BI Power Grab - Microsoft’s play

By admin, June 17, 2006 2:23 am

Interesting analysis by TDWI, on microsofts approach to BI market, Below is excerpts from the article:

Microsoft Corp. last week dropped a bombshell on the business intelligence (BI) industry. Redmond outlined an Office-focused BI and performance management (PM) strategy that-for the first time-catapults it squarely into competition with the big BI pure-play vendors.

Analysts say Microsoft's BI powerplay is a Very Big Deal. Microsoft's competitors agree-albeit obliquely. Office PerformancePoint 2007 Server has the potential to be disruptive, they concede-when it appears. But the BI Powers-That-Be say there's still plenty of gas left in their cars-to paraphrase the boys from Steely Dan-and argue that PerformancePoint could be as much of a market opportunity as it is a competitive threat.

TDWI research and services director Wayne Eckerson says PerformancePoint might be Microsoft's most ambitious BI deliverable to date. "This is a direct strike against Cognos, Hyperion, and Business Objects, who have been trying to move up the BI stack into analytic applications, the most promising of which are performance management and financial applications," he comments. "Microsoft is applying the classic commodity business model to BI, forcing established players to offer more complex, premium products and services. But Microsoft is following them up the stack as quickly as they can stake out new ground."

James Thomas, a veteran of the former Crystal Decisions Inc. who now heads up product marketing for Business Objects, says Microsoft's PM push-much like its infamous Internet Explorer powerplay in the mid-1990s-isn't an entirely selfless gambit. Fact is, Thomas argues, Microsoft has yoked PerformancePoint to a supporting stack of technologies-the 2007 Office System, SharePoint, SQL Server, and Windows Server, among others-that collectively comprise a highly homogeneous, and distinctly pricey, proposition.

"The difference between us and Microsoft is we want to sell you the software you use, whereas they have a hidden agenda. They want to sell you more Office and more SQL Server and more Windows," comments Thomas. "In order to use something like PerformancePoint, you're going to need SharePoint, SQL Server, Office 2007-all of those things put a pretty big burden on IT to support, and obviously you're going to need services, too, because BI doesn't just [work] out of the box."

Redmond has clearly set its sights on BI dominance. And it's no longer shy about saying as much. "What I want to do is make sure the MS product offering is the strongest and most complete and integrated it can be," Payne said. "[In the past] if there was this hole that people perceived Microsoft [as] having, they'd say to us, 'Yeah, you don't have this, therefore I need to go look at Business Objects or Cognos.' I don't want them to have that conversation."

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Prashanth Rai

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