MicroStrategy is an enterprise-wide Business Intelligence solution. There are various components of the software which are independent modules, but which work in conjunction to give a holistic enterprise-wide solution.
The most significant product feature is its robust data warehousing capabilities and metadata management. MicroStrategy lets the user create a different data model on top of the actual physical data model, according to the project requirements. This is a very helpful feature for modelling data and managing the metadata from different data sources in a single place. Any changes in the project data model or inclusion of new data fields is fairly easily accomplished.
Another key feature is that MicroStrategy is mobile-ready. This is one of the few software applications in the BI field which is mobile-ready. It is easy to build visualizations for mobile phones and iPads, and deploy them to end users.
The server architecture is very robust and enables the user to blast company-wide emails with BI reports.
Improvements to My Organization:
The product has enabled the organization to blend data from different business units of the organization and product reports on it.
It has also replaced the manual process of sending out reports in an Excel sheet every Monday to specified users.
Room for Improvement:
The product needs some improvement in its visualization capabilities. A fair amount of training is required to use this product.
The product is not business-user friendly. It has a lot of IT components which require special expertise. Ad-hoc reporting capabilities can be improved.
Use of Solution:
I have been using MicroStrategy for three years.
The product is stable. However, performance issues could be encountered if the server architecture is not set up appropriately based on usage and requirements.
Product scalability is easy and MicroStrategy provides additional support if required.
This software requires some training and technical expertise. MicroStrategy provides training sessions for users. They also provide technical support while installing the software and setting up the architecture, which is helpful. Technical support is very responsive and helpful. For larger organizations, they usually have a technical support specialist assigned who would answer any question via email or phone.
I have used many BI solutions other than MicroStrategy.
The initial setup is complex. However, MicroStrategy sends technical support to assist with the initial setup. These consultants work in conjunction with the company's employees to get it set up.
Cost and Licensing Advice:
The pricing and licensing is a bit different than most products due to the suite of standalone tools that exist within the entire product. A sales representative would be able to assist with the pricing.
Other Solutions Considered:
I reviewed IBM Cognos along with MicroStrategy. MicroStrategy was a better fit for our company needs due to its robust architecture, mobile-ready dashboards and a good pipeline of features coming in the future.
I keep learning new technologies and products to stay relevant in the ever evolving BI market. MicroStrategy has a good place in the market right now and is used by many enterprises as their primary BI tool. It also has better in some capabilities (handling large databases, server architecture, mobile-ready) than other tools in the market and has a good pipeline of upcoming advancements.
This is an enterprise-wide solution for which the return on investment is long term rather than short term. Evaluate the product appropriately with others based on your needs.
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: My company provides Professional Services for MicroStrategy.