Datazen's technology is optimised for on premises deployments of SQL Server and Microsoft's wants to integrate the product with its cloud-based Power BI business-analytics, Kamal Hathi, Microsoft's partner director for cloud and enterprise, wrote in a blog post announcing the news.

Launched in 2002 as ComponentArt, Toronto-based Datazen provides business intelligence and data visualisation on Windows, iOS and Android devices. It has enterprise customers around the globe, the company said.

Redmond boosts it BI products. Image: Microsoft
Redmond boosts it BI products. Image: Microsoft

Over time, Microsoft plans to integrate Datazen's technology with its Power BI tools to give customers "another hybrid bridge for their on-premises investments to the cloud," Hathi said.

Datazen's entire team will be joining Microsoft.

Datazen brings two key additions to Microsoft's native BI capabilities, said Boris Evelson, a vice president and principal analyst with Forrester Research.

First is a way to organise metrics, Evelson said. SQL Server is "great for organising data, but there has to be a layer on top of it to organise metrics like customer profitability," he explained by email.

Users also need an easy way to visualise metrics on a dashboard with various analysis paths, such as sorting, filtering, ranking and drilling. While PerformancePoint functionality from SharePoint provides for desktop devices, "Datazen improves the platform to organise and analyse metrics on mobile devices," he said.

The second area in which Datazen enriches Power BI is with offline capabilities, Evelson noted.

"As of the latest releases of Microsoft BI, there was no way to use it offline, as on an airplane without Wi-Fi," he said. "Datazen caches data and metrics on mobile devices and allows for offline/disconnected mode analysis."