Had the honor of being able to present today at SharePoint Saturday New York with a great crowd of architects, developers and admins on the latest in enterprise project management and business intelligence capabilities on the market. Was especially meaningful due to the organizers’ focus on honoring the 10th anniversary of 9/11 with donations to charities supporting first responders and their families.
My presentation at Microsoft Manhattan focused on business intelligence, enterprise architecture and integrating workflows, portals, and dashboards for robust decision support solutions across the enterprise utilizing SharePoint Foundation, SharePoint Server 2010 and Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 R2. The original presentation at Microsoft Convergence in April 2011 was tailored to a Dynamics audience of both business users and technical staff, while this one was oriented towards enterprise architects and SharePoint architects with the view of taking a deeper dive into Dynamics GP architecture, Dexterity and security models for business intelligence.
The overview looked at how to leverage the Microsoft technology stack to rapidly deploy robust data visualization, analytics, reports, KPIs and dashboards using the best of both worlds: integrated portal technologies and financial and accounting systems. While many SharePoint professionals are capable of building reports and dashboards from scratch, in particular with Business Connectivity Services, I looked specifically at the productivity and efficiency gains inherent in using SharePoint and Dynamics GP together. Namely, the fact that workflows and Business Portal powered by SharePoint are available out of the box in Dynamics GP 2010 R2 means a significantly reduced lead time in deployment of data analytics across the enterprise.
Given that Business Portal is a site collection pre-configured with workflow, financial, query and reporting capabilities, it is possible to reduce development time by weeks or months in contrast to a custom developed SharePoint portal with workflows and reports. When deployed with an existing SharePoint instance, Business Portal inherits and honors the existing branding, policies and permissions of the top level SharePoint site, thus being a data and information multiplier to solutions architects.
From an enterprise architecture standpoint, much of the business architecture work has already been done in the configuration of Business Portal, providing industry standard financial reporting standards and queries out of the box. While further customization is certainly possible, the focus from the developers’ standpoint is on integrating the financial and ERP reference models with larger organizational information management needs rather than time and labor intensive workflow and reports development.
Some of the challenges addressed were planning for:
1) a more complex and layered security model
2) working across several different development platforms and web services models
3) shifting from a domain or segment-specific reference architecture to enterprise architecture planning frameworks
Luckily for me the presentation was very interactive – the participants had great questions along the way and drove even more insights! Slide deck is below.