This is really cool – Mariner (my employer) was awarded the Microsoft Performance Management Partner of the Year award this year, based on a solution that we created for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) system. When I was first told about the award, I asked, “It’s for the Southeast region, right?”. The answer: “No, think bigger.” “The US? Very cool!” “No, bigger than that.” Yes, it’s the Worldwide Performance Management Partner of the Year – selected from over 2000 entries.
So what is this award winning solution? It’s a performance management system that allows school systems to track how well they are progressing on their long term goals for improving the learning environments in schools. This was an interesting solution to work on – most of my experience has been in applying business intelligence to more traditional business solutions. While there are some similarities, the core focus is very different. Success for a school system isn’t judged on profits, it’s based on how well the children are educated. Since I have one child already in the CMS system, and another one going in soon, there was much more of a personal impact from seeing what they were doing, and their approach to meeting their goals.
It was also interesting from a technology standpoint. The technology for the solution involves most of Microsoft’s BI stack – SQL Server for the data repository, SSIS for the data integration, SSAS for analysis, SSRS for some reporting, and Sharepoint + PerformancePoint Server for the front-end display of the analytic information. It’s pretty impressive seeing how Microsoft’s BI story has really come together over the last couple of years, and actually getting the chance to put all these pieces in action with each other was great (and challenging in a few spots ). The team that did the development work did a great job with it, and it really shows in the end product.