Leveraging Microsofts Stack
The level of interest from both customers and partners has been high so far, he said, adding that the move toward deploying dashboards and scorecards is one of the biggest trends in the market at this point, both at a high level within organizations as well as in departments such as finance, sales and IT. Caren said Maestro makes it far easier for users to build and maintain a scorecardadding and moving a metricand this enables more end-user ownership of the product. "We are trying to bring down the bar of the training required to manage your own scorecard with Maestro compared to other products in the market," he said.Asked about what products and platforms Maestro will be able to take advantage of, Caren said when it goes public, it will work with the current version of Office 2003 as well as with future versions of Office, but not Office XP. It also will support the current SQL Server 2000 as well as the upcoming next release, code-named Yukon. "There will be significant additional functionality enabled through Maestro in Yukon, but it will still work very well with SQL 2000. While Maestro is a product that works very well with SQL Server, it can also consume information from other types of data sources," he said. Where is the Beta 3 version of Microsofts Yukon wonder industry insiders? Click here to read more. While Microsofts strategy is to encourage its partners and customers to use SQL Server as the core for their data warehousing and to have their business intelligence live there, "we do have the broader ability to consume information in our scorecards beyond just a SQL data source," he said. While the Office Business Applications Group is relatively new and is part of the Information Worker business unit, customers increasingly will see the end-user product strategy around business intelligence being driven out of Information Worker and the business applications group. "We will more and more take a leadership role in end-user capabilities around business intelligence. Another big thrust for us is to enable what we call line-of-business connectivity in the Office system and back-office processes and information, Caren said. An example of this is the recent Mendocino announcement that Microsoft made with SAP AG, in which Microsoft Office System effectively became the front end for many SAP processes and processing SAP information, he said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.
Looking to the future, Caren said the product will extend and leverage the broader Microsoft stackincluding both structured and unstructured datafrom information available in the warehouse to information available in an Office document, while collaboration with SharePoint will enable group collaboration around a metric or performance issue.