I will give it to Microsoft. When it wants to capture a particular market, it goes hard or not at all. And with SQL Server 2005, the company has its sights set firmly on the Business Intelligence market. And the strategy makes sense — Redmond is moving to become the “one stop shop” for database servers, data management tools, reporting and analysis, eliminating the need to spend more money on third-party tools.

Microsoft’s acquisition of ProClarity earlier moved it one step closer to this goal, strengthening the BI product set to include more advanced reporting and analysis tools, as well as introduce dashboards and scorecarding tools. And it’s not just SQL Server customers that Microsoft is targeting.

When Microsoft released SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 1 earlier this month, it was without a lot of fanfare. But there was important point that most people missed. Buried within the press release was a little blurb about features added for interoperability with SAP’s business intelligence tools.

If other business intelligence vendors were not scared before, they should be now. It was always assumed that Microsoft would stay on its own turf, targeting SQL Server customers and SQL Server-based applications. With the new integration tools for SAP, Microsoft has made clear its intent to become the BI market leader, not just with its own technology stack, but integrating with other vendors as well.

When Microsoft first entered the BI market, most vendors went on a mad panic of mergers and acquisitions to try and shore up solution offerings, with “end-to-end” solutions targeting a variety of platforms and technologies. It looks like Microsoft has taken a page from the same book and is moving closer to an end-to-end solution of its own.