MS looms over BI

It's not going to happen overnight, but Microsoft could soon be dominating the business intelligence market. The company has been quietly dabbling in BI for a number of years now, but it wasn't until its purchase last year of ProCalrity and its analysis and visualization software that the MS BI push got into high gear. What makes the possibility seem realistic is in part related to what invariably makes Redmond a player in whatever market they choose to enter: the ubiquity of the Office platform. Many users of leading BI manufacturers' tools today ultimately like to have their information distilled through Microsoft Excel. If Microsoft can present a set of BI tools as robust as anything else out on the market, why would any customer not want to streamline their setup and cut out another vendor? Not to mention that BI is beginning to see solid growth in the mid-market – shops that, while often not as tech-savvy as their enterprise cousins, are certainly familiar with Microsoft Office, and in particular Excel. It's these thoughts that are no doubt going to keep the traditional BI players up at night. They will have to ensure that their platforms continue to be a step or two ahead of what Microsoft serves up…or else.

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