Microsoft officially added a new server to its business intelligence lineup on June 6, announcing plans for a back-end application that will support business scorecarding, budgeting, forecasting and other performance-planning activities.
The new product, Office PerformancePoint Server 2007, is the latest piece of Microsofts evolving family of analytics products to get the official nod. PerformancePoint is slated for beta testing this fall and is expected to ship by mid-2007, according to Microsoft officials. Microsoft itself has been dogfooding PerformancePoint since September 2005, company officials said, to manage all of the companys cost and revenue forecasting.
Microsoft is slated to share the latest iteration of its BI road map and more details about PerformancePoint during a Webcast on June 6.
In March 2006, at the companys Convergence conference, Francois Ajenstat, general product manager for SQL Server, explained Microsofts BI strategy. Ajenstat presented to press and analyst attendees an architectural diagram to describe Microsofts BI infrastructure.
The bottom layer consisted of what Ajenstat called "the business intelligence platform," which, in Microsofts world view, is SQL Server, reporting services, analysis services and data-transformation services. On top of that layer sits "end user tools"—specifically Microsoft Offices Excel, Excel Services (in Office 2007) and SharePoint Server 2007. The very top layer consists of "analytic applications," which, in Microsoft parlance, equates to the Dynamics CRM/ERP family plus current and future Office Business applications.
Office Business apps include Microsoft Business Scorecard Manager 2005, as well as other performance-management applications, code-named Biz#, that are under development.