Microsoft app analyzes busy schedules

New free PowerPivot business intelligence add-on to Microsoft Office analyzes the contents of a user's Microsoft Exchange calendar

In an effort to demonstrate the versatility of its PowerPivot business intelligence technology, Microsoft has released a free add-on application to Microsoft Office that analyzes the contents of a user's Microsoft Exchange calendar.

This Calendar Analytics Tool can aggregate and analyze the meeting data that resides in a user's Microsoft Exchange Schedule.

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With this tool, users could find out how many meetings they attend during any given period of time, and how much time is being spent in these meetings.

With proper configuration, it can even reveal if the person is spending enough time in the right kinds of meetings, explained a promotional video that Microsoft posted on YouTube about the add-on.

The analysis is presented on a dashboard, which can be accessed from within Microsoft Excel. Users can also do ad-hoc analysis, though a personalized analysis would require the user to add detailed tags onto each meeting that is scheduled.

The app was built from Microsoft PowerPivot, which is itself an Excel add-on that allows users to create their own business intelligence applications.

Microsoft has been pitching PowerPivot as a tool for self-service business intelligence.

Building an example of a self-service tool may inspire more office workers to build out their own PowerPivot BI applications, Microsoft officials explained in an interview.

While PowerPivot may be easy enough for executives to use, Microsoft also suggested that executives download this app for their assistants, in honor of Administrative Professionals' Day, which is Wednesday.

In addition to PowerPivot, the app also requires Microsoft Exchange 2010 and Microsoft Office Excel 2010 to operate.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's email address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com.

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