Seems like there has always been a question that Microsoft has received from the data warehouse, business intelligence and business community: Does Microsoft really *get* BI? In other words, I think that means are we serious about the technology, the capabilities, and the benefits it brings to business. Also, can Microsoft speak the business talk in its products and solutions that address business pain points that can be solved with BI.

Those that have been working with BI systems for many years have seen large software vendors like Oracle, SAP and SAS perform very well in this area when you look at Gartner's magic quadrant for business intelligence and analytics systems. The BI-specific niche companies make a nice showing there as well, such as Business Objects and Cognos. Then there is a separate category of consulting services-driven solutions from CapGemini, HP, IBM, etc. that leverage their business consulting to add value to a customer solution.

With the very recent release of Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server, this is all possible and being delivered by Microsoft today. Yes, Microsoft does indeed get it! We are putting together solutions based on these BI & BPM tools that are being driven by what OLAP Report lists as the #1 OLAP engine on the market today, SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services and our ETL engine, SSIS, and updating those in 2008 with brand new versions. By working with industry experts in the fields of telcommunications, health services and retail, Microsoft is taking those tools and creating data models and cubes to solve business problems for business users. And all of that analysis and knowledge is then surfaced through MOSS 2007 so that it is available to the masses: BI for everyone in your organization! Empower, enlighten and participate in excellent business decisions is what Microsoft BI solutions position for.

So that's it from Redmond for me for now. Have a very happy Fall & Halloween! Best regards, Mark