Microsofts BI Crusade Draws
BI Vendors Ire"> Vesset pointed to Integration Services, an integration tool Microsoft has had for several years, as being quite capable in taking care of that issue. For her part, Gibbons said she has "absolute trust" in Microsofts ability to handle data flowing from heterogeneous databases. "Weve used them so long now, regardless of issues, we know we can use them," she said. For example, data stored in Expedias Hyperion BI application easily interacts with Excel, thanks to Hyperions facility in moving data in and out of spreadsheets, she said.Vesset said IDC estimates 10 percent compound annual growth rate in the BI market for the foreseeable future. Out of that, players like Hyperion have a big part to play, for the foreseeable future, he said. "Hyperion, Cognos, they have two product lines: One is BI tools and one is packaged analytic applications," Vesset said. "Theyre primarily for financial functions: consolidation, budgeting, planning, allocation processes, etc. That is not what Microsoft is releasing, thats true. Theyre not releasing any packaged analytic applications, other than the score-carding product, which is more of a generic process for business process management." Hyperion has a better packaging of that process, Vesset said. What Microsoft will do to fill in that gap will be to partner. But the way things stand, Microsoft still has a ways to go before Cognos et al. will have cause to lose sleep at night. "I just think, as always, nothing happens overnight," Vesset said. "Microsoft released their first OLAP product in 1998. It took them probably five years to become one of the leading vendors. Special vendors certainly arent going anywhere. Nevertheless, there will be a fairly significant impact on the market with Microsoft putting more focus on BI."
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Will Microsofts BI push manage to shove Hyperion et al. off the playing field? Howard Dresner, Hyperions chief strategy officer, thinks not. "Microsoft has been in the BI market for a dozen years," he said. "And were still standing. I wonder why? Its a bit of Chicken Little: The sky is falling. Its a growing market with lots of opportunities for everyone."