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Microsoft Releases Test Version Of PerformancePoint Server

Microsoft has released the community technology preview of PerformancePoint Server 2007, a key component of the software maker's business intelligence suite.
Microsoft on Tuesday released the community technology preview of PerformancePoint Server 2007, a key component of the software maker's business intelligence suite.

PerformancePoint Server provides analytics and reporting for financial planning, budgeting, forecasting, financial consolidation and scorecards. The software sits on top of SQL Server, which contains an on line analytical processing, or OLAP, server and reporting tools.

For the user interface, Microsoft plans to integrate its BI data with Office 2007 and Office 2003. Microsoft Excel remains the most widely used software in business reporting and analysis.

Early next year, Microsoft plans to release CTP 2 of PerformancePoint, which would include analytics software acquired through this year's purchase of ProClarity, Michael Smith, director of marketing for Microsoft, said. The software maker plans to ship PerformancePoint in the middle of next year, and hasn't disclosed pricing.

In the meantime, Microsoft customers and partners can download the CTP of PerformancePoint Server from the company's Web site. Registrants will have access to training materials and peer-to-peer newsgroups.

Microsoft shook the BI market with the purchase of ProClariity, which immediately moved the company into the ranks of BI suite vendors. In 2005, before the acquisition, Microsoft was No. 6 in the BI market with $290 million in revenues, according to Gartner. Business Objects led the market, followed by Cognos, SAS Institute, SAP and Hyperion, respectively.

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