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Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007

 

Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007 was finally released September 20 2007.

This tool is the first of its kind to offer three integrated areas of business:

  1. Monitoring - scorecarding, dashboarding and reporting.
  2. Analysis - delivers Web-based analytic functionality on top of the same models. Includes a lot of ProClarity technology.
  3. Planning - includes planning, budgeting, forecasting and consolidation as well as management reporting including statutory- and GAAP-type reporting.

The tool is equally functional as a production planning tool as it is a financial analysis and performance reporting tool.

 

Key Features

Key features include:

Built-in business rules - support common transactional functions such as currency conversions. Financial consolidation rules included how you consolidate multiple general ledger types and partial ownerships. All the standard business rules for approvals, workflow cycles and escalations make these applications more functional for end users.

Modeling tools - are integrated into the application - no third party modules required.

SQL Server Analysis Services - 64-bit, industry-leading OLAP multidimensional engine provides functionality such as drilling across hierarchies, name sets and rich analytic functionality.

Processing Speed - No in-memory technology, similar to Applix or QlikTech but Microsoft are unconvinced it's needed. You can still do rapid, what-if analyses in PerformancePoint; it's just not done in memory. Processing speed needs are met with Analysis Services with proactive caching and real-time OLAP.

Office Integration - PeformancePoint does not require Office 2007. From the planning perspective, there's no functional difference between planning in Excel 2003 and Excel 2007. Doesn't have some of the net-new BI features in Office 2007 such as " richer visualizations, some of the native connections to back-end sources and the ribbon interface.

Data And Device Integration - Support for heterogeneous environments with multiple data sources and non-Microsoft user interfaces such as RIM Blackberries is taken care of. PerformancePoint supports all data sources - Oracle, Web Services, DB2. It uses the SQL Server platform for extracting the data, using SQL Server Integration Services. On different delivery mechanisms, it relies on Web-based delivery of functionality right inside the Office user interface. This covers the majority of where people work and collaborate on a day-to-day basis.

Futureproofing - PerformancePoint is built for and requires SQL Server 2005. In SQL Server 2008, there will be new BI and data warehousing functionality — a lot of functionality in the core engine itself and inside Analysis Services and Reporting Services. Service packs will allow existing PerformancePoint implementations to take advantage of the new functionality.

Pricing - PerformancePoint is priced for broad deployment at $20,000 per server and $195 per client access license.

 

Key Business Benefits

Having a fully integrated system to support monitoring, analysis and planning means:

  • Planning cubes are better
  • Scorecards are better - built on top of planning cubes
  • Analysis is better - the rich data model that comes from the planning exercise.

Models are essentially rendered as underlying Analysis Services cubes.

When you do analysis, either in Excel or in the browser, you're slicing, dicing and cross-drilling against those same cubes

Overall, PeformancePoint provides tremendous value as an extension of existing investments in Microsoft BI technology and other Microsoft products. Businesses only need to pay ONE user license to do access all capabilities. With that one license, you can do planning, scorecarding, analysis, reporting — everything in PerformancePoint.

 

PerformancePoint 2008

The biggest functionality gains in the 2008 release will be pure data warehousing, with features such as:

  • intra-partition parallelism
  • higher data scales
  • indexing around partitions
  • Improvements for scalability, performance and data warehousing workloads.

PerformancePoint 2008 is aiming to support 40- and 50-terabyte data warehouses.

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