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.
We will learn more about them in the further sections of this chapter.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Financial risk processes and high-tech applications are the main candidates for these capabilities.
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.
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.
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.