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MicroStrategy Review
Even non-IT personnel can create reports. I would like to see web and desktop functionality be reconciled.


Valuable Features:

It is very easy for non-IT personnel to create (grid) reports. And once the report is created, the user can switch rows, columns, and add filters. This avoids the creation of a lot of reports that have just a different look.

The drill-down functionality is also very good.

Improvements to My Organization:

It did not really change the way the organization works. But it has improved our budgeting process. It also gives us a better overview of our warehouse management.

Room for Improvement:

It has two versions: web and desktop. Some changes can be done with the web tools and some can be done with the desktop tool. Reconciling the two tools to make all functionality available in all tools would be a great improvement.

The graphs available for the new dashboard of version 10 are weak. You can include all the 3D graphs that you find, but you have to find them and include them or develop them yourself. By default, you should have at least the same possibilities for the graph so that you can add in a document. For the moment, I still use the document because I did not find a line graph that can use multiple metrics and multiple categories.

Use of Solution:

I have personally used it for three years now. The company I am working for has used it for four years.

Stability Issues:

We have not had stability issues, but we are a small group and we do not use the mobile functionalities.

Scalability Issues:

We have not had scalability issues, but we are a small group.

Technical Support:

I find technical support very responsive. If they do not know the answer, they search for it until they find a solution that solves your problem. The community site has also a lot of information.

Previous Solutions:

I am an external consultant and I know the Microsoft BI suite. I also worked a bit with QlikView. The company that uses MicroStrategy had no other tools before it.

Initial Setup:

I was not there at the initial setup. I found it easy to add some new attributes, facts, and metrics.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing:

I am not in charge of licensing. They made a change in the licensing module some time ago and we can now use all the enterprise tools for free. This was a big improvement. We are using a name license. The advantage is that these licenses can be used on all environments.

Other Solutions Considered:

I was not there for the initial choice. But I know they had a PoC on SAP BusinessObjects and Microsoft BI.

Other Advice:

If you use MicroStrategy on top of a data warehouse, put all the code translation in a snowflake schema. The reason is that often the last pass of the process translates the code into labels and it is easier if these labels are in separate tables.

Install the enterprise manager tools and projects at the beginning. You can create a lot of objects and you need to know which one is used. This tool is not perfect, but it will give you an overview of the utilization of MicroStrategy.

As an IT person, you have to create the model: define the attributes and the metrics. Once you have done that, if a user wants to create a grid report he must drag attributes and metrics and drop them in the grid area.

This user has to know the business a bit because he must combine attributes and metrics that make sense.

Another way of working is to create a big grid report with multiple attributes and metrics. A user can easily remove the attributes and metrics that he does not need and remove them from the grid. He then can save the report is his "my report" folder if he use it often.

For example, as retail company, we created a "big" grid report with sales and stock by articles, shop, sales persons, year and month. The sales period is part of the filter. If a user want the sales per shop and years, he just has to remove from the grid the attributes and metrics that he does not need. Same thing if he wants sales per users. For us, it simplifies our life because one report replaced eight existing reports in our system.

Now, the the reports are made by someone from the business that asks sometimes (but not often) for IT support.

If you only want simple grid reports, almost anyone can make them. If you want advanced reports (dashboard, pixel perfect documents) the user must follow a training.

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