"The portal interface can be a custom dashboard that shows key performance indicators, and collects and shows information to help businesses make decisions and strategies," said Tom Rizzo, Microsoft's director of product management for SQL Server.
The Business Scorecard Accelerator requires the use of the SQL Server 2000 database, Office 2003, and SharePoint Portal 2003.
Value-added resellers could use the software to quickly assemble scorecards for their customers based on their business requirements. Solution providers also could customize the scorecards for customers to give them the look and feel they desire.
Another freebie is a new Excel add-on for analysis services that will bring more functionality to users who may have stretched Excel's pivot tables to their limits. If a customer needs to analyze data from many sources or write data from the pivot table to SQL Server, the add-on--available for download Wednesday--could help, Rizzo said.
The software works with Excel XP, 2002, or 2003 and requires SQL Server's analysis services running on the back end. Both products will be fully supported by Microsoft, Rizzo said.
Meanwhile, solution providers and customers are awaiting the next beta version of SQL Server, code-named Yukon. Microsoft has promised to release it in the first half of the year, with final shipment of the software expected in the first half of 2005.