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Microsoft To Expand Business Intelligence Line With Performance Management

The company is also expected to outline plans for its ProClarity acquisition.

Microsoft on Tuesday plans to expand its business intelligence product line when it announces PerformancePoint Server 2007, performance management software designed to provide planning, analysis, and business scorecarding capabilities when it's available next year.

Microsoft is also expected to say it has completed its acquisition of BI software vendor ProClarity--announced in early April--and provide details of its plans for using the ProClarity technology. Some of that technology will be built into PerformancePoint, which is scheduled to be available for beta testing in November and generally available in mid-2007.

The new software will put Microsoft into closer competition with business intelligence vendors such as Business Objects, Cognos, and Hyperion, which also market performance management applications. Earlier this year a Gartner CIO survey found that business intelligence was the top technology priority for a majority of the executives.

Microsoft currently builds core analysis and reporting capabilities into its SQL Server 2005 database. Microsoft is also adding BI capabilities to the upcoming Office 2007 versions of its desktop applications, such as building trend indicator features into Excel. Microsoft executives say Office 2007 will be the primary applications for users to access BI functionality in Microsoft server software, including PerformancePoint, although some industry analysts say the ProClarity acquisition muddies that strategy a bit.

PerformancePoint will be able to tap into SQL Server's reporting and analysis functions. It's also expected to include business-modeling capabilities for users to develop business rules and performance metrics for their organization.

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