Microsoft Unleashes a Deluge of BI Goodies : "ORLANDO,
Fla.—Microsoft Corp. is flooding the BI market yet again.
This time around, the company is announcing new SQL Server
Report Packs for Exchange and Business Solutions CRM; Report Builder,
a tool that opens up simple report creation to the masses; and a
rechristened version of DTS (Data Transformation Services) that will
reach into nonpersistent data stores such as those found in RSS
(Really Simple Syndication) feeds or Web services.
Bill Baker, general manager for SQL Server Business Intelligence
for the Redmond, Wash., company, is expected to announce the trio of
business intelligence announcements during his opening keynote at the
PASS (Professional Association for SQL Server) Community Summit here
The report packs, which are available for free download starting
on Wednesday, provide users with modifiable templates of commonly used
Reporting Services reports. According to Alex Payne, senior product
manager for SQL Server, the report packs include templates for
commonly run reports in the current version of Exchange and in
Microsoft CRM 1.2. For example, common reports for Exchange include
queries into which users send the largest e-mail files, whose in-box
is of a certain size or who receives the most e-mail. Common reports
in CRM include those concerning account details or a report on sales
pipelines that shows customer details. The Exchange Report Pack
includes 13 templates, and the CRM Report Pack contains six, Payne
Microsoft intends to make more Report Packs available based on
customer requests, but Payne declined to say what applications they
would pertain to.
Baker also is expected to confirm in his keynote that the
company is putting the ActiveViews Inc. BI technology it acquired in
April into SQL Server 2005 Beta 3. The technology, which has been
dubbed Reporting Services Report Builder, is geared to enable end
users to build reports in an ad hoc environment. End users will be
able to build reports from scratch or to modify existing reports
within a simple drag-and-drop environment, without having to
understand the intricacies of database schema, database connection
strings or the construction of SQL queries, Payne said, as is now the
case with building reports in Reporting Services."
also that Data Transformation Services is now being renamed SQL
Server Integration Services.
There's an interesting quote at the end of the article which is
"... After determining Microsoft BI tools could handle the
1.2-terabyte data warehouse, the next issue was price shopping.
Barnes & Noble is an Oracle Corp. database shop and so, naturally,
the company priced out a BI solution using Oracle technology. "We're
an Oracle operations shop, and it would be a natural solution for
us, but Microsoft was cheaper to do," Leary said. Microsoft's BI
platform was 20 percent less costly, she said—the figure that
clinched the deal.
That's not a surprising scenario, according to Rob Helms, an
analyst at Directions on Microsoft, in Kirkland, Wash. "My sense of
the SQL Server group is that BI, broadly defined, is deeply
important to them," he said. "They were crediting BI for 40 percent
of SQL Server sales" recently, he said. "It was a way for SQL Server
to sneak into shops that are traditionally Oracle shops."
accompanying eWeek interview with Microsoft's Bill Baker, General
Manager of SQL Server Business Intelligence.