A Guide to Microsoft’s BI Ecosystem—Understanding Microsoft’s Approach to BI for the Enterprise

In the last 4 to 5 years, the business intelligence (BI) and data management scene has evolved at an incredibly fast pace. Software pioneer Microsoft has extended the reach of its enterprise software solutions to the BI and analytics space by offering a wide variety of software applications to enterprises for performing BI and analytics capabilities based on different organizational needs and requirements. Aiming to help users with their BI software selection efforts, this research series explores the complete Microsoft BI product stack, describing the outstanding features of each of Microsoft’s BI offerings. The first part of this series describes the development of the Microsoft BI product landscape and provides insight into Microsoft’s set of enterprise BI solutions.

About Microsoft 

No one could have imagined that the software company founded in Albuquerque, New Mexico, by Bill Gates and Paul Allen on April 4, 1975, would one day become one of the largest computer software and consumer electronics organizations in the world.

The duo established the company as part of initial efforts to develop and sell a BASIC interpreter for the Altair 8800 computer. In the 1980s, Microsoft first took over the personal computer scene with the creation of the MS-DOS operating system, which was the operating system used for IBM’s first personal computer. The company then emerged with the Windows operating system, which up to this day remains the most popular and widely used operating system worldwide, and Microsoft was on the road to becoming one of the most influential software companies.

Microsoft experienced exponential growth and in 1986, after a little more than a decade in existence, the company went public and became one of the most successful start-ups in history. And according to VergeStarups.com, Microsoft is considered number 3 of the top 20 start-up companies of all time.

Originally focused on the personal computer (PC) operating system, Microsoft started building its product portfolio by offering of a complete software suite for office—Microsoft Office. This key offering enabled the company to become one of the dominant companies—if not the dominant one—in the personal computing space.

Through in-house development and a large number of acquisitions, Microsoft expanded its software stack way beyond the personal computing spectrum to gain presence in many fields. In the enterprise software space, the company has developed customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), and information technology (IT) software. Microsoft has also dared to venture into the gaming industry, with offerings such as Visual Studio, Windows Server—Microsoft’s operating system for servers, its flagship enterprise RDBMS SQL Server, and XBOX, one of the most popular gaming consoles on the market.

Today, based in Redmond, Washington, Microsoft has one of the largest software and consumer goods product stacks on the market. The company has also become a strong advocate for new technology platforms such as cloud computing with its Azure cloud offering and its huge initiative to build new platforms such as the Windows new 8.X version series, where personal computers, mobile devices, and other devices can smoothly coexist.

Currently led by Satya Nadella, a long-standing Microsoft team member, Microsoft declares itself ready to address the many challenges needed to retain its leadership position in an industry where being slow to innovate can mean fast loss of dominance and power.

And in today’s corporate world, it is nearly impossible to talk about technology trends without mentioning at least one of Microsoft’s products and offerings. 

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