Guide to SQL business intelligence, analytics and data visualization

Last updated:May 2014


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.

1SQL Server BI-

Take advantage of SQL business intelligence features

Each new version of SQL Server has delivered new features that expand business intelligence capabilities and facilitate BI reporting and analysis. In this section, read about key features and how they improve data visualization, data sharing and ultimately, business decision-making abilities.


Enhance SQL Server self-service business intelligence with Power BI

Power BI for Office 365 is a cloud-based service that enables users to create and share data visualizations and to consolidate data from various sources. Continue Reading


SQL Server 2012 delivers new business intelligence features

Some of the improvements in the area of business intelligence found in SQL Server 2012 include extensive reporting and analytic capabilities, as well as Power View. Continue Reading


PASS events offer data-driven SQL Server business intelligence sessions

SQL Server pros gain much insight into SQL business intelligence developments at events held by The Professional Association for SQL Server, or PASS. Continue Reading


Insights on SQL Server BI from author Brian Larson

Brian Larson offers helpful advice for implementing SQL Server business intelligence and suggestions for getting started. Continue Reading


Layers of SQL Server 2012 BI improve decision-making capabilities

In this book excerpt, learn how SQL Server 2012 business intelligence enables users to analyze data and make effective business decisions. Continue Reading


Moore's Law on track with self-service BI features of SQL 2012

Intel is staying in the game and boosting Moore's Law with the self-service business intelligence features of SQL 2012. Continue Reading


How to scale your BI system and keep it user friendly

This tip offers advice for scaling your BI system and encouraging employees to take advantage of the benefits of business intelligence. Continue Reading

2Power View-

Enhance 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.


Tips for initiating Microsoft Power View, SQL Server Analysis Services

Microsoft SQL Server experts delve into SQL Server Analysis Services and getting started with Power View in this book excerpt. Continue Reading


What are the advantages of Microsoft Power View?

The authors of a how-to book about Power View discuss the advantages of this tool for both the business side and the IT department. Continue Reading


How to create BI reports with SQL Server Power View

The business intelligence tool Power View makes report building accessible for all users. This tip offers some pointers for getting started. Continue Reading


View business intelligence data from all angles with Power View

Microsoft's BI tool Power View enables users to view data in a number of ways, though it does have some limitations. Continue Reading


Microsoft BI stack adds new tools to existing set with SQL Server 2012

With the release of SQL Server 2012, business users have access to older tools such as Reporting Services, as well as to the newer Excel-based Power View. Continue Reading

3BI Tools-

Boost 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.


Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services offers interactive reports

In this interview, learn about the features of SQL Server Reporting Services from author and expert Brian Larson. Continue Reading


How to create high-quality reports with Reporting Services

This book excerpt offers an introduction to SQL Server's Reporting Services features and how-to advice for using it. Continue Reading


The evolution of Microsoft collaborative BI, background of PowerPivot

This book excerpt explores the background of Microsoft Power View and explains how PowerPivot works with Microsoft Excel. Continue Reading


The three SQL Server OLAP storage models: Which suits your use case?

Set up your project for success in terms of latency, size and performance by selecting the best option from the three SQL Server OLAP storage models. Continue Reading


GeoFlow tool for SQL Server enables 3-D mapping capability

Premium Excel users can create 3-D maps on the back end of SQL Server with Microsoft GeoFlow. Continue Reading


SQL Server business intelligence options for SMBs

Learn how to determine if SQL Server BI tools are suitable for your SMB out of the box, or if creating an in-house tool is more sensible. Continue Reading


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