Microsoft BI Review

Provides great container data flow and status related paginated reports

What is our primary use case?

One of our primary use cases is to build an MSBA-based business intelligence solution for  collection agents, so that they can receive daily information relating to bills in the form of ledgers. I've built several packages to import the data from where it has been dumped. I then created the data mask for data analysis to showcase all the outputs and conclusions. As a result, there is a clear breakdown of total collections, the different parameters, customer-based information, and other essential information. We are partners of Microsoft BI and I'm a solutions architect.

How has it helped my organization?

The solution has helped increase the client's total sales revenue for their collection agent. It's basically MSBA, plus an AIML kind of solution and it helps the client to increase the overall efficiency of their collection agents, increasing total revenue for the company. 

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the data flow related to the container and the control flow. Microsoft has recently introduced paginated reports in the status part. These are web-based and also mobile-based, depending upon the layout of the report. It can be easily printed in Word format as well as in layout format, regardless of size. 

What needs improvement?

There are some connector-related issues in their MSBA solution and there are certain features that Microsoft should include in the MSBA solution. One is the connective level problem that we currently face from the different data sources. It provides about 80% connectivity to all the data sources, but there is the remaining 20%. They could provide some kind of additional functionality which would make it a great solution. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution for about 18 months. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is pretty stable in its current form, and we are working on the same platform to optimize and incorporate everything. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This solution is fully configurable and totally scalable. We are currently expanding the solution to include the area collections managers, the territory collection managers, and the regional collection managers. There are currently close to 3,000 users who are field collection agents. There is a maintenance cost but it's pretty low because it's an on-premise solution, so there is no cost attached to the server-based maintenance. Our support team is responsible for maintenance.

The solution is currently used throughout the company although there are geographical restrictions. They plan to extend usage to a pan-country level. It will take some time to implement but we are at the end stages of deployment on the pan-country level. Once completed, we expect there will be around 15,000 users. 

How are customer service and technical support?

We provide technical support as required by our clients. Urgent issues can be resolved within two or three hours. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Microsoft BI is similar to Talent and Pentaho BI but Microsoft is more competitive and flexible over the other BI solutions. We can cover up or build our end-to-end solution from scratch and that includes reporting and we don't need to go to any kind of a visualization tool for that.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was complex because the data vault was not totally structured and we needed to create some kind of a data lake, dump the data, then analyze it and create the data mask. We require certain validations and checks before importing or exporting the data as well as the application of the cubes to SSRS before reporting services. Deployment time can be dependent on the server and we have designed the system to optimize the process. We have a deployment team which can include two to three developers. Deployment takes about 10 minutes. The client decides on the deployment plan because they have applications that hang on the production server and don't want deployment to hamper other applications. 

What was our ROI?

Microsoft BI is provided as a BI solution to incorporate or implement all data in a single platform. It enables you to build a data mart for your company and analyze it on a single platform. Even data analysis techniques can be carried out on this platform, and output of data can be visualized from the SSRS reporting tool. In this solution, the ROI is quite high because collection has increased up to 25% in one month compared to the same month last year.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We have used a client-based service in the pricing. As yet, there are no additional costs. 

What other advice do I have?

For anyone interested in building a BI solution from scratch, it's important to be aware that the data is not taken at a single platform. I believe that Microsoft BI is the best platform for this because it gives the flexibility to store the data into an SQL Server from different sources, and the ability to first dump your data into those servers. The analysis and reporting is in the same platform. Power BI has a much greater range than SSRS. Microsoft BI is a tool that gives it to you on a single platform, and you can build an end-to-end BI solution. This is not possible in Power BI. 

This solution gives me the total flexibility to use my skill set, in the technical forms and in the analysis form, in one go. I can do several things on a single platform regarding the data science, as well as the data analysis, pulling information, analyzing data, transforming data, creating data lakes, data warehouse, and data masks, all in a single platform. 

I rate this solution a nine out of 10. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?


Which version of this solution are you currently using?

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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