IT Showcase On: Microsoft Business Intelligence

Measuring and Driving Microsoft IT Using Microsoft Business Intelligence Solutions

Quick Reference Guide

Updated June 2013

The following content may no longer reflect Microsoft’s current position or infrastructure. This content should be viewed as reference documentation only, to inform IT business decisions within your own company or organization.


Download Quick Reference Guide, 469 KB, Microsoft Word file

Executive Overview

Microsoft IT uses BI to strengthen business partnerships and connect the company. BI tools such as the CIO Scorecard, Business Partner Scorecards, and Pro Forma Invoice help us to measure business success and the performance of the organization. Innovative business dashboards and analytics such as the internal Focus system help the organization to spot trends and enable rapid business decisions.

What Is Microsoft Business Intelligence?

Microsoft Business Intelligence (BI) is a broad category of applications and technologies for gathering, storing, analyzing, and providing access to data to help enterprise users make better business decisions. Powerful self-service capabilities integrated into familiar tools enable users to create and share the right information quickly. BI helps Microsoft IT make informed decisions about millions of data points in a fast-paced and intuitive manner, capitalizing on real-time analytics and better-together system integration through Microsoft products and technologies.

Why You Should Care:

  • BI provides business insights to all employees, leading to better, faster, more relevan decisions.
  • Agile products that adapt to how you need the information.
  • Microsoft BI is a complete and integrated BI and performance management offering.
  • Microsoft BI is built on a trusted part of your IT backbone.

Microsoft BI technologies:

  • Scorecards - Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services, Microsoft SharePoint 2013 PerformancePoint Services
  • Dashboards - Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services, Microsoft SharePoint PerformancePoint Services
  • Analytics - PowerPivot for Microsoft Excel, SQL Server Analysis Services, Power View

Business Capabilities Of BI Scorecards

Within Microsoft IT, the CIO Scorecard Platform improves the organization by providing business insights to all employees, leading to better, faster, more relevant decisions.

Business Capabilities Of BI Scorecards

“The scorecard is our format for measuring our performance as an organization. It is the promise we make to our business groups and to corporate, to ensure that we are driving the right activities to ensure successful execution of our strategies.” Microsoft CIO

When combined with Strategy/Balanced Scorecard methodology, BI scorecards provide a fast and effective visual reference for leaders to drive and manage Key Performance Indicators (KPI) within the business, and help to empower business decisions. KPIs are the specific measurements that can be comparatively analyzed to determine the success of the business.

Business Intelligence Dashboards

Dashboards offer real-time drill-through analytics and up-to-the-minute business analysis of KPI using familiar performance gauge and chart visualizations.

Up-to-the-minute drill-through analytics provide “real-time IT, real-time response” to key business drivers and leading indicators—for example, an SAP budget data visualization that provides detailed cost center utilization for the current month, week, or fiscal day.

Dashboards provide users a view

Dashboards provide users a view of “where we are RIGHT NOW” with project schedule performance for the organization, a specific team, an individual, or for a given project.

Drill-through capabilities from high-level scorecard measures against performance targets to dashboards, and detailed row-level analytics help MSIT leadership move quickly from high-level measures to the details and respond in real time to KPIs sliding off-target. Data slicers help to further narrow the focus to specific data sets quickly and visually, helping to drive faster and more effective business decisions.

BI Capabilities Provide An Analytics Powerhouse

Microsoft built analytic capabilities into the tools that the business already uses day in and day out, including SSAS, Excel PowerPivot, and SharePoint PPS.

  • Business analytics advantages include data set correlation, predictive modeling, and factor regression. 
  • Self-service analytics give every employee the power to build BI analytics, reports, dashboards, etc., without requiring sophisticated technical skills using PowerPivot, Power View, SharePoint Analytics, and SQL Report Writer.
  • Data visualizations provide the ability to see correlations and relationships in a faster and more user-intuitive manner.  
  • Data animations in technologies such as Power View and Pivot Viewer allow business users to see concepts play over time dimensions, like a small animated movie.
  • Global dissemination though SharePoint, data, and management KPI can be deployed immediately to a global community.

Microsoft Excel 2013: A Powerful Self-Service BI Tool

The Self-service BI tool of choice is Excel 2013. Data can be imported from a variety of sources, cleaned up through built-in tools, extended by using PowerPivot, explored through pivot tables and charts, visualized it through Power View, and results can be shared SharePoint. Excel 2013, is a complete and powerful self-service BI tool.

Self-Service Analysis in PowerPivot

Users can transform mass quantities of data with incredible speed into meaningful information to get the answers they need. With PowerPivot, they are able to process large data sets (often millions of rows) with about the same performance as processing a few hundred rows by leveraging the PowerPivot in-memory engine and its efficient compression algorithms.

PowerPivot users can integrate data from a multitude of sources, including corporate databases, spreadsheets, reports, text files, and Internet data feeds, move beyond standard Excel expressions, and use PowerPivot’s Data Analysis Expressions (DAX) language to perform powerful data manipulations:

Interactive Data Visualization in Power View

Power View enables the creation of rich, interactive data visualizations and makes self-service reporting a reality, with highly interactive, browser-based data exploration; visualization; and presentation for users of all levels—from business executives to information workers.

Power View

With Power View, users can easily create and interact with views of data from tabular models based on PowerPivot workbooks or deployed to SSAS instances.

Some of the visualization available in Power View include:

  • Drag and drop, user-defined drill paths
  • Wide variety of data visualizations
  • What-if”–type analysis with filtering
  • Save or export multiple views to PowerPoint
  • Geospatial mapping

Share And Collaborate Through SharePoint

Seamless integration with Office SharePoint Server 2013 provides the ideal environment to help users collaborate and share insights across the organization. It makes it easier to locate and collaborate with people who have the knowledge and expertise needed.

Information can be published to SharePoint instantly, with a single click, and share through interactive PowerPivot workbooks and Power View reports that enhance collaboration and communicate business insights.

With SharePoint, reports and analytical applications can be kept up-to-date by scheduling automatic data refreshes for workbooks. Alerts can also be defined to proactively notify the user when data has changed. Alert rules can be easily customized and managed by each user.

Benefits Of Business Intelligence

Empowering the workforce. Empower users to collaborate, discover, and manage their aspect of the business with the right information to make better, more agile decisions. By using familiar tools to create and share the right information, users are able to drive the business forward by responding in a timely fashion and taking advantage of opportunities as they arise.

Improving organizational effectiveness. Manage, drive, and define organizational success by aligning to key metrics and strategy, creating context-driven dashboards that present the necessary information quickly and seamlessly. Measure the critical success factors and enable everyone to create and analyze the information they need to stay informed and move the business forward. Enable accountability and transparency across the company, and remove barriers to productivity.

Enabling IT efficiency. Provide a complete, integrated business collaboration platform that empowers users to discover, analyze, and share the right information across unstructured assets such as blogs, wikis, and documents; and structured assets such as reports, lines of business, and analytical systems. Built on standards, IT can address business requirements by putting information in the hands of users, focusing on developing, maintaining and securing the systems that drive the business forward and centrally manage the system.

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