MicroStrategy Review

The single stack solution will always be more profitable, scalable, and elastic for organizational needs

What is our primary use case?

We help customers utilize MicroStrategy in multiple ways:

  • We have enterprise analytics being used.
  • We use MicroStrategy as an integrated solution with some of their other CRM type applications.
  • There are people who are using MicroStrategy as transaction services. I have never been successful with it. 

There are a broad range of applications that we see.

How has it helped my organization?

MicroStrategy is one of our key tool sets which we are focusing on for 2018 and beyond. It has the potential to become a great evangelist for AI and other embedded analytics. For more futuristic design solutions, our organization as such, is focusing on this area in terms of artificial intelligence and analytics. MicroStrategy, so far, has based on their product roadmap to fit squarely to match the design that we have.

The single stack solution will always be more profitable, scalable, and elastic for organizational needs. 

In 2018, we will be focusing a lot on artificial intelligence and analytics. Embedded analytics will be another key area that we will be focusing on, therefore we will be looking to see how the SDK shapes up and the road map for cloud implementation. This is the next major push that we see. The ease of upgrades and mobile analytics are also other key areas that we will be focusing on.

What is most valuable?

MicroStrategy's multilarity and the range of features which it comes with makes it a key building block of our entire data value chain, starting from the production of data, where you could essentially use the transactions services to become your app that generates the data through to data blending and data wrangling, which handles most of your cleansing and cleaning up of the data. Then, you have data storage and analytics, all the way through to presentation. The key value proposition for MicroStrategy is its ability to support each of these use cases. 

Distribution services are definitely something that sets it apart from the rest of the tool sets. Embedded analytics are a side of this field where not many key players are doing really well, and MicroStrategy strategy has the open APIs and SDKs that can be leveraged here.

We have seen mixed success with Self-Service. There are customers who are very happy with what they are seeing in MicroStrategy. However, there are some customers who are not as happy, but most of it has to do with the process of data governance and BI governance. They need to put it in place together with the tool set. The tool set will only give you features, then ultimately how you use it is what generates value for the business users. It is more about educating the customers, etc., but Self-Service in MicroStrategy has been a very successful deployment.

What needs improvement?

There are learning curve issues due to organizational processes. Most of the time, there are processes in which the user is not sure how to implement the solution and what the other surrounding processes and frameworks that he needs to put in place.

MicroStrategy is not cloud native today and some of their APIs are a little limiting.

One of the things that I want to see MicroStrategy do is become more cloud native. Right now, the deployment on cloud is very easy to ruin, it is very much like spinning up separate VMs. We would like to see it be more modular on the cloud, where people can look and scale different portions of the applications as they want. That will be a very interesting feature if MicroStrategy could do this.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Their on-premise solution is very robust. 

However, we have seen some stability issues with MicroStrategy on cloud. We have a few unhappy customers.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is scalable. A little expensive perhaps, but it is scalable.

How is customer service and technical support?

We have our technical support team, but we have interfaced with the MicroStrategy technical support on several aspects. Most of the time, they are knowledgeable. 

We hear this from our customers mostly (about waiting long times for responses). Those customers that approach us, we have the right sort of contacts to give them the answers quickly. It is the customers that have direct interactions with MicroStrategy where we hear mixed reviews.

How was the initial setup?

If you are a technical person, someone who has all the tools and processes to get you trained on the platform and be able to manage the platform and installation by yourself, it would be straightforward. But for a non-technical person, it could be a little heavier (complex).

What about the implementation team?

We had MicroStrategy train us on the platform.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

As a consultant, we have multiple tools which we are focusing on.

What other advice do I have?

Definitely research the key business use cases. Make sure you have your key technical person trained on MicroStrategy and on how to implement the solution. One of the important things for people to keep in mind is the Henry Ford slogan, "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." However, the horse might not be the right solution in this case. Just keep that in mind. I think MicroStrategy has everything else I need.

Most important criteria when selecting a vendor: Customer support is a very key area for us. When we help someone through the journey, we want to make sure of the following:

  • The vendor's equally committed.
  • Has the resources.
  • Ready to support us.
  • The tool's key features and capabilities are aligned with the digital transformation team, which we see around us.
**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
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