Microsoft, the company that managed to put its operating system into 95% of the computers on the planet, is now hoping to put its PerformancePoint Server application in every midsize business in the country. It has its work cut out for it.

First, business performance management (BPM) is a relatively new concept for the middle market–only 10% to 20% of middle market companies use the tool–so there will be the inevitable education process. Second, Microsoft is far from the only company to recognize the potential in midsize players. Business Objects is a regular in the middle market, but now even the likes of Hyperion and the ERP vendors are figuring out how to make their BPM/BI products work for midsize enterprises.

Still, brand recognition and compatibility with the sacred spreadsheet give Microsoft an edge. The software giant recently announced that it was releasing portions of its PerformancePoint software to companies and that early reports from its beta testing have been positive, says Michael Smith, director of marketing for PerformancePoint.

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