Interesting news from PDC: Microsoft has announced two new services – Pinpoint and Dallas.
You can find Pinpoint here: http://pinpoint.microsoft.com
Here’s the blurb from the site:
Pinpoint is the fast, easy way for business customers to find experts, applications, and professional services to meet their specific business needs—and build on the software they already have.
At the same time, Pinpoint helps developers and technology service providers quickly and easily get software applications and professional services to market—and engage customers who need what they offer.
Pinpoint is the largest directory of qualified IT companies and their software solutions built on Microsoft technologies.
- More than 7,000 software application offerings.
- More than 30,000 Microsoft-technology experts.
- The largest, most diverse set of Microsoft business platform offerings in the industry in a central location.
- Direct links between applications and the services that support them.
Whether you’re searching for expert help or offering it, Pinpoint helps you easily find and engage the right people and technologies to get the job done.
Much, much more interesting from a BI point of view is Dallas, which is part of Pinpoint: http://pinpoint.microsoft.com/en-US/Dallas
It’s Microsoft’s marketplace for data, all built on Azure. Again from the blurb:
Microsoft Codename “Dallas” is Microsoft’s Information Services business, enabling developers and information workers to instantly find, purchase, and manage Web services and datasets to power the next set of killer applications on any platform.
The Register has the best write-up of what this is here: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/11/17/microsoft_dallas_data_service/
From that article:
Dave Campbell, a Microsoft technical fellow, demonstrated Dallas at PDC. He showed a list of data provides from the partners such as infoUSA, subscriptions, the ability to store structured and unstructured data, and to explore the data without needing to parse it, to preview the data in ATOM, invoke the data as a Rest service and analyze the data using PowerPivot in Microsoft’s Excel spreadsheet program.
Note my emphasis on the last sentence! Here at last is the ability to buy that third party data that’s been a part of every Powerpivot demo. I’ve worked with a lot of companies that sell data in my career, and this looks like it could be a very significant development for them. I’d even heard vague rumours that MS were interested in buying commercial data providers at one point, several years ago – if they were prepared to go this extreme then it would certainly go a long way to making this strategy a success.
Now just think how cool it would be if SSAS or PowerPivot could be hosted on the cloud, so all you needed was Excel to analyse this data. Maybe one day…