Microsoft BI with Silverlight UPDATED

I wanted to follow-up on my postings and occasional delivery of my Silverlight with Microsoft BI session where one of my demos is showing custom Silverlight controls on a Web page in a dashboard that are based on the original Silverlight 1.0 files that we used when I was in the Microsoft BI solutions team in Redmond. The project was called Microsoft Enterprise Cube (MEC) and is a wonderful example of leveraging dynamic, exciting data visualization to make for compelling BI solutions.

I mentioned at the last presentation at SQL Saturday in Philly, that you can have the original XAML but that you will want to put it into a tool like Expression Blend, modify and update it for your own solution. I finally got around to opening it up again (first time in 3 years!) and it loads just fine in Expression Blend and you can then do what you would like to use this as a good Silverlight starting point and make it your own:


The original XAML is here.

BTW, I am going to be presenting the next generation of my Microsoft BI with Silverlight presentation on April 9 @ Philly Code Camp in Ft. Washington: I am going to walk through the steps of using cool data visualizations with SQL Server for Microsoft BI by using easy tools (Report Builder, PerformancePoint), moderate complexity (3rd party components) and the more difficult method like using custom components in Silverlight such as this one.

Sample Cool Silverlight BI Controls

Sorry about this being a few weeks late, but I finally had the time today to grab copies of the JScript and XAML from the old Silverlight BI controls from a project that I worked on when I was with Microsoft Services a few years back. I demo’d this at the NYC SQL Saturday last month as part of my demonstration of some cool ways that BI developers can add Silverlight to your dashboard to spruce up your Microsoft BI solutions.

I am including the bar chart example with time sliders and smooth transitions. Keep in mind that these are only examples of what a Silverlight BI control would look like on your dashboard and that you would need to host it via a Web page to incorporate into a solution or into SharePoint / PerformancePoint. Also, I do not have code samples for data binding to this control. Also, it is Silverlight 1.0 (I think, I don’t remember, it was a while back) and so you should use this as a guide to recreate it in Silverlight 4.0. Maybe I’ll get some time to do that over the next couple of weeks.

The XAML is the Silverlight code and the JScript adds the values to the control so that you can demonstrate how it look, feels and works. Click on this link here to go to my Live SkyDrive and download the files.

Microsoft BI Dashboard Evolution

Let’s catch up to speed with Microsoft’s strategy around scorecards & dashboards, key elements of your business performance management or enterprise performance management strategy. When I blogged from the product teams around PerformancePoint Server solutions here, up until 2008, PerformancePoint Server was the stand-alone server-based solution that brought together Business Scorecard Manager (BSM), Biz Sharp (PPS Planning) and Proclarity as part of Microsoft’s EPM strategy.

When I left for Oracle, I watched very closely the Microsoft change in strategy to move those capabilities into SharePoint, now called PerformancePoint Services. The PPS blog which was PerformancePoint Server, now essentially PerformancePoint Services is great place for the latest from the product team.

Clearly, SharePoint is a very important strategic product within Microsoft. So much is being moved into SharePoint and performance management is just the latest example. I find this strategy to be fitting because we used to utilize SharePoint for our dashboard presentations anyway, publishing Proclarity reports, PPS scorecards, SSRS reports, Visio strategy maps and Excel services into SharePoint via PPS dashboards. Now that is part of the SharePoint 2010 Business Intelligence Services in SharePoint. I found this really very handy PDF graphic to help explain the services in SharePoint 2010 from a Microsoft partner’s web site based in Argentina.

So while you will use SQL Server as the database store for your relational data, multi-dimensional data and SharePoint data store, SharePoint will be your BI tool for building performance dashboards.