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MicroStrategy Review
Once you save a dashboard, it is available on all devices, including your iPad.

Valuable Features

In version 10, Visual Insight had a major improvement. Now, it is a very powerful self-service BI. In version 9, you still needed Flash on your machine, but version 10 is based on HTML5. It is very easy to build your dashboard and once you save it, it is available on all devices, including your iPad.

Improvements to My Organization

MicroStrategy is using what they call a meta-database, where you store all your business logic and you can re-use it in any report or dashboard. This helped us a lot. You now have one version of the truth and it is re-usable. You don't need to build complex calculations in your Excel sheet, as we were doing in the past, with the risk that someone made a slight variation to the business rules.

Room for Improvement

The dashboard and reports are what they call pixel-perfect, which means you configure a fixed size for your report and align everything based on the fixed size. But now you have various devices with different screen sizes, and it would be smarter to have a flexible layout which will scale according your device.

Use of Solution

We have been using MicroStrategy for five years, starting with version 9.

Stability Issues

MicroStrategy is running very stable but demands solid hardware.

Scalability Issues

So far, we did not have issues with scalability, but we never had more than 50 users using it at the same time.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Support is for technical issues, e.g., my installation does not work or I have a bug. It doesn't help you if you want to define new business rules and you would like to know what is the best way of doing this. Support will forward you to their consultants for these kind of questions.

Previous Solutions

We had Excel and a tool called Excelcius, which was just a tool to create a better looking dashboard. But your intelligence was still in Excel. We wanted to remove the intelligence out of the Excel sheets and into a central database.

Initial Setup

MicroStrategy has a steep learning curve and you need to spend time in training before you can use the full potential.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

The license is based on a fee per user, but recently they did decrease prices.

Other Solutions Considered

We were looking at SAP BO and Cognos.

Other Advice

MicroStrategy is what they call an enterprise solution, which means you can use it for reports, dashboards, self-service BI and mobile devices. The meta-database is a real advantage because of the reusability of your business rules, but you need to put time and effort into training; otherwise, you will get very frustrated.

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

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