MicroStrategy Symposium overview

Red Olive attended the MicroStrategy Symposium at the Park Plaza Victoria Hotel on 30th October.  The opening presentation was by Steve Dunningham, the UK and Ireland country manager.  Steve joined fairly recently from IBM where he was head of Business Analytics.  His presentation was structured around the four main themes of Big Data, Mobile, Cloud and Social Media.

The structure tied in well with a later demonstration of the MicroStrategy version 9.3 release by Nick Barth and a colleague.  The demonstration was based on an entertaining and quite compelling exploration of 2012 London Olympic medal results using the MicroStrategy Cloud Express version.  The demonstration also included a clear visualisation of network analysis.

Highlights from the day as a whole: strong mobile BI offering

One of the main impressions we came away with from the day was that MicroStrategy have developed a strong and pretty all-encompassing mobile platform for BI; they were one of the first vendors we were aware of to have a credible offering for BI on Apple iPad / iPhone and that capability now also extends to the Android platform.

As you’d probably expect from an independent BI vendor, MicroStrategy do seem to have retained a focus on developing their BI platform consistently and are not relying on knitting together several separate products as some of their rivals are.

Where we think MicroStrategy might be of interest and where not:

We think being an early mover onto iPad gave MicroStrategy an edge compared to some rivals.  We also think having their platform available on Android will be of particular interest to companies with significant parts of their operation in Asia.  In Asia, Android tablets hold a much bigger share of the market than is the case in either Europe or North America, where iOS tablets tend to be more widely used.

MicroStrategy’s very broad offering covering capabilities from standard and ad-hoc reporting to dashboards, infographic visualisations and predictive analytical modelling continues to position them strongly as a company’s single BI vendor.  Conversely, where there is a specific departmental need it can seem outfacing to have that breadth and the “philosophical buy-in” that often accompanies MicroStrategy’s approach of having an information delivery layer that is separate from an organisation’s main data repositories.  It is in some of these more niche applications that lighter weight applications such as RoamBI are thriving, and here we think the case for MicroStrategy is less compelling.

If you are considering implementing MicroStrategy, RoamBI or any other BI platform, please contact Red Olive: we would be happy to share with you our practical experience of implementing analytical solutions on a wide variety of different software platforms and also to help you decide which would be best for your circumstances.