MicroStrategy Review

Creating objects and reports is easy. The product reduces the burden on developers.


What is most valuable?

  • In-memory cubes (aka Intelligent Cubes)
  • Intelligence Server capabilities (SQL/analytical/etc. engines)
  • Web
  • Developer

Creating objects/reports in MicroStrategy is quite easy and is one of the main reasons for its success. The product also allows non-technical folks to create reports/dashboards with relative ease, which would explain its high adoption rate.

How has it helped my organization?

With MicroStrategy, organizations can allow their end-users to create their own ad-hoc reports/dashboards/visualizations, which greatly reduces their dependence on a dedicated development team. While a development team is still necessary for designing the schema and long-term solutions, this product reduces the burden on developers by empowering end-users to be self-sufficient.

What needs improvement?

The administration tools (primarily System Manager, Enterprise Manager and Operations Manager) need a major overhaul. These tools are generally used by MicroStrategy administrators to monitor the usage and bottlenecks in the system.

Enterprise Manager is one tool which is provided out-of-the-box by MSTR. It's basically a pre-built MSTR project with reports/dashboards to monitor usage at the user, project and system levels. This is primarily useful to see which objects are used most frequently and which reports need to be modified for improved response times, etc. Setting up Enterprise Manager can be cumbersome and it's a buggy product. A ground-up redesign of the EM project would be ideal. It is still a very powerful tool for its current design.

System Manager is also buggy (various workflows don't work as expected, documentation is lacking, etc.).

Operations Manager was a tool that MSTR released a couple of versions ago, but it was riddled with issues (a lot of errors during setup mainly). I believe OM has been scrapped in newer releases, if I'm not mistaken.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it for 6+ years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

While the core feature (Intelligence Server) does encounter stability issues on rare occasions, it's still a very stable product.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not encountered any scalability issues. MicroStrategy has been quite friendly when it comes to scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

I would rate technical support 8/10. I used to work in tech support at MSTR. It is a very well-run department; very efficient, lots of smart and hardworking people (from technical and non-technical backgrounds). The support engineers aren't always given all the tools necessary to do their jobs and sometimes; they're working with certain black-box components, which makes troubleshooting very difficult. This in turn can increase the case/issue resolution times. But these are only a small percentage of all cases. All things considered, it's a terrific department/team to work with as an employee and customer.

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

We have always used MicroStrategy.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward but can get complex as the requirements change. The product is quite flexible when it comes to accommodating special requirements.

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

Before purchasing licenses, be absolutely sure about the number of users that will be using the product. This will be useful when deciding to go with a named-user license (better for a small user base) or a CPU-based license (better for a large-er user base).

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I wasn't involved in evaluating the various options. I joined when the decision was made to go with MicroStrategy.

What other advice do I have?

Make use of their manuals and user community. There's a vast amount of knowledge out there in their community.

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