By Elissa Fink 2009/01/26

Last week, Microsoft changed their strategy around BI (business intelligence) and CPM (corporate performance management). While Microsoft has always talked about “bringing BI to the masses”, last week they announced a decision to move their business intelligence capabilities that were formerly part of PerformancePoint into SharePoint. This change is an attempt to increase adoption of BI capabilities. As a company dedicated to BI for the masses, Tableau definitely supports efforts to increase its use.

So what is Microsoft doing? They're now centering their BI products on SharePoint Server, Excel, and the SQL Server platform (and discontinuing PerformancePoint). The scorecarding and dashboarding from PerformancePoint will be folded into SharePoint, with the CPM (read as Planning) capabilities of PerformancePoint being left behind. Cindi Howson in her Intelligent Enterprise blog has a nice recap of the news and views it as a market share/licensing move.
Microsoft says that this is part of their strategy to make BI available to the masses. While their stated goals are admirable – get useful analytic tools in the hands of the more and more people – we don’t believe this shift alone will help most individuals and organizations. SharePoint is still hard to use, requires a full IT infrastructure to install, develop content for, and perform on-going care and feeding.
Microsoft cited the sad and well-known fact that traditional BI tools have 25% adoption rates. That's just unacceptable. Massive and viral BI adoption should be the goal of business intelligence software. In fact, Tableau is all about BI for the masses. But we’ll go even further: traditional BI vendors are to blame for the current state of low user adoption. They’ve made the applications too hard to use, too bloated with features that interfere with analysis and data interpretation, too expensive, and too hard to deploy.
We believe the legacy BI community is missing the mark by no longer providing the tools and capabilities to help people understand their businesses better. We built Tableau to be easy-to-install, easy-to-use, and – most importantly – easy for people to find answers in their data quickly and without hassle.
Our customers tell us that when people actually adopt and put BI to work (like they do with Tableau), the organization performs better. So when they look for hard ROI numbers, they also look for user adoption. They know when BI spreads, it’s good for everybody and everything, including the bottom-line.