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Plan reports

Office 2007

Updated: February 26, 2009

Applies To: Office SharePoint Server 2007

 

Topic Last Modified: 2009-02-20

In this article:

Reports are Web-based views of business data that is from various sources. In Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, reports are displayed in pages by using business data and key performance indicator (KPI) Web Parts. These reports can be used alone or in multi-report dashboards to analyze and act on business data and business intelligence.

As part of planning for your initial deployment of Office SharePoint Server 2007, you should understand which Web Parts to use in reports and how to configure those Web Parts to use business data. You should also understand how to combine reports in report pages such as the Report Center site, how to configure management of report libraries, and what other information and features to enable for the Report Center site and other reports-enabled pages.

You create reports by using business data Web Parts and KPI Web Parts to summarize data and Excel Web Access Web Parts for business intelligence analytics. Reports are displayed in the Web browser interface.

Each report is built around one or more Web Parts. The sources of data in the Web Parts in a report can be Microsoft SQL Server 2005, from either SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services or SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services, or line-of-business applications such as SAP and Siebel. Data in report Web Parts is often available in business data lists, which might be the direct source of the data.

Reports can appear in the following SharePoint sites in your site collections:

  • Report Center site   Created when the site collection is created, the Report Center site contains a reports library, dashboards, and supporting content, and a home page that links to reports and supporting content.

  • Other Report Center sites   Additional Report Center sites can be created for site collections that contain a large number of reports associated with distinct business processes.

  • Report libraries in other sites   Anyone who can create document libraries on a site collection can choose to create report libraries. These libraries create reports that use one of three content types: a report, a Microsoft Office Excel 2007 report, or a dashboard page.

Reports also appear as items in lists and search results.

The business data Web Parts used in reports can appear in additional sites, including personalization sites, workspaces, and team collaboration sites, but those sites are not reports.

Reports are pages built around one or more business data Web Parts, including:

  • Business Data List Web Part

  • KPI List Web Part and KPI Details Web Part

  • Excel Web Access Web Part

  • Reporting Services Report Web Part

When you create a report, you must provide the location of a business data Web Part or KPI Web Part.

The Web Part gallery suggests these same Web Parts, along with the Content Editor Web Part, but you can add any business data Web Part including other Web Parts with different views of business data lists, the Business Data Actions Web Part, or other specialized Web Parts. For more information about these Web Parts, see Plan business data Web Parts.

Reports also include the following Web Parts:

  • Summary Web Part   This is a Content Editor Web Part in the left zone intended to convey the purpose of the report and the business data it contains.

  • Contact Details Web Part   This contains a picture and key properties for a person associated with the report page, usually the page owner.

Dashboard pages contain additional Web Parts. For more details about dashboard pages, see Plan dashboards and filters.

Each report is based around a set of business data in a business data Web Part. Each report is supplemented by a summary that explains the purpose of the report and provides details about the owner of the report. The Web Parts to use for each report should be narrowly focused on a single task or related set of tasks. Many reports contain only a single Business Data List Web Part or KPI Web Part.

Use the following steps to plan Web Parts for reports:

  1. Identify a business process.

  2. Plan to include a report for that business process.

  3. Identify the Web Parts that will convey the information users need to act within that business process.

For example, a common business process in a sales organization is to identify which teams are meeting their sales goals. You decide to create a team sales KPI report that highlights the information. You decide to use a KPI List Web Part to list the relevant teams, and the KPI for each team will be evaluated by calculating the total sales for everyone on each team. You implement a business data list that connects to your sales database, and you include columns that will list the team name, employee names, and sales for each team. You will also need an explanation of the team goals that you can put in the Summary Web Part. In your planning, you record the report, Web Part, list, and list columns, and update the corresponding planning worksheets. In the case of reports based on Business Data List Web Parts, you might have several properties to record, each associated with a different business data type in the Business Data Catalog.

 

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. Record connected Web Parts, 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. Also record the features enabled for the Report Center site, such as document libraries, documents, and images for each site.

The Report Center site is a page that is created automatically for site collections in Office SharePoint Server 2007. It is a single location that has links to all of the reports and dashboards in the site collection. Users view the Report Center site by clicking Reports in the Quick Launch.

The default layout of the Report Center site includes the following Web Parts:

  • In the left zone:

    • Using the Report Center site   This is a Content Editor Web Part that contains introductory information about the Report Center site. The text here can be modified by site administrators depending on the content and business needs of the site collection and the Report Center site.

    • Announcements   This is a List View Web Part that is used for posting announcements relevant to the Report Center site. By default, it has a welcome announcement. Report Center site contributors can add announcements.

    • Highlights   This is a summary link Web Part tool that can be used to highlight reports, KPIs, and dashboards. By default, it includes a link to a quick reference guide. From the design mode, users who have the appropriate permissions can add links or group headings or configure the style and layout of this Web Part.

  • In the right zone:

    • Contact Details Web Part   Contributors can add one or more contacts here that are relevant to the Report Center site.

    • Upcoming events   This is a List View Web Part used for adding events relevant to the business processes for the Report Center site. Contributors can add events.

The other zones are empty to start, but are often used to present important KPI or business data lists without having to open a separate report.

The Quick Launch in the Report Center site contains links to reports, dashboards, and resources. The Reports link opens up the reports library, which contains a list of all reports for the Report Center site.

There are three kinds of report pages:

  • Report   This page highlights a business data Web Part, such as a Business Data List Web Part or a KPI List Web Part.

  • Excel report   This page highlights data from a particular Excel worksheet.

  • Dashboard page   This page highlights more than one business data Web Part, commonly filtered at the page level by particular properties. By default, each dashboard page contains a KPI List Web Part and an Excel Web Access Web Part.

Each type of report page includes a summary page and contact details for the owner of the report.

You can create additional Report Center sites focused around particular sets of business data and business intelligence by selecting the Report Center Site template when creating a site. The number of Report Center sites you have, and which reports are included in each Report Center site, depends on the purpose of each site collection. For most deployments, starting off with one Report Center site is sufficient. If planning the Report Center site becomes complex, you can consider additional folders for the reports library, or even additional report libraries to organize a large number of reports.

The number of potential reports for a Report Center can be fairly large even for a simple business process that uses a single business application. Consider the example of a sales reporting application. You might want to create reports that track employee performance, customer satisfaction, sales for a particular product, sales by location, and total quarterly revenues, among others. Some of the reports will be composed of KPI List Web Parts that show performance in scorecard format, some will be composed of KPI Details Web Parts that focus on a single item in a KPI list, and some might be business data lists that track several properties.

Many business processes use more than one application. You can use Excel Web Access Web Parts to perform analytics or update information in spreadsheets. You can use SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services to view information in a related data warehouse.

There are several actions you can perform to simplify Report Center planning:

  • Focus the purpose of each site collection and related Report Center site as much as possible.

  • Select only the most important cross-group KPIs and business data lists to implement during initial deployment, and defer the rest for ongoing operations.

  • Present related Web Parts in dashboard pages, and use filters and Web Part targeting to improve relevancy and flexibility. For more information about dashboard pages and filters, see Plan dashboards and filters. For more information about targeting Web Parts, see Plan for personalized Web Parts.

  • Plan business data lists and Web Parts for reusability, so that you can use the same underlying lists for reports, dashboards, personalization sites, and Web Part galleries for other sites.

  • Record the lists that you will need to implement the high-priority reports, include that information in business data list planning, and record the relevant business data types and properties of business applications in planning for business data profiles.

  • Plan to observe usage patterns so that you can effectively update the Report Center site during ongoing operations.

The reports library contains links to all reports for the Report Center site. It includes a version history for each report, and archives previous versions so you can view them. This enables you to create new versions of reports for special events or milestones, and later revert back to a previous report.

You can also change the view of the reports library list. The views available by default are:

  • Current reports   This view shows the current versions of all reports.

  • All reports and dashboards   This view shows all versions of reports, with the most recent versions listed first.

  • Dashboards   This view shows only dashboard pages.

You can edit these views to add columns or filter content, or create new views.

Reports based on Excel Web Access Web Parts have a report profile page that includes additional information about the Excel spreadsheet.

When you plan for the reports library, consider who is likely to manage reports in the site collection, and whether reports need to be organized into folders by business application, work team, or business process. These decisions will be influenced by your information architecture planning and the purpose of each site collection as identified during site planning.

If you click Manage Content and Structure on the Site Actions menu of the Report Center site, you will see a list that contains links to every report and the following information:

  • Announcements

  • Data connections

  • Documents

  • Handbook

  • Images

  • Pages

  • Reference library

  • Reports library

  • Report calendar

  • Sample KPIs

  • Workflow tasks

Each of these items is used to store content that can be used in the reports in the Report Center site. When you plan for Report Center sites in your site collection, make note of this content so you can include it for reports you make available during the initial deployment.

Examples of useful content for initial deployment includes documents that describe business processes related to key reports, data connections that are used by SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services and SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services reports, and images for report owners. Most supplementary content will be added during ongoing operations after the initial deployment.

You can also add additional report libraries to the Report Center site, or to other sites. You might want to plan for multiple report libraries if a Report Center is particularly complex. For example, a departmental portal site might include reports for several different applications or work teams. Each of these can be deployed by using a separate reports library, and you can use the targeting feature of Web Parts in the Report Center site so that users can view only the reports relevant to their job. Permissions can be set separately for each library if different users are managing different sets of reports.

Use the following worksheets to plan reports:

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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