PerformancePoint: BI for the masses.

Microsoft wants to bring BI to the masses and based on customer feedback they decided to put it together with the next version of SharePoint. They have decided to consolidate the scorecard, dashboard and analytical capabilities from Office PerformancePoint Server into Microsoft Office SharePoint Server Enterprise and rebrand them as PerformancePoint Services for SharePoint. Overall an equally good and bad thing in my opinion.

  • Good, because it will allow people to use BI with their SharePoint environments.
  • Bad, because it will allow people to use BI with their SharePoint environments

More information here:
http://blogs.msdn.com/performancepoint/
http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/performancepoint/FX101680481033.aspx

Microsoft BizSpark – Starting up Start-Ups

Recently Microsoft announced BizSpark, a new program targetted at start-ups. It gives you access to the latest and greatest versions of SQL, VS, and Microsoft Support for a very good price. Zero dollars. In order to stem abuse there is a need for “sponsorship”. Specifically you need to belong to one of the organizations listed during signup. Other than that requirement it is a suprisingly easy process. Once in you get for three free, yes 3 and free, years:

Software

  • All the software included in the Visual Studio Team System Team Suite (VSTS) with MSDN Premium subscription Expression Studio (Version 2), plus VSTS Team Foundation Server Standard Edition – for the entire development team
  • Production license use rights, to deploy, host and support Startup’s “software as a service” applications for delivery over the Internet, using the following products: Windows Server (all versions), SQL Server (all versions), BizTalk Server, and Office SharePoint Server for hosting; and Systems Center for managing hosting server operations.

Support

  • Guidance, resources and mentoring provided by Network Partners, active members of the global software ecosystem who are qualified to provide support and advice to Startups
  • Access to MSDN Premium: managed newsgroups, online library, online concierge, etc.
  • Two technical support Incidents per Startup

Visibility

  • Each BizSpark Startup will have the opportunity to profile their company in the BizSparkDB, an online Startup directory, hosted on the Microsoft Startup Zone web site. Startups will get exposure to potential investors, partners and customers around the world.
  • Opportunity to be highlighted on the BizSparkDB as a featured company and be promoted as BizSpark Company of the Week on the Microsoft Startup Zone website.

    How to qualify?
    If you meet these three simple criteria, you can sign-up today:

  • Actively engaged in development of a software-based product or service that will form a core piece of its current or intended business[1],
  • Privately held, and in business for less than 3 years[2], and
  • Less than US $1 million in annual revenue[3].

To get in follow these steps:

1) Go to http://www.microsoft.com/bizspark/ and click “Join BizSpark now!”

2) Sign in with your Live ID or create a new Live ID

3) Click the “I Accept” check boxes, and enter your enrollment code (If you don’t already have a sponsor, contact Bill and he’ll help you get started! Btw, that’s where these steps came from!!!)

4) Provide some basic information about your start-up

5) Identify your primary contact

6) You’re done!!! Now you can manage your BizSpark account from here. Note your BizSpark Subscription ID, one of the things you’ll want to do next is activate your MSDN subscription using this ID. You’ll need to do this in order to start downloading the software.

7) To activate your MSDN subscription, visit https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/subscriptions/add/default.aspx and enter your name, email and the BizSpark subscription ID from the previous page, click the “I acknowledge and accept” checkbox and submit ‘OK’. (Note, it may take 4-6 hours for your MSDN subscription to become available after signing up for your BizSpark account. If MSDN doesn’t find your subscription, check back later.

8) Once you’re up and running you may want to find a Windows hoster who can work with you and your production use licenses to offer your low-cost, discounted hosting services. Through the BizSpark Start-up page you can click the “Manage Hoster Relationship” and find hosters in your country which are part of the program.