Day 1: PASS Business Analytics Conference, The Art of Analytics

For the latest and greatest on business intelligence and business analytics, look no further than the PASS Business Analytics Conference, which kicks off today in Chicago. At a time when data is increasingly at the forefront of the industry conversation, this event offers an opportunity to go deep and take a look at how business intelligence and data professionals are using analytics to further their business goals. Are they able to share their insights and tell stories in new ways? What kind of critical thinking and strategy are they employing in their everyday work? Learning how customers are working with data and how we can improve that experience is crucial as we continue to grow and develop our data platform.

The_Art_of_AnalyticsThe good news is, momentum behind analytics is building, especially at the C-level. For the last two years* in a row, CIOs surveyed by Gartner ranked analytics and business intelligence as their number one technology priority, even over mobile technologies and cloud computing. Furthermore, in Gartner’s 2012 BI Magic Quadrant**, the top two reasons indicated for choosing a particular BI platform provider were functionality (45.5%) and ease of use for end users (42.6%). It’s clear there’s a trend toward broader use of analytics, something we’ve been working toward for years with Microsoft’s data platform. Our goal is to provide technology that enables employees to practice the art of analytics at its highest form: anticipating both business opportunities and problems with proactive intelligence, data-driven problem solving, and visually compelling, comprehensive story-telling.

Consider what it means for their day-to-day workload if everyone, not just data analysts, had the ability to run their own queries and present them in a way that can drive decision-making and impact their organizations’ bottom-line. By creating a connected experience and integrating BI capabilities into tools people are already using, like Excel, we give more people the opportunity to have – and share – those “aha!” moments that come from data discovery. Through tools like PowerPivot, Power View, project codename “Data Explorer” and others, we democratize that process of taking data and turning it into insight.

If you’re at the PASS Business Analytics Conference this week, stop by the Microsoft booth to check out our demos, and be sure to attend tomorrow’s keynote from Microsoft technical fellow Amir Netz and partner director Kamal Hathi where they will share their perspective on where analytics is going. I’ll be continuing to post some thoughts on the art of analytics here for the remainder of the week:

Eron Kelly
General Manager
SQL Server

*Gartner, “Hunting and Harvesting in a Digital World: The 2013 CIO Agenda,” by Mark P. McDonald and Dave Aron, January 1, 2013
**Gartner, “
User Survey: Customers Rate Their BI Platform Functionality, 2012,” by John Hagerty, August 15, 2012