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Birst OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

What is Birst?

Birst Networked BI and Analytics eliminates information silos. Decentralized users can augment the enterprise data model virtually, as opposed to physically, without compromising data governance.

A unified semantic layer maintains common definitions and key metrics.
Birst’s two-tier architecture aligns back-end sources with line-of-business or local data. Birst’s Automated Data Refinement extracts data from any source into a unified semantic layer. Users are enabled with self-service analytics through executive dashboards, reporting, visual discovery, mobile tools, and predictive analytics. Birst Open Client Interface also offers integration with Tableau, Excel and R.

Birst goes to market in two primary ways: as a direct sale, for enterprises using Birst on internal data to manage their business; and embedded, for companies who offer analytic products, by embedding and white-labeling Birst capabilities into their products.

Birst’s is packaged in 3 available formats: Platform and per-user fee; by Department or Business Unit; by end-customer (for embedded scenarios).

Buyer's Guide

Download the Reporting Tools Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: November 2021

Birst Customers

Citrix Systems, Jive Software, SunnyD, Toshiba Medical Systems, Cisco OpenDNS, RB, Sunny D, Vertafore

Birst Video

Archived Birst Reviews (more than two years old)

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Sreenivas K
Principal Engineering Manager I at a computer software company with 201-500 employees
Vendor
Offers dashboards and self-service reports. The report performance is very slow.

Pros and Cons

  • "Dashboards and self-service reports. These are widely used by customers in the EPM domain."
  • "Customer support takes lot of time to get a solution."

What is most valuable?

Dashboards and self-service reports. These are widely used by customers in the EPM domain.

How has it helped my organization?

Most of our customers are interested in dashboards and self-service reports. We are able to offer them these features with this solution.

What needs improvement?

  • Customer support takes lot of time to get a solution
  • The report performance is very slow

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this solution for over two years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Not so much.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Every upgrade has one issue or another. It is not very stable.

I heard that HTML version is stable

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There were scalability issues. We found regressions.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Average.

Technical Support:

Technical support is average.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We had custom implementation using fusioncharts and it is limited and we want to be ahead in the market. Make vs Buy, we opted to Buy.

How was the initial setup?

The installation was not very complex. It is quite simple

What about the implementation team?

It is implemented in house.

What was our ROI?

It is one of the flagship product for demos on how to create visualizations.

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

Please negotiate on the price and purchase the latest version

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated D3.js and FusionCharts.

What other advice do I have?

Take the HTML version. I heard that it offers good performance.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user566175
Director BI Services at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Consultant
Provides ETL, connectivity, report, and dashboard tools.

What is most valuable?

  • Cloud based: One platform with all the ETL, connectivity, report and dashboard tools in one product. This allows for faster development and no integration problems.
  • Network BI: (The ability to share data marts/stores/ERP/CRM/RDBMS data, etc.) This is a unique feature for data virtualization in the cloud. It enables Enterprise BI in the cloud.
  • The ability to deploy DWHs at lightning speed. This affords 60% faster development than traditional BI projects.
  • Supports mobile connectivity and interaction. All the information, anytime and anywhere on your desktop, smartphone, or tablet.
  • It is a step towards self-service-BI because of the user-friendly interface.

This is the best cloud based BI platform/solution out there.

How has it helped my organization?

We are a vendor/partner, so we have been able to create a valuable business model for migrating our customers from legacy systems to this cloud BI platform. Internally, we are gradually introducing this product enterprise-wide to support various operational divisions. As a partner we host our own Appliances for the SMB market in the Benelux area.

What needs improvement?

  • Release management and version control are poor or not available. As a partner you have to organize your own version control and release management system.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been running our own Birst cloud for five years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No, the support is very good.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We had a few issues relating to older versions, but these have long since been eradicated.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not encountered any scalability issues. Just follow the guidelines on hardware/software requirements and this will scale fine.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

The level of customer service is very high. Every customer has it's own CSM (Customer Success Manager) which is taking care of open issues. The CSM contacts the customer on a regular frequency and is the single point of contact for the organization.

Technical Support:

They excel in this area as the technical support is truly outstanding.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were not using a previous solution. We were looking to enter the market with a cloud based offering. We wanted to differentiate ourselves by providing consultancy and support for a multitude of traditional BI legacy systems.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was pretty straightforward. Our time to market was impressive.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented Birst with our own specialized team.

What was our ROI?

Our ROI is based on reselling subscriptions and providing professional services to our customer.

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

The pricing and licensing structure is based on a subscription model. Comparing pricing with other tools is difficult, because hosting costs are included in the total package. Always calculates the TCO over three years and then you'll see that the subscription model is 40% - 65% cheaper.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at QlikView, Tableau , and Birst.

What other advice do I have?

If you are serious about a cloud-based BI solution, then Birst has great value. This option will help your enterprise reduce costs and create a ‘one version of the truth’ report and a data warehousing solution.

If you are looking for a solution that replicates the creation of thousands of lists/reports, then Cloud BI is not really the solution.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We're partners in the Benelux, but also using Birst internally.
Find out what your peers are saying about Infor, Microsoft, Tableau and others in Reporting Tools. Updated: November 2021.
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ITCS user
Manager Data Services at a logistics company with 201-500 employees
Real User
The creation of the meta-data layer has been well though out.

What is most valuable?

ETL process is excellent as well as the admin tools to set it up. Creation of the meta-data layer has been well thought out by the Birst design team. Working with the front-end Dashboard, KPI and Dashlet tools is a snap. Easy to learn and use. The Mobile version is coming on strong in 2017. Just reviewed the product with the Product Manager and it's the way forward for being used on the go.

How has it helped my organization?

Prior to using Birst, Apex did not have BI readily available to the customers. Now we have three tool sets, each matching one of our product lines. The customers are able to see patterns and trends never before available. It opens up their eyes to changing their business to increase profitability.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see stronger in-built permissions capabilities. Everything we need to do can be done and passed to the product using an API. It would be nice if we could define the rule set within Birst. The addition of easy-to-use predictive analysis is coming in Birst 6, which is a missing piece right now.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it for one year.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We are running the Birst appliances on AWS. A bit of learning to install the first one in North America but after that, the EU was done in half a day.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We are running Birst against a large data set, millions of new rows each day. To date, it has performed well; no complaints on our end.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is why we went with Birst. It had the robustness built in to take us to where we wanted to be. We looked at several popular tools and liked them, but Birst was the ultimate choice.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Customer service is fantastic! We don't use Birst support often but when we do, they have been highly responsive. We've built a relationship with several of the support team members, which has been helpful when we want advice on making changes on the admin side.

Technical Support:

I rate technical support the same as the customer support. Outstanding! The technical team is there for support or advice to get you where you need to go. I never experience a long wait for any technical issues; never had any pressing technical issues.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not previously use a different solution. This is the first venture into BI for Apex. In the past, the customers relied on a limited set of reports built into the OLTP application. Birst takes the reporting data to a whole new level.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup was straightforward. As an appliance customer, we were in control of installation with assistance from Birst. It installed easily in less than a day.

What about the implementation team?

We installed in conjunction with Birst support. There were pre-install webinars to make sure everything was ready and the install took less than half a day.

What was our ROI?

We're seeing uses for the BI beyond the impressive visualization provided to our customer. Sales now has a new, clean, powerful tool in their belt. Support can easily get to data never before available. The impact of Birst has been felt company-wide.

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

Birst is a reasonably priced tool with a wide array of capabilities. Make sure you understand the depth and breadth of the product when comparing it to other BI tools. Much is easy to do, which hides the complexity present in competitors' products.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did review many other products and liked features of each. Qlik, Sisense, and Spotfire were three others seriously considered. In the end, it came down to feature set and price.

What other advice do I have?

Fantastic user community. We use it daily for advice or to offer advice. Birst employees regularly add information, tips or tricks. The best user community we've ever been involved in.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Senior Software Engineer at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
The admin module helps standardize data.

What is most valuable?

Birst admin is a great module which helps standardize data to a gold standard. We are able to integrate very quickly and get new data elements into the model.

How has it helped my organization?

Our organization is helping a cancer hospital bring insight from their data. We work on highly regulated PHI data.

What needs improvement?

I would want to see some improvement in the user management module. User management should be designed to do some bulk operations from UI.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using Birst for the last three years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We have not encountered any deployment issues. We were able to set up standard deployment and upgrade processes with the help of a Birst consultant we had for some time.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I used to encounter lot of issues between 5.19 to 5.23 releases but now, the product seems very stable. I am excited to see the new admin module.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have been able to scale pretty quickly and easily. It has been great experience and I love this product.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Customer service is great with one dedicated customer success manager and great support org. It has been great experience and I love this product.

Technical Support:

Technical support is 10 out of 10. It has been a great experience and I love this product.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not previously use a different solution.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup was straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

An in-house team implemented it with the help of a Birst consultant.

What was our ROI?

The ROI is great.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Before choosing this product, we also evaluated Tableau and Qlik Sense. We found Birst as a great option for what we are trying to achieve.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Rick Hutchinson
Product Manager at a tech vendor
Real User
The dashboards and Visualizer are valuable.

What is most valuable?

The dashboards and Visualizer are the most valuable features.

How has it helped my organization?

Birst has made it easier for us to provide embedded data visualization tools to our customers.

What needs improvement?

The administration module was built using flash. It is clunky and outdated. By “clunky” I mean that it sometimes becomes confused and throw an error when I’m making a change. To clear it up, I will have to log out and log back in. We knew going into our purchase that the UI for the admin was not the strongest part of Birst at the moment. Power users often depend on the web services to complete admin tasks and the web services are robust.

Birst knows they need to improve this area of their system and have been working on that. They began improving usability overall with the the front-end UI that report writers utilize and did an excellent job with that so I have good reason to expect the admin module UI refresh to be solid as well. From what I understand, the planned changes are more significant than a simple UI refresh also.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it for six months.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

We have not encountered any deployment issues. Implementation can be tricky, but they have services to help with that.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not encountered any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We use Birst cloud and so far have not seen any scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Support is good. We have an assigned CSM who helps us track down help quickly.

Technical Support:

Technical support is solid. Things are documented well, also.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We previously used a different solution. The solution we used was outdated and when we decided to upgrade, we shopped around to find the best solution available for our needs.

How was the initial setup?

The basic setup can be straightforward, but Birst is powerful and with power comes complexity. The front-end report designing with Visualizer and the dashboard tool are easy to use. The admin tool is simple also, but has many options.

What about the implementation team?

An in-house team implemented it.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Before choosing this product, we also evaluated Tableau, MS Power BI, and Sisense.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Sr. Business Intelligence Consultant at Avantas, LLC
Vendor
We deploy dashboards using the integrated data warehousing and visualization abilities. Setup is complex.

What is most valuable?

1) Connection to external sources : Birst uses several connection methods to take data in from your data sources and stages it into its own “Data Mart” if you will.

2) Staging and Warehousing: This stages data from several sources makes Birst a fairly robust data warehouse solution. A lot of vendors can do that well and so does Birst.

3) Modeling: Birst utilizes a start schema for dimensional modeling of the data that is staged.

4) Visualization: In most vendors Data warehousing and then data modeling were two separate functionalities. The idea was to be able to sell visualization tools as a separate suite to users who already had an in-house warehouse.

However, recently, several vendors have started combining the warehousing and visualization abilities into one stop shop. For example, for a long time, Tableau was and probably is the leading provider of visualizer tools but warehousing data through tableau is much more cumbersome and resource intensive. Birst, Qlikview etc. have not been able to provide the exact beautification and features in the visualizer for self-service dashboards as Tableau but they have managed to seamlessly allow data visualization and dashboard development from the warehouse on the go.

This goes into the technical inter-operability of the warehouse with visualization, data understandability, query performance and render time.


How has it helped my organization?

The objective of using Birst-mediated dashboards is to deliver interactive and online information to our clients in a client-specific and data-distributed format. We are yet to realize the real return on the investment given the need to alter the underlying intention of the product’s use.

What needs improvement?

From a visualization perspective, this tool claims to make several advances that are indeed interesting to a large proportion of the user base. However, it needs to prioritize several extremely fundamental features associated with charting, formatting and layout control.

Some basic features that Birst needs to improve are:

  • Line graph between two measures (comparing one measure to another without summing them) – Basic scatter plot sums the measure up automatically.
  • Spark lines need to be made available.
  • Editing trend lines and gridlines in graphs – An option for customizing label location, label background under formatting chart elements such as gridlines and labels, custom label backgrounds and transparency, etc.
  • An option to customize the alignment of headings in any table as left, right, center, top, middle and bottom. Also there is need to add label customization in a table that is not associated to any measure but just plain text, instead of having to change it on the dashboard as a text input, which also does not re-size in the same ratio as the other components do when the screen size is modified.
  • Conditional filter – An additional option to use a filter “where variable-xyz in (a,b,c,d,)” type of statement for filtering attributes. This is helpful when the list of attributes is long and can be used instead of manually select each box.
  • Conditional display of KPI – For example, if the date range is x, then display KPI A; if the date range is y, then display KPI B.
  • Conditional indicators – A solution to give conditions to KPI indicators rather than to have a measure to check against a predefined number.
  • Unnecessary padding spaces around graphs, KPIs, tables – An option to be able to define the space and padding.
  • An option to customize a measure within a given timeline, embedded in the measure itself. There should be way to define that timeline dependent on a user-selected time in dashboard filters. Currently, there is no ability to display several measures on different time scales in the same table. For example, measure 1, 2 and 3 current, over last quarter and over last year.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using it for three years

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have encountered several workspace migration errors that alter internal (backend) report/dashboard address associations.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Some minor scalability issues include:

  • Copy over time
  • Data connectivity
  • Render time

How are customer service and technical support?

I would give technical support a 6.5/10 rating.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Our organization did not use any other solution. We decided to select Birst as our vendor as an initial choice.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was complex in terms of:

  • Availability of professional services
  • Definition of custom requirements and initial set-up of a data model

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

I would recommend others about the following:

  • Vet the product based on existing feature set.
  • Roadmap delays may impact urgent requirements therefore plan the selection choice accordingly.
  • Gain sharing model of pricing should be better if there is the room for negotiation wherein the product can be received at the base cost and then a payout based on promised service level achievements.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Birst was a choice, made prior to me joining the company. Even though I
am not the right person to comment on this, in my understanding Tableau, Crystal
and others were also being considered.

What other advice do I have?

I would suggest the below:

  • Clarity on end goals
  • User perspective and utilization
  • Medium of delivery to the user
  • Availability of internal/resident admin(s) for Birst networking and data modeling
  • Availability of Birst professional services
  • Thorough vetting of existing feature set v/s critical business needs
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user538233
Business Intelligence Consultant at a tech company with 51-200 employees
Vendor
I like the single suite module from ETL for reporting and dashboards.

What is most valuable?

  • Built-in application connectors for most common purposes: ERP/CRM AWS and REST API.
  • Single suite module from ETL for reporting and dashboards
  • Cloud based BI that can be accessed from anywhere, anytime from mobiles, iPods, tablets, and PCs.

How has it helped my organization?

I built dashboards for the sales and marketing department which helped them do forecasting.

What needs improvement?

Birst constantly rolls out new features so they are always improving. Birst has a very active forum online. People post lots of feedback in regards to existing features. At times, they need to improve.

In my case, I needed a REST API connection and an AWS connection. They released those features after a few months.

I would like to see better connection functionality. It is not very intuitive and the UI is kind of neglected.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have used this solution for two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I did not encounter any issues with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I did not encounter any issues with scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

I would give technical support a rating of 9/10.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I used Microsoft BI suite. Our company is the sole reseller of Birst.

How was the initial setup?

The cloud based version is pretty straightforward. The appliance version needs some configuration, but it's not difficult.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We explored other alternatives, but there are no other solutions like Birst that do cloud BI analytics.

What other advice do I have?

It depends on what they purchase. If it is an appliance, then go with AWS.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We're the only resellers in our area. Our company is the sole reseller of Birst.
it_user25359
Sr. Manager of Enterprise Applications with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
Provides analytic consolidation. The ETL needs a graphical processing interface.

What is most valuable?

I found the ETL process very valuable to us.

How has it helped my organization?

It has provided new levels of analytic consolidation.

What needs improvement?

  • The ETL needs a graphical processing/workflow interface
  • Error logging is cumbersome to work through to find issues
  • Visualizations require add-ons with other products to become state-of-the-art
  • We were hoping that Birst would introduce an add-on with Tableau. To date, we have not heard any more about it.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it for two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There were some stability issues. The processing engine occasionally fails with no apparent reason.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We did not encounter any scalability issues. For an additional cost, you can scale as needed. For our needs, it is scalable without additional cost at this time.

How are customer service and technical support?

We found technical support to be very good and responsive. Tier one support has higher technical expertise than with most other products we use.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did use another solution. But when we moved to the cloud ERP, we no longer wanted to use an on-premise BI.

This solution also had better connectivity options for the hybrid cloud environment that we found ourselves in at the time.

How was the initial setup?

I came along later in the project. However, it seems that the initial setup was straightforward.

It should be noted however, that Birst Professional Services should not have let us stray too far from the more out-of-the-box methodologies that we employed for the initial implementation.

As a result, we had significant reworking to do in order to resolve some issues and to scale properly.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I was not involved in the evaluation. It seems that the business decided in advance and did little due diligence.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend using an expert third-party partner to assist in the implementation rather than using Birst Professional Services.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user560286
Software Engineer – BI Analyst at a recruiting/HR firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Creates formulas, custom calculations, and ETL jobs. We do not use it anymore as it did not meet our needs.

What is most valuable?

  • Good drag and drop dashboard widgets
  • Ability to create formulas and custom calculations
  • Ability to create ETL jobs for simple data warehouse creation
  • Automates the creation of the star schema
  • Automatically creates facts and dimensions based on data types

How has it helped my organization?

We actually do not use it anymore as it did not meet our needs.

What needs improvement?

  • The query generation is inefficient and cannot be tweaked. You have to live with whatever queries are generated by the system.
  • The ETL process creates enormous temp files: Disk space can be an issue with big data sets.
  • Troubleshooting is problematic: The system is a black box. Once a trouble spot is identified, there is very little ability to change the issue.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used the solution for close to two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We encountered a stability issue as this solution did not scale in our environment. It was not performing in our OEM environment with the size of our database.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The ETL, querying, and user interface did not accommodate our performance requirements.

How is customer service and technical support?

Technical support was good. They just couldn't address the performance issues.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was easy. It is just a virtual appliance.

We had a complex setup that involved OEM and integration which was painful.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated some other options.

What other advice do I have?

Birst is a great tool for:

  • Creating a simple data warehouse
  • Uploading data for quick analysis, visualizations, and dashboards

It is not a great tool to integrate into an enterprise level application.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user562521
Sr. Tech Specialist/ DBA/BI Developer at a educational organization with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
The user can view a product usage dashboard within the SFDC. I would like to see improvements in the UI.

What is most valuable?

It can be integrated with Sales Force. Users can jump to the Birst dashboard from SFDC without a repeat login.

How has it helped my organization?

The user can view a product usage dashboard within the SFDC.

What needs improvement?

  • User interface: The screen layout is not up to the market standards
  • Customer support: Not helpful at all
  • Site/user administration: There is no user administration function on the front end. Most activities require a manual command.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this solution for two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not encountered any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not encountered any scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

I would give technical support a rating of 3/10.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Before choosing this product, we were not using another solution.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was extremely complex. The Birst consultants wasted a lot of time in configuring the system.

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

We have no specific comments regarding this issue.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I was not involved in the selection process.

What other advice do I have?

I would suggest they use something else instead.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user562548
Business Intelligence Consultant and Birst Expert at a tech consulting company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
Creates visualizations, validates the data, and builds custom charts.

What is most valuable?

To a technical consultant like me, this is a great great tool for creating value added visualizations, exploring and validating the concerned data while building custom charts tailored to what the business needs.

Dashboards follow the Birst Value Based Design principles which enables users to start at the top to interrogate and review they KVI (Key Value Indicator), then drill down to explore the data and the drivers of the KVIs.

Apart from the existed Visualisation types, Birst enables the use of interactive dashlets using JavaScript and other scripting languages.

How has it helped my organization?

We are a golden partner of Birst. We use our Birst expertise to deliver Birst projects to customers.

In general, Birst as a cloud VI solution is a user-friendly tool that looks really nice and engages users straight away.

Users can now explore data that they couldn't do before, as well as use quick meaningful representations to understand the data and drive business growth. Traditional data exploration tasks that included complicated formulas can now be transformed into interactive dashboards.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see the following:

  • Better reporting functionalities
  • More charts
  • Enriching chart formatting to include additional properties and styles
  • More advanced charts (advanced waterfalls and heatmaps)
  • A type of chart to be used for time analysis. For example, current vs. last year, last month, etc. Currently, this is possible by using Birst time series or custom expressions.

Since this is something that most companies use and need, it would be interesting to create a chart type dedicated to year by year comparisons. Maybe a four block chart where each one can be configured to show specific time comparisons.

Some examples: Current year vs. last year, current month vs. previous month, and YTD comparisons.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this solution for more than a year.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

There have been no serious incidents.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There have been no serious incidents.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

As the volume of data gets bigger and bigger, so does the extraction/processing of the data and the dashboard rendering. There are always workarounds. The extraction/processing can be improved by using incremental data refresh. Dashboards can be optimized by using filters.

How is customer service and technical support?

Technical support has a quick response time and a high quality of service. I would rate them with a 7/10, as there is always room for improvement.

How was the initial setup?

This entirely depends on the data and the company's data model.

What other advice do I have?

Always start from the value based design that Birst depends on. It will help you first define the problem and then understand the data. After this, the process of enabling Birst will be much quicker and enjoyable.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are one of the top partners for Birst.
it_user560217
Fp&A And Reporting Manager at a healthcare company with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
Allows us to join our data sources into one place. I would like to see better training.

What is most valuable?

The valuable features are:

  • The ease of reporting
  • The ability to customize reporting format
  • The ability to have different spaces for users to play with their own data and data sources without impacting other users
  • The ability to utilize this solution for both internal and external users

How has it helped my organization?

It has given us the ability to join all our data sources into one place to streamline reporting and analytics. It is important for security and reporting integrity to keep internal and external users separate. This prevents mishaps with externally facing material.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see better training. The cost-benefit was not great. We received very basic training for a high cost. They could have gone into a deeper understanding of the tool. They kept the training very basic.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this solution for six months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have only encountered one small instance of downtime, which lasted for less than fifteen minutes.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The non-enterprise version requires you to hook up data sources to each space you create. It doesn't let you create one data warehouse in which you can build all types of reporting. This allows for more control and better security, but it can slow down the scaling process if you need internal help from IT.

How was the initial setup?

The installation varies by use case. The setup was intuitive, although we did hire a third-party implementer. We recommend this, unless you have in-house expertise.

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

They were willing to negotiate price. They were very accommodating as my company was smaller and had a lower budget for this type of project.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Domo, MicroStrategy, Sisense, Looker, and Salesforce Wave.

What other advice do I have?

Make sure you have cleaned up your data before starting a project like this. Also, clearly define your use cases. Don't try to bite off too much at the start. Think in terms of quick wins.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
Technical Specialist at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Consultant
Cloud based reporting tool for small scale organizations. We do not have access to its servers and it is slow at times.

What is most valuable?

The fact that it is completely cloud based makes the maintenance easier since we don't have the onus of maintaining the server.

What needs improvement?

Since Birst is completely cloud based, we do not have access to its servers. It is very slow at times. We can do nothing about it and we can't even restart the servers.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have used this solution for six months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There were stability issues with Birst. A dashboard/report takes a lot of time to open if there is a lot of data. In a typical customer facing scenario, such things aren't acceptable. A customer does not want to wait for ten minutes for a single report to open.

How is customer service and technical support?

The tech support was an OK experience. Birst depends primarily on their forum for their issues to be resolved.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very straightforward.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

As far as other products are concerned, I used Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE) before using Birst. I am back to using it.

What other advice do I have?

Birst is only good for small scale organizations which have to deal with less data.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user573501
Regional Marketing Communications & Campaigns Manager at a retailer with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
The dashboard tool gave a quick customizable overview of data. I need to hide the data while I put a report together because it would load too slowly.

What is most valuable?

The dashboard tool is the most valuable feature, as it gave a quick customizable overview of data I needed to access on a daily basis.

How has it helped my organization?

Everything we did in the marketing team needed to be based on data and Birst helped us to make calculated decisions based on the given data.

What needs improvement?

The ability to filter out massive amounts of data and load it properly on screen needs to be improved. I would need to hide the data while I put a report together because it would load too slowly.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used this solution for around one and a half years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There were some stability issues less on Birst's end and more in regards to the different types of data that were fed into Birst. Overall, I was pretty satisfied with the stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Personally, I did not encounter any scalability issues because I only had to deal with the given data for a six month period at a time (season) or maximum for a year's worth. However, I can imagine how slow the system would be, if we needed to look at it in terms of years and years of data.

How are customer service and technical support?

I didn't have to deal with anyone from Birst directly, as we had someone in-house who was our Birst source of truth and he would help us technically as well.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Prior to me joining the company, I understand that they used another system. When I joined, they had recently switched to Birst, as we were in need of a more powerful way to deal with data, apart from PowerPivot tool.

How was the initial setup?

I didn't experience the initial setup. I helped build the dashboard with zero knowledge or prior Birst background. It wasn't too complex as I could figure it out with little help but not as straightforward in terms of the UI. It wasn't as intuitive.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I wasn't part of the decision-making process but I know they evaluated other products as well. Eventually, it was down to features and pricing.

What other advice do I have?

It's quite a powerful tool, i.e., if all the data you need can be integrated properly.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user575829
Business Intelligence Manager at a real estate/law firm with 501-1,000 employees
Vendor
Allows us to build and deploy analytical models. We can build a fact model to perform standard data modeling.

What is most valuable?

The option to build and deploy analytical models quickly, within days rather than months. We use a variety of cloud applications such as Google Analytics.

Birst offered us a solution that had built-in connectors which could be used to build a fact model. We can use this to perform the standard data modelling steps: extract, transform, load, and develop scheduled reporting within weeks.

How has it helped my organization?

Daily, weekly, and monthly automated reports delivered to senior management. Prior to this rollout, there was no visibility.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see improvements in the administrative modules. These are about to be addressed in Version 6.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have used this solution for about two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There have been no stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There have been no scalability issues.

How is customer service and technical support?

Technical support is excellent.

How was the initial setup?

The Initial setup was delivered in four weeks with a clear use case for data sources aligned to two KPIs.

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

Pricing and licensing is negotiable.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Tableau, Looker, Business Objects, and QlikView.

What other advice do I have?

Ensure that you fully understand BI and enterprise data warehouse architecture.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user560265
Lead, Analytics Global Enterprise & Government at a comms service provider with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
Provides the ability to create an end-to-end BI solution using a single software stack product.

What is most valuable?

Its ability to create a complete, end-to-end BI solution using a single software stack product is the most valuable feature. This is important when we consider the need to apply agile development approaches to the creation of BI/analytics software implementations.

Birst essentially removes the previous BI software stack paradigm which was premised on the need to have at least three differing software products so as to achieve an end-to-end data processing platform. The need to manage three different software assets was (historically) the reason a BI project could not be ‘agile’.

How has it helped my organization?

The ways in which it has improved the working of our organization are mentioned below:

  • Limited overhead resourcing (a single skill set is required).
  • Dramatic reduction in the time needed to create either PoC implementations or defined software products.
  • Ability to create a ‘packaged’ BI product which can be considered as a plug-n-play opportunity, either as an internal asset or more importantly for sale in the market.

What needs improvement?

  • Visualization: This aspect of the product is not up to the same level as its competitors in the market. However, it should be noted that Birst provides a complete end-to-end solution, whereas all its competitors are providing solutions for the front-end visualization piece only (for example, the Tableau solution).
  • Cloud performance: While this is a unique selling point and a significant advantage in the market, we experienced some issues with the performance in the cloud-based offering when hosted in the US. However, I now understand Birst has an APAC data center.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used this solution for around 18 months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have not encountered any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not encountered any scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is quite fair. Since we are a US-based organization, we required communication with the US on a regular basis.

While the support was excellent and timely, the need to sync time zones did cause some issues. However, I now understand there is a dedicated APAC technical support team based out of Australia.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were not using any other solution; this was a green field implementation.

How was the initial setup?

There was zero setup complexity, as the solution is offered via a cloud infrastructure, i.e., no local installs are required.

The only challenge was understanding the transformation syntax (BQL). As an example, we created a series of analytics products using the tool in a matter of weeks and that, too, with zero prior Birst experience.

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

Licensing is an issue in Australia due to a fairly high-level entry point (also priced in USD). However, one must consider that the license cost negates all of the local infrastructure requirements, including hardware.

Birst is a complete solution, i.e., there is zero need for any additional software in order to complete a BI project. This is not the case with any other competitor in the market.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated other products such as Tableau, QlikView, and MicroStrategy.

What other advice do I have?

When considering the entry cost, you need to take into account the cloud architectural component. There will be no further infrastructure costs; hence, it can actually end up to be a cheaper option.

You should also review the competitors in terms of the end-to-end architecture. Many competitors will claim to have an end-to-end solution, when in reality there will be a highly manual (command line) facility built-in.

Birst has been developed from the ground up to be a true end-to-end BI / analytics product. There are zero additional software requirements in order to create an enterprise-wide / scale solution.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user535434
Manager - Presales and Solutions at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Consultant
With single-window development, there is no need to maintain or install multiple tools for metadata, reports development and service management.

What is most valuable?

Some valuable features in this product are:

  • Auto modelling: Simply by uploading Excel, we can start reporting.
  • Birst's auto feature creates ETL in the back-end by analyzing data.
  • Cloud-based: This cloud-based tool is easy to maintain and can be managed with a single window.
  • Single-window development: No need to maintain / install multiple tools for metadata, reports development and service management.

How has it helped my organization?

We use Birst for developing solutions and prototypes, that are helpful for our customers.

What needs improvement?

For complex reports with heavy calculations, performance can be improved. I would appreciate more customization options in measure calculations.

Earlier, we were challenged during one of the previous versions (maybe Birst version 5.18). We wanted to define a new measure and build a complex calculation using the custom and existing measures. Then, there were certain restrictions in using the custom measure.

We are currently using version 5.23 and an update is due for us. Birst (currently updated to version 5.24) is very dynamic and there is another update (version 5.25) which will be released by them soon. We never tried to explore in the recent version and unsure if customization is available already.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used this product for a period of 18 months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Product upgrades are frequent. In this manner, Birst tries to introduce new features and fix issues from existing versions. However, during upgrades we had to redevelop certain report prompts (and in rare cases the report itself).

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Data processing time increases as volume of the data increases. However, if you are in the typical data load cycle schedules for end-of-day loads during off-business-hours, the time is minimal.

How are customer service and technical support?

Birst provides quick and helpful support on raised queries. Overall, the level of technical support is good.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Previously and still now, we use Oracle BI (OBIEE). I find Birst are pioneers in Cloud BI platforms.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was straightforward. Birst being a cloud-based solution, it does not require installation on servers. Allocation of space happens fast and with easy steps.

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

Birst has subscription based pricing policy, with a commitment for certain minimum time period.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated other solutions namely Oracle BI Cloud Service, GoodData.

What other advice do I have?

It is important to identify a use case and deliver business benefits. Then gradually, you can expand to users (or other use cases) in different functions and shorter sprints.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are implementation partners ​and solution providers.
it_user551520
Senior Data Engineer at a tech company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Dashboard scheduling is valuable. Frequent timeouts should be resolved.

What is most valuable?

This tool possesses valuable features such as its ability to perform ETL, extract data from various sources (flat files, relational DBs, application connectors) and dashboard scheduling.

How has it helped my organization?

Unfortunately for us, we are looking for better options other than Birst as it is not so user friendly.

What needs improvement?

Birst needs to improve various features, namely:

  • Application connectors as existing ones aren’t quite reliable.
  • Resolve issues of frequent timeouts.
  • Provide a friendlier UI.
  • The BQL (Birst Query Language), which is used for applying filters in dashboards, conditional formatting, custom calculations, etc., needs a more constructive syntax.
  • The error messages displayed need more useful information about resolving issues.
  • Build an external forum/community for online help. The in-built Birst community is relevant only for simple tasks.
  • Provide concepts for Dev, QA and Production environments.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used this tool for about a year and half.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Owing to the above reasons, we could not make use of the Birst tool productively. Hence, we will not be able to make a fair comment.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Owing to the above reasons, we could not make use of the Birst tool productively. Hence, we will not be able to make a fair comment. In addition, this tool does not allow frequent updates.

How are customer service and technical support?

Personally, I have not interacted with their support team but when my colleagues did they received an average response.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Initially, we have used Tableau, SSAS, BO. At first, we were quite impressed with Birst’s capabilities. Now we understand that it is still a maturing tool.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Recently we have evaluated Looker, Sisense & Qlikview. Tableau seems to be the best amongst the lot. Sisense would follow thereafter.

What other advice do I have?

There is no doubt that Birst possesses great abilities. However, it becomes too time consuming to understand and implement this product. It is important to decide the main criteria for selecting this tool whether just as a dashboard function or to provide start to end solutions from ETL to visualization. This product requires users to come out of their comfort zone and explore it.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user529317
Senior BI Specialist at a tech company with 10,001+ employees
MSP
It can be set up in cloud-based systems. The user interface is fully browser-based.

Valuable Features

  • Scalability: Because the product can be set up in cloud-based systems, the scalability is there.
  • Availability: The user interface is fully browser-based, so no installation for users is always a big plus.
  • ‘Networked BI’-approach: In technical ways, it makes all of the core measurements consistent throughout the company. It tackles the issue related to inconsistency in reporting inside company departments.

Room for Improvement

Licensing has been shown to have some issues.

There are specific Birst connectors included in the out-of-the-box price tag, and there are several more connectors available in Birst that have their own license fee.

Thinking from a customer perspective, this is really important to know. As per my experience, the out-of-the-box price tag is the one that is used and the extra license of connectors available was sort of a ‘surprise’. However, this was explained by Birst and it is understandable that their other connectors cost extra.

My own experience just made me think that this was a hidden cost that they tried to hide, but keeping that in mind, it might only be my experience as to how this surfaced for us, because I had this image of Birst that you pay _this_ amount and get everything.

Use of Solution

I have used it for a few months.

Stability Issues

I have not encountered any stability issues so far. It will be interesting to see how it handles actual several-user usage.

Scalability Issues

I have not encountered any scalability issues so far. Scalability is one of the core features of this product that makes Birst great.

Customer Service and Technical Support

I have not used technical support. However, answers to product-related questions are sometimes buried quite deep.

Initial Setup

Initial setup from the customer point of view is straightforward but as an administrator, it has its own complexities. However, the main focus is that Birst setup for the ‘actual’ user is clean, straightforward and easy.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

Pricing is ok. However, the kind of data you have can alter the price through Birst connector license costs.

Other Solutions Considered

GoodData was an option; however, it did not fulfill the requirements as well as Birst did (one year ago).

Other Advice

Check your needs, what actually is required and what kind of data you have. Then look into Birst and similar products for the most suitable to _your_ needs.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: My company is a Birst partner.
it_user526302
Director of Enterprise Data Architecture at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
MSP
Analysts used it build visualizations for presentations to senior management. Performance was not that great; in-memory processing would help.

What is most valuable?

Data visualization: The company I worked for had clients all across US. It was important for us to visually present the details to the senior management so that they were able to relate to the analytics very easily. Additionally, analysts were able to easily build visualizations and explain them when they were presented. Data in charts/maps speak more than data in a spreadsheet.

Also, in the customer-facing portal, it was easier for the customer to see visually than reading a report.

How has it helped my organization?

Data can be downloaded unto the Birst server, which means the analyst can run their own analysis without issues.

What needs improvement?

  • Performance was not that great; in-memory processing would help.
  • Real-time streaming.
  • At the time that I looked at this product, it was in a incubation/stabilization mode. We ran into challenges with the performance. We were told that we will be able to build our star schema model and run our dashboards easily. But, when we had to do a lot of summarization, the performance was not that great.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it for three months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have not encountered any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I encountered scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is good.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I previously used in-house analytical solutions using Cognos and some of our native Java code base.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup was straightforward, because it was a cloud-based solution.

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

Negotiate.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Before choosing this product, I also evaluated Tableau.

What other advice do I have?

If you are looking for a cloud-based, lightweight data mart and reporting, this tool is good.

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