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SQL Server BI Everywhere

SQL Server BI Everywhere

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Nearly everything Microsoft brings out these days has a SQL Server back-end, except Exchange as Eileen will tell you.  I got asked about cubes in Project Enterprise server recently and managed to resolve an issue with the data not being updated due to a connection problem.

In a similar vein, I have been helping out one of our Dynamics Evangelists, Michael McClary  at Automaster an ISV specialising software for car dealer management.  Both Automaster and Dynamics AX rely on SQL Server for reports and analytics as well as for the database engine.

What impressed me was how reports and cubes can be designed from within Dynamics  i.e. without a lot of effort from the IT department and without leaving the application. Of course this does mean that the business need to train up on how to get the most from the system.

However there is some thought needed with all of this, and also what's the point of Performance Point Server if all of these tools have a BI capability built in?

The business intelligence provided by the built in capabilities of the various Dynamics solutions supports the function that that tool provides and can provide real insight into the day to day running of that part of the business. Dynamics can be extended by using FRx and/or Forecaster. However in larger organisations you may need a more holistic/ strategic overview from multiple systems and some sort of mechanism to plan across the whole enterprise.

This is where Performance Point Server comes in, You can pull in and report on data from these other solutions, (whether Microsoft based or not) in one place and also use that source data as a basis for planning.  Performance Point is also dynamics aware, for example this download kit allows you to pull in Dynamic AX data to start the planning process.

 
Update 9 march 2009
Since writing this the Microsoft has announced that the planning element of Performance Point Server will not be developed beyond sp3 (coming out later this year).  The monitroing and analytics will be included in the next release of SharePoint.  So in future the only planning tool will be Forecaster.
Comments
  • So, why would someone decide to use PerformancePoint Server 2007 over Microsoft Forecaster? So far, all I was able to get from a rep. was that Forecaster is an excellent choice as long as you are doing planning/budgeting activities against a GL?

  • Why would someone choose to use Forecaster over PerformancePoint? Is Forecaster only able to access GL data in Dynamics or can it access data in other systems as well?

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