Microsoft seeks bigger slice of the BI pie

Microsoft has announced that it will expand the business intelligence capabilities of the next versions of Office and SQL Server.

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By  Simon Duddy Published  October 26, 2005

Microsoft has announced that it will expand the business intelligence (BI) capabilities of the next versions of Office and SQL Server. Lewis Levin, corporate VP for Office Business Applications, says the new Microsoft Office technologies will help information workers make faster and more informed decisions. “We’re announcing that Microsoft is significantly increasing, aligning and broadening our investments in BI. Office and the Microsoft Office System are going to play a much bigger role,” says Levin. “Specifically, we’re shipping the newest Office system product – the Office Business Scorecard Manager 2005, and we are also previewing new Office 12 BI features, which are a big, new focus for Microsoft Excel and SharePoint,” he adds. Levin claims that BI solutions are costly and complex to use and deploy and hopes that the Microsoft solutions will take them to a wider market. “BI solutions only reach a fraction of the people within an organisation who would benefit from the ability to access and analyse business data in a rich way. Our goal is to address the unrealised potential of BI by providing a simple user experience through Microsoft Office and by applying our low-cost, high volume approach to the market,” explains Levin. Microsoft will build BI into Excel so people can access, work with, and share business information. Office 12 Excel will have style galleries and advanced visualisation capabilities that make it quick and easy to build professional-quality spreadsheets, says Microsoft. The business analytics market is worth roughly US$15 billion, according to IDC. Microsoft is seeking to make headway in the market with SQL Server at the platform level and Excel at the client-level. “We’re focused on a complete BI offering that appeals directly to business users and business decision-makers. The BI investments we’re making in Microsoft Office are a very natural extension of our Office System strategy. Accessing information, gaining insights from it, sharing the insight, and acting on decisions fits with how customers use Microsoft Office already. They’ll be more productive and make better decisions with our new BI investments in Office,” concludes Levin.

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