Microsoft Deal Gives Great Plains Analytical Upgrade

Microsoft is acquiring code from a little-known analytics company that will be used as part of a series of upgrades to Microsoft Business Solutions' Great Plains ERP suite.

Microsoft Corp. is acquiring code from a little-known analytics company that should help the software maker beef up analytics capabilities in Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains ERP suite.

The code, called Webhouse, comes from Microsoft partner Professional Advantage Pty. Ltd., of Sydney, Australia, and will be used as part of a series of upgrades to the Microsoft Great Plains suite. The upgrades will come as extensions covering four areas: analytics, industry functionality, flexibility and extensibility. The first product—8.0 Extensions for Microsoft Great Plains 8.0—will be available this month.

For enhanced analytics, 8.0 Extensions will add a new Business Intelligence Foundation Layer for deeper financial analysis and better capabilities for tracking information flow. Microsoft Great Plains 8.0 Professional Edition includes Great Plains Analysis Cubes for Excel, based on the Webhouse code.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read about how Great Plains fits into Microsofts "Project Green" strategy.

For better industry functionality, 8.0 Extensions will add better customization capabilities, along with a new Grant Management module. To provide more flexibility, 8.0 Extensions also makes it easier to modify data entry windows, add fields and track information, officials said.

Webhouse user Andrew Skipton, finance director with Logos Research Systems Inc., said he is pleased that Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., acquired the technology. "When we bought it from [Professional Advantage], we considered it a bargain because it provided so much information," said Skipton. "Now that Microsoft has it, were assured that at least as much effort will go into continuing [the code] and maintaining it because theyre so huge."

Webhouse helped Skipton, in Bellingham, Wash., build a data warehouse that he could access using OLAP (online analytical processing) cubes, providing the ability to process information stored in his Great Plains system.

"If you think of this visually, your data looks like a Rubiks Cube," he said.

/zimages/6/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.