Connecting Microsoft Office Users to Business Insights – Stories

LewisLevin,CorporateVicePresident,MicrosoftOfficeBusinessApplications

REDMOND,Wash。

Oct。

23,2005Today,MicrosoftisannouncingnewMicrosoftOfficetechnologiesdesignedtoconnecttheinformationworkerswhouseMicrosoftOfficesoftwareeverydaywiththebusinessinformationtheyneedtomakefasterandmoreinformeddecisions。

PressPassspokewithLewisLevin,corporatevicepresidentoftheOfficeBusinessApplicationsgroup,tolearnmore。

PressPass:Whatisbeingannouncedtoday?

Levin:WereannouncingthatMicrosoftissignificantlyincreasing,aligningandbroadeningourinvestmentsinbusinessintelligence(BI)。

OfficeandtheMicrosoftOfficeSystemaregoingtoplayamuchbiggerrole。

Specifically,wereshippingthenewestOfficesystemproducttheOfficeBusinessScorecardManager2005,andwearealsopreviewingnewOffice12BIfeatures,whichareabig,newfocusforMicrosoftExcelandSharePoint。

WiththisnewproductandthenewOfficefeatures,MicrosoftwillmakeBItoolsaccessibletomorepeopleandmoremainstreamwithinorganizations。

PressPass:WhatdoyoumeanwhenyousaymakeBImainstream?

Levin:Well,today,BIsolutionsarecostlyandcomplextouseanddeploy。

BIsolutionsonlyreachafractionofthepeoplewithinanorganizationwhowouldbenefitfromtheabilitytoaccessandanalyzebusinessdatainarichway。

OurgoalistoaddresstheunrealizedpotentialofBIbyprovidingasimpleuserexperiencethroughMicrosoftOfficeandbyapplyingourlow-cost,highvolumeapproachtothemarket。

Wethinkdecisionmakersatalllevelswithinanorganizationcandriveimprovedbusinessperformanceiftheyhavetherightdata,attherighttime,intherightformat。

ThatsourfocuswewantMicrosoftBusinessIntelligencetotouchasmanydecisionsinanorganizationaspossible。

Letmegiveyouanexampletoillustratethepotential。

Imagineaworkplacewherebusinessreportswontjustbeastaticcollectionofnumbersthatreflectthejudgmentofwhoevergatheredthem。

Instead,reportswillbeanentrypointintowhateverissueisbeingaddressed。

Thereportwillcontainlinkstoalltheunderlyingdata,plusthetoolsfornavigatingthroughallthereportsthatweresummarizedinthereport。

Nolongerwillamanagerhavetomakeabunchofphonecallsaboutananomaly。

If,say,arevenuenumberonasummaryincludessomedatapointthatiswelloutsidethenorm,thesoftwarewillautomaticallyflagtheoutlier。

PressPass:WhatssignificantabouttheimprovementsplannedforExcelinOffice12,howdoesthatrelatetoBI?

Levin:Excelisclearlywhereinformationworkersliketoanalyze,formatandsharedata。

Caseinpoint,almosteverysingleBItoolhasanexport-to-Excelbutton。

Butsofar,Excelhasnotbeenastartingpointforsecuredataaccessandanalysis。

WithOffice12,weremakingExcelagreatBItoolforendusers。

Insteadofcreatinganewtool,werebuildingBIintoExcelsopeoplecansecurelyaccess,workwith,andsharebusinessinformationallwithinatooltheyknow。

Office12Excelwilldeliverimprovementslikestylegalleriesandadvancedvisualizationcapabilitiesthatmakeitquickandeasytobuildprofessional-qualityspreadsheets。

ItwillalsodelivercompletesupportforSQLServer2005AnalysisServicessoyoucanestablishapermanentconnectionbetweenaspreadsheetandyourenterprisedatasoyoucanupdatethespreadsheetwiththelatestnumbers,ordrilltothenextlevelofdetailwiththeclickofamouse。

Illgiveyouascenario。

Atonetimeoranother,mostretailexecutiveshaveaskedaquestionwhichisnteasilyfoundinthecompanysdataarchives,liketheprofitabilityofaparticularproduct。

ButthebusinesssITsystemmayonlycalculateprofitabilitydowntothelevelofdepartments。

Today,aspecialiststillhastodigintothedatamanually。

Theworkcanbedone,butitsslow,hardandexpensive。

WithOffice12Excel,youcanpreservetheconnectiontothedatasourcesoemployeescandrilldownforadditionalcontextondata,andunderstandwhatsgoingonwiththenumberstheysee。

Thatsgoingtohelptheemployeemakefaster,moreinformeddecisions。

InOffice12Excelwerealsoaddingserver-sidecapabilitiesthatmakeiteasiertosecure,manageandcollaboratewithothersonspreadsheetseffectivelymakingExcelamoresecureandmanageabledataanalysisandpresentationtool。

Insteadofe-mailingExcelworksheetsandchangingandstoringtheminmultipleplacesonthenetwork,youhaveoneversionoftheworksheetinoneplaceandpeoplecanaccessitwithjustabrowserorwithExcel。

PressPass:HowdoSharePointproductsandtechnologiesfactorintoBI?

Levin:InOffice12,SharePointproductsandtechnologiesbecomeacomprehensiveBIPortalforalloftheBIcontentandend-usercapabilitiesinSQLServerReportingServicesandMicrosoftOffice,providingsecureaccesstobusinessinformationinoneplace。

TheresanewReportCenterfeaturethatwillmakeiteasytogetareportanddataportalupandrunninginnotime。

And,ofcourse,BusinessScorecardManagerworkswithourcurrentSharePointtechnologiesandwillalsolightupsomeofthenewOffice12features。

PressPass:HowbigisthemarketforBIsolutions?

And,doyouseethisasadeparturefromthetraditionalOfficefocusonproductivitysoftware?

Levin:ThebusinessanalyticsmarketisaroughlyUS$15billionmarket,accordingtoIDC。

Today,MicrosofthasagoodfoundationinthismarketwithSQLServerattheplatformlevelandExcelattheclient-level。

NowwerefocusedonacompleteBIofferingthatappealsdirectlytobusinessusersandbusinessdecision-makers。

TheBIinvestmentsweremakinginMicrosoftOfficesignificantenhancementsinexistingproductslikeExcelandSharePointandnewserverproductsliketheOfficeBusinessScorecardManagerareaverynaturalextensionofourOfficeSystemstrategy。

Accessinginformation,gaininginsightsfromit,sharingtheinsight,andactingondecisionsfitswithhowcustomersuseMicrosoftOfficealready。

TheyllbemoreproductiveandmakebetterdecisionswithournewBIinvestmentsinOffice。

PressPass:Tellmeaboutthegroupthatyoulead,theOfficeBusinessApplicationsgroup。

Levin:WeformedthisgroupaboutfouryearsagotofocusonturningBusinessIntelligenceintoapplications。

Formostcustomerstoday,BIisaboutbuildingsomethingfromscratch。

But,othermajorsoftwarecategorieshaveshiftedtocustomizablebusinessapplications。

So,wesetouttodothisontheMicrosoftBIplatform,SQLServer,withtheuserexperienceinMicrosoftOffice。

Alongtheway,wediscoveredthatcustomerswantlotsoftheirbusinessapplicationstobemoreeffective,usefulandusableandcustomersseeperformingkeybusinessprocessesinOfficeasthewaytoaccomplishthat。

So,weveexpandedthegroupschartertomakingMicrosoftOfficethepreferredplaceforuserstoaccessbusinessinformationandperformbusinessprocesses。

Bothofourgroupsannouncedproductsreflectthischarter:OfficeBusinessScorecardManagerforBIandaproductcode-namedMendocino,whichweareco-developingwithSAP,tobringbusinessprocessesintoMicrosoftOffice。

Wereofftoanexcitingstartwithmoretocome。

PressPass:WhatdifferentiatesMicrosoftsBIapproachandsolutionsfromothercompanieswhovebeensuccessfulinthismarket?

Levin:FirstismakingBIanintegralpartoftheMicrosoftOfficeSystemwherepeopleworkandcollaboratetoday。

Customersconsistentlyandemphaticallysaythatthisiswhattheywant。

TaketheOfficeBusinessScorecardManager,whichwerelaunching,asaprimeexample。

Weredeliveringthisveryrichscorecardingapplicationatafractionofthecostofcompetingscorecardsolutions。

AnditrunsonSharePointsoitssimplefordecision-makersatalllevelswithinanorganizationtobuild,manageandusescorecards。

CollaborativeBIiseasySharePointmakesiteasytoworkwithothers,addotherinformation,andevenautomaticallynotifyusersofchangedinformation。

Ittakesadvantageofacompanysexistingskillsandtechnologyinvestmentssotheygetmorevaluewithlesscostandtime。

PressPass:WhatbenefitwillMicrosoftDynamicscustomersreceivefromMicrosoftOfficeBusinessScorecardManager2005?

Levin:ThecombinedcapabilitiesofMicrosoftDynamicsandMicrosoftOfficeBusinessScorecardManagerofferacomprehensivewayfororganizationstogaindeepercontextualinsightintowhatbusinessdriversmattermosttotheirbusiness,helpingtheentireorganizationmoveforwardwithcommonpurposeanddirection。

Bytakingadvantageofout-of-the-boxoravailable,straight-forwardmethodstomovekeyfinancial,CRMandsupply-chaindatatoMicrosoftSQLServerAnalysisServicescubes,MicrosoftDynamicscustomerscanquicklytakeadvantageoftherichkeyperformanceindicatorsandviewthatdatainMicrosoftOfficeBusinessScorecardManager2005。

PressPass:WhatotherinvestmentsisMicrosoftmakinginBI?

Levin:Withoutgettingintospecifics,whatweveannouncedtodayisnottheend;wehavemorecoming。

BusinessIntelligenceisnotjustasetofproducts。

Itisanactivityorprocessthatpeopleinorganizationsdo。

Wethinkithasbeentoohardtobuildbusinessintelligenceintotheprocessespeoplefollowwhentheymakedecisions。

Thisisanareawherewearecontinuingtomakebiginvestments。


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