Microsoft Widens Business Intelligence Approach — Is Everyone A Business Analyst Now?
In the future, everyone will be a business analyst. Well, not exactly, workers will actually carry on being salespeople, dentists, pharmaceutical research specialists, children’s entertainers, accountants and cakemakers. To be clearer then… in the future, everyone will have access to a degree of business analytics embedded inside the everyday software applications that they use on day-to-day basis. This is the way so-called Business Intelligence (BI) is going and every major IT vendor has a stake in this market.
When we talk about BI in this sense, we are of course referring to business ‘dashboards’ (not unlike the speedometer dials in an automobile) that display core enterprise performance metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). A good BI dashboard will be fully customizable so that users can a) arrange the screen in the way they want and, more fundamentally, b) choose which data streams from which departments or line of business functions are presented in summary graphical form.
Finger in the BI pie
Alongside competitor Oracle, Microsoft has a meaty finger in the BI pie. This month sees Microsoft’s James Phillips announce a premium edition of the firm’s Power BI software in his capacity as corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Business Applications, Platform and Intelligence (BAPI) organization.
“Power BI was first made generally available in July 2015. Since then, Microsoft’s driving vision for Power BI has been to enable users across roles, disciplines and industries to sign up for the service in seconds and get business value by drawing insights from their data within minutes,” said Microsoft’s Philips.
As we move to a world where BI is supposed to be accessible by every person in any organization, we see advances capable of pushing BI intelligence and analytics inside other applications. Usually using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) as their conduit for connectivity, this kind of augmentation will (theoretically at least) allow all workers to get BI insights on how a firm (or a department, or a business function) is doing at any time inside a piece of software that they may use for broader daily functions.
“Power BI Premium advances how Power BI content is embedded in apps by converging Power BI Embedded with the Power BI service. Customers, partners and the broad developer community can take advantage of one API surface, a consistent set of capabilities and access to the latest features with Power BI Premium,” said Microsoft’s Phillips.