Microsoft BI Review

Flexibility in analyzing data is helpful, but it needs to be simpler to use

What is our primary use case?

I use it for budget analysis. I am in charge of budget analysis for the organization. I get figures from other units, and then I do a budget comparison with forecasting.

The performance is very good.

How has it helped my organization?

For a long time I had to do everything manually, and it took a long time. At the moment, I just have to refresh and I get my report. A few clicks are needed. Once I get the data in the right format, then I have the report as quickly as it is required.

It used to be stressful towards the month's end, to meet the deadline for reporting, especially when these reports are required by the board of the company. But now, as long as the other units give me my numbers on time, I don't waste a lot of time in preparing the numbers. I can now use my time in analyzing the outcome, rather than preparing the figures and cleaning up the data. It provides efficiency and saves time.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are the flexibility, how many ways you can interrogate the data, and the the graphical visualization.

What needs improvement?

They need to make it as user-friendly as possible. Make it as non-technical as possible. At the moment, if you are not a person who is familiar with modeling analysis, it might be a bit scary. So I think it should be a very simple user interface. It should be very easy to learn. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It can be annoyingly slow at times, but I think it's because of the bandwidth, the connectivity we have. I've always believed if we had better connectivity, it would be perfect. Sometimes it's slow. But I really don't blame it on the solution. I blame it, but on my connectivity.

How are customer service and technical support?

I always just try to Google if I have issues, and a lot of time that is perfectly good. I just need to know the basics.

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

I knew there must be a better way of doing what I was performing, so I searched. I did not have a previous solution, I just did things manually.

How was the initial setup?

It was easy. The only thing I noticed was that it was so slow. It took a long time to download, but again, I think that was my connectivity.

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

At the moment I'm using a free version.

What other advice do I have?

When selecting a vendor, the most important criterion for me is, it should be something that is really user-friendly. By that I mean, I don't need to go through specialized training to learn how to use it; not in this day and age, when the solution should be really a solution. I don't need to be an expert to know how to use it. Just user friendly, click and go. Also, I think it should be something that assures me of its stability.

For me, at the moment, it is the best thing that I've used. But I can't compare it to the other ones. It is the only one I know, apart from just normal financial modeling which I've used before. To me it is the best, but I can't really compared to any others because I don't know how the others work.

Do your research. For me, this is the only one I know. But I know there are others which are better.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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