SMB Specialists: Microsoft Delivers BI As A Fringe Benefit
Microsoft's answer for BI appeals to enterprises large and small, but midsize firms, in particular, like the fact that if you license Microsoft SQL Server, SharePoint (Enterprise), and Microsoft Office, you own all the components of Microsoft BI. Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 provides built-in Reporting Services, Analysis Services, Integration Services, and the PowerPivot in-memory-analysis plug-in for Excel. SharePoint Enterprise Edition gives you PerformancePoint Services for dashboards, scorecards, and analytics. And Microsoft Office gives you Excel, which is a ubiquitous data-consumption tool, exploited by Microsoft as well as most other BI vendors. You'll need IT's support to make the most of integration, reporting, and analysis services, but SharePoint and Excel are familiar, easy to use, and versatile in serving many needs.