Microsoft SharePoint has a long history of bringing BI (business intelligence) capabilities to users, but it's generally done so with a mishmash of acquired technologies revamped to fit the Microsoft model, look, and feel, and pieced together like Frankenstein. SharePoint 2010 changes that, taking BI to the next level.
The key concept behind BI (to avoid becoming BS) is that you have data amassing daily, hourly, even each second, and you need to do more than simply monitor that data or record that data. You need to analyze it, you need to share it, you need people to take ownership or accountability for it today -- not three months from now when that information may be worthless to your company.
Thus the push today for right-time business intelligence. It's all about delivering the right information to the right people in the right format at the right time. The end result should be optimized decision-making.
Let me explain what the SharePoint BI components are and do.
In SharePoint 2010, the BI tools are Microsoft Excel, the PowerPivot Add-in for Excel, Excel Services, Visio and Visio Service, PerformancePoint Services, Report Builder, and Reporting Services, all running off SQL Server, which includes SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services), Integration Services, and Analysis Services.
Combining SharePoint with Excel or Visio allows users to create workbooks or diagrams and share that information with others easily. However, the Excel and Visio services also allow data to be updated and refreshed by pulling the latest data from various data sources. So, building your workbooks or Visio diagrams from dynamic data does not require manual adjustments on your part.