As promised in August, Microsoft yesterday launched Office PerformancePoint Server 2007 as their flagship Business Intelligence offering. PerformancePoint Server 2007 enhances and replaces Microsoft’s previous Office Business Scorecard Manager Server 2005 (whew) and also incorporates advanced visualization and analysis technologies from ProClarity which Microsoft acquired in April 2006.
Yesterday Microsoft released another Community Technology Preview (CTP) of Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007, the performance management function server in their Business Intelligence offering:
This release combines Microsoft Office Business Scorecard Manager 2005, recently acquired ProClarity technologies and new innovations in business modeling and planning, budgeting, and forecasting.
The final release is expected in the second half of 2007. Scorecard Manager 2005 is being subsumed by this release of PerformancePoint.
Last Thursday when Microsoft launched Vista, Office 2007, and Exchange 2007, a number of other products came along for the ride, including some that are quite a ways from availability. One such is Office PerformancePoint Server 2007 for which a CTP was released today:
Microsoft Corp. today announced the release of the first community technology preview (CTP) for its integrated performance management application Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007. Scheduled for general availability in mid-2007, Office PerformancePoint Server 2007 brings together next-generation monitoring, analytics and planning capabilities in a complete performance management application. Beginning today, customers can visit http://connect.microsoft.com/site/sitehome.aspx?siteid=181 to download the first bits of code and test the product’s capabilities in a real-world business environment.
Sometimes you just have to laugh. Reading this you might justifiably think that PerformancePoint had something to do with computer system performance management, but actually it’s a Business Intelligence (BI) offering. And while one hears “get the bits” more often than necessary, “download the first bits of code” seems to have odd connotations. Things improve though:
Office PerformancePoint Server CTP 1 will combine the planning, budgeting, forecasting and financial consolidation capabilities of the product code-named “BizSharp” and the scorecarding functionality of Microsoft Office Business Scorecard Manager Server 2005. CTP 2, scheduled for early 2007, will incorporate the functionality of CTP 1 and analytics from ProClarity 6.2. Microsoft plans to release either one or two additional CTPs before the general availability of the product scheduled for mid-2007.
Microsoft acquired ProClarity in April and in case it’s not clear, PerformancePoint Server 2007 replaces Scorecard Manager Server 2005. The net is that PerformancePoint is Microsoft’s try for the BI market building on the strengths of SQL Server as the underlying database and Office as the front-end. The PerformancePoint Server website has more details.
That Microsoft Office has a “good enough” problem got another illustration in Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols’ review – Why OpenOffice.org 2.0 Is Your Best Choice:
There are many fancy reasons that OpenOffice.org is a great choice for your office work. For example, it’s open source and it supports an open format document standard, OpenDocument.
But let’s put “openness” to the side. Let me get down to the nitty-gritty: It’s free (as in free beer) and it works. What’s not to like?
OpenOffice.org is compatible with Microsoft Office file formats and the latest version, 2.0, “boasts an interface that’s much more like the Microsoft Office interface.”
…but let’s get back to brass tacks again. OpenOffice.org’s price tag: 0. Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003′s list price: $499 new, $329 as an upgrade.
Day in and day out office usability? For all practical purposes, they’re about the same.
So, which would you rather ‘buy?’
So what can Microsoft do to protect their lucrative Office market? Adding more minor features isn’t likely to do it. The user interface is changing in Office 12, but that can also be viewed as a minus for the retraining involved. As a result, Microsoft seems to have settled on a new theme of linkage of Office with business software products farther up the food chain such as the small business offerings or enterprise offerings via workflow and collaboration via SharePoint Services (WSS) and SharePoint Portal Server.
Building on that theme, Microsoft yesterday announced more upstream linkage – Microsoft Builds Business Intelligence Into Office Software:
Building on the robust business intelligence (BI) platform capabilities provided by Microsoft® SQL Server™, Microsoft Corp. today will announce it has significantly increased and broadened its investment in BI, with Microsoft Office products playing a major role. The goal is to provide a better experience when users access and work with business information from within the suite of applications they already use to work, collaborate and manage their business — Microsoft Office.
Decision-makers at all levels within an organization can use these new capabilities to help drive improved business performance. In support of this strategy, Microsoft will announce that a new business performance management server application, Microsoft Office Business Scorecard Manager 2005, will be available in November. The company also will showcase technologies that will be included in the next release of Microsoft Office products, code-named Microsoft Office “12,” that are designed to help information workers easily find, analyze and more securely share business information within the Microsoft Office System, leading to faster and more informed decisions.
Available Nov. 1, Microsoft Office Business Scorecard Manager 2005 is a new, server-based business scorecarding application. It takes advantage of the power of the Microsoft Office System and extends the SQL Server platform to help organizations broadly deploy personalized scorecards to employees so they can track key performance indicators (KPIs) against goals — all within an intuitive and collaborative environment.
Microsoft Office “12” will simplify the process of accessing and working with business information. Today the company unveiled the following BI capabilities that will be delivered by Office “12” Excel and Office “12” SharePoint Products and Technologies, both of which integrate with SQL Server 2005…
These improvements deliver increased value to Office users, and they also mark a shift in the delivery and use of BI solutions. Where BI has previously been an individual activity, its integration into Office introduces new collaboration scenarios.
And more reason to pay for Microsoft Office instead of a free alternative. More details by following the link and at the Business Scorecard Manager home page.
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