Microsoft Clarifies 'BI' Roadmap
Microsoft clarified the roadmap for its business intelligence products Tuesday,
and also announced that it is working on a new business intelligence tool aimed
at performance management.
Scheduled to hit beta next fall for delivery in mid-2007, Office PerformancePoint
Server 2007 will provide what the company calls "a complete performance
management application including business scorecarding, analytics and planning...including
budgeting and forecasting."
The company is intending PerformancePoint to become a key monitoring point
for businesses, where all of their corporate information -- from unstructured
Word documents and PowerPoint presentations to Excel spreadsheets, SQL data,
business metrics and other information -- can be examined and analyzed within
a common context or dashboard.
Further, Microsoft officials also explained somewhat how the company's recent
ProClarity fits into the PerformancePoint plan as well as how its Dynamics
brand of business intelligence tools relate to that vision.
Finally, PerformancePoint Server 2007 will be optimized to work with Longhorn
Server and the 2007 Office system, including Office SharePoint 2007, according
to a Microsoft spokeswoman.
PerformancePoint Server 2007 aims to provide a model-driven tool aimed at simplifying
creation of corporate models for scorecards, analytics and plans -- and those
will also be able to be used for department level performance management, statements
on Microsoft's Web site say.
PerformancePoint will provide synchronized models both up and down an organization
as well as across departments. The idea is to enable users to get a more consistent
view of organizational performance and what role they play in that performance.
With it, Microsoft plans to provide a single application for scorecarding,
analytics and planning with models that can be built using consistently applied
business rules and assumptions then delivered to line managers for entering
their data using Office Excel, according to Microsoft statements.
That will include an upgraded version of Microsoft's existing scorecarding
"There will be a new upgraded version of Business Scorecard Manager in
PerformancePoint [that] will integrate with all the other capabilities of Performance
Point," Lewis Levin, corporate vice president of Microsoft Office Business
Applications, said in a prepared statement.
The package is designed to let business users define, implement and manage
the business logic that controls how performance management is measured and
applied to the business, the statements say. For instance, users will be able
to define their own key performance indicators or KPIs. Business rules will
be centrally managed and fully auditable for tracking changes to business rules
From an architectural viewpoint, SQL Server will provide the data processing,
management and control infrastructure for PerformancePoint. Office and SharePoint
will provide a development platform, including workflow management and collaboration
"We're enhancing ProClarity's advanced analytic and visualization
technologies, and we'll be incorporating those into PerformancePoint...and,
in the meantime, we'll continue to sell and support existing ProClarity
solutions, and customers under maintenance will be able to access the same functionality
in PerformancePoint Server," Levin said.
Microsoft's Dynamics products such as ERP and CRM packages will hook
in as well, he added.
The Microsoft Dynamics roadmap includes plans to take advantage of and integrate
with PerformancePoint by tailoring it for the specific needs of Microsoft Dynamics
customers, including specific efforts to ensure that the functionality and capabilities
found in present Microsoft Dynamics BI solutions are integrated with and available
as part of PerformancePoint, according to the company's statements.
Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.