I’ve been working with MicroStrategy software for nearly twenty years. I was first introduced to MicroStrategy’s DSS Agent around 1996, back when MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor could be seen pulling into the MicroStrategy parking lot in his early model Lexus with his personalized license plates that read “DSS Web.”
I’ve seen a lot of change in the industry during the last nineteen years. Over that time, MicroStrategy has been an industry leader, bringing several innovations and firsts to the market, including moving BI from the desktop to the web browser, introducing personal alerting, offering analytics in the cloud, and moving insight beyond the confines of the office to mobile devices, to name just a few.
Unfortunately, one area they haven’t been the leader is in the white-hot market of self- service analytics. A new brand of vendors popped-up seemingly overnight, capitalized on the self-service trend, and began to whittle around the edges of MicroStrategy’s customer base.
As a MicroStrategy partner, I’ve had the opportunity over the last several months to test the beta version of MicroStrategy 10, and I’m here to tell you that while they may not have been first with self-service analytics, they got it right with MicroStrategy 10. And here’s why you should care.
In the “2015 Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytic Platforms” report, Gartner accurately identified that the analytics platform market is undergoing a fundamental shift.1 The lack of a single platform capable of providing both data discovery enabled self-service analytics and centralized, governed reporting has forced organizations into what Gartner has labeled a “bimodal” approach to supporting analytics across the enterprise. Business users, frustrated by the time it takes to deploy highly governed and centralized analytic solutions, have been successful in introducing tools into the organization that have been built specifically to address the needs of the business user via ungoverned, decentralized data discovery. With no single analytics platform capable of serving both needs, organizations have had little choice.
With MicroStrategy 10, all of this changes. This release will alter the conversation and vendor evaluation criteria in a way that organizations will no longer have to choose between products that offer data discovery / self-service analytics and products that offer centralized, governed analytics. With MicroStrategy 10, they have one product that will do both, and it will do it at enterprise scale.
Consider this. In the “2015 Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms” report, Gartner identified four key uses cases that an analytics platform must support:
1. Centralized BI Provisioning: Supports a workflow from data to IT-delivered and managed content.
2. Decentralized Analytics: Supports a workflow from data to self-service analytics
3. Governed Data Discovery: Supports a workflow from data to self-service analytics to systems of record, IT-managed content with governance, reusability and promotability.
4. OEM/Embedded BI: Supports a workflow from data to embedded BI content in a process or application1
With their upcoming release, MicroStrategy becomes a short-list candidate in each of these use cases when evaluated individually, and they become the leader for organizations looking for a single platform to support all four.
Centralized BI provisioning, or the traditional approach to business intelligence, is where MicroStrategy has been a perennial powerhouse. With MicroStrategy 10, they introduce additional features in the areas of in-memory parallel cube processing and centralized administration tools that further enhance their capabilities in support of traditional, centralized enterprise scale analytics.
MicroStrategy 10 is packed with new features that are critical for supporting decentralized analytics and governed data discovery (use cases 2 and 3). Looking to connect natively to Hadoop, wrangle the data without having to leave the reporting application interface, and create self-service visualizations with no IT involvement? Check.
Want to conduct analysis on files on a shared drive, in a Dropbox or Google Drive account? MicroStrategy 10 has that covered, too.
Interested in creating visualizations using Salesforce.com reports, Google Analytics or data from Twitter or Facebook? You guessed it – they have built data connectors in MicroStrategy 10 to support that, too.
In all, MicroStrategy is introducing more than 20 new data sources that end users can access, wrangle, and analyze without the involvement of the IT organization. Best of all, when you’re ready to point this analysis to data that has been governed and certified as being of high quality, IT can do that without the users losing the analysis they have created.
MicroStrategy 10 continues the trend of exposing a rich set of APIs via their SDK. This extensive SDK provides organizations with the ability to seamlessly embed analytics into other processes or interfaces, all while taking advantage of MicroStrategy’s underlying architecture for benefits that range from security to load balancing and query governing.
MicroStrategy 10 is packed with functionality and capabilities. I’m excited about the upcoming release and seeing how the broader market receives the latest product offering from MicroStrategy. Over the next couple of months, we will be publishing weekly in-depth articles on different key functionality to help you prepare to unleash the potential of MicroStrategy 10.
1 Gartner “2015 Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms.