In January Microsoft announced that PerformancePoint Server 2007 would be bundled in SharePoint 14, the much-anticipated next release of SharePoint. They have plans of releasing SP3 for PerformancePoint in mid-2009, but this will be the last major software update for PerformancePoint as a standalone product.

PerformancePoint is Microsoft’s BI platform that is built on the familiar SharePoint framework. It’s basically a customized version of SharePoint that is tailored for customers who need more advanced BI solutions for their organization. PPS generally has two major functions, Monitoring & Analytics and Planning. The M&A piece allows us to create dashboards with any number of analytics for scorecards and charts. The Planning portion is related to budgeting and financial forecasting. The main problem with this product is that it isn’t utilized by that many companies with MOSS 2007 licenses. The added expense for another server product is not practical for most organizations in this economic climate. To make matters worse, MOSS 2007 has a very basic set of BI tools builtin that often makes it hard to upsell on the more useful tools since they are a standalone product.

Microsoft has realized this shortcoming and has decided to combine both products in the next iteration of SharePoint. Unfortunately, this has led to the axing of the integration of the Planning portion of PPS into MOSS. You can still get support from Microsoft on this if you already have PPS standalone, but it will not be integrated into SharePoint 14.

The Bottomline:

This is a logical step for Microsoft’s BI group as PPS and MOSS seemed to have similar goals with competing platforms. If all goes as announced, the next version of MOSS will have even greater BI capabilities right out of the box. More mid-sized companies will be exposed to these useful features, and it will further enhance the value of MOSS. The only downside to this is that the planning portion of PPS will not be integrated. It is unknown if Microsoft will revisit Planning for MOSS, but for now you’ll need to stick with PPS for those requirements.