The client I'm consulting with asked me about what features the SharePoint 2010 Integration with BI 4.0 (IOMS 4.0) can bring on the table in terms of enriching their Corporate portals, since they have recently successfully migrated their existing BOXI R3 platform onto newly released BI4.0 enterprise server. (Note: after confirming with the client, it's a "Ramp-up" instead of "GA" version of the BOE server installation.)
After a bit research and reading, I quickly put together a feature list based upon the following major aspects:
- Search Ability Improvement
- Integration (one-stop-shop)
- Simple, Rapid Installation and Deployment
- Integrated Security Model with Single Sign-On (SSO) feature
Search Ability Improvement
Unified Search Experience
IOMS provides flexible site searching options allowing users to search just the IOMS site or the IOMS site plus all other SharePoint sites. When all SharePoint sites are searched, the best match results appear on a single SharePoint search page.
Index and Search BI4.0 Meta Data
Users are now able to conduct free text search across all of this metadata at the same time. In addition, the search index has expanded to include other meta information about files as well as the actual content of the file.
For example, the dimensions, measures and values inside a WebI report are now indexed and made searchable by users. This is very powerful as now users can get results when searching for customers or products, locations or people or anything else that may exist in the content of files.
Diagram 1, the Webi/Crystal reports can be fully searchable through the SharePoint 2010 portal
The authorized users can leverage discussion feature within the SharePoint 2010 portal to collaborate with colleagues by adding comments to documents (such as Web Intelligence document) in the report repository.
Diagram 2, to create a Webi report discussion within the report
The post message can be easily deleted or adjust their importance. The user can also reply back to the sender of the message or respond to the group as a whole.
Diagram 3, to create a message on the Webi Report level
As part of the meta data associate with the Webi Report, the discussion content for the report can also be indexed and searchable through the SharePoint portal.
Authorized users can manage their content directly from SharePoint. This includes the ability for users to:
- Set report schedules
- Edit report properties
- Set parameters
- View report history
- Delete files
- Send files to inbox
- Email or FTP
- And many more
Diagram 4, there are lot functionality available to manage the report through the SharePoint portal User Interface
In addition, users can add or upload new content from Local machine to BusinessObjects without having to leave IOMS.
Users can open, view and interact with the content directly from SharePoint. Depending on the type of file, the file may be opened directly in a web browser (such as in the case of a crystal report, WebI document or Xcelsius dashboard) or in the appropriate thick client application (such as in the case of opening a Word document, PDF file).
Diagram 5, the Webi report schedule can be set up through the SharePoint portal
The URE or content explorer webpart or Document explorer is flexible now to choose columns you would want to see, number of items you would want, choosing the start folder, etc.
IOMS includes SharePoint webparts that allow administrators to enhance existing SharePoint sites with business objects content. Out of the box IOMS 4 ships with a number of SharePoint WebParts that allow you to enhance other SharePoint sites with BI reports, dashboards and content stored in BusinessObjects.
Diagram 6, the Webi Report can be viewed/updated/embedded within the SharePoint Portal
For example, an Xcelsius dashboard containing sales metrics could be embedded into the landing page of a SharePoint sales site. When users open the sales site, the dashboard is refreshed to show the latest information on sales for that region or team.
Introduced helpful Units like “Recently viewed” and “Recent Searches” on the Out-of-box template Home Page to enable quick navigation.
Diagram 7, stunning quick navigation from Out-of-box integration templates
Simple, Rapid Installation and Deployment
No Pre-requisites Before Installation
In the previous version of IOMS XI3.1 installation, it required extra .NET SDK and the corresponding fiddling as a pre-requisite. As for the latest version, all the pre-requisites have been already bundled within the installation package without any extra software download required. All you need to do is to “double-click” on the installation executable file.
Diagram 8, one click for the installation, no more Hush Hush
Easy Configuration with BI4.0 CMS Integration (Minimum Information Required from CMS Server)
It doesn’t require the tedious configuration procedure as the previous version and can be quickly set up by supplying the following information to the installation wizard:
- CMS Name with Port number
- CMS Administrator Logon details
- URL to the server that hosts BI Launch Pad
Diagram 9, minimum set-up required from BusinessObject Enterprise
IOMS wizard driven installer and SharePoint site definition template allow it to be quickly deployed with minimal configuration as a dedicated SharePoint site.
Once deployed SharePoint administrators can further tweak and enhance the IOMS site as required.
Diagram 10, the deployment and configuration option are fully wizard-driven
Users can browse to access content stored in their BusinessObjects inbox, personal folders, public folders or categories. The users permissions and rights as set in BusinessObjects are still enforced by IOMS ensuring that users are only able to access stuff they are authorized to access.
Diagram 11, authorized user can quickly access the information through the SharePoint portal
IOMS is built on the 4.0 Business Intelligence platform and leverages the new Platform features for Auditing, Search and other areas. Being built on the BI Platform means that IOMS can be remotely administered using the web based Central Management Console.
Diagram 12, almost all the BI4.0 new features available on the SharePoint portal after IOMS installation
Integrated Security Model with Single Sign-On (SSO) feature
From an Authentication and SSO standpoint, users can login directly to BOE from SharePoint using their Active Directory, LDAP or BusinessObjects Enterprise Credentials. In addition, Single Sign-on workflows can be supported using Kerberos or CA SiteMinder.
Diagram 13, the user can log on the SharePoint BI4.0 portal just with their AD login credentials
Well, I'm pretty sure that there are some features I missed out here, but I will definitely keep everyone updated as I go with the integration and implementation phases.
- 5th September, 2011: Initial version