Book review: Business Intelligence in Microsoft SharePoint 2013

Time for another book review! The people of O’Reilly were gracious to provide me with a digital copy of the book “Business Intelligence in Microsoft SharePoint 2013”. This 400 page book was written by 5 people I have never heard of, but BI is not my specialty, so I give them benefit of the doubt.

As soon as I opened the book, I was amazed at the amount of information that was given. All 10 chapters are big building blocks that serve as a piece of a puzzle towards the end goal. Every chapter has a big summary, which is a great help to recapitulate.

The book contains a lot of references to famous works like John S. Kaplan’s Business Scorecard model and others. This proves the authors know their field and did a lot of theoretical research and background.
I also love the examples. They are easy enough to understand, but look complicated enough to graphically amaze you and your coworkers.

Ofcourse it is impossible to have all BI options from SharePoint in one book. Since they didn’t cover the “normal” KPI’s and possiblities on views and such, I feel a bit lost. The book is clearly for people who want to do kinky stuff with SharePoint and want a kick-ass way to display their information.

In general, I like the book and would like to rate it 4/5.

The book is about following SharePoint 2013 applications:

– Excel Services

– Visio Services

– PerformancePoint Services

– PowerPivot in Excel 2013

– Power view in Excel 2013

It doesn’t talk about Access Services , SQL Server 2012 Reporting Services, Duet Enterprise, Web Analytics or Business Connectivity Services.

The book is written for data scientists. The book describes a data scientist as someone who is skilled in business knowledge, analytic experience, technologic capabilities and can visualize information.


Chapter 1 Business intelligence in SharePoint
The first chapter starts with the basics: why do you need BI, how do we get there, KPI’s, Balanced Scorecards, self service BI…
Next up is why do we need BI and what is Microsoft’s vision for BI and self-service BI.

And then we touch ground on SharePoint: What SharePoint does for BI, The BI stack: SQL Server + SharePoint + Office, Examples of BI in SharePoint 2013.

Chapter 2 Planning for business intelligence adoption
In this chapter we track the prog
ression of BI (Maturity model) and do tool selection. Last part of the chapter focuses on adoption.

Chapter 3 The lifecycle of a business intelligence implementation
Here, they talk about how it all works together: SQL Server 2012 + SharePoint 2013 + Office 2013. They also touch on SQL Server 2012 features and the lifecycle of a BI implementation.

Chapter 4 Using PowerPivot in Excel 2013
In the 4th chapter the main topic is PowerPivot in Excel: What is it, 
Calculations with Data Analysis Expressions (DAX).
Things get practical from this point on!

Chapter 5 Using Power View in Excel 2013
Now, we stay in Excel but the focus is on Power View: how to use it, Creating visualizations, Filtering data, Saving a Power View workbook,..

Using Power View, the Excel user can easily and quickly turn raw data into beautiful visualizations that reveal patterns and relationships existing in that data. 

Chapter 6 Business intelligence with Excel Services 2013
Now the book takes us to the server side of Excel with Excel Services: When to use Excel Services, The Data Model in Excel Services, Configuring the server, Opening an Excel workbook in the browser and Extending Excel Services

Chapter 7 Using PowerPivot for SharePoint 2013
When do I use PowerPivot for SharePoint?, Publishing to SharePoint, Scheduling data refreshes, monitoring and using workbooks as a data source are topics of this chapter.

Chapter 8 Using PerformancePoint Services
Things get professional now: using PerformancePoint to provide a solution! first up are theoretical concepts like the service components and the services architecture.

Ofcourse, PerformancePoint is a huge undertaking at its own, and this book isn’t nearly enough to describe the possibilities it brings, but it does attempt a very practical way of showing you what PerformancePoint can do for you.

Chapter 9 Using Visio and Visio Services
Now the book takes on a whole new application: Visio! Six reasons to include Visio 2013 in your BI suite, When do I use Visio and Visio Services? and incorporating Visio into a BI solution will make sure that Visio is used for all purposes. And with 2 excellent examples, things are perfectly clear!

Chapter 10 Bringing it all together
This chapter is all about dashboards: what tools can we use and how can we create a dashboard ? It brings all concepts from the previous chapters in one.

Appendix Running scripts to set up a demonstration environment
This first appendix is all about, as the title says, setting up script for a demo environment. Those steps are:

Step 1: Install the Active Directory Demo Build 2.1
Step 2: Install the SQL 2012 SP1 Content Pack Demo Build 2.0.0
Step 3: Install the SharePoint 2013 Demo Build 2.0
Step 4: Install the UserProfile Provisioning Demo 2.0
Step 5: Install the Self-Service BI Demo 2.0 Content Pack
Step 6: Install the Visio Services Demo Content Pack

Appendix Microsoft and “Big Data”
The second appendix is about Big Data, which is a hot topic nowadays.


Norm Warren is a SharePoint, PerformancePoint, and SQL Server expert and coauthor of Business Intelligence in Microsoft SharePoint 2010.

Mariano Teixeira Neto is a software design engineer on the SQL Server Analysis Services team who has worked on PowerPivot for SharePoint.

Stacia Misner is a Microsoft Certified IT Professional-BI and a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist-BI and the author of multiple books on Microsoft SQL Server and BI.

Ivan Sanders is a Microsoft MVP for SharePoint and independent consultant focused on delivering Microsoft SharePoint solutions.

Scott Helmers is a Microsoft MVP for Visio and a co-inventor of a Visio add-in that allows anyone to document all of the important aspects of any business process. Scott is the author of Microsoft Visio 2010 Step by Step.

About: Marijn

Marijn Somers (MVP) has over 14 years experience in the SharePoint world, starting out with SP2007. Over the years the focus has grown to Office 365, with a focus on collaboration and document management. He is a business consultant at Balestra and Principal Content Provider for "Mijn 365 Coach" that offers dutch employee video training. His main work tracks are around user adoption, training and coaching and governance. He is also not afraid to dig deeper in the technicalities with PowerShell, adaptive cards or custom formatting in lists and libraries. You can listen to him on the biweekly "Office 365 Distilled" podcast.

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