MicroStrategy Review

Offers mobile, In-Memory Analytics, and data connectors to everything you can imagine

What is our primary use case?

Primary is the enterprise reporting. That's our baseline. Everything else is "nice-to-haves."

It performs very well.

How has it helped my organization?

If you provide the necessary data to make decisions in a timely and visually stimulating way, then you can make better decisions. It profoundly impacts the organization.

What is most valuable?

It's such a rich platform, it's got so much to offer: it's mobile, In-Memory Analytics, and there are data connectors to just about everything you can imagine. It's a total package.

If they didn't do their enterprise reporting very well then it wouldn't be as successful.

I would say what's unique is that it's a comprehensive package, and wasn't done piecemeal. It was built internally. They didn't buy products and stitch them together. Everything works really well together. It's such a powerful platform and I've worked with it for a long time. It's amazing that I still continue to learn and discover new things even to this day.

We have rolled out self-service to business teams. Data governance is the biggest challenge.

Looking forward, for this year, mobility is something I think we'll utilize most. We're currently on the mobile platform but we're looking to use it more. It's going to continue to be a strong push.

What needs improvement?

I don't think that they will, but I'd like to see parallel processing, scalable parallel processing. 

Also, there are minor features, that I've already logged with MicroStrategy, nothing major.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's one of the most stable platforms I've ever worked on. I've never had it fall on me, never.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It scales well. It used to have only a max of four I-servers, but I think recently, somewhere in version 10, they doubled that, so you can have eight I-servers now.

The only problem with that - yes it's a cluster, they raised it from four to eight - but your jobs aren't distributed. Your job goes to a single server - one of the eight. If you have a really huge job, it'd be nice to distribute it across all eight and cut the response time significantly.

How is customer service and technical support?

They're actually pretty good. It's support, it's a difficult job. They're actually really good.

How was the initial setup?

Windows implementation is pretty straightforward. Linux is pretty easy. High-level, it's very easy.

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

Take the time to find an experienced consultant. A good consultant can increase your adoption and lower your overall cost by saving you from costly missteps.

What other advice do I have?

I would prefer having analytic capabilities from a single platform, rather than from many-point solutions, but in reality, I don't think that's very possible. 

I can give you an example. MicroStrategy, was very early to do In-Memory Analytics. I think everybody else is catching up to that. It doesn't really set them apart anymore today, but it did at one time. But beyond that, with MicroStrategy you're still limited to a single server, and to really crunch through a lot of data you need to parallel, across servers. MicroStrategy doesn't currently offer that so you have to go to something like Spark.

So I would love that on one platform, but in reality you can't get everything you possibly want in one platform. But MicroStrategy is smart. They have data connectors to open source applications. That may provide the functionality that you need to fill in the gaps.

Most important when selecting a vendor is 

  • the support 
  • their stability, are they going to be here tomorrow
  • release schedule, a fairly stable, consistent, high-value release schedule.

I give MicroStrategy a nine out of 10. It's pretty solid. It's not perfect, but it's pretty solid. I think it is probably the best solution out there right now.

Do your homework. Shop around. Really understand MicroStrategy and the alternatives. Do enough research to realize where the real value is at. It's a mature product, it's a mature suite. It's more than just pretty dashboards. If you look past that, the administration, mobility, the analytics, if you look at all of it and rate each of the categories, I think you'll realize that MicroStrategy is at the top of the list.

There is a steep learning curve with it, a skill set that goes with it. But they've balanced that with the new Data Discovery module that is fairly easy to use by anyone.

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

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