SharePoint360 has built a successful business providing Web portals and related technology, but its customers needed better ways to distribute and analyze mission-critical data. The company turned to Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2, Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, and Microsoft PowerPivot tools to create new solutions so customers can perform business intelligence tasks and share enterprise data more effectively. Business Needs
SharePoint360 focuses on providing solutions based on Microsoft SharePoint Products and Technologies. Founded in 2006, the company delivers a variety of services and solutions, including Web portals, business intelligence (BI), Web design, hosting, and customer relationship management (CRM). Its goal is to help organizations distribute enterprise-based data so that information workers can proactively measure the performance of projects and processes, predict opportunities, identify potential business threats, and streamline operations.
||SQL Server 2008 R2 and the PowerPivot BI products make it much easier for our customers to distribute enormous amounts of mission-critical data to their frontline managers, executives, and other business users.
Director of Sales and Marketing
The founders of SharePoint 360 launched the company using Windows SharePoint Services and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 along with related Microsoft products, including Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and SQL Server 2008 data management software. SharePoint360 has created highly successful projects using these products. Customers recognize the business value of distributing information using SharePoint technologies, but they want ways to streamline the distribution of that mission-critical data while managing it carefully and securely. They also want to give employees more tools for self-service BI activities.
“We’ve had many requests from customers who struggle with bloated spreadsheets that are shared through e-mail and revised by manual data entry. Others are trying to find better ways of integrating data from different systems and locations,” says Jenifer Underwood, Business Intelligence Practice Lead for SharePoint360.
Inefficient ways of delivering and sharing data can create significant problems for business productivity. “We have a client who runs a national chain of high-end resorts. The employees need to react quickly in a difficult economy to adjust pricing and understand other operational issues that will affect their business,” Underwood says. “They sent large spreadsheets by e-mail and manually entered new or updated numbers so employees had the most recent figures. These processes sometimes led to errors. Plus it took them anywhere from 5 to 15 days to produce a single operational report. That’s far too long to respond quickly to fast-changing market conditions.”
To address these customer concerns and to bolster its competitiveness, SharePoint360 sought new technologies for enhancing information sharing and BI tasks.Solution
SharePoint360 adopted beta versions of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2, Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, Microsoft SQL Server PowerPivot for Microsoft SharePoint, and Microsoft Excel 2010 spreadsheet software. These products can help SharePoint360 customers distribute and analyze massive amounts of data more efficiently, while providing tools for self-service BI tasks. SQL Server 2008 R2 also enhances support for efficient BI tasks. This includes its support for Microsoft SQL Server PowerPivot for Microsoft SharePoint, which works with SharePoint Server 2010 to give users a way to easily share and collaborate on analysis done in Excel 2010. People can use SharePoint Server 2010 and PowerPivot for SharePoint to distribute and collaborate on user-generated data models and analysis. Additionally, IT administrators have tools for enhancing security and providing insights into how, where, and when data is being published and used. Organizations can also create automated data feeds that regularly update SharePoint-based information, eliminating the need for manual data entry and updates.
While still working with the beta versions of the Microsoft software, SharePoint360 started planning enhanced deployments of the BI and SharePoint tools with several customers. They include a resort company and a construction company that wants to streamline project management for more than 200 field-based program managers. Benefits
With the early adoption of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2, SharePoint Server 2010, the PowerPivot tools, and Excel 2010, SharePoint360 quickly began designing new solutions for customers’ BI needs. The technologies help SharePoint360 customers easily distribute powerful analysis capability to large, dispersed user groups. The BI technology has the familiar look and feel of Microsoft products, which means that users can quickly begin using it. The solution is helping SharePoint360 to satisfy the needs of current customers and attract new ones with powerful BI solutions.
Easy Distribution of Data
SharePoint360 is using SQL Server 2008 R2, SharePoint Server 2010, and the PowerPivot tools to help a large construction company facilitate data distribution and collaboration across a widespread group of employees. “They have about 200 program managers in the field. With the new Microsoft-based BI solution, these employees can get real-time program financials and resourcing data quickly and easily by producing reports that they’ve never had before. And with SQL Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server PowerPivot for SharePoint, information is available almost instantly with optional alerts to a dispersed user base, allowing proactive management of their programs.”
Fast Adoption of Technology
John Honeycutt, Director of Sales and Marketing for SharePoint360, says the new Microsoft BI tools and SharePoint Server 2010 provide a quick learning curve combined with powerful results. “The Microsoft products all share a familiar interface and are easy for people to begin using right away,” he says. “Most of our customers are accountants, project managers, or executives. All they know is that now they have ways to do their jobs better and faster than before.”
Compelling Products for Customers
Customers are already providing SharePoint360 with positive feedback on the power of the new tools, which, in turn, is helping SharePoint360 sell solutions to new and existing customers. “SQL Server 2008 R2 and the PowerPivot BI products make it much easier for our customers to distribute enormous amounts of mission-critical data to their frontline managers, executives, and other business users,” says Honeycutt. “Our solutions become the front door to the enterprise. That turns us into trusted advisors and helps us build our own company.”This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.