SharePoint in Knowledge Creation: SharePoint as a Basho

SECI-model SharePoint in Knowledge Creation: SharePoint as a Basho

While reading about knowledge management and knowledge creation, I came around a research/philosophy paper by Ikujiro Nonaka and Noboru Konno (1998)* about Ba (which I will explain later). I found really interesting how they connected a philosophical notion to a corporate problem such as knowledge management.

Kitaro Nishida’s Ba

While reading it, I was trying to come with examples for my own understanding about what a Ba was and to my surprise the answer was right in front of me: SharePoint.

So, what is a Ba? Ba roughly translates to place in English and it is a philosophical concept proposed by Japanese philosopher Kitaro Nishida.

Ba can be thought of as a shared space for emerging interactions. It can be a physical, mental or virtual place or even any combination of them.

When we have many Ba’s in the same environment then this environment becomes a Basho and that is exactly what I believe SharePoint is.

SharePoint as a Basho

To understand better how knowledge creation functions and how SharePoint, as a Basho, can be part of it, we have to take a look into Nonaka and Konno‘s (1998)* SECI model.

The SECI model (figure 1.) starts by differentiating between two types of knowledge: explicit and tacit. Explicit knowledge can be expressed in words and numbers and shared in the form of data, while tacit knowledge is more personal and as an attribute it is hard to formalize; tacit knowledge has two subsections the “know-how” section, which encompass personal skills or crafts, and the cognitive section which consists on ideals, beliefs, values, etc.

The secret to knowledge creation is to be able to turn the personal tacit knowledge into explicit and then back into tacit knowledge but for the whole organization. The model states that in order for this translation to occur, it has to go through Socialization, Externalization, Combination and Internalization and all of these steps are done through a different type of Ba (Socialization — Originating Ba, Externalization–Interacting Ba, Combination–Cyber Ba, and Internalization–Exercising Ba).

SharePoint has the capabilities to function as a Basho containing these different Ba’s. In the following table there is an explanation of what each sector of the model requires and the features SharePoint has that makes it a suitable Ba, or place, for this sector to emerge.

SECI SectorSector RequirementsSharePoint Features
SocializationSocialization involves the sharing of tacit knowledge between individuals. Social Networks where ideas can be shared, as well as other communication features such as Lync on line. 
ExternalizationThe expression of tacit knowledge and its translation into comprehensible forms that can be understood by others. Wikis, Forums and the feature of collaborating on the same document with many different people around the organization.
CombinationThe conversion of explicit knowledge into more explicit sets of explicit knowledge.The fact that you can search key words, the use of Metadata and data maps to able to feed all the important and available information when people search for it.
InternalizationNewly created explicit knowledge is converted into the organization’s tacit knowledgeAchieved in SharePoint through the use of workflows, and how ideas can be turned into actions and processes that can help the productivity of the firm.

We can see how SharePoint can be seen as a Basho and therefore how in a philosophical and practical point of view it can help your business achieve a better and more efficient culture of knowledge creation.

Through a correct implementation of SharePoint, your company will be able to achieve more collaboration between its people and sectors, this will not only make processes more efficient but it will also help your company become more creative. SharePoint is a great service that can do many things and knowledge creation is only one of them.

If you have more questions about SharePoint and how implement it please don’t hesitate on contacting Optimus Information.

*Nonaka ,I. and N. Konno (1998). The concept of ‘BA’: Building a Foundation for Knowledge Creation. California Management Review, 40(3): 40-54.


Comparison of BI Suites – MS SharePoint, SAP Business Objects, and IBM Cognos

FeatureMS SharePoint Server 2010SAP Business Objects EnterpriseIBM Cognos BI Enterprise
Desktop query and analysis toolSQL Server Analysis ServicesDesktop Intelligence / OLAP IntelligenceAnalysis Studio and Query Studio
Spreadsheet IntegrationMicrosoft ExcelLive Office XCelsiusIBM Cognos BI Analysis for Microsoft Excel
ReportingSQL Server REporting ServicesCrystal Reports WebIntelligenceReportNet (Report Studio + Query Studio)
Web PortalSharePoint 2010InfoViewCognos Connection
Visual DashboardBusiness Intelligence Development Studio and SharePoint 2010Performance manager XCelsius Dashboard BuilderGO! Dashboard Report Studio
ETL and data integration toolBusiness Intelligence Development StudioData integrator (BODI)Data Manager
Modeling ApplicationBusiness Intelligence Development StudioDesignerFramework Manager
ScorecardingBusiness Intelligence Development Studio and SharePoint 2010Performance manager Dashboard ManagerMetrics Studio
CollaborationSharePoint 2010

It is no secret that when it comes to choosing the best Business Intelligence suite, it all depends on your needs. Each of the suites have their pros and cons but as seen in the above image the three selected can perform all of the features. The differences between the suites are not significant enough and if needed, you can combine the three of them to get what you need (ex. Crystal Reports deployed on SharePoint 2010). This implies that as long as there’s no technical reason to stick with a certain platform, it’ll be the details that end up as deciding factors when picking the winner.

Specifying your needs is the first step that must be done before even trying to choose anything. Then it would be important to talk to the technical sales people from the vendors and try to get a trial version of the platforms and test it in your business environment. This way you’ll get a better sense of what can work for your company.

Independent of which of vendor you decide to go with, companies like Optimus can assist you in the implementation of the business intelligence suite as well as with the development and deployment of BI reports and dashboards. If you would like to learn more about our services, please feel free to contact us. We will be happy to sit down and discuss your needs.

5 Case Studies on Outsourced Report Development

MS-Gold-Partner-Data-Platform-1024x432 5 Case Studies on Outsourced Report Development

As the only Microsoft Gold Partner on the Data Platform in Western Canada, we have helped many clients outsource report development.

Since companies use multiple systems for different business functions and each of these systems have a database, data needs to be gathered, combined, and compared. This provides an opportunity to gain valuable insights into the market, the customers, and the core business.

Here are five case studies describing the outsourced report development services we’ve provided in the last few months:

  1. See how we developed reports for Microsoft Dynamics AX using Microsoft’s SSRS (Case Study).
  2. See how we helped a client migrate reports from Crystal Reports to SSRS (Case Study).
  3. See how we used SharePoint, PerformancePoint, and SSRS to create a web-based reporting portal (Case Study).
  4. See how we helped a client extract more data from their system by building an external reporting solution (Case Study).
  5. See how we partnered with a software development company to enhance their reporting offering (Case Study).
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How Does Outsourced Report Development Work?

Report development as a managed service means our clients have on-demand access to a diverse reporting team. Although we are a MS partner, we have extensive expertise on other proprietary and open source platforms.

As explained in my previous blog on “Benefits of Report Development as a Managed Service” our clients receive the following benefits:

  • Overhead cost control
  • Agile report development process
  • Access to experts on multiple platforms
  • No risk of losing skills from staff turnover
  • Continuous availability and on demand bandwidth
  • Industry standard IT governance
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Due to the advancement in technologies these reports, dashboards, and scorecards can be:

  • Published to smart phones and tablets
  • Published to emails as attachments
  • Published to a web portal
  • Published within a third party application
  • Scheduled to run automatically
  • Run on-demand

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These days IT department in big organizations are seen as service centres. Whether they provide services in house or outsource to a vendor, IT departments charge back the expense to the divisions or departments for which the services are performed.

Business Intelligence vendors like Optimus provide managed services to provide benefits to these organizations. If you would like to learn more about our report development process and experience, please feel free to contact us. We will be happy to sit down and discuss your needs.

How to Add a Shared Data Source in SharePoint

There is a huge demand for report development and deployment on the Microsoft platform. Here is a quick summary on how to add a shared data source in SharePoint and share it to develop reports. The steps mentioned below are for Microsoft SQL Server, but the same process can be used for multiple data sources.


  • Platform: Microsoft
  • Collaboration Software: SharePoint
  • Report Development Application: Report Builder


Step 1. Open Report Builder

a)      Right click on “Data Source” in the left column and select “Add a Data Source” (as shown in Fig 1)

Fig-1 How to Add a Shared Data Source in SharePoint

Fig 1: Report Builder

Step 2: Add Data Source Properties by (as in Fig 2)

a. Name: Use a connection embedded in my report

b. Select connection type: “Microsoft SQL Server”

Fig-2 How to Add a Shared Data Source in SharePoint

Fig 2: Data Source Properties

Step 3: Add the connection properties to get the connection string by selecting the “Build” tab and fill in (as in Fig 3)

a)      Enter the server name hosting the database.

b)      Log on to the server, select – “Use Windows Authentication” or “Use SQL Server Authentication” based on your setup.

c)      Connect to the database, select – “Select or enter a database name:”

SharePoint-Shared-Data-Source-Connection How to Add a Shared Data Source in SharePoint

d)     Select “Test Connection” and it should prompt a “Connection created successfully” message (Fig 4)

Fig-4 How to Add a Shared Data Source in SharePoint

Fig 4: Successful Connection

e)      Select “OK”

This will create the “Connection string” in the “Data Source Properties” screen (Fig 5)

Connection-String How to Add a Shared Data Source in SharePoint

Fig 5: Connection String

Now we have successfully created the “Connection String.” Now, copy the “Connection String” so we can use it in the next step.

Step 4: Adding Data Source to Share Point (as in Fig 6)

a) Go to the location on SharePoint where you would like to create the shared data source

b) Click on the drop-down menu near “New”

c) Select “Report Data Source”

SSRS-in-SharePoint How to Add a Shared Data Source in SharePoint

Fig 6: Adding new data source

Step 5: Updating the properties in the new data source

Fill in the data source details (Fig. 7). This is where you will paste the Connection String copied in step 3 above.

SSRS-Connection-Details How to Add a Shared Data Source in SharePoint

Fig 7: Data source properties on Share Point

  • Name – type in the data source name
  • Data Source Type – select “Microsoft SQL Server”
  • Connection String – this has to be copied from the Report Builder Step 3(as shown in Fig. 5)
  • Credential – select “Stored credential” or “Windows Authentication (integrated) or SharePoint User” or “Credentials are not required” based on your setup.
  • If you select “Stored credential” then
  • “Fill in User Name and Password.
  • Select “Test Connection” tab.
  • If the credentials are correct then the message will says “Connection created successfully.”
  • Availability – select check box for “Enable this data source”
  • Click “OK”
 This is how a shared dataset will appear in SharePoint (as shown in Fig 8 )
Shared-Data-Source-in-SharePoint How to Add a Shared Data Source in SharePoint

The benefits of using shared data source are following:

  • Sharing the same data source across all reports instead of embedding them individually in each report.
  • Changing of data source details (such as server name, login credentials etc.) at one place instead of going to each report and changing manually.
  • Creating reports that use multiple data source (eg. Reconciliation reports using data from multiple applications.)

Optimus provides report development services in Vancouver, Canada. We have expertise developing cross-platform and cross-application reports. We specialize in Mircosoft SSRS, Crystal Reports and other open source tools.

If you would like to learn more about our report development process and experience, please feel free to contact us. We will be happy to sit down and discuss your needs.