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Discovering Business Intelligence using MicroStrategy 9

By Nelson Enriquez , Juan Nelson , Samundar Singh Rathore
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About this book
Business Intelligence is a type of technology that has been proven to support business decisions in an organization. MicroStrategy 9 is a fully-integrated BI platform that makes Business Intelligence faster, easier, and more user-friendly. It enables businesses to generate their own reports and dashboards without the need for technical knowledge.This practical, hands-on guide will provide Business Intelligence for executives, as well as enable BI reports and dashboards without the dependency of IT savvy personnel. It will allow you to design, build, and share business relevant data in hours, in a secure way, including mobile devices and show you how to leverage your transactional information.This example-oriented book looks at the value proposition of cloud computing and the MicroStrategy platform, and features practical exercises for BI reports and dashboard enablement, including the design phase and best practices for when we design a BI report.The book begins with an exploration of MicroStrategy along with typical business needs. Our focus then shifts to best practices for BI reports and dashboard definitions from the functional stand point, with easy-to-do exercises that will allow you to enable the reports in the platform. You will learn about scorecards and dashboards, along with sharing the reports. Next, you will get acquainted with cloud-based services provided by the MicroStrategy platform. By the end of this book, you will able to design, enable, and share BI reports and dashboards without the need for comprehensive technical knowledge, and leverage the latest technology on the market.
Publication date:
December 2013
Publisher
Packt
Pages
142
ISBN
9781782170044

 

Chapter 1. The Value Proposition of MicroStrategy

Sometimes when we hear about Business Intelligence platforms and related technology, our first reaction is a web report with tons of data to analyze and review, which has a slow and poor response time. Such platforms require IT-savvy personnel to enable them, as they are complicated to use. However, innovations in information technology have completely transformed the user experience and the way technologies are implemented.

When we implement technologies by ourselves with a do-it-yourself approach, the phenomena is called IT consumerization: technology for the final consumers without the complication of typical IT systems in corporations.

Imagine the same concept and approach translated to the Business Intelligence arena: a BI platform ready to use, simple to install, without specialized training or personnel to enable it, and ready to use our data in order to help us take business decisions.

In this chapter you will learn the scope of the MicroStrategy platform and how to enable it in a do-it-yourself approach without any specialized knowledge or training. Fortunately, MicroStrategy understands this consumerization trend and offers a platform and services that are easy to enable and be used by a business user. In a few hours, a business user is able to analyze information as well as generate reports and dashboards. Also, business users will be able to share their reports in a collaborative schema with their business colleagues, and also on a mobile platform for portability.

 

MicroStrategy Business Intelligence suite


The MicroStrategy Business Intelligence suite includes solutions for different business needs and scopes. They can be listed as follows:

  • Enterprise reporting

  • Scorecards and dashboards

  • Advanced and predictive analytics

  • Closed-loop BI

  • High-performance BI

  • Big Data

We will learn more about them in the further sections of this chapter.

Enterprise reporting

Enterprise reporting supports Business Intelligence by delivering the detailed information that impacts the decision maker's reliance on flexible reporting systems, which present business data in the most consumable format for day-to-day operations. The source for reporting is any transactional system that you use for sales, logistics, and inventory, among others; the opportunities are endless.

For example, reports can be used for production and operational data, invoices, statements and business reports, such as Profit and Loss (P&L) statements, and performance and statutory reports.

Scorecards and dashboards

MicroStrategy provides a powerful platform for scorecards and dashboards that consolidate and arrange numbers and metrics on a single screen.

Scorecards and dashboards may be tailored for a specific role and display metrics targeted towards a single point of view or department.

The Business Intelligence dashboard is often confused with the scorecard. The main difference between the two, traditionally, is that a Business Intelligence dashboard, like the dashboard of a car, indicates the status of the data at a specific point in time and the trending of data. A scorecard, on the other hand, displays progress towards a specific goal over time.

Advanced and predictive analytics

MicroStrategy supports advanced and predictive analysis capabilities, enabling users to perform analyses such as hypothesis testing, churn prediction and customer scoring models within a single interface.

MicroStrategy has built-in support for more than 300 mathematical, Online Analytical Processing (OLAP), financial, and statistical functions.

Tip

A typical example of predictive analytics is using regression techniques to forecast sales, validate profitability, and stay in budget.

Closed-loop BI

A closed-loop BI is the capability of transforming a BI report's ready-only data into interactive reports that allow the user to capture strategies and data to trigger actions. This provides support to the related data source.

Inventory reports are natural candidates for closed-loop BI; you can change the goal in an inventory report, and based on the metric the system triggers actions to achieve it.

High-performance BI

High-performance BI is focalized on large amount of data (terabytes, petabytes) without compromising the performance and usability of the reports and dashboards.

Financial risk processes and high-tech applications are the main candidates for these capabilities.

Big Data

Big Data is about managing large, complex-structured (sales reports) and non-structured (social networks consumer behaviors) data.

Tip

Large retails and end-consumer service providers are the main candidates for Big Data technology.

This book is focused on helping you understand and use the reports and dashboard capabilities of the MicroStrategy platform in Cloud with a do-it-yourself approach.

As a first step, you need to enable your MicroStrategy-platform Cloud service (if you are a MicroStrategy customer, proceed with the enablement using your username and password delivered by MicroStrategy); the detailed instructions and prerequisites are located in Appendix A, MicroStrategy Express.

Enabling and using the MicroStrategy Cloud service is as easy as working with the Excel application, and moreover, Cloud applications have very easy and precise steps for performing any task.

The end user interface (menus, options, and so on) in the MicroStrategy Cloud platform (Internet based) will be very familiar to you. Please keep in mind that the final objective is that you will be able to design, build, analyze, and share reports and dashboards to leverage MicroStrategy from your own desktop/mobile device.

Tip

Downloading the example code

You can download the example code files for all Packt books you have purchased from your account at http://www.packtpub.com. If you purchased this book elsewhere, you can visit http://www.packtpub.com/support and register to have the files e-mailed directly to you.

 

Summary


The MicroStrategy portfolio includes several offers for enabling BI solutions. Consumerization trends are now part of the BI arena, and MicroStrategy offers a Cloud version for faster reports and dashboard design without the intervention of IT-savvy personnel; now you as a business manager or director, can do it yourself.

Prior to building the reports, we need to identify the business needs and design the scope of the solution.

About the Authors
  • Nelson Enriquez

    Nelson Enriquez is a multicultural executive and business leader with more than 17 years of experience in IT, strategy and planning areas, with specializations in business studies at Stanford (U.S.A), INSEAD (France), and EGADE (Mexico). He has international experience of working on several projects in other geographical locations including Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and South America, that are focalized in business integration, valuing and acquiring technology-related companies (the Due Diligence process), and integrating IT-related operations to company standards (Mergers and Acquisitions). He also has experience in retail, pharma, services, and manufacturing industries as a partner at an IT services company, in Monterrey, as an External Director in a Big Five consultant firm, and as a IT Planning Director at Tier 1 Retail in Mexico.

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  • Juan Nelson
  • Samundar Singh Rathore

    Samundar Singh Rathore is a data warehousing and business intelligence consultant, and a trainer with extensive experience on various data warehousing business intelligence products. He has worked with a large business and analytics organization with specialization in investment and healthcare domain data. He is currently working as a MicroStrategy administrator and architect. He was born in Mundara, Rajasthan, and raised in Mumbai, Maharashtra, which is the financial capital of India. He speaks Hindi and English, and he is also proficient in Java and SQL. He is an active member and the "Guru" of the MicroStrategy official discussion forum at https://resource.microstrategy.com/Forum/UserProfile.aspx?uid=8557.

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