One of the more challenging tasks facing ISVs on the Microsoft platform is navigation of all the technologies new to production and those due to arrive soon. It's often not exactly clear how these technologies are intended to be used and how they're intended to be used together.
As it's a big part of my job to provide some clarity on this topic, I'd like to take this opportunity to give you a very high-level overview on how a few of our forthcoming products work together to provide a very powerful platform for ISVs to build on and extend.
The products I'm referring to are the Business Scorecard Manager, SQL Server Analysis Services, SQL Server Reporting Services, SQL Server Integration Services and Office 12. While each of these products are useful in their own right, when combined they add up to somethng greater than the sum of their parts (hence the gestalt in the title of the post.)
For the first time, Microsoft is offering a platform for reporting and analysis that's as robust at the bottom as it is all the way up through the top of the stack. ISVs will be able to extract, transform, and load data with SSIS, prepare it for delivery with SSRS, allow for end user driven exploration with SSAS, and present it in thin and rich clients with Excel 12 and SharePoint 12.
This is all made available in a consistent, developer-friendly set of APIs, which in turn will enable ISVs to build some tremendous Business Intelligence and Reporting applications that will knock the socks off their customers. Even a snarky old crank like me was impressed by how nicely this all came together.
If you'd like to get a sense of where we're going with all this straight from the top, check out Jeff Raikes' web cast from the Business Scorecard Manager launch at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2005/oct05/10-23BiLaunchPR.mspx. It well worth a listen if you're embarking on a effort to enhance the reporting and analysis capabilities of your products.