MicroStrategy Review

MicroStrategy
Product:
Vendor:
Founded:
Headquarters:
MicroStrategy
MicroStrategy
1989
Tysons Corner, VA
Ownership
Customers:
Deployment Model:
Free Trial:
Public
4,000+
Cloud, On-Premise
Yes
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MicroStrategy At A Glance

Good: Big data and Hadoop functionality, ability to take action within dashboard, mobile capability.
Bad: Does not include any prescriptive analytics tools, more time spent using Extract, Transform, and Load tools to get data in order, steep learning curve to the technology.
Bottom Line: MicroStrategy's Dashboard 2.0 app allows for users to make actionable decisions based on the data in a quick manner - even from within the dashboard itself.

Product Overview

The MicroStrategy Analytics Platform puts business intelligence in the hands of any user  – meaning the user will not need to rely on IT to provide analyses and reports.  There’s no complicated code to write or query to understand – just a click or drag and drop. This platform also gives the end user flexible deployment options –  it can either be hosted on site or in the cloud. A benefit of choosing the cloud option includes lower start-up costs and no hardware or software responsibilities. MicroStrategy has reported that the cloud platform can be deployed in 48 hours.

The platform is housed in a single-design environment that can be deployed in any setting. It also allows for data to be transferred from any source, such as relational database, the cloud, enterprise applications, or even Big Data and Hadoop. It comes with built-in widgets that can be inserted via drag-and-drop functionality.

The Analytics platform is available in a variety of interfaces, such as Web, email, and Microsft Office. It is also available via mobile devices. Users can run analyses, edit reports, and share their BI data straight from their smartphones or tablets.

MicroStrategy considers these features as important for mobile data:

  • Ability to access data offline
  • Data security
  • Ability to utilize full mobile experience, such as access to GPS
  • Ability to take action within the mobile app, i.e. post comments, share data/reports, etc
  • Downloading big data to devices during off-performance hours

Features

We’ve listed the standard features of the Analytics Platform below. However, we will focus on dashboards.

The Analytics Platform utilizes the Dashboard 2.0 app. One benefit of Dashboard 2.0 is that users are provided with actionable real-time data about their business,, such as financial trends or customer service issues. Users can act on their issues in a quick manner – even within the dashboard. The dashboard can also be customized and information within can be shared with multiple users. Users can even customize the dashboards with role-based permissions – for example, marketing folks can only view information that pertains to website performance or lead generation.

In 2015, MicroStrategy has released Version 10 that includes new features, such as:

  • In-memory analytics
  • Ability to access large amounts of data and a wide variety of data sources
  • Ability for “on-the-fly” data preparation
  • Brand-new user interface
  • More centralized platform administration

  • Ad Hoc Analysis?
  • Online Analytical Processing (OLAP)?
  • Predictive Analysis?
  • Profit Analysis?
  • Trend Indicators?
  • Ad Hoc Reporting?
  • Automatic Scheduled Reporting?
  • Customizable Dashboard?

Target Market

MicroStrategy’s customers include many different industries, such as manufacturing, government, education, health care, media and entertainment, retail, and technology. Below is a partial list:

  • AutoTrader.com
  • Campbell's
  • Hallmark
  • LinkedIn
  • Lowe's
  • Nationwide
  • Pfizer
  • Priceline.com
  • The Container Store
  • Yahoo!

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Implementation/Integration

MicroStrategy users start with a free trial. Then, they have the option of choosing any one of the deployment methods.

  • Desktop – At $600 per user, the Desktop tool can be installed on a PC or Mac. It includes features, such as visual data discovery, ability to create and edit analytics, and individual use licenses.
  • Web – This is similar to the Desktop tool, except that it can be integrated with Microsoft Office suite. Its price is $600 per user or $300K per CPU core.
  • Mobile – At $600 per user (or $300K per CPU core), the mobile tool is accessible on Apple iOS and Android devices. It includes features, such as native apps deployment and transactional read/write capability.
  • Architect – This deployment method features development lifecycle management, schema development and modeling tools, and multifunctional role management. It is priced at $5,000 per user.

MicroStrategy also offers a 64-bit server infrastructure with features such as in-memory analytics, data discovery, multiple data source connectivity, and embeddable reports and dashboards. It is priced at $1,200 per user.

MicroStrategy offers implementation services including installation and configuration, customization, cloud intelligence, application integration, and conversion (if company has an older BI system).

Customer Service & Support

MicroStrategy provides training on not just its solutions, but on Business Intelligence as a whole. Training can be done either at one of MicroStrategy’s training locations or online. Customers can also take a course at their own pace via the Learning Portal.

MicroStrategy also offers four tiers of customer support. The Standard Support tier covers access to the Knowledge Base at any time, technical support during regular business hours, and new upgrades and releases of the software, The Extended Support tier covers the Standard Support features but also includes live technical support at any time. Priority Support allows for the customer to get an assigned account manager that can provide help if none of the other means of support is sufficient. And finally, there is the Elite Support tier that covers all three tiers plus add a dedicated support engineer, critical support at any time including weekends and holidays, copy of metadata stored on MicroStrategy’s servers, and higher priority in upcoming enhancement requests or Beta testing programs.

Pricing

MicroStrategy users start with a free trial. Then, they have the option of choosing any one of the deployment methods.

  • Desktop – At $600 per user, the Desktop tool can be installed on a PC or Mac. It includes features, such as visual data discovery, ability to create and edit analytics, and individual use licenses.
  • Web – This is similar to the Desktop tool, except that it can be integrated with Microsoft Office suite. Its price is $600 per user or $300K per CPU core.
  • Mobile – At $600 per user (or $300K per CPU core), the mobile tool is accessible on Apple iOS and Android devices. It includes features, such as native apps deployment and transactional read/write capability.
  • Architect – This deployment method features development lifecycle management, schema development and modeling tools, and multifunctional role management. It is priced at $5,000 per user.

MicroStrategy also offers a 64-bit server infrastructure with features such as in-memory analytics, data discovery, multiple data source connectivity, and embeddable reports and dashboards. It is priced at $1,200 per user.

Shortcomings

MicroStrategy users have noted that there is a particularly steep learning curve to the technology. IT resources will need to be devoted to help build up expertise within the user-base.

The tool also operates within very rigid data structures, which may lead to more time spent using Extract, Transform, and Load tools to get data in order.

The platform does not include any predictive or prescriptive analytics tools, and some have found the lack of more scientific visualizations frustrating.

Screenshots

MicroStrategy Screenshot 1
MicroStrategy Screenshot 2
MicroStrategy Screenshot 3

About

MicroStrategy has a simple mission – to provide a flexible, scalable, user-friendly platform for its clients. In addition to its analytics platform, MicroStrategy also provide mobile, loyalty (to measure customer loyalty and engagement), and identity (to help improve cyber security). Solutions are also provided based on industry and company function.

MicroStrategy has offices in 26 countries and 3,200 employees. It has also won multiple awards over the years from various business and technology publications.

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