Microsoft's plan for bringing its BI tools to iOS, Android, and Windows 8 devices

Microsoft outlined its mobile BI roadmap, which includes support for Microsoft business intelligence tools on iOS, Android and Windows 8 over the next year-plus.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

While Microsoft's coming Hadoop distributions may have been the biggest announcement from the Microsoft SQL PASS Summit last week, there were a couple of other hidden gems.

One of these was Microsoft's mobile business intelligence (BI) roadmap. Microsoft is taking its BI capabilities and offerings to non-Microsoft platforms in calendar year 2012, officials said during last week's confab.

Microsoft's "BI solutions" include everything from PowerPivot and Excel, to SharePoint search and PerformancePoint capabilities, to reporting services. They're the tools and add-ons that complement SQL Server.

The steps on the Microsoft "Mobile BI" roadmap (which is illustrated in the Microsoft slide above):

1. First half of calendar 2012: Enable Microsoft's "existing corporate BI Web-based solutions" -- including SQL Server Reporting Services, PerformancePoint and Excel Services --to run in browsers on Apple's iOS and Windows devices. (I'm assuming "Windows devices" here means Windows Phones and Windows 7 PCs, but am asking just to make sure.) 2. Second half of calendar 2012: Add touch support for data exploration and visualization capabilities of those BI offerings on iOS, Microsoft and also Android platforms. (Again, this seemingly means iOS-based iPhones and iPads; Windows 7 PCs and Windows Phones; and Android phones. Not sure if it also means Android tablets. I've asked and will update if/when I hear back) Update: Microsoft officials demo'd this at PASS on Windows Phone Mango, the iPad 2 and an Android tablet. (Thanks @pradeepviswav)

3. Post-calendar 2012: Adding support for Microsoft's BI offerings for Windows 8 slates. (Even though Windows 8 is expected by most company watchers to ship by the fall of 2012, Office 15 isn't expected to be done until some time after that, and possibly not until 2013. Given Microsoft's BI offerings include Excel and SharePoint, I'm assuming this is a reference to the "Wave 15" version of those offerings.)

A note on the Microsoft Business Intelligence blog adds that items 1 and 2 will "ship outside of the final release of SQL Server 2012 in a separate ship vehicle the details of which are yet to be finalized."

Microsoft officials did acknowledge last week that some key touch-centric features of Power View (the new BI tool formerly codenamed "Crescent," which Microsoft is developing alongside SQL Server 2012, a k a, SQL Server "Denali,") are going to ship in the latter half of 2012, months after SQL Server 2012 itself. Power View is a browser-based Silverlight application launched from SharePoint Server 2010. A first version of Power View (minus touch functionality) will ship alongside SQL Server 2012 in the early part of 2012.

(I'm thinking BI Mobile Radmap Item 2 is a reference to Power View touch and maybe also Data Explorer -- a SQL Azure Lab tool for mashing up Azure Marketplace data with other data sources.)

There are also a couple of other interesting tidbits regarding Microsoft's Hadoop announcement from last week from another Microsoft blog post.

In addition to enabling Microsoft BI tools to work with the two Hadoop distributions (Windows Azure and Windows Server) that Microsoft and partner Hortonworks are building, Microsoft also is going to provide other integration points between its Windows public/private cloud and Hadoop.

"Both distributions will offer simplified acquisition, installation and configuration experience of several Hadoop based technologies i.e. HDFS, Hive, Pig etc., enhanced security through integration with Active Directory, unified management through integration with System Center and a familiar and productive development platform through integration with Visual Studio and .NET – all of this optimized to provide the best in class performance in Windows environments," according to a post on the SQL Server team blog.

The promised Community Technology Preview (CTP) of Hadoop for Windows Azure -- due out before the end of this year -- will include a Hive ODBC Driver and Hive Add-in for Excel, the post noted. And in terms of what kinds of contributions Microsoft is planning to offer back to the Apache/Hadoop community, one example is work around making "JavaScript a first class language for Big Data by enabling the millions of JavaScript developers to directly write high performance Map/Reduce jobs."

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