Alan Whitehouse's Ramblings

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PerformancePoint Services, SharePoint Lists and Business Connectivity Services

Posted by Alan on May 24, 2011

A little bit ago I responded to a help request over in one of the SharePoint 2010 Forums in regards to using a SharePoint list as a data source for PerformancePoint Services.  While I was playing around on my mock-up system and confirming how SharePoint lists worked as a data source I got to wondering if any list could be used as a data source for PPS — including lists generated using the Business Connectivity Services function of SharePoint.  Right away, my gut reaction was that it wasn’t going to work and that when I tried to create my data source within Dashboard Designer I was going to get some sort of error message. Well I was wrong.  It worked exactly how any other SharePoint list works in regards to being a data source for PPS.

Now I haven’t fully tested this yet, but if it works as it appears to work at first blush it opens up some opportunities in regards to data sources.  For those of you who have not worked with the BCS function of SharePoint, it allows you to connect to a data source that is SQL Server based or a .NET assembly or to a WCF web service.  Now, using a SharePoint list is not the perfect solution for a PPS data source and having to do a “double hop” of connecting the underlying data to the SharePoint list and then the SharePoint list to PPS, but it does give us more options and more options are always better.

My big test is to see if I can find some publicly available web services and try to connect to those via BCS and then pull that in to a PerformancePoint KPI or chart/graph.  It would be very cool if you could compare actuals from your line of business system with some sort of industry or demographic data that is floating out in the cloud.

If anyone has some cool web services I might try, let me know.


6 Responses to “PerformancePoint Services, SharePoint Lists and Business Connectivity Services”

  1. Armin said

    We are using exactly this functionality, i.e. displaying web service data via an External List in a PPS scorecard and several SSRS reports, in a pilot project. In earlier researches, I did not find any cool and applicable web service to be used in SharePoint Designer for demo purposes – this web services has to be implemented as a WCF web services anyway, so not every standard web service can be used unfortunately.

    But it is quite simple to create a BCS model and extend the default methods to display list items (i.e. ReadList() and ReadListItem()). In these methods you can for example call methods from a 3rd party web service, perform data transformations etc.

    We are now in a stage where we have integrated data from several web services in one External List and display these data in the scorecard, but the whole solution has to be evaluated regarding performance, caching behavior and parallel user activities.

  2. Alan said


    Thanks for some real-life feedback on someone else using BCS to hook to PPS.


  3. brianfrick said

    Hi Alan
    I tracked you down from our convo on TechNet, and I wanted to share a couple of links with you that I have found. These two links, in concert, should bring us a bit closer to using the SP List as a data source functionality, but really its a two (plus) part approach.

    Firstly, using SSRS to hit the SP List as a data source. Just from a couple of quick reads, it seems like this option gives you much more insight into the list, and potentially the ability to bring any/all columns in as SSRS objects and use them to build reports.

    Secondly, putting PPS ontop of SSRS. Looks as if we can apply filters, compare reports to KPI/Scorecards, etc using this method.

    I plan on trying to prove this out over the next couple of weeks (I still have many other responsibilities at work — and since its Summer, when I get home I don’t sit on the computer, I sit on the patio with a beer and a buger…) but I will try and keep you posted.

    I plan on starting up my own blog here, as I have been doing SOME blogging for my companie’s internal blog site, but am trying to get my name out in the MS community. After I get a couple posts up, I’d love a follower 🙂

    Thanks again for helping me out with that last issue (Which, I’d say prompted this post that I’m commenting on), and hopefully these reads open your eyes some.

  4. video is good but you are heading too quickly and also you did not mention regarding that you need a static ip from your isp to do this

  5. Techno said


    […]PerformancePoint Services, SharePoint Lists and Business Connectivity Services « Alan Whitehouse’s Ramblings[…]…

  6. Linda said

    “Now, using a SharePoint list is not the perfect solution for a PPS data source and having to do a ”double hop” of connecting the underlying data to the SharePoint list and then the SharePoint list to PPS, but it does give us more options and more options are always better.”

    Alan, this is haunting me, I googled everything, your post is the only post facing up the problems. The PPS work well with SSAS cube, does’t work with SP list as a data source directly at all, why MS just tell us straight away it needs double hop?

    and if the list doesn’t have any numbers in it, in my case, the measurement is presented with words instead of numbers, the PPS wont work with the list at all. the report tabs under “create” are grey after data connection set up, I think SP2010 BI only work with data source with numbers in it. M I right?

    Looking forward to your reply, Cheers!

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