Hey, I just downloaded you and this is crazy, but here’s my SharePoint so… dashboard maybe

Guillermo Lopez / Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I threw a wish in the well,
looking for ways how to tell,
business insight from (data)hell,
and now R+ is in my way

SharePoint is a well of corporate data that comes in different formats, such as: tasks, issues, contacts, excel files, document libraries, calendars, and of course custom lists.

There is precious business insight waiting to be mined in all these SharePoint libraries. For instance Task lists can answers questions such as: are tasks balanced uniformly among team members? Or who are the best performers in my team. Or which task has been hanging around without being completed for the longest? Document libraries would enable to answer who are the top content contributors in a team? Lists used for workflow based processes could open the door to understanding bottlenecks, etc.

A quick way to start mining all this information and mashing it up is to create a dashboard using ReportPlus.  Since ReportPlus provides built-in support to connect to SharePoint servers, allowing you to create performance indicators, charts and discover trends. All this without a single line of code, without involving IT and without installing anything on the SharePoint server. Sound too good to be true? Let’s go step by step.

Connecting to a SharePoint server

First of all you need to start by installing ReportPlus in your iOS device (iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch). You can do this by downloading it from the iTunes app store. There’s a free version limited to 50 rows per query, a Pro version, and an Enterprise version. For the purposes of this post any version will do.

Once you start ReportPlus you are greeted by the dashboard selector, by tapping the + button you begin the dashboard authoring process.  Once you select any of the blank templates you should see something like the following in an iPad:

NewDashboardCanvas ipad

In order to configure a new connection to a SharePoint site you must tap the add button in the data sources left pane. This prompts the new data source wizard, where you are able to select SharePoint, by tapping the Content Managers>SharePoint Server option. 


Once you do this you will see a set of configuration dialogs requesting connection name, SharePoint site url, user credentials, and optionally the use of client side certificates (these dialogs should be very familiar  for SharePlus users :)


Enter all the required fields, validate the connection with the button at bottom of the dialog, and save it. Once the connection is saved you’ll be able to start navigating the contents of a SharePoint site on the left hand pane, including list of people, sub sites, and lists of the current SharePoint site.


Authoring a SharePoint dashboard

Once a connection has been established to a SharePoint site and you are able to navigate the contents of it creating a dashboard is easy. You need to drag and drop the SharePoint lists, or Excel, or CSV files from a site, or list, to the dashboard canvas on the right hand side. In the iPhone instead of dropping, just tap the + button on a placeholder.


As soon as you drop a sharepoint list ReportPlus prompts the widget editor, where you are able to filter, pivot, and sort the data of a list. By default metadata columns such as Created, and Created By are listed along with the rest of the lists’s columns.


For instance you can drop the Created field in the Rows placeholder of the pivot table, and the TaskTitle on the values, and you will see content creation over time. You may change the choice of visualization to chart the information.


Saving & Sharing the dashboard

Once you have created a dashboard you have a number of ways to share it with other members of your organization. You can send a picture of the dashboard, or a powerpoint export of the dashboard contents, or the dashboard itself in an email (to be opened by another ReportPlus user).


Or you can save the dashboard to a shared location, such as a SharePoint document library allowing other team members to open the most up to date version of that dashboard as it evolves over time.


It’s Mobile!

One of the great things about ReportPlus is that once you’ve created and shared your dashboard it’s mobile, it can be used anywhere. The following is the same dashboard displayed in an iPhone.


This opens the door to valuable scenarios such as arriving to a board meeting and airplaying a dashboard to a HD TV screen, and walking everyone through the contents of it, giving everyone an update on the status of things in the company with nothing but your iPhone.

So what are you waiting? Get ReportPlus before the 50% Off promotion ends tomorrow (May 1st)!