Microsoft Solver Foundation
Via SoCalDevGirl, I’ve just discovered another interesting piece in the somewhat fragmented Microsoft Business Intelligence story: Microsoft Solver Foundation. Here’s the official website:
What is it then? Ahem, well, if you can’t make much sense of the blurb on the website (like me) it’s probably not aimed at you. Here’s a sample quote:
Solver Foundation is a Microsoft framework designed to deliver critical business insight tools to CxOs, quantitative analysts and developers of mission-critical systems. Traditionally referred to as mathematical programming, these tools provide business intelligence and planning support to organizations seeking maximal competitive advantage.
I suggest you read the full overview to get a better idea of what it does. What I do understand, though, is that anyone who uses this is going to be interested in using the rest of the Microsoft BI stack; I sincerely hope that the Solver Foundation team is talking to the other BI teams and that some kind of coherent BI strategy will emerge. If one does it’s clearly going to be Excel-centric (which makes a lot of sense): Solver Foundation has an Excel addin; there’s also the data mining addin; there’s SSAS’s own integration with Excel; and of course Gemini will be surfaced through Excel, tying up SSAS, some kind of data cleansing functionality, and possibly some data mining functionality too into one compelling package.