Joshua Hoffman

There's an old public speaking adage that goes something like, "It's ten percent about what you say and ninety percent about how you say it." Certainly it's an exaggeration to make a point, but I think it's a point well made. It doesn't matter how right you are or how important your information is if nobody understands or nobody cares.

Nowhere is this more clear than in the presentation of data. You could have the best idea in the world. Maybe you figured out how to turn water into fuel. Or, more realistically, you came up with a way to save your company a bunch of money. Good luck trying to get anyone to pay attention by inundating them with a bunch of raw data. (Though truth be told, if you really figure out how to turn water into fuel, you probably won't have any trouble getting people's attention.) This brings us to the important distinction between information and intelligence, and it also brings us to the lead topic this month.

Information is a powerful tool, but it's transformed into intelligence when it's presented in a way that helps people make decisions. This month we've partnered with our good friends at Microsoft Press to bring you some great information on business intelligence from the recent book Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Best Practices. This adapted article discusses some powerful ways to leverage SharePoint and Excel to build business intelligence solutions for your organization. Just remember—it's ten percent about what you say and ninety percent about how you say it.

In this issue we also cover a topic that hasn't received nearly enough attention in these pages to date: Microsoft Dynamics. Microsoft Dynamics is a suite of software for small and medium businesses, which includes many of you. We're fortunate to be joined by Aaron Elder, a Microsoft Dynamics CRM MVP, as he discusses deployment planning and considerations for Dynamics CRM 4.0.

Also in this issue, as promised, we give you the premiere of our new monthly column, Geek of All Trades with Greg Shields. We try to provide useful and practical information in every article for all of our readers, but we certainly recognize that not everyone is a SharePoint expert, or an Exchange expert, and so on. Greg's goal is to provide information focused on the IT guy or gal who has to do it all. He begins this month with a discussion of Server Core. Future topics include a roundup of crucial IT pro utilities, simple network access protection, and new backup and restore techniques. We look forward to your feedback on this new addition. Drop us a line at

—Joshua Hoffman

Thanks to the following Microsoft technical experts: Yury Berezansky, Jamie Fiorda, Andrew Mason, Michael Murgolo, Sanjeev Nair, Jez Sadler, Jim Truher, Brad Wilson, and Edwin Yuen.