Microsoft to incorporate BPM package into SharePoint

PerformancePoint Server underperforms, will become part of server product

Microsoft is folding its business process management (BPM) software, PerformancePoint Server, into its SharePoint Server product.

PerformancePoint Server 2007 was first released in September 2007. Its features will in future be available via client access licences of the enterprise version of SharePoint Server.

PerformancePoint helps managers budget, forecast, and measure profits and efficiency. It competed with software from IBM, Infor, Oracle, SAP AG and SAS Institute, as well as offerings from other business intelligence (BI) and ERP vendors.

Microsoft does not have a history of cutting and running on new products. Rather, it is known for doggedly releasing new, refined versions until the software gains market traction.

Microsoft business intelligence product manager Kristina Kerr says the closure of PerformancePoint was unrelated to the layoffs Microsoft made last week. Rather, it began reviewing the software's performance seven months ago.

"We weren't playing to our strengths, and consequently were running into the same glass ceiling of 20% deployment that every other BI vendor is," Kerr told Computerworld US. "We thought there was a much better way to achieve our goal of 'BI for the masses', which is to make these features a seamless part of how they already work with SharePoint, SQL Server or Excel."

Kerr did say that with the "economy being what it is, customers want to do more with less, and make the most out of their IT investments".

Microsoft's move should make the total cost of using PerformancePoint lower, Kerr says, as the SharePoint Server package that includes the former PerformancePoint features will work out to be cheaper in licensing terms than the former standalone PerformancePoint product.

Microsoft still plans to ship Service Pack 3 for PerformancePoint Server 2007 this summer, including new planning features.

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