Guide to SQL business intelligence, analytics and data visualization

Last updated:May 2014

Editor's note

Companies rely on analytics more and more to identify trends and patterns within their data, valuable information essential to improving decision making. In order for users to make the most of this information -- particularly business users -- the tools and features have to be interactive and relatively easy to apply. Business intelligence has been a major focus for Microsoft, which has strived to make SQL Server a workable enterprise database platform.

The right BI system can provide a business with key information by collecting disparate data from different sources and over long periods of time and making it possible to view the data together. SQL business intelligence tools and plug-ins such as Power View enable users to tap into the back end of SQL Server to find valuable business data, create reports and visuals, and easily share data with other users. A SQL Server BI system supports decision making in companies of all sizes, but it's not always the most cost-effective or sensible option.

Read through this Essential Guide to find comprehensive information about SQL Server business intelligence, business analytics, and data visualization tools and features, as well as expert recommendations for making the buying decision that is right for your organization.

1Enhance data visualization, decision making with Power View

Power View is an accessible BI reporting tool that enables users to build reports and interact with multiple views of data. In this section, learn more about its role in SQL Server BI, how to use it, and what it can and can't do.

2Boost reporting, visuals with SQL Server analytics tools

Both business and IT users have a wide array of options when it comes to SQL business intelligence tools. The articles in this section explore what SQL Server Reporting Services, PowerPivot, GeoFlow and other tools have to offer and whether they may be appropriate for your organization.

3How much do you know about SQL Server self-service BI?

Take this brief quiz to test your knowledge of SQL business intelligence tools and features.