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The Microsoft Business Intelligence suite  encompasses a number of products that can be utilised as necessary to  create the required solution.

Of course, your organisation may already hold licences for some or  all or these products, allowing you to better understand your various  datasets without major outlay. Your users may well be familiar with the  some or all of the products, reducing training and start-up costs. The  ‘self service’ nature of some of these solutions can also ease any  tension between the IT department and business users as regards speed of deployment and flexibility.

The products are Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft  Office SharePoint Server and PerformancePoint Services. By utilising  various combinations or these Microsoft products, BI solutions can be  created to address both enterprise level needs and power user needs. The solutions are scalable to suit the requirements of varying organisations.

The 2010 releases of Excel and SharePoint further enhance the  Microsoft offering. Office Excel 2010 includes a free PowerPivot add-in  that allows business users to pull in significant amounts of data into  Office Excel and then analyse it in a familiar environment. Of course  the premise here is that these users are power users but the major  benefit is that they can operate in a self-serve environment and not be  overly reliant on the IT team when dealing with large and complex data.  When the analysis work is complete the users can then upload the Office  Excel document to SharePoint so that it can be shared with others. These PowerPivot documents live on the SharePoint server, allowing the IT  team to retain control as necessary.

The 2010 release of SharePoint also includes PerformancePoint  Services and is generally viewed as an enterprise level BI solution. It’s inclusion within SharePoint provides more flexible configuration, a more consistent user experience, a single enterprise level security  model along with enhanced backup and disaster recovery capability.

Microsoft Office PerformancePoint is a powerful  performance management application that enables you to monitor and  analyse your business.

This application delivers a broad set of features and functionality  to support the diverse performance management needs of todays  fast-paced business environment and provides analysis of key performance indicators throughout the organisation.

PerformancePoint is designed to be easily used by non-technical users with the presentation of dashboards and scorecards delivered in an  intuitive way through Microsoft Office SharePoint. Until recently,  PerformancePoint Server was a separate product, but now, as part of  Microsofts drive to ‘bring BI to the masses’, it has become part of  Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS).

Microsoft have consolidated the scorecard, dashboard, and analytic  functionality from Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server into Office  SharePoint Server Enterprise as "PerformancePoint Services for  SharePoint", making these capabilities available throughout the  organization at a lower total cost of ownership. PerformancePoint
Services will be a license entitlement for SharePoint Server 2010 (Enterprise CAL) customers with Software Assurance.

With Microsoft Office PerformancePoint/SharePoint, you can:

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Create Dashboards and a Report Centre - create interactive Business  Intelligence (BI) dashboards that assemble and display business  information from disparate sources by using built in Web Parts.

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Access and discover business data - seamlessly connect external data  into your applications using the Business Data Catalog (BDC) to create a foundation for Business Intelligence search. Part of Office SharePoint Server 2010, the BDC simplifies the process of discovering and  accessing data residing within business applications.

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Support scorecards from a variety of data sources (SharePoint, Excel,  SQL Excel Services and databases) using structured as well as  unstructured information tied to the scorecards and dashboards.

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Assign owners to key business metrics to drive accountability  throughout the organization. Export scorecards, analytical grids and  charts, and strategy maps to PowerPoint 2010, Excel 2010 and SQL Server  Reporting Services.

Microsoft provides comprehensive, integrated  business intelligence, data mining, analysis and reporting solutions  with Microsoft SQL Server.

Microsoft provides comprehensive, integrated  business intelligence, data mining, analysis and reporting solutions  with Microsoft SQL Server.

It is optimised for data integration, reporting and analysis, enabling organisations to deliver Business Intelligence when and where  users want it. It can help you perform complex business analytics and  create, manage, and deliver rich reports to help your organisation gain  greater insight and achieve faster results.

The release of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 sees enhancements to the  highly successful data platform Microsoft SQL Server 2005. The new  technology includes most advances in the areas of: data visualisation,  data type storage, reliability, and scalability. This is of particular  value with the ever increasing demands on the types of data being  stored, levels of access and expected visual representation of that  information.

SQL Server 2008 is optimised to help you:

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Integrate, aggregate, and collect information from multiple  heterogeneous data sources via a rich portfolio of native and non-native data source connectors.

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Create and manage scalable, high-performance data warehouses and data  marts via tried and tested relational database management system  (RDBMS) and online analytical processing (OLAP) technologies.

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Perform multi-dimensional and predictive analytics to produce business insights from aggregated information.
 

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Create and deploy enterprise-class managed and ad hoc reports on heterogeneous RDBMS and OLAP data sources.
 

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Empower more users through reach across multiple applications and  devices and enhanced interoperability with the Microsoft Office system.
 

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