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Micrsoft's future for Excel and BI

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Excel is a cornerstone of Microsoft’s software sales to businesses, so it matters a great deal to the company’s future the release of services Microsoft Power BI for Office 365, as the new, supercharged version of Excel which occurs today, introduces The New York Times.

In its vision and new definition of itself as a provider of online services Microsoft Power BI for Office 365 is the first Microsoft product for business that will not carry the usual '1.0,' '2.0' '3.0' version designations. It is intended to be an online service in which continuous tinkering and updating will make those distinctions irrelevant. That also means it will be sold as a subscription service, drawing from various types of software inside Microsoft to produce products for the online world.

Power BI which stands for ‘Business Intelligence’ is probably the last big undertaking overseen by Satya Nadella before he was named Microsoft’s chief executive. Mr. Nadella spent a lot of time in business software, search and Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing business. Each part of that background is in this product.

Power BI is the intelligent way to move all sorts of data into and out of Excel’s rows and columns, both from the corporate databases and other data sources from Microsoft’s compilation of data from surfing the web. Microsoft cleans up the numbers so the entries on the spreadsheet are reliable. Public data is stored in Azure which also serves as a link to proprietary data that corporate customers can look up from the field.

‘Our goal is to make BI available to one billion people,’ said Amir Netz, a Microsoft technical fellow.

‘Excel was a great spreadsheet, but it wasn’t sufficiently powerful to meet all the needs of BI,’ Mr. Netz said. The product, Microsoft hopes, will be ‘fast and easy to use, like an online service, and with a full scale of abilities,’ Mr. Netz added.

That marriage of consumer and business software, along with online and offline products, is moving across the company, Mr. Netz said. The Microsoft vision is to be the online service provider and a device provider to both markets.

This vision and marriage is seen in the BI entry because the online product will be changed monthly, with plans eventually to change features as frequently as each day, ‘you’ll never see a 2.0 version of this — it will just change,’ said Mr. Netz. ‘Gradually you’ll see that disappear’ from all of Microsoft’s enterprise software, he said. ‘It’s a different engagement with customers — constant change.’

To view more articles on Microsoft and its vision, CEO Nadella and related technology please, see the list below in the Author’s suggestions and view the video atop discussing Satya Nadella.


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