Slicing and Dicing Microsofts Freebie BI Tools
Opinion: Lisa Vaas grants that Microsoft may indeed be attempting to drown big BI vendors, but are the tools really able to compete with the likes of Crystal, Cognos and the rest?Upon Microsofts release earlier this month of two new, free accelerators aimed at speeding business intelligence by easing data access and scorecard creation, two thoughts occurred: First, that Microsofts handing out of BI tools like they were so much Halloween candy must be driving the proprietors of expensive BI tools nuts. Second, are these tools robust enough to compete with offerings from the likes of Crystal Reports or Cognos? BI vendors are indeed scrambling. The fact that theres been so much industry consolidation proves that theyre struggling to cope: Hyperion acquired Brio in the fall; Business Objects acquired Crystal in December; and most recently, Microsoft acquired ActiveViews in April. "The BI vendors are scrambling around to add on new features, functionality or even new tools" in the wake of Microsofts entry, pointed out Keith Gile, senior analyst at Forrester Research.
Indeed, the top vendors well know that theyve saturated the market for high-end analytic reporting and are now trying to branch out to the reporting that gets done by more humble users, Gile opinedthink administrative assistant with Excel.