PerformancePoint Server 2007 joins Sharepoint Server

Microsoft made a recent announcement stating that its PerformancePoint Server 2007 product will be remarketed as part of the Sharepoint Server offering in the future. This actually makes a lot of sense. Let’s take a look…

When Microsoft acquired ProClarity and its Analytics application in April 2006, it looked a good purchase to complement the Business Intelligence solution already enhanced in SQL Server 2005. Microsoft had developed new visualization features such as KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) within Analysis Services but needed more substance to allow users to develop dashboard style applications. The ProClarity tools, with Business Scorecard Manager and a new Planning module, were combined to produce Office PerformancePoint Server 2007. This stand-alone tool was marketed as an add-on to the Office 2007 suite which itself had some pretty nifty visualization features in Excel 2007.

It appears that customers were slow to see the value of purchasing a separate product when developers were still coming to terms with the features and functionality available through SQL Server 2005 and Sharepoint Server. It also shows that just adding the word Office to the front of a product does not always produce results.

Microsoft’s normal strategy with SQL Server is to have one license fee and add all sorts of functionality “for free” under the product umbrella depending on the edition. This is how Integration Services, Reporting Services and Analysis Services have evolved. Many customers are asking themselves “why don’t we use Microsoft’s solution, since we’re already paying for it?” as opposed to purchasing third-party products.

It looks like Microsoft has reverted to this strategy for Sharepoint Server Enterprise. The already popular portal and groupware will serve as the parent product for the PerformancePoint Monitoring and Analytics capabilities. This will enable the product to be more pervasive in the market place and will allow further integration between the tools beyond the current web-parts.  Existing PPS 2007 customers will be supported with a SP3 release but then will be expected to join the Sharepoint bandwagon.

This strategy must infuriate the smaller competition, which is usually left with the option: “if you can’t beat them, join them”. But as long as SQL Server and Sharepoint do not become part of the Windows OS, Microsoft should be able to keep out of the courtroom.



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