Today at the 2004 Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) Community Summit in Orlando, Fla., Microsoft Corp. extended its comprehensive data platform by demonstrating new business intelligence (BI) capabilities for Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2000 and SQL Server 2005. In the opening keynote address, Bill Baker, general manager for SQL Server BI at Microsoft, announced new Microsoft SQL Server Report Packs for Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft Business Solutions CRM. The Report Packs, available for free via download beginning today, will provide customers with templates of commonly used SQL Server Reporting Services reports that users can easily modify for their own reporting needs. Baker also confirmed that Reporting Services Report Builder, a self-service ad hoc query tool for building reports, based on technology recently acquired from ActiveViews Inc., will be included in SQL Server 2005 Beta 3. In addition, SQL Server Integration Services, formerly Data Transformation Services (DTS), has been enhanced for SQL Server 2005 Beta 3 with more robust and flexible features that allow customers to integrate data from any location. With these new built-in BI capabilities, customers using SQL Server will experience greater insight into their business, resulting in increased return on investment and business productivity for the entire organization.
To demonstrate the advantages of SQL Server’s BI capabilities, Baker highlighted SQL Server customer Barnes & Noble Inc., which plans to enhance its current system by implementing Microsoft’s comprehensive SQL Server 2000 BI solution. Previously experiencing an overburdened database, the company decided to deploy SQL Server Reporting Services, SQL Server Analysis Services, DTS and data mining. Barnes & Noble now supports a 1.2 TB database of raw data on a 20-way server and estimates that the totally SQL Server solution will lower operating costs by 20 percent compared to competitive quotes.
“SQL Server 2000 will significantly reduce the time it takes our developers to aggregate data. In our trial tests, we experienced a 400 percent throughput improvement with DTS,” said Lou Ann Leary, director of Merchandise Systems at Barnes & Noble. “The SQL Server BI solution will help us save money with a fast, easy-to-use solution that allows us to deliver more meaningful and up-to-date information both internally and to our customers.”
SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services Extends Reach
Since its launch in January, nearly 100,000 users have downloaded SQL Server Reporting Services. Now, in response to customer feedback and based on SQL Server Reporting Services, Microsoft SQL Server Report Packs have been developed for Exchange Server and Microsoft CRM 1.2, and are available for free via download beginning today. The Report Packs will ease customer report development by providing users with templates of commonly used reports that they can easily modify for their own custom reports. For example, report templates for Exchange Server have been developed to recognize who sends the largest e-mail messages, determine the current size of user folders, search outgoing e-mail messages for keywords and provide a report that includes those specific e-mail messages. For Microsoft CRM, a report template was created to list current customers in the pipeline along with details about those customers. Report Packs for additional applications will be offered in the future.
Recognizing the impressive adoption rate of SQL Server Reporting Services, Microsoft has shipped Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) with SQL Server Reporting Services in its most recent product version, while Microsoft CRM and Visual Studio® will ship SQL Server Reporting Services in the next releases of their products. In addition, Visual Studio 2005 will include embeddable reporting controls that allow customers and partners to more easily build applications with SQL Server Reporting Services. Customers have long requested a reporting tool that not only was easy to use but was developed to integrate well with other Microsoft products, and SQL Server Reporting Services has fulfilled that request.
“SQL Server 2000 provides PREMIER Bankcard Inc. (PBI) with a stable database management system with more than enough capacity to keep pace with our rapidly expanding business,” said Ron Van Zanten, managing officer of BI at PREMIER Bankcard. “Not only have SQL Server BI technologies enabled greater functionality and ease of use, they have significantly increased our productivity and ROI. SQL Server Reporting Services, in particular, has exhibited the elusive combination of flexibility, scalability and performance to support PBI’s reporting needs. This technology has changed the way PBI operates its business.”
Readers Vote Microsoft as Favorite Vendor in Six BI Categories
In the recent Intelligent Enterprise Readers’ Choice Awards, the benefits of using Microsoft BI products were reflected when readers voted Microsoft their favorite vendor in six categories: Ad Hoc Query & Reporting, Multidimensional Analysis, Business Intelligence Suites, Application Integration, B-to-B Integration and Knowledge Management. Microsoft was also the runner-up in the Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL), DBMS for Data Warehousing, and Geographic Information Systems categories. This was the first year the publication collected information from the business side of the voting population, and it discovered that one-third of all votes came from large enterprises (those with revenues exceeding $500 million annually). This finding was significant because it revealed that companies of all sizes are recognizing how BI is becoming critical to their business as well as technological success.
“The readers of Intelligent Enterprise are concerned with implementing information technology to further business strategy,” said Jeanette Burriesci, senior editor for Intelligent Enterprise. “Microsoft won the most awards this year of any company, six in first place and three in second place, demonstrating that its contributions to integration and business intelligence have gained favor among the strategically focused readers of Intelligent Enterprise.”
More information on the Intelligent Enterprise awards can be found at http://www.intelligententerprise.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=30000377 .
SQL Server 2005: Integrate, Analyze, Report
To extend its comprehensive, integrated and open BI solution, Microsoft has made a number of enhancements to its integration, analysis and reporting tools since SQL Server 2005 Beta 2. In the next beta version of SQL Server 2005, Microsoft will incorporate the recently acquired ActiveViews technology, which has been renamed Reporting Services Report Builder. The new self- service, ad hoc report builder for end users has been rewritten with a completely new user interface yet maintains a familiar Microsoft layout. Users of Report Builder will be able to build reports from a semantic business layer, part of SQL Server Reporting Services, which will hide the complexity of the underlying database schema. By adding this new technology, SQL Server Reporting Services will provide a competitive advantage by supporting both enterprise reporting and self-service, ad hoc reporting capabilities.
SQL Server Integration Services, formerly DTS, is an easy-to-use, flexible, high-performing and fully customizable tool that can integrate data from wherever it exists into a business’s operations. At PASS 2003, Microsoft announced that SQL Server Integration Services would be included in SQL Server 2005 and would ease the movement of data while increasing scalability. Today, Microsoft is detailing additional features in SQL Server Integration Services that offer more functionality than alternative ETL tools. New capabilities include extracting data from a Web service or XML data source instead of being limited to a persistent data store, and allowing text mining, reporting and scoring while data is being moved in the data flow, in addition to standard transforming and loading capabilities.
SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services led the OLAP industry by being the first to support ROLAP, MOLAP and HOLAP in one integrated solution. SQL Server 2005 will take this support one step further by providing proactive caching, which supports a real-time environment and eases the development process for customers even more by eliminating the architectural need for them to decide among ROLAP, MOLAP and HOLAP. By using proactive caching technology, users can enjoy the performance of MOLAP technology combined with the real-time capabilities of ROLAP technology, which will provide users with a system that dynamically configures itself to synchronize the latest updates made to the underlying data source. The next version of SQL Server Analysis Services also will allow richer attribute analysis, the ability to develop key performance indicators (KPIs) in the engine, multiple data perspectives, sophisticated business logic and the inclusion of five new algorithms in the extensible data mining solution.
According to The OLAP Report, Microsoft led the OLAP industry in 2003 for the second year in a row at 26.1 percent. Since first introducing OLAP functionality in 1998, Microsoft made the jump to leader in five years and anticipates that the improvements in SQL Server 2005 will continue Microsoft’s popularity among OLAP customers for years to come.