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Wayne Eckerson

Welcome to Wayne's World, my blog that illuminates the latest thinking about how to deliver insights from business data and celebrates out-of-the-box thinkers and doers in the business intelligence (BI), performance management and data warehousing (DW) fields. Tune in here if you want to keep abreast of the latest trends, techniques, and technologies in this dynamic industry.

About the author >

Wayne has been a thought leader in the business intelligence field since the early 1990s. He has conducted numerous research studies and is a noted speaker, blogger, and consultant. He is the author of two widely read books: Performance Dashboards: Measuring, Monitoring, and Managing Your Business (2005, 2010) and The Secrets of Analytical Leaders: Insights from Information Insiders (2012).

Wayne is founder and principal consultant at Eckerson Group,a research and consulting company focused on business intelligence, analytics and big data.

Buying business intelligence (BI) from Microsoft is a little like buying your child a mail-order bike for Christmas. When you open the box late Christmas eve, you see umpteen parts, nuts, bolts and various accessories that you quickly realize will take all night to assemble, if you are lucky.

Although Microsoft offers some very good BI capabilities, they are built into a number of different products (Excel, SQL Server, Sharepoint, etc.) and do not come as an integrated bundle. First, you need to purchase the right versions of each Microsoft product and then assign several developers to wire the BI capabilities of the products together to ensure a seamless user experience. So, although Microsoft doesn't charge for BI, it takes a lot of time and money to get a Microsoft BI implementation up and running, especially in an enterprise environment.

Fortunately, there is a BI product that takes the pain out of installing and using BI capabilities for Microsoft customers. Called BI Office Suite, the product from Pyramid Analytics provides a tightly integrated BI environment that supports reporting, dashboarding, analysis, visualization, and data mining. Using LDAP-based security and role-based permissioning, the product can be tailored to both casual and power users so companies only needs to purchase a single tool to meet everyone's reporting and analytical needs.

This is sweet news to many Microsoft customers, who comprise the vast majority of Pyramid Analytic's 450+ customers. And one notable customer is Microsoft, who purchased a division site license and recently appointed Pyramid as Managed Partner for a number of industry verticals (health, finance, federal). BI Office Suite strengthens the overall Microsoft BI stack especially in competitive situations with Tableau, Qlik, Cognos and other established BI vendors.

Built on the Microsoft stack with SQL Server Analysis Services as its core engine, BI Office Suite has branched beyond the Microsoft platform this year and now imports data into an in-memory cache from a host of databases and applications, from local files to relational and NoSQL databases, and applications, such as Salesforce.com. The product was built from the ground-up as a Web product, so there is no desktop software to install or maintain. The company recently introduced an HTML5 interface (replacing Silverlight) and a variety of hybrid mobile apps so that it runs on any device with automatic screen resizing.

Other key differentiators include a modular and scalable architecture with load balancing with both scale up and scale out functionality on clustered computers. It also offers server-based data modeling and manipulation (i.e. data wrangling), which means the models analysts build can be easily shared, reused and monitored. Finally, the product embeds the open source R language to support data mining operations under the covers.

For more information, see www.pyramidanalytics.com

Posted October 1, 2014 4:53 PM
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