If you’ve been following the latest technology trends, you’ve probably heard quite a bit about topics such as big data, predictive analytics and self-service business intelligence (BI). Microsoft provides solutions in all these areas leveraging tools that many people are already using today such as Excel, SharePoint and SQL Server while also integrating with innovative new platforms such as Hadoop and Information Marketplaces. This integrated approach helps our customers build solutions that help drive business performance, create differentiation and stay ahead of the competition. To provide more tangible examples of these trends, we thought it would be useful to describe how a few of our customers are using some of these technologies to achieve their business goals.

Klout is an innovative company that consumes large amounts of social media raw data, turning it into valuable information that is actionable for consumers, brands and partners. They do this by storing large data-sets in Hadoop and using Microsoft Business Intelligence to power its insights. Read about their story here, or better yet hear Klout’s VP of Technology Dave Mariani give a detailed discussion on leveraging Microsoft BI at the Hadoop Summit conference next month.

Predictive analytics is used to analyze known facts to make predictions about future events. Motricity provides mobile advertising and marketing solutions for advertising agencies, consumer brands and mobile operators. Motricity needed to rapidly process repeated cycles comparing various attributes and derive correlations from consumer data. To achieve the high performance required for the data intensive task, they used a new feature in SQL Server 2012 called xVelocity which includes a memory-optimized columnstore index. This use of in-memory technology can drastically speed performance – another customer, Bank of Nagoya, used the same technology to speed up data warehousing and business intelligence queries. They were able to run a 100 million record query in just 3 seconds versus the 30 minutes previously required.

One of the key challenges for many BI projects is to provide insights to all the people in an organization, not just the skilled IT professionals, and this has driven the trend towards self-service BI solutions. Volvo Car Corporation wanted business analysts and engineers to use BI tools which would help improve efficiency and make it easier for them to collaborate. They implemented a BI solution based on Power View and related technologies, including SharePoint and Office. Employees were already familiar with Microsoft products, improving performance and reducing training costs. Productivity gains already have been impressive. They now plan to rollout Power View’s rich data visualization technology to 5,000 users, empowering the entire company to make data-driven decisions.

Data-driven decision making can be difficult if the integrity of the data is called into question. Data is often collected from various systems with unique standards, causing high variability. SQL Server 2012 Data Quality Service (DQS) and Master Data Service (MDS) are built-in technologies to address this problem. DQS is a solution that enables you to discover, build and manage knowledge about your data so that you can cleanse, match and profile it. MDS provides an authoritative data source across different applications with automated workflows, rules, hierarchies and attributes. RealtyTrac collects real estate information from across the company, and due to various data standards and the complexity of the mortgage industry they found it challenging to obtain reliable data. RealtyTrac used DQS to cleanse its 850 GB transactional database and the SQL Server 2012 MDS Add-In for Microsoft Excel to easily update its master data. As a result, they have a streamlined process for providing reliable data to its employees and customers that was cost-effective and enhances their competitive advantage.

Finally, Havas Media is a great example of a customer that’s leveraged the full power of Microsoft BI to drive operational efficiencies, improve business insight and increase its revenue opportunities. Havas manages over 100 terabytes of complex data, with over 300 million rows of data being loaded daily from multiple sources. After evaluating 20 vendor solutions, Havas chose Microsoft because its familiar tools empowered end users with the ability to drive data insights on their own. SQL Server PowerPivot and Power View data visualization technologies cut reporting time by 80 percent and allowed Havas to go from a reactive to a proactive approach with clients, generating more revenue opportunities. Read the case study or hear Tony Jaskeran (Head of BI, Havas Media) discuss details of his BI solution next month in an exclusive interview with CIO Magazine here (link to on-demand webcast that will be live later in June!).

Thanks,

Microsoft BI Team