Microsoft BI Review

Why would you choose Microsoft as your BI platform?

This morning I was on the train going to a briefing session and I was compelled to look again at the Gartner Magic Quadrant paper on BI – in the same way as mid-exam you might go back and look at the question to make sure you are answering it. Here are the things I pulled out for my slides. You might find them useful.

I see Gartner as the arbiters of good-taste in matters informatics. They explain the market and solutions, they rate vendors and they offer thought-provoking insight to people making technology choices – whether you are buying or making. I love ‘em. I’m making no apologies for my promotion of Microsoft. I believe it to be the most complete in terms of the company’s vision, the easiest to execute and I buy into the visionaries in Redmond and beyond (especially Cambridge in the UK) as Microsoft tries to lead the market. I bet my house on this a few years ago and I still live there. Phew.

Thinking about what BI is. It’s really about getting people with the right tools for their job to work effectively and collaboratively in managing the flow of information across an integrated infrastructure (so the flow doesn’t break), an integrated data architecture (so that when you blend the liquids flowing through the pipes they taste nice), without IT being constantly in their homes / offices / cars / clients houses. It’s about delivering the information to people who need it to make good business and clinical decisions in the right way at the right time. It’s about being able to find information and getting information to find me – I want to hear the erudite information shouting loudest at me amid the tumult of data chatter. It’s about the information being structured so that I can plug tools into it and predictive model, run SPC and do all the other things that I want to do in order to improve the safety, quality and cost-effectiveness of my services.

The Microsoft stack does this for me – see previous posts. This is recognised. Gartner points out that the Microsoft solution set is wide in scope – there is something in the toolset for everyone, however the set is integrated and so it works. See my article on why you wouldn’t buy reporting solutions for example – in and of themselves they don’t solve your problems.

Clearly the Microsoft Bi stack is designed with Gartner’s feedback in mind, he said smilingly, as we can directly map what they have done, to the above description of good BI.

Microsoft BI is recognised as being wide in scope and deep in functionality so that it ticks all of the above boxes and the UI has something in it for everyone in terms of the abilities of the combined tools to enable access to data. Some might say they have too many tools – see previous post – however the partner eco-system of people like us in Ascribe should be able to line up features and functions to roles and so that shouldn’t be a concern. The eco-system is actually another reason why people buy Microsoft. As the technology giant creates a giant platform niche (and even scale) vendors build targeted solutions on the platform – which is why it’s as good for banks as it is for hospitals. Giants feed themselves on R&D and Redmond leads the biggest R&D budget in the world which means the platform that Ascribe work upon is always the best. The scale makes it cheap – particularly if you invest in Microsoft across your enterprise and then sweat BI out of the asset with marginal cost. You can also use a range of resources to help, whether its software vendors with Microsoft powered software or consultancies who configure BI solutions or contractors or your own staff. Finally there is the architecture. The software is designed to align with industry standard methodologies such as Agile, so you can build solutions quickly, and Kimball so you can have a concrete data management strategy but a rubber implementation plan. Thanks Simon M for the concrete and rubber….

The other big play is cloud – I’ll post on that later. All in all then it’s easy to see why I bought into the platform, as the foundation to my business. It should have clear benefits for you too.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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author avatarit_user1068 (Tech Support Staff at a tech company with 1,001-5,000 employees)

One reason Microsoft has a competitive advantage over other developers of Business Intelligence tools is the fact that it is a well established and known brand throughout the globe. Due to this fact, their products are easily trusted by businesses and individuals that have used their earlier products. This applies not just to the Microsoft BI tool but other Microsoft products. This implies that the tool can be opted for just because it is a product of Microsoft. Do you agree or not agree?

author avatarit_user4401 (Developer at a transportation company with 1,001-5,000 employees)

I agree with you Tina. I would like to add that the developers who use Microsoft BI can work with the widely used Microsoft Office Excel, SQL Server Reporting Services, SQL Server Analysis Services and data mining, because they are all from Microsoft. Also, to help developers share insights with others, Microsoft BI uses both the BI capabilities built into Microsoft Office SharePoint Server.

author avatarit_user1068 (Tech Support Staff at a tech company with 1,001-5,000 employees)

Great Ali. That is another advantage to the Microsoft BI product against their competitors.