Microsoft flexes BI muscle with SQL Server R2 release

KUALA LUMPUR: With the second release of its SQL Server 2008 server operating software, Microsoft has brought out more business intelligence (BI) tools to help companies make better use their data.

The software giant believes the future of enterprise BI is about enabling everyone to easily use it through familiar and affordable tools.

Rohan Thomas, product marketing manager of application platform at Microsoft Malaysia, said BI could help businesses make crucial decisions.

“Businesses today have more information in their environment than ever before so we are driving toward a transformation of BI into a natural, actionable part of everyday business productivity,” he said.

SQL Server 2008 R2 brings self-service BI capabilities which Microsoft believes will bridge the gap between IT professionals and end users by leveraging on familiar tools, such as Microsoft Excel 2010 and Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010.

One of the features that is sure to be of use is Streaminsight which gathers data from multiple sources, such as online newsfeeds, stock tickers, and remote databases, and reproduces them in real time to trading stations, internal key performance index dashboards or mobile devices.

“The business world is getting information from everywhere these days and I think it would appreciate something that streamlines data and presents it to them,” Rohan said.

There’s more

Another user-friendly feature that has been included with the new release is PowerPivot. This allows users to import, manipulate, analyse and export data, as well as create reports using the familiar Excel interface.

SQL Server 2008 R2 also features Report Builder 3.0 that enables users to easily create reports that combine business information with maps.

The new features are welcomed by Microsoft’s technology partners. Microsoft Malaysia said more than 10 local independent software vendors have indicated plans to build solutions based on SQL Server 2008 R2.

One of the companies, Fusionex Sdn Bhd, said embedding the latest release of SQL Server 2008 will help their customers better appreciate BI.

“A familiar interface such as Excel will help senior managers and the rest of a company appreciate BI,” its solutions department senior manager, Isaac Jacobs, said. For more information on SQL Server 2008 R2, go to

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