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Microsoft business intelligence tools here in May

I just got word from Microsoft that they plan to release Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 — with the new Microsoft business intelligence (BI) features — on May 12.

To back up a bit, we wrote about the Microsoft business intelligence strategy in November, in which some BI functionality was falling by the wayside and new features and products were making an appearance under the vendor’s SQL Server 2008 R2 umbrella.

The ProClarity technology Microsoft acquired in 2006 as a BI interface for SQL Server, SharePoint and Office has been dropped in favor of the interfaces users know: Excel and SharePoint. The scorecard and dashboard capabilities in PerformancePoint Server will be embedded in the next version of SharePoint. PerformancePoint Server’s financial planning and budgeting capabilities have been cut from the BI product line, and are expected to be picked up by Microsoft partners.

Microsoft promises that if you have already invested in the Microsoft infrastructure — SQL Server and SharePoint, for example, you are pretty much set to introduce business intelligence to the mix.

The Microsoft business intelligence strategy encompasses SQL Server 2008 R2, SharePoint 2010 and Office [Excel] 2010, and offers some new features, such as PowerPivot for Excel. With this feature, users will be able to conduct complex queries by downloading up to 100 million rows of data to their desktop from many data sources, such as IBM, Oracle, Teradata and SQL Server databases, or data feeds from the Web. The information can then be sliced and diced into reports or users can create BI applications on their desktops and share the applications with colleagues by publishing them on SharePoint.

According to Microsoft, BI has penetrated something like 28% of organizations, and they believe it can be more like 60% to 80%. I’d like to hear from you as to why BI is, or is not, making its way through your organization, or how you plan to start making it part of your business strategy? Let me know at [email protected].

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