Business intelligence is a squishy subject. Is it about developers writing the code that hooks back-end systems into applications? Is it about business users creating simple dashboards into which the data can be pulled? Is it about IT, which has to ensure the databases are available and performing at a prescribed rate?
In SharePoint, it’s all of it. Microsoft has done an excellent job of prioritizing business intelligence (it’s the cornerstone of any software you want to sell as a business platform) and providing tools for working with business assets in a variety of ways. Some of those tools (and how they can be utilized) are described here.
If going outside SQL Server, the tool for bringing data into SharePoint is PowerPivot. First, datasets are imported into PowerPivot workbooks, which can then be shared and worked on collaboratively just like any document in SharePoint. This right here is powerful stuff.
But having the tools to create integrations and create front-ends are only half the story. Once all the data you want to pull from is in SharePoint, how do you find what you’re looking for? You use governance, the creation of a taxonomy, and metadata tagging of assets to narrow down the search later on.
With the right tools, and the right amount of discipline, valuable insight can be gleaned from those exploring SharePoint repositories.