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We watched as over the years Microsoft steadily climbed the ladder, producing innovation after innovation every year. As expected, they have reached incredible heights. They have now been positioned, for the second year in a row, within the Leaders quadrant of Gartner’s 2017 Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms. The 10th consecutive year that Microsoft has been positioned as a leader.
Our decision, many years ago, to back Microsoft technology and base our solutions on their software only feels more justified as we share in their success. Already then, we could tell that their competitors did not place as much investment in innovation or research and development as they did. In the early days the different BI analytics tools were clustered together in terms of what they offered, no one solution stood out from the others. All of sudden Microsoft leapfrogged with major improvements, earning them their position as leaders in innovation and putting them leagues ahead of their competition.
What did Microsoft do that other software companies didn’t?
Microsoft’s community of business tools allows any business to scale up their BI capability as they grow, without forcing them to commit to expensive licensing fees. A small business can start with an Excel workbook and add BI components as and when they need them. Many other BI tools are built as niche solutions, offering only one feature capability, whereas Microsoft has an entire community of tools that integrate into each other with ease, including database and visual technologies.
Microsoft set itself apart early on by offering good documentation that adopters could access to learn more about their technology. It was this open source attitude that drove the success of Power BI desktop; users are able to create their own visualisations, and not just ‘make do’ with what the software offered. They also relied on the community of software users to actively contribute to the evolution of the software, which meant the offering evolved the way the day-to-day users would find most valuable.
Microsoft has also remained relevant, adding Cloud and mobile solutions as well as ensuring their tools could work in the app space. Users can bring rich visual dashboards into their applications using Power BI embedded; developing visualisations in Power BI desktop and deploy through Azure services. With Power Flow and Power Apps, users can drag and drop to create robust applications in a matter of clicks; they can also bring data through multiple places into their application with drag and drop interfaces using Power Flow.
It has been an incredible journey to watch as they reinvented themselves from a proprietary desktop Windows software and SQL Server company to an amazing community-based company that enables their users to help them grow and shape their product.
If you’re as excited about Microsoft BI tools as we are, sign up now for more information on our upcoming webinar where you can ask all the questions you want about Power BI!