Microsoft Office Excel
As one of the most widely used Microsoft Office products, the Excel spreadsheet
program is designed to organize, analyze, and visualize data. Excel is
one of the most powerful desktop applications in the Microsoft BI arsenal.
An analysis tool for everyone
Excel is such a popular data tool that most of the client organizations I visit
use it to run some critical portion of their business. One good reason is that
Excel can be installed on a local computer with no need for administrators
The Data Mining Add-in
Microsoft creates Add-ins (new sets of capabilities) as a way to expand what
its products can do; the Data Mining Add-in allows the Excel program running
on your local computer to serve as a data-mining resource for SQL Server
Analysis Services. You can run SSAS Data Mining algorithms using data that
resides in Excel cells to yield important information about your business.
Microsoft Office Visio
The general idea behind Visio is to create flow charts — and to publish these
documents to the Web as interactive diagrams with drill-down capabilities
(users can click their way down to specific data). Microsoft offers a Data
Mining Add-In for Visio that allows users to create interactive documents
with real inlaid data. For example, a decision tree can be published to the
Web with actual business data built in. When users go to the Web site containing
that document, they can click a decision to view its results.