Being able to have DATA is so critical in your business. It is important to know about your customers (as posted in previous article) but it is EQUALLY important to have intelligence about your own businesses key metrics. Sales, Profit Margins and more.
In order to GROW your business and often times in order to STAY in business you must KNOW about your business. Weather you use NetSuite, Salesforce.com or other tools that provide dash board like intelligence, information driven businesses will be in business long after “gut based” businesses go out of business.
Microsoft has a new offering, which although geared more to larger businesses is something you should know about.
Microsoft PressPass spoke with Lewis Levin, corporate vice president, Office Business Applications, about Microsoft¬?s BI strategy and the forthcoming performance management offering.
Microsoft announced Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007, a complete Performance Management (PM) application including business scorecarding, analytics and planning that is designed to enable companies to more effectively plan and manage their businesses. This new application represents the latest Microsoft investment in business intelligence (BI).
PressPass: Can you describe Microsoft¬?s approach to BI and how PerformancePoint fits in?
Levin: At Microsoft, we believe BI has to become more accessible, easier to use and more affordable. There’s probably not a decision people confront that couldn’t be more effective with the right information delivered at the right time. Not all decisions are big and important, but it still matters that people are effective and doing the right thing, applying their time to the right customers, and focusing on the right problems. This is what BI is about. So we think BI has got to be something that companies are comfortable providing to nearly everyone. That will happen when BI solutions deliver a user experience that makes it easy to work with information, and when the price comes down.
We also believe that it’s important that information workers have a way of understanding what’s going on in the business in practical terms that are actionable. The transaction level detail you get from an ERP system doesn’t really help you understand what’s going on. People think in terms of, ¬?Should we sell more of this product? Should we go into this new sales territory? Should we open that store? Should we hire some more sales reps? Should we consider another supplier?¬? These are questions that are actionable, and BI software should help people think about these questions and take action. That¬?s where Performance Point can help; it allows people to get a higher level business focus on their information.
PressPass: How will Performance Point compare to existing performance management solutions?
Levin: When we set out to develop PerformancePoint, we started with a vision of an integrated product that would provide forecasting, planning, budgeting, consolidation and financial reporting, and scorecarding altogether, and so we had the opportunity to start down the path of building one product. Also, we’re delivering Performance Point on Microsoft’s integrated BI platform. So even though some of the features aren’t in Performance Point itself, they all work with Performance Point. For example, if you run Microsoft SQL Server, you can move data into Performance Point using SQL Integration Services, you can report in PerformancePoint using SQL Reporting Services, and we utilize SQL Analysis Services, so any client or product that works with Analysis Services will work with Performance Point.
For collaboration and visualizing your business intelligence data, we integrate with the 2007 Microsoft Office system so that you can use your familiar end-user tools like Microsoft Excel to perform your analysis and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server to share and collaborate on that analysis.
Existing solutions from other companies have been cobbled together and built on fundamentally different platforms, which means they sometimes use different basic data storage, or different development approaches or have different reporting solutions. We¬?re building a well-integrated solution on an established and integrated platform. The benefit for customers is you get the flexibility of meeting users’ needs the best way that you can. If you want production reporting, it’s there. If you want heavy-duty analytics, it’s there. If there’s some data source that is unique and you need to handle it, the capabilities are there.
Read the full Q&A here.
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