Gartner recently released the results of their research on Business Intelligence vendors and their tools. If you’re developing BI solutions on the Microsoft stack and SQL Server, you are well-positioned. The Gartner magic quadrant shows Microsoft to be a leader in the BI space in both their Ability to Execute and as a Visionary. In fact, Microsoft execution capabilities are rated higher than any BI vendor, just above Oracle and MicroStrategy. In my view as a regular developer and implementer of SQL Server and BI solutions, the strong ratings are the result of Microsoft having done a good job integrating the various BI components such as reporting, OLAP, Excel, etc. into a coherent set of tools that work very well together.
Many businesses that own SQL Server are under-utilizing it and often don’t even know it. They use it as an OLTP database engine but haven’t implemented many of its other sophisticated features, especially the ones in Analysis Services and Integration Services. If you’re one of these users it’s good to know that there’s much more you can do with what you already own. You don’t have to invest in new platforms or in a variety of different software applications. Considering there’s more coming from Microsoft in the next version of SQL Server (Denali), it appears that the Microsoft BI platform will do your organization well for years to come.