One thing that I think is so powerful about PerformancePoint Services for SharePoint 2010 you might not find on the feature card. You might catch a reference to it in a demo or read it in a an article and not even notice it. The feature in question is web part connectivity.

When you see a nice PerformancePoint Dashboard, the thing you might not be aware of is that it’s not a PerformancePoint Dashboard. It’s a SharePoint Dashboard consisting of only PerformancePoint Web Parts. The obvious conclusion to draw from that statement is that you don’t have to use PerformancePoint Web Parts. More importantly is that you don’t have to use only PerformancePoint Web Parts.

Playing Well Together

One of the important focus points when we started moving PerformancePoint Server into a service of SharePoint was to be sure to leverage the infrastructure that was now available to us. One of these infrastructure pieces was the Web Part Connections that allow SharePoint developers to connect and pass data between parts on the same page.

Overview of Web Part Connections

Web Part Connections are a core technology to enhance your SharePoint pages. When you connect Web Parts, actions that you perform in Web Part A can change the contents of Web Part B. Look at the Diagram below:

Basic Web Part connection

  1. A Web Part connection is a way to pass data from one Web Part to another Web Part and synchronize their behavior.
  2. One Web Part provides the data.
  3. Data can be lists, rows, cells, or parameter values.
  4. The other Web Part gets the data.

It’s Not Just for Dashboard Designer

Previously you would have built your Dashboards in Dashboard Designer. On the Dashboard edit page, you would create all of your connections and publish your Dashboard.

Although that workflow still exists, now you can simply add a PerformancePoint Web Part to a SharePoint page in SharePoint Designer or even connect them by using the thin editing experience right in Internet Explorer (or your favorite browser!)

So What Does It All Mean?

What it means is you can create mash ups until you can’t see straight. If you were at the SharePoint Conference or SQL Pass Conference you saw our own Program Manager Scott Heimendinger create a web part that displayed SharePoint List Data, and allowed List Data Editing. The interesting part though, was that the SharePoint List Data to be edited was selected using Microsoft Analysis Services Cube Measures that were displayed as a Hierarchy on a PerformancePoint Scorecard. Now that’s putting your data to work for you.

The possibilities are endless. Connect to Reporting Services or Excel Services and pass parameters. Create custom web parts that act as filters. The big picture is you can start building full fledged Business Intelligence applications in SharePoint using PerformancePoint Web Parts in a truly dynamic way.

Jason Burns, Program Manager
PerformancePoint Services for SharePoint

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