Microsoft Maestro to Tune Up Business Performance

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2005-05-10 Print this article Print

Redmond rolls out a beta of a new, server-based business-performance-management app, code-named "Maestro," that leverages its Office System to build, manage and evaluate performance scorecards.

Microsoft will release to private beta this week a new, server-based business-performance-management scorecard application, code-named "Maestro," which helps users perform deep analysis by leveraging the Microsoft Office System to build, manage and use scorecards and key performance indicators. Chris Caren, general manager of Microsofts Business Applications Group, told eWEEK in an interview Monday that while this first beta is limited to several dozen key partners and customers, the second and public beta, expected sometime this summer, will be far wider. But he declined to be more specific or to say when Microsoft expects the product to ship. Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft Corp. has been working on Maestro for several years now, and last summer released the first version of the solution to the market, known as the Business Scorecard Accelerator, which is available as a free download. The company said the software has been downloaded about 40,000 times since then.
"So, we have a lot of experience with the version one product, but that is many steps behind where Maestro is, as we have learned a lot from customer and partner feedback and Maestro has thus evolved into a commercial score-carding application," Caren said.
The goal of Maestro "is to enable the next step in our business intelligence product strategy, which lets customers who have deployed data warehouses to support reporting and analysis to now deploy scorecards and strategy maps to employees, in many cases managers, to let them track and analyze business metrics and utilize scorecards to really map individuals and what theyre accountable for to corporate strategy," he said. This was an evolution from report-centric to more metric-centric business intelligence, Caren said, adding that "Maestro" leveraged the Office System and will run on either version of SharePoint 2003. It is a Web-based score-carding system that deploys through SharePoint Portal Server. It also can be used with or without the business intelligence available in Microsofts SQL Server product, such as reporting and analysis. "But after talking to customers, the vast majority say that they will deploy both in parallel," Caren said. "In addition, those partners with complementary business intelligence technology and applications will be able to embed Maestro as the score-carding component of their overall solution." "It has been built to be really easily embedded into other applications, and the entire front end of Maestro can be consumed as Web services, so the goal is to enable both customers and partners to be able to deploy it as part of a broader application. "We believe there is a strong opportunity for partners to take our capabilities and deliver solutions that drive the value up to a higher level. This provides those partners with a stronger tool set to customize and deploy into the market," he said. Next Page: Leveraging Microsofts Stack

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel