Friday, April 30, 2010

Business Intelligence (BI) for the Masses Comes Alive

Microsoft is now marketing new business intelligence (BI) integrations between Excel 2010 (with PowerPivot), SharePoint Server 2010, and SQL Server 2008 R2. By tightening the integration between Excel, SharePoint, and SQL, Microsoft believes that “self-service” BI will finally become a reality resulting in a dramatic increase in the adoption rates of BI technologies.

Microsoft believes the future of enterprise BI is about making everyone a BI practitioner with familiar and affordable tools…. Microsoft hopes to push BI further into the enterprise… by giving end users easier access to the information they need and connecting it to the decision-making process through collaboration tools. The company seeks to do this by integrating SQL Server 2008 R2 with two tools that most users already feel comfortable using: Microsoft Excel 2010 and Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010…. Upgrading to SQL Server 2008 R2 will enable the company to eliminate some third-party BI tools it had previously been trying to use, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing fees per year, as well as the cost of managing complicated packages that were less efficient…. Today’s release is a step toward bringing BI to the masses. Some 500 million people currently use Microsoft Office, which means 500 million potential BI users. If Microsoft is able to penetrate just 5 percent of this market, that is 25 million new BI practitioners. With SQL Server 2008 R2, PowerPivot for Excel, and PowerPivot for SharePoint Server, Microsoft is making businesses more agile and productive, ultimately allowing end users to drive better business decisions.
Given the ubiquity of Excel, the ingenuity of SharePoint Services, and the arrival of a more versatile version of SQL Server, it seems that Microsoft is now a real contender for leadership in the BI marketplace. The truth is that most people already use one or more of these application already. Moreover, the layered simplicity of Microsoft's upgraded offerings holds strong appeal for CIO's eager to control costs.

Nevertheless, Microsoft's goals are ambitious, particularly if it intends to confront and reverse the current low-adoption rates for BI technologies to date. I'll be keeping an eye on the comments of new BI users to see if Microsoft's solutions are making headway. More to follow...

Source: Microsoft Brings Business Intelligence Deep into the Enterprise with SQL Server 2008 R2 (2010, April 21), Microsoft News Center.

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