Microsoft BI Review

Gives business power users the ability to do their own work, without help from IT

What is our primary use case?

I have started a consulting business. So my use case is typically what my clients are doing. I've used it for healthcare analysis, headcount analysis, financial and performance analysis.

How has it helped my organization?

One thing it's doing in the early stage of an implementation is, it not only helps decision making, but it allows people to have insight into problems with data so that they can go and get it corrected.

What is most valuable?

The ability for business users with a mission to solve their own problems, without an IT person.

What needs improvement?

One thing I would like to have is the scripting language, as they already have within Excel. It's already within a Microsoft business product, because Excel is the number one business product out there. So it would be nice to have the scripting capability in order to automate certain processes.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's not only stable but it's constantly improving. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scaling is dependent on the data source itself, so it's not dependent on the solution. SQL Server, which is one of the strongest enterprise databases, makes that a good thing.

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

We were previously using Excel, and Excel did not have the ability to deploy nor did it have the ability to easily do some of the things that people were asking for. The switch was driven by being overwhelmed in the Excel world.

My most important criteria when selecting a vendor are

  • usability
  • the ability to develop solutions in an agile fashion
  • the ability to have power users on the business side able to do their own work.

How was the initial setup?

It's very, very easy to get started. The complexity is the typical complexity in deployment, in that you have to have people make decisions on who has rights to what data. As far as the implementation, it's quite easy.

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

Pricing, that's where Microsoft beats Tableau. It is priced much cheaper.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The short list was really only Tableau and Microsoft, and frequently clients have Microsoft products already installed so they have the security, the Active Directory, as well as the use of Excel, and the use of the collaboration tools like O365.

What other advice do I have?

I'd say that Microsoft and Tableau are both nine and a half out of 10, and it's per the requirements I already mentioned. They both are very high-quality, easy to use, stable, they both allow business users to do a level of development, and they're both highly deployable.

My advice to a colleague would be that they actually do short trials with each of the products they're considering and the check the vendors' support.

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

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