Building on the robust business intelligence (BI) platform capabilities provided by Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Corp. will announce it has significantly increased and broadened its investment in BI, with Microsoft Office products playing a major role. 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.
Decision-makers at all levels within an organization can use these new capabilities to help drive improved business performance. In support of this strategy, Microsoft will announce that a new business performance management server application, Microsoft Office Business Scorecard Manager 2005, will be available in November. The company also will showcase technologies that will be included in the next release of Microsoft Office products, code-named Microsoft Office “12,” that are designed to help information workers easily find, analyze and more securely share business information within the Microsoft Office System, leading to faster and more informed decisions.
“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.”
Microsoft Office Business Scorecard Manager 2005 Availability
Available Nov. 1, Microsoft Office Business Scorecard Manager 2005 is a new, server-based business scorecarding application. It takes advantage of the power of the Microsoft Office System and extends the SQL Server platform to help organizations broadly deploy personalized scorecards to employees so they can track key performance indicators (KPIs) against goals – all within an intuitive and collaborative environment. Business Scorecard Manager 2005 helps businesses align people and their actions with strategy, allowing scorecard users to access structured and unstructured information when analyzing performance issues, as well as collaboratively shape and execute solutions.
“We’re pleased that Microsoft has embraced our approach to strategic performance management,” said Dr. David P. Norton, co-creator of the Balanced Scorecard framework and president of Balanced Scorecard Collaborative, a Palladium company, based in Lincoln, Mass. “Microsoft’s Business Scorecard Manager will help bring the benefits of the Strategy-Focused Organization to many more companies. Balanced Scorecard Collaborative is pleased to continue working with Microsoft to help knowledge workers translate strategic objectives into action.”
With an estimated retail price (ERP) of $5,000 (U.S.) for the server, and a client access license of $175 (U.S.) ERP per user, Business Scorecard Manager is a fraction of the cost of comparable scorecarding solutions. Business Scorecard Manager 2005 will be available in English Nov. 1.
Business Intelligence: A Key Area of Investment
Microsoft Office “12” will simplify the process of accessing and working with business information. Today the company unveiled the following BI capabilities that will be delivered by Office “12” Excel and Office “12” SharePoint Products and Technologies, both of which integrate with SQL Server 2005:
Microsoft Office “12” Excel. In Office “12,” Excel, which has long
been a favorite tool for analyzing information, becomes a powerful
BI tool for more securely accessing, analyzing and sharing
information from data warehouses and enterprise applications. Office
“12” Excel enables people to connect to enterprise data easily and
maintain a persistent connection between their Excel spreadsheet and
the data source — making it simple to update to Excel spreadsheets
and drill down to the next level of detail inside the individual
spreadsheet. New features include complete support for SQL Server
2005 Analysis Services, greatly expanded spreadsheet capacity,
improved sorting and filtering capabilities, rich data visualization
schemes, and enhanced PivotTables and PivotCharts.
Microsoft Office “12” SharePoint Products and Technologies. In
Office “12,” the SharePoint Products and Technologies become a
comprehensive portal for all of the BI content and end-user
capabilities in SQL Server Reporting Services and Microsoft Office
“12,” providing security-enhanced access to business information in
one place. New server-side Excel capabilities, called Excel
Services, will allow customers to more effectively secure, share and
manage spreadsheets on the server and allow them to be viewed via a
Web browser or downloaded to the desktop. The next generation of
SharePoint Products and Technologies will make it easy to build
personalized dashboards that combine data and charts from several
sources (without writing code) and to find key reports, KPIs and
spreadsheets via improved search capabilities.
These improvements deliver increased value to Office users, and they also mark a shift in the delivery and use of BI solutions. Where BI has previously been an individual activity, its integration into Office introduces new collaboration scenarios. 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.”
These new Office technologies build on the BI platform capabilities of Microsoft SQL Server. Microsoft will launch the next version of its SQL Server database, SQL Server 2005 (along with Visual Studio 2005 and BizTalk Server 2006) on Nov. 7 in San Francisco. Together these products lay the foundation for Microsoft BI by providing advanced data integration, data warehousing, data analysis and enterprise reporting capabilities. Microsoft has also invested significantly in a broad set of connectors to packaged enterprise applications, which will help ensure interoperability in heterogeneous environments and speed the deployment of BI projects. In addition, the Microsoft Office Business Applications group will continue to invest in building a portfolio of BI applications.
About the Microsoft Office System
The Microsoft Office System is an easy way to help more people use information to positively impact their business. Through a system of familiar and easy-to-use programs, servers, services and solutions, users can connect people and organizations to information, business processes and each other – helping ensure that they derive the most value out of information. The Microsoft Office System consists of the 2003 editions of Microsoft Office, Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003, Microsoft Office Project and Project Server 2003, Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2003, Microsoft Office Live Meeting, Microsoft Office FrontPage 2003, Microsoft Office InfoPath 2003, Microsoft Office OneNote 2003, Microsoft Office Publisher 2003 and Microsoft Office Visio 2003. Enabling technologies, such as Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services and Microsoft Windows Server 2003, enhance the features and functionality of products in the Microsoft Office System.