Microsoft Issues Second 'Maestro' Beta

Microsoft has released a second beta of "Maestro," now formally known as Microsoft Office Business Scorecard Manager 2005.

Maestro is a server-based business performance management scorecard application that tightens integration between Office and backend software. It is branch off of Microsoft's Office Accelerator program, but dramatically increases Business Intelligence (BI) capabilities, the company says.

"Maestro helps businesses turn information into action by surfacing key business data in the Office System," said Lewis Levin, corporate vice president of Office Business Applications at Microsoft.

"Maestro is a key deliverable in our strategy for BI, bridging the gap between enterprise data sources and the information workers who need to view and analyze business information as well as plan, make decisions and collaborate with others."

According to Microsoft, the solution helps make "information workers" more productive, collaborative and align daily activities with strategy by providing them with a broad view of business activities.

Specifically, Maestro monitors key performance indicators as well as user-defined metrics that gauge the success of projects, helping project managers attain context for business information.

Also included are collaborative data analysis tools and interoperability with existing Office desktop applications to create reports, charts and graphs. Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003 is supported in the release.

Maestro is also interoperable with Microsoft SQL Server and Visual Studio so that developers can customize data analysis tools and integrate applications with the Office System. The license is such that independent software vendors -- not just the end users -- may build solutions based upon Maestro.

A private beta of Maestro was released to partners in May.

Microsoft Office Business Scorecard Manager 2005 is available as a free download for customers and partners.

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