Microsoft Business Intelligence

Microsoft business intelligence is the market leader in terms of market share in the BI space. They have many different products that compose their system, which includes database, ETL, OLAP and analysis, and reports.

Microsoft business intelligence is the market leader in terms of market share in the BI space. They have many different products that compose their system, which includes database, ETL, OLAP and analysis, and reports.

The backbone of the Microsoft BI offering is SQL Server. SQL server is hugely popular in the business space for databases, and it is the database required for all of the intelligence tools. This alone gets Microsoft lots of exposure. It can be deployed by itself for other applications or as part of a dedicated BI stack. Recently SQL server has added columnar and better in-memory options that are geared for high performance business intelligence.

Obviously, Excel is a huge part of the Microsoft BI stack. Many companies use it as the main front end for BI users. In some cases, it may be the back end too. Recently, Microsoft has added PowerPivot, as a way to get Excel on steroids. With Powerpivot, users can work with vastly bigger datasets and share and collaborate on models much easier.

For visualization, Power BI is the main tool and is quickly gaining market share.  These are designed to be interactive and more of a dashboard like experience and is designed to be a competitor to Tableau and Qlik, amongst others.

Basic report development is through SQL Server Reporting Services, or SSRS. This allows report development as well as delivery of reports in more of a standard static format.

SSAS, or SQL Server Analysis Services, is the cube or OLAP development tool. Microsoft allows both relational and multidimensional cube development. Data mining and statistical services are an additional capability.

Dashboards were historically done through ProClarity, but this has shifted due to the Proclarity line being discontinued PerformancePoint was a past Microsoft product, that was geared around forecasting and planning. It was marketed to compete with Cognos Planning and other enterprise planning products, but was discontinued.

Sharepoint is the business intelligence portal for Microsoft, as well as a key tool for document sharing and business collaboration. It's the main tool for web access to the reports.

Because of the popularity and overall reach of MSFT in the market, third party add-on have proliferated, especially for Excel. XlCubed is one of the more popular visualization tools available.

SSIS is the ETL tool that resides in the environment, which pushes packages of data around. This tool can be accessed directly to create data movements, or the business intelligence Development Studio can be used for more detailed ETL work.

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