Tech companies are like athletes. Both look to increase their capabilities, but the outcome from their effort does not always lead to straight to a goal.

Take Microsoft. Already iconic for its Office software suite, Microsoft has been a hit and miss in some of its other forays.

It has built a loyal following to its Xbox gaming system, but has seen eroded share of Internet browser usage against Apple and Google. It recently announced the sunset of older versions of Internet Explorer. Users have not adapted to the latest version as quickly as it had been hoped.

Microsoft also struggles against Apple and Google in mobile phones, a crucial gateway to reach consumers for apps and other software.

Finding Its Path

But Microsoft has found its right road during its shift to cloud-based technologies. It has added analytics and business intelligence features within its enterprise tools.

Its most significant play was the acquisition of Revolution R, a start up which created an enterprise-level software to managing predictive and big data models through R programming.

This year Microsoft announced a free developer edition of R Server, the rebranded software Revolution R Enterprise.

The software integrates R into other Microsoft business intelligence packages – SQL Server, Azure, Cortana Analytics, and Power BI. The integration offers analysts an alternative means to view R programming scripts and data models.

As explained in the CMSWire posts, Making R More Accessible to Marketers and How To Shrink Your Big Data To Fit Your Marketing Strategy, R is open source programming language that has attracted analysts and data analyst who need to correlate data and build predictive models from big data sources.

R programming data is usually viewed in a terminal window, but like most terminal accessed programs, editing is done line by line. The most popular GUI, R studio, makes auditing and editing code easier, but there has not been an enterprise-level equivalent that blends data sources.

Enter Microsoft. R server adds processing capacity over R, allowing for larger data sets to be assessed in a model. This leads to faster program performance for predictive modeling and machine learning.

Moreover, the incorporation of R into other business intelligence software introduces more convenient analysis features. The voice query feature in PowerBI, for example, could be used with R related analysis and allow for ease of blending data sources.

Searching for Better CX

The significance of these integrations comes as a number of open source solutions are becoming more accessible to marketers.

Deriving customer experience relationships is dependent on deeper, more integrated data analysis. That analysis relies on advanced programs like Python and R, as well as applications that build on databases.

There is still a gap of data scientists and analysts who understand programming. Thus online support and solutions have appeared to provide assessable features to programs like R so that professionals can conduct analysis regularly while not requiring formal training in programming protocols.

Moreover a number of data source overlap in popularity. A 2014 O’Reilly survey among data scientists noted SQL and R, so developing a solution that appeals to both formats can provide a platform to blend data sources into a cohesive analytic model.

For Microsoft, the introduction also extends its foray into the open source community.

Its largest competitors, Apple and Google, promote universal access to their programs through open source protocols. This has drawn developers for their programming languages, which in turn created a diverse number of applications and a community geared for software support.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who had led Microsoft’s move into cloud computer during his prior roles, championed the establishment of an open source strategy with Microsoft programs as the logical next step in competition.

Time will tell how the market will adapt to the R programming adaption. But the effort bodes well for Microsoft by mainstreaming a popular independent program with reliable software that enterprises prefer.

With the establishment of a larger role for its packages, Microsoft has taken the best step possible in being a benefit to customer experience analytics.

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Title image "Verschönerung" (CC BY 2.0) by MaretH.