Microsoft Aims to Spread BI Throughout the Enterprise

Microsoft gave audience attendees at the 2nd annual Microsoft Business Intelligence conference a sneak preview of its forthcoming SQL Server this week, code named “Kilimanjaro.” It was an appropriate venue for its debut, given its increased emphasis on BI.

New functional areas of emphasis in the server match Microsoft’s vision for BI, which is to make it pervasive throughout the enterprise, Fausto Ibarra, director of product management for SQL Server, told CRM Buyer.

“The goal is to allow more users to have access to BI,” he said, pointing to industry figures that show an average of 20 percent of users able to tap this functionality.

For example, consider a CRM application that has embedded BI technology, he said. “Users can get better insight about customer behavior by having scorecards or data mining functionality embedded directly in the line of business.”

Kilimanjaro Specs

Kilimanjaro, which is scheduled to be generally available some time in 2010, will be embedded with new analysis capabilities that are expected to facilitate managed self-service reporting and content sharing, collaboration and management capabilities. This new line of functionality evolved from Microsoft’s Project Gemini, an IT managed infrastructure developed to help users develop, produce, use and collaborate on their own BI projects.

Microsoft is also incorporating advanced data warehousing functionality — currently under development in a project code-named “Madison” — with SQL Server. Under this initiative Microsoft will develop an appliance-like product in collaboration with hardware partners Dell, HP, Unisys, Bull Systems and EMC, that will leverage SQL Server to extend scale out into the hundreds of terabytes. It will also be available in 2010.

Growing Demand

Microsoft’s product pipeline in this area is a timely one as there is growing demand for BI in workaday applications and hardware, Mark Feverston, general manager of Microsoft Solutions Marketing at Unysis, told CRM Buyer. “Over the last number of years we have more customers asking for assistance in leveraging SQL in analytical applications.”

The demand, he said, has dovetailed nicely with Microsoft’s growing emphasis on this function. As the Server moved from version 5 to version 8, “we have noticed that BI is becoming more flexible.”

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