Microsoft announced yesterday that it has acquired Datazen—a mobile business intelligence and data visualization service. The move will allow Microsoft to deliver Power BI across mobile devices, including iOS and Android.
There are a few major trends driving business these days. Two of them are mobile devices and big data analytics. Microsoft recognizes the value of helping customers access business analytics from mobile devices. It has been pushing the mobile first / cloud first mantra since Satya Nadella took the helm, and the Datazen acquisition will enable Microsoft to raise the bar and provide even greater value.
The challenge for most organizations is how to aggregate massive amounts of data and sift through it intelligently to find the valuable gems of information that can make a different. Microsoft already has the big data analytics and business intelligence component with Power BI. Microsoft Power BI delivers the power of big data analytics and business intelligence through Excel—a very popular application that most users are familiar with. Ultimately, it helps average users extract valuable business intelligence without having to become big data gurus.
Datazen adds the mobile component so that customers can tap the power of business intelligence from mobile devices as well. Kamal Hathi, Partner Director, Cloud + Enterprise for Microsoft, in a blog post announcing the acquisition talked about how Datazen has positioned itself. He noted that Datazen is at the forefront of mobile business intelligence, especially for Microsoft customers.
"In particular, SQL Server customers love Datazen, because it is optimized for SQL Server Analysis Services and the overall Microsoft platform, enabling rich, interactive data visualization and KPIs on all major mobile platforms: Windows, iOS, and Android," explained Hathi.
According to the Microsoft blog post, Software Assurance customers using SQL Server Enterprise Edition version 2008 or later are now able to download Datazen Server at no additional cost. Those customers can immediately begin to take advantage of mobile business intelligence using the native Datazen apps for the different mobile platforms.
Microsoft claims that Datazen will complement Power BI rather than replace it. However, Hathi goes on to say, "Over time, we plan to integrate Datazen technology with Power BI to give our customers another hybrid bridge for their on-premises investment to the cloud."
Even if Datazen doesn't end up becoming part of Power BI, it sounds as if Microsoft intends for it to be the mobile extension of Power BI. Microsoft may not completely merge the two products, but it will most likely make some minor tweaks and modifications to one or both to ensure they integrate smoothly and provide a consistent experience rather than feeling like two different ways to access business intelligence.
What do you think of Microsoft's acquisition of Datazen? Let us know in the discussion thread below.
Tony Bradley is a principal analyst with Bradley Strategy Group. He is a respected authority on technology, and information security. He writes regularly for Forbes, and PCWorld, and contributes to a wide variety of online and print media outlets. He has authored or co-authored a number of books, including Unified Communications for Dummies, Essential Computer Security, and PCI Compliance.