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Create a data source inventory for PerformancePoint dashboard authors

SharePoint 2010

Published: May 5, 2011

When you configure PerformancePoint Services in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 for your environment, one tool that can save you and dashboard authors much work is a data source inventory. You would typically use a data source inventory to list and track the various data sources that your organization might use with PerformancePoint Services.

For example, suppose that your organization has configured PerformancePoint Services and that a dashboard author is about to use PerformancePoint Dashboard Designer for the first time. The dashboard author begins by selecting (or creating) a data connection in Dashboard Designer. This person might not know where the data is stored. However, if a data source inventory exists and includes the names of servers where data is stored and other relevant information, the dashboard author can easily select or create a data connection to use for reports, scorecards, and filters.

Creating a data source inventory

Depending on the process that your particular organization uses, you can use a data source inventory before and after you create any data connections in Dashboard Designer. For example, you might create a data source inventory before you or other SharePoint administrators even configure PerformancePoint Services. You can then use the data source inventory to decide how you want to configure security and data source authentication methods for PerformancePoint Services.

After PerformancePoint Services is configured, you can then refer to the data source inventory while you create data connections in Dashboard Designer. That way, dashboard authors do not have to remember which servers host which data sources and what they contain. Instead, dashboard authors can refer to the data source inventory, select the data connection in Dashboard Designer that they want to use, and proceed to create one or more dashboard items using that data source.

A useful data source inventory typically includes information such as the following details:

  • Server names where data is stored

  • Database names, types, and descriptions

  • Time dimension types and descriptions that include fiscal and calendar year configurations

  • Authentication methods and user roles that are used by database servers

We have created a PerformancePoint Data Source Inventory template by using Microsoft Excel 2010 that you might find helpful. For more information and to download the template, see PerformancePoint Data Source Inventory template (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=217462).

If you prefer, you can also create your own data source inventory file by using whatever applications that you want. For example, you can use Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, a SharePoint list, or any other application that makes it easy for you to list the information that you want to capture for your data source inventory.

To create a PerformancePoint data source inventory

  1. Locate all the databases that your organization might use with PerformancePoint Services.

  2. Open the application that you want to use to create your PerformancePoint data source inventory.

  3. By using that application, create columns that correspond to the following list:

    1. Server   Use this column to specify the name of a server where data is stored.

    2. Data Warehouse   Use this column to specify the name of a data warehouse or a master database that contains data.

    3. Database   Use this column to specify the name of a database that contains data.

    4. Data Type   Use this column to indicate whether a database is an online analytical processing (OLAP) database, a relational table, a static table, and so on.

    5. Cube/Table/List   Use this column to type the name of a single cube, table, or list.

    6. Description   Use this column to type a brief description for the database. For example, you could indicate that a database contains sales performance information or product inventory details.

    7. Data Dictionary?   Use this column to indicate whether a data dictionary exists for the database. A data dictionary contains data about databases that are in a database system. Data dictionaries store all the various schema and file specifications and their locations. They also contain information about which programs use which data and which users are interested in which reports.

    8. Number of Time Dimensions   Use this column to indicate how many time dimensions exist in a particular database. For example, some databases contain multiple time dimensions, whereas other databases might only use one time dimension.

    9. Primary Time Dim   Use this column to specify the name of the primary time dimension, whether it is based on a fiscal or a calendar year, and what its hierarchical structure is. For example, you could type Calendar YQMD to indicate that the time dimension is based on a calendar year and is organized into Year, Quarter, Month, and Day units of time.

    10. First Date in Primary Time Dim(s)   Use this column to specify the first date that exists in the primary time dimension. For example, if that time dimension contains data as of March 1, 1999, then you would type that date in this column.

    11. Secondary Time Dim   If a database has only one time dimension, you can skip this column. Otherwise, use this column to specify the name of a secondary time dimension, whether it is based on a fiscal or a calendar year, and what its hierarchical structure is. For example, you could type Fiscal YMD to indicate that the secondary time dimension is based on a fiscal year and is organized into Year, Month, and Day units of time.

    12. First Date in Secondary Time Dim(s)   Use this column to specify the first date that exists in the secondary time dimension. For example, if that time dimension contains data as of June 1, 1999, then you would type that date in this column.

    13. Authentication Method   Use this column to indicate what kind of authentication method is used to connect to the database. For example, you might specify Kerberos protocol, forms-based authentication, and so on.

    14. User Roles   If user roles are not defined in the database, you can skip this column. Otherwise, list any server roles that have been defined for the database. For example, some organizations use roles that determine what information is visible to users who are assigned those roles. One role might enable a user to view global information, whereas another role might limit a user’s ability to view information for a particular geographic region or territory.

    15. Data Source Created in PDD?   Use this column to indicate whether a data connection was created for the database in Dashboard Designer.

    16. PDD Data Source Name   If the PerformancePoint data connection was created in Dashboard Designer, use this column to type the name of that data connection. If the PerformancePoint data connection has not yet been created, you can add this information later.

    17. PDD Data Source URL   If the PerformancePoint data connection was created in Dashboard Designer, use this column to specify its Web site address (URL) to its location on SharePoint Server 2010.

    18. Configured for TI?   If the PerformancePoint data connection was created in Dashboard Designer, use this column to indicate whether it was configured to work with Time Intelligence. Otherwise, you can skip this column.

    19. Additional Comments/Details   Use this column to add any additional information about the database that you want to use. For example, you might indicate how often the data is refreshed.

  4. Save the PerformancePoint data source inventory to a safe location, according to your organization’s policies and procedures.

After you have created your PerformancePoint data source inventory, you can use it for any of the following purposes:

  • To serve as a checklist of data connections to be created or configured by using Dashboard Designer.

  • To use during PerformancePoint dashboard planning activities.

  • To provide dashboard authors with a list of available data connections and what they contain.

  • To serve as a master record of available databases that are available in your organization.

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