Microsoft announces Data Analyzer for Office XP

Microsoft Corp. this week announced an application for its Office XP suite that will help businesses use corporate data to identify trends and opportunities.

Microsoft Data Analyzer can turn corporate data into charts and graphs that show business trends, opportunities and issues that companies might not have realized, Microsoft said. Data Analyzer can also display how multiple data areas -- including information about customers, regions and products -- relate to each other. Data Analyzer also has built-in template measures to easily identify key performance indicators, as well as filters that can select and filter certain criteria to make the results more specific, Microsoft said.

For instance, a company could run data analysis on its quarterly earnings statement and find out which product was most successful in which market, and also identify in which markets that product was not selling as well.

Using the software, users can analyze this data as well as converting it into Excel, PowerPoint and HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), to use in other applications or publish on the Web, Microsoft said. The software is scheduled for release in the third or fourth quarter; pricing is not yet available.

Data Analyzer can also be used to take advantage of advanced features in Microsoft's SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services, such as relational hierarchies. It also features full support for all other new dimension types available in SQL Server Analysis Services, Microsoft said. Using these dimensions, a company could break down its figures and see how many copies of a specific product were sold in California in July, then compare that to other states or other months.

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Douglas F. Gray

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