

Zone Web Part Description

Top left

Summary Web Part

This is a Content Editor Web Part that can be modified to add explanatory text for the information provided on the dashboard.

Top right

Contact Details Web Part

This contains contact information for the owner of the dashboard.

Filter

Apply Filter Web Part

Other filters added to the dashboard appear in this zone.

Bottom left

Excel Web Access Web Part

This Web Part can be configured to display data from Microsoft Office Excel 2007 worksheets. Depending on the purpose of the dashboard, administrators can remove this Web Part or supplement it with similar additional Web Parts.

Bottom middle

No default Web Part

This zone is empty, but it is a good place to add additional business data Web Parts, such as KPI List Web Parts and Business Data List Web Parts.

Bottom right

Related Information Web Part

This Web Part is used to add links to related reports, documents, sites, and other content.

The usefulness of dashboards depends on the underlying Web Parts and filters and the connections you make between those components. Therefore, carefully planning which Web Parts and filters you use and how they interact can make a big difference in how effectively people can use business data in your organization.

Plan Web Parts for dashboards

Dashboards are created to present a view of important business data used in common business processes. The first factor to consider when creating a dashboard or a site based on the same types of Web Parts is what the purpose of the site is. This will ensure that the common business processes associated with that purpose can be displayed in the dashboard.

When you plan site collections, you should consider the purpose of each site, which is usually based around groups of users in an organization and the different projects they work on. Some large site collections, such as centralized corporate portal sites, have a fairly broad set of purposes and organize diverse groups of users that work on a wide variety of business processes. Often you will have smaller site collections for more focused groups, projects, and business processes.

Whatever the structure of your site collections, you will want to create dashboards that organize the information in each discrete set of business processes. Some groups of users might have a single set of processes that they use regularly, while others might work across different processes. The number of dashboards and the content on each of them should reflect the work done by users and groups in your organization.

For each site, you should group business processes, identify Web Parts that can be used to display the data necessary to understand the status of key projects, and provide a single point of entry into more detailed information about those projects. These Web Parts contain important business data that can be filtered by other Web Parts.

The business data Web Parts that are commonly added to dashboards include:

  • Additional Excel Web Access Web Parts

  • Business Data List Web Parts

  • KPI List Web Parts and KPI Details Web Parts

  • Reporting Services Report Web Part

When you plan each of the business data Web Parts in a dashboard, consider the implications of the underlying connections to data sources and filter Web Parts. For data connections, you will want to add document libraries for Excel workbooks, register line-of-business applications in the Business Data Catalog, and import the proper set of properties into business data profiles. You will also want to create SharePoint lists for KPIs and add connections to the data connection library for SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services and SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services.

Plan Excel Web Access Web Parts for dashboards

Excel Web Access Web Parts provide information from Excel workbooks directly within the dashboard page. The default view is a subset of cells selected by the site owner when adding the Web Part. Any automatic filters are applied before anyone views the page. Filters that have user-specified values are displayed as list menus or text boxes. These filters enable anyone to select values and filter the view on those values. Users who have the appropriate permissions on a spreadsheet can open it for editing by clicking the appropriate link in the Web Part. For example, you might want to use data from an Excel workbook to show sales data for all employees in a division.

Plan business data Web Parts for dashboards

Business Data List Web Parts contain data from lists that are generated from applications registered in the Business Data Catalog. The most common type of this Web Part is a simple list, but you can also add Web Parts that detail individual items in a data source, or display lists of data related to associated properties in the data source. For example, you can add a Web Part that displays a list of customers, a detailed set of information about one customer, or a list of customers in a particular region. You can also add a Business Data Action Web Part that performs a previously defined action related to data that is contained in one of your business data applications.

All of these business data Web Parts can be connected to each other so that they can share data. The amount of data that can be shared and how it is shared depends on the Web Part, as described in the following table.

Web Part Maximum data rows shared with other Web Parts Web Parts that can send data to this Web Part Type of data this Web Part can receive

Business Data List Web Part

Up to two rows of data, each connected to a single other business data Web Part

Other business data Web Parts, Current User Filter Web Part, Property Profile Filter Web Part

Filter, parameter, filter values, or query values

Business Data Related List Web Part

Up to two rows of data, each connected to a single other business data Web Part

Other business data Web Parts, Current User Filter Web Part, Property Profile Filter Web Part

Filter, parameter, filter values, query values, or related items

Business Data Item Web Part

One row of data to one other business data Web Part

Other business data Web Parts, Current User Filter Web Part, Property Profile Filter Web Part

Filter, parameter, or new item

Business Data Action Web Part

Cannot send data to other Web Parts

Other business data Web Parts, Current User Filter Web Part, Property Profile Filter Web Part

Any

These connections allow you to use multiple Web Parts to create or supplement data in another Web Part dynamically. You can:

  • Use data in Business Data List Web Parts to create Business Data Item Web Parts or Business Data Related List Web Parts.

  • Send a row in a business data Web Part to a Business Data Action Web Part as a new action.

  • Filter data for a Web Part based on values passed from other business data Web Parts or the Current User Filter Web Part or Property Profile Filter Web Part.

For more information about Current User Filter Web Parts, Property Profile Filter Web Parts, and the other filter Web Parts that can be used to filter all Web Parts in a single dashboard page, see Plan filters later in this article.

Plan KPI Web Parts for dashboards

KPI Web Parts show the status of business processes by comparing a value, which is calculated from an underlying data source that has a value representing a goal for that process, and indicating the status by using a simple graphic. For example, a KPI can use traffic light icons to indicate that customer satisfaction is exceeding, meeting, or failing to meet goals. If customer satisfaction exceeds a preset goal, calculated by counting the percentage of positive satisfaction ratings across your organization, the customer satisfaction KPI is displayed with a green traffic light icon. If customer satisfaction is failing to meet minimum goals, the customer satisfaction KPI is displayed with a red traffic light icon. Otherwise, it is displayed with a yellow traffic light icon.

KPIs can be based on data from SharePoint lists, Excel workbooks, or SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services. Reporting Services Report Web Parts present data directly from SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services.

Plan filters

Filters are Web Parts that connect to other filter Web Parts and business data Web Parts to enable dynamic views of business data in dashboards and other sites that use filters and business data Web Parts. There are several supported data types for filters, each associated with a different filter Web Part.

Some of the filters are applied to Web Parts on a page automatically without any input from users who view the page. These filters are added by dashboard owners to limit the scope of data on any dashboard site. Depending on the properties of each filter Web Part, most, but not all, of these filters are applied to all Web Parts on a page.

The other filters are applied to all data in all Web Parts on the page, according to values selected by users of the page. Three of those filter Web Parts use user-specified values for data, while the rest enable users to select values from a list that is created from values selected from various data sources by the site owner.

Not every Web Part can be connected to a filter. Each filter shows which Web Parts on the page it can connect to when you select the Web Part menu in design mode, point to Connections, and then point to Send Filter Values To. Every Web Part that can accept values from filters also shows that information in its Connections menu.

The supported data types and Web Parts are listed in the following table.

Data type Selection format Web Part

Text

User

Text Filter Web Part

Number

User

Number Filter Web Part

SharePoint list

List

SharePoint List Filter Web Part

Business Data Catalog

List

Business Data Catalog Filter Web Part

SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services

List

Analysis Services Filter Web Part

Manually entered list

List

Any filter Web Part that uses a manually entered list in Web Part properties

Values based on targeted Web Parts

List

Any targeted Web Part

Current user

Automatic

Current User Filter Web Part

Query string parameter

Automatic

Query String (URL) Filter Web Part

Fixed value

Automatic

Choice Filter Web Part

Page field value

Automatic

Page Field Filter Web Part

Plan automatic filter Web Parts

Several filters are applied automatically when the dashboard is displayed in a Web browser. These filters are configured by the owner of the site to limit the scope of displayed data. These filters are visible only in design mode. Because all other filters are applied after these filters by the option of users, these filters should be planned and implemented first.

The filter Web Parts that apply filters automatically are:

  • Current User Filter Web Part

  • Query String (URL) Filter Web Part

  • Authored List Filter Web Part

  • Page Field Filter Web Part

  • Organization Filter (Direct Reports) Web Part

The Current User Filter Web Part and the related Property Profile Filter Web Part are included in the personalization site template and can also be added to dashboard sites. They filter respectively by the account name and preferred name properties of the user profile of the current user. They can pass these properties to other filters as default values and to business data Web Parts. For certain personalization Web Parts, this results in a personalized view that has information relevant to the user currently viewing the site.

The Property Profile Filter Web Part is used only on personalization pages. It is not available in Web Part galleries for other pages. For more information about personalization Web Parts, see Plan for personalized Web Parts.

The Authored List Filter Web Part enables you to filter the page based on a list of properties that is authored by the site owner.

The Query String (URL) Filter Web Part automatically filters one or more Web Parts according to a query string provided by the dashboard owner. A default URL can be provided for the filter if the query string does not produce a valid URL.

The Page Field Filter Web Part enables you to filter content on the page based on the columns in the page list for the dashboard or any other Web Part page. You can filter one or more connected Web Parts based on the values in the selected column. You can also add columns to the list to expand your ability to filter Web Parts on the page.

Plan filters that use user-specified values

The filters that use user-specified values are based on the following filter Web Parts:

  • Text Filter Web Part

  • Number Filter Web Part

Each of these filters enables individual users to enter values that are used to filter every Web Part on the dashboard. Filtering begins when the user clicks the Apply Filter button on the dashboard page. The default values for the Text Filter Web Part can be taken from the Current User Filter Web Part or the Property Profile Filter Web Part.

Planning for these filters is straightforward. If you want users to have the ability to quickly filter by values that are not in a list, you can enable these filters. It is usually a good idea to enable these filters first, so that some filtering is available with minimal effort by the site owner, with filters based on lists from data sources implemented later. However, after you have created more complex filters that are more relevant for the purpose of the site, these might no longer be necessary. Plan for more complex filters, but you can enable these filters early in deployment without any additional planning.

Plan filters that use values selected from a list

Some of the filters that use user-specified values provide those values in a list created from other data sources. The filters are:

  • Manually entered list (used by any filter Web Part)

  • SharePoint List Filter Web Part

  • Business Data Catalog Filter Web Part

  • Analysis Services Filter Web Part

If you want to enable filtering by a simple list of values and do not want to create a SharePoint list or find other data sources that have those values, you can use a manually created list created from the Advanced Filter Properties page of filter Web Parts. Creating a list such as this is quick and easy, and it is a good early step along with enabling simple date and text filters to provide dashboard functionality until more complex filters are deployed.

More often, and particularly later in your deployment, you will want to use properties from more sophisticated data sources. It is worth taking the time to plan these kinds of filters, because they require that you also plan for the underlying data sources. You will want to create SharePoint lists, register business applications in the Business Data Catalog, and add connections to SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services cubes in data connection libraries before you create filters based on these sources.

The Business Data Catalog Filter Web Part filters other Web Parts on a page based on values of properties found in SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services or in applications that are registered in the Business Data Catalog. It is often used in combination with business data Web Parts to filter the view, and any recognized property can be used by this filter.

Analysis Services Filter Web Parts are selected from a hierarchical tree view. They enable you to filter Web Parts on a page based on values from SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services cubes and status indicators. This is often used to filter KPIs that are based on SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services data.

This view also enables you to show data from complex data stores so that anyone who uses a dashboard can quickly select any node in the tree and filter on that node. This provides analytics on complex data that are difficult to build any other way. This is a good option for large data warehouses that have read-only or infrequently updated data, but can be used for all kinds of data.

Access to some data sources, such as applications in the Business Data Catalog and SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services cubes, might require configuration of single sign-on to properly connect to data. Incorporate single sign-on planning into your plans for these data sources to ensure that filters and related Web Parts work properly. For more information, see Plan for single sign-on.

Worksheet action

Use the Business data worksheet (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=73271&clcid=0x409) to record business data and business intelligence Web Parts used by dashboards. Record connected filter Web Parts and the properties used by each filter, data sources, and SharePoint lists used by the Web Part in the same table.

Use the Site creation worksheet (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=73138&clcid=0x409) to record the key dashboard sites identified during site planning, and to record the Web Parts used by those sites.

Worksheets

Use the following worksheets to plan dashboards and filters:

Download this book

This topic is included in the following downloadable book for easier reading and printing:

See the full list of available books at Downloadable content for Office SharePoint Server 2007.

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