Microsoft Office Server For Financial Planning Set For 2007


The long-rumored BizSharp" or "Biz#" offering will be known as PerformancePoint Server 2007 and be billed as a full-function score carding, analysis and financial planning server.

It is due to beta this fall and to ship in mid 2007, the company said.

The company's existing Business Scorecard Manager will plug in as the score carding/KPI component and the recently purchased ProClarity Analytics server will fill in analytics, Microsoft said in a statement.

PerformancePoint will compete with offerings from Cognos, Hyperion, and others, continuing a battle Microsoft has waged since incorporating analytics and reporting services into SQL Server and then launching the Scorecard server last year.

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PerformancePoint will join the Office Systems servers that now includes Project Server and SharePoint Portal Server. Microsoft has also promised server-based Excel services in the Office 2007 wave.

Microsoft announced its buyout of ProClarity in April. ProClarity's analytic and visualization technologies will be part of the new server although Microsoft said it will continue to sell and support ProClarity's existing software. The application, due to beta this fall, is promised to ship in mid 2007.

A BI source says Microsoft had talked privately about this plan with partners and competitors for months, but then bought ProClarity in April. "It makes you wonder how far they got trying to do it all with what they had before figuring out they couldn't" he said.

An analytics rival says although the fear is Microsoft will "give away" this functionality that will not be the case. "Microsoft will be selling all sorts of servers that require all sorts of their infrastructure software to run and it will not be inexpensive," he noted. Despite the hype, not many large enterprises have standardized on all-Microsoft stack—they're still running Unix and putting in Linux and non-Microsoft applications," he said.

A spokeswoman said the new server is optimized to work with SQL Server 2005 and Office 2007 (due early next year.) It runs on Windows Server 2003 SP 1 or later, the .Net Framework 2.0 or later, ASP.Net 2.0, IIS 6.0 and Windows Installer 3.0.

Microsoft has been working to derive more revenue from client-side applications by providing server-side functions accessible from those applications.

The Office Server push comes just as Microsoft's archrival Google launches an attack on the Microsoft Office client-side franchise, with the Writely word processor, a calendar application, and now—reportedly—a spreadsheet.

In other product news, Microsoft said it is adding RFID support and native support for EDI and AS2 EDI-over-the-Internet protocols to its BizTalk Server 2006 offering in an "R2" release due next year. BizTalk Server 2006 has only been shipping for a few months.