MS Puts BI In Office

    October 24, 2005

Microsoft announced on Sunday new plans to make business intelligence (BI) more mainstream and available to more people using the Office platform. Microsoft significantly increased and broadened its investment in BI.

The goal is to provide a better experience when users access and work with business information from within the suite of applications they already use to work, collaborate and manage their business – Microsoft Office.

“One way to increase the impact that people can have in an organization is to give them access to the information they need,” said Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft Business Division, who will detail today’s announcement during a Microsoft Office Live Meeting Web conference. “Until now, BI software has been too complex, costly and disconnected from the software tools people use every day to do their jobs.

“But the investments we’re making in Microsoft Office, from significant extensions in existing products such as Office Excel and SharePoint Products and Technologies, to new server investments such as the Office Business Scorecard Manager, will make BI and the business insights gleaned from it more pervasive, thereby enhancing the impact of people throughout an organization, which leads to greater overall business success.”

Where BI has previously lived outside of business processes, it can now be a part of all the processes (structured and unstructured) that occur in Office. This integration can increase the overall value of BI by more closely aligning business information with decision-making and action.

“Although the BI market has experienced a 17 percent compound annual growth rate over the last 10 years, to reach $4.3 billion in worldwide software revenue, the vendors’ primary focus has been on analysts and power users,” said Dan Vesset, research director, Analytics and Data Warehousing, IDC.

“During this period, Excel has remained the most widely used end-user tool for BI, but it has lacked the control needed for supporting enterprise-class decision-making and compliance processes. By integrating new BI functionality into Office and ensuring Office connectivity to the SQL Server platform, Microsoft has the potential to both broaden the use of BI by business users and provide IT staff with greater control over deployment and maintenance of the BI platform.”

John Stith is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.