Microsoft simply wants to make business smarter, and it is on a mission to simplify BI and analytics by making it accessible from the heart of a business. The last 15 years has seen Microsoft extend its reach with enterprise applications, expanding out for for its best- selling Office suite to encompass ERP and CRM. BI and analytics are also part of the mix, but we must be very clear about the difference. “BI is about dealing with facts, maybe merging multiple data sets and connecting dots across business. Analytics is more scientific, predicting the less obvious. It’s usually aligned with innovation and more agile decision-making. What Microsoft has seen is a shift in trend were a core group of business people stand up and take ownership of data. They want to leverage it as an asset and bring technology to bear on it. Microsoft reckons that data cleansing or as they like to call it “data wrangling” takes up to 50% of an organisations analytics project time that is why they are setting about making people more productive with data. The first move was to make BI more accessible, by leveraging the power and familiarity of Excel at the front end and the ubiquity of SQL server at the back, they have been able to developed self-service tools and procedures to mask complex models and visualisation techniques, something you could only do with specialised tools 15 years ago is now a simple click in Excel today. You can have three dimensional models that live on your pc and don’t require a ton of sever horse power. Microsoft is fully aware that this is only one part of the intelligence jigsaw and has been working hard to slot in the big data piece. Bigger projects that leverage open source super compute frameworks like Hadoop can be accessed through Azure Microsoft`s cloud-based development platform.