What users are saying about
183 Ratings
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718 Ratings
183 Ratings
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Score 6.9 out of 101

Microsoft BI

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718 Ratings
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Score 8.1 out of 101

Likelihood to Recommend

Birst

If you are looking for "Instant BI", Birst isn't that tool. If you want to roll your own solution using a single application to perform all of your ETL, reporting/dashboard, like to get deep in the weeds and have a lot of control of how your data is processed, this is going to make you smile.
Sean Keesler profile photo

Microsoft BI

If the client you are dealing with already has existing Microsoft licensing agreements, selecting the Microsoft Stack may be a no-brainer. However, truly understanding the client's needs is the most important place to start versus selecting the technology stack. B2C clients that need a visualization tool may need to look elsewhere if you are looking for a data visualization tool, as costs for licensing are high at the time of writing.
No photo available

Feature Rating Comparison

BI Standard Reporting

Birst
7.0
Microsoft BI
7.8
Pixel Perfect reports
Birst
6.9
Microsoft BI
7.5
Customizable dashboards
Birst
7.6
Microsoft BI
7.7
Report Formatting Templates
Birst
6.4
Microsoft BI
8.0

Ad-hoc Reporting

Birst
6.8
Microsoft BI
8.2
Drill-down analysis
Birst
7.2
Microsoft BI
7.9
Formatting capabilities
Birst
6.7
Microsoft BI
8.3
Integration with R or other statistical packages
Birst
6.1
Microsoft BI
8.0
Report sharing and collaboration
Birst
7.3
Microsoft BI
8.7

Report Output and Scheduling

Birst
7.8
Microsoft BI
7.9
Publish to Web
Birst
8.2
Microsoft BI
8.1
Publish to PDF
Birst
7.9
Microsoft BI
8.4
Report Versioning
Birst
7.4
Microsoft BI
7.7
Report Delivery Scheduling
Birst
7.6
Microsoft BI
7.2
Delivery to Remote Servers
Birst
Microsoft BI
8.0

Data Discovery and Visualization

Birst
6.6
Microsoft BI
7.9
Pre-built visualization formats (heatmaps, scatter plots etc.)
Birst
7.2
Microsoft BI
8.2
Location Analytics / Geographic Visualization
Birst
7.2
Microsoft BI
7.7
Predictive Analytics
Birst
5.6
Microsoft BI
7.7

Access Control and Security

Birst
8.1
Microsoft BI
8.2
Multi-User Support (named login)
Birst
8.5
Microsoft BI
8.2
Role-Based Security Model
Birst
8.1
Microsoft BI
8.0
Multiple Access Permission Levels (Create, Read, Delete)
Birst
7.8
Microsoft BI
8.4
Single Sign-On (SSO)
Birst
Microsoft BI
8.3

Mobile Capabilities

Birst
7.3
Microsoft BI
8.0
Responsive Design for Web Access
Birst
7.2
Microsoft BI
8.0
Dedicated iOS Application
Birst
7.5
Microsoft BI
8.2
Dedicated Android Application
Birst
7.4
Microsoft BI
7.9
Dashboard / Report / Visualization Interactivity on Mobile
Birst
7.2
Microsoft BI
8.0

Application Program Interfaces (APIs) / Embedding

Birst
Microsoft BI
7.6
REST API
Birst
Microsoft BI
7.5
Javascript API
Birst
Microsoft BI
8.1
iFrames
Birst
Microsoft BI
7.4
Java API
Birst
Microsoft BI
7.9
Themeable User Interface (UI)
Birst
Microsoft BI
7.5
Customizable Platform (Open Source)
Birst
Microsoft BI
7.4

Pros

Birst

  • Birst provides a very scalable and high-performance BI Platform. Setting up a new project "space" is simple, fast and easy to manage.
  • Birst provides a deep and comprehensive ETL and query capability to perform most any data transformation.
  • Building out Dashboards is easy. Building new reports with the Visualization tool is easy and powerful.
David Strutt profile photo

Microsoft BI

  • The layout of Power BI is very intuitive. Someone that is familiar with Excel and working with Charts and Graphs in that environment will find the learning curve a rather short one to start using Power BI.
  • I like the way Power BI fits an assortment of users and how the functionality that you engage is replicated in Excel, that being Power Query and Power Pivot. So what you learn in one tool can be readily applied towards the other which allows you to more effectively apply your training.
  • I appreciate how Microsoft is working to develop tools that go a long ways to empowering the end user. Prior to Power BI I would have had to consult with a "BI" professional to develop a dashboard. With Power BI I don't have to consult with anyone, I can work to put together the dash board I want and using a tool set that is really robust and allows me to engage an enormous amount of data. It's provides a great deal of flexibility and the types of data I can connect to.
  • Updates...Microsoft is working diligently to keep Power BI current with monthly updates. They do a really good job of listening to the end user, if there is functionality not currently present just give them a month or so.
  • Just to be clear, even though it's easy to get going right out of the gate with Power BI it provides plenty of opportunities to create some really sophisticated reporting solutions. With DAX in Power Pivot and M language in Power Query, you are provided with plenty of head room to do some really amazing things in Power BI.
  • Training...there are resources across the web for learning and growing your skills and Power BI. And what's even better is the majority of those resources are free.
  • Data engagement, when presenting the data to the end user Power BI goes a long way to allowing that end user to engage the data and begin to identify root cause by simply interacting with the graph/chart/data set. It allows for really fluid engagement. Prior to Power BI so many times during the presentation of data we often times ended the engagement with that data with more questions than what were answered. With Power BI, more often than not, the end user is able to get answers to the questions by simply clicking on the data in the graph/chart/dataset to see the details. This tool really does have the capacity to make you look like a rock star.
Jason Leidig profile photo

Cons

Birst

  • Terrible documentation and training resources. Sometimes not enough documentation, sometimes it is WRONG! Often we are told to post our issues to the Birst user forum, as if we should be able to figure out our own problems rather than Birst troubleshooting their own product.
  • Sometimes when there are bugs we are told they will only be addressed by voting on them as feature requests, not addressing the bugs. Some feature requests are years old.
  • When using Birst Connect there is a lot that can go wrong on the Birst side of things completely out of our control, and then we are waiting on technical support to resolve. In particular the space can get "locked" if we try to process while it's already processing. I've also experienced where a staging table was deleted in the user interface, but not the backend of the tool, so it failed until the support team manually removed it.
  • Birst technical support is very weak. They often do not answer the phone, and they always ask to go on a call with you after submitting a ticket, no matter if we've provided extensive documentation within the ticket.
  • The ETL features are incredibly hard to use, though very powerful. As someone who has an understanding of database theory I found the fact that the training refused to teach to "primary keys" and "foreign keys" and "facts and dimensions" and instead made us learn a whole different terminology of "levels" and "hierarchies" very confusing.
  • Processing is entirely mysterious to us. There's little explanation of what is happening when it is processing, which makes it hard to troubleshoot when things go wrong.
  • Terrible or non-existent error messages. When a scripted source fails to execute the log in the scripted source doesn't even generate an error message. We've also found that the error message "data format is not correct" doesn't actually mean that, but can mean a whole bunch of other things related to the model.
  • Birst does not allow snowflake data structure more than 2 levels deep. This is a problem as our data warehouse is a snowflake, so we always have to flatten our tables.
  • Even though the visualization tool makes nice views, it is not as robust as even years old versions of Tableau. In particular I've found I often export my data out of Birst and into Tableau when I want to visualize two or more attributes.
  • Birst sends its users to the user Forum, but half of the issues on there have not been resolved. There's a person whose job it is to reply whether the users have figured out a solution. Why is this our responsibility to figure out their tool?
  • Very, very little support for using Live Access to connect to data. Some of the Birst support staff don't even know how to use it.
Robin Filan profile photo

Microsoft BI

  • Report Builder 3.0 shipped with MSSQL 2012 is a nice free tool but our client users sometimes encounter problems such as the tool automatically shut down without saving the changes being made. We haven't implemented the new RB with MSSQL 2016 yet thus cannot comment on the latest version.
Haibo Yang profile photo

Likelihood to Renew

Birst

Birst 9.0
Based on 36 answers
We have been able to overcome any of the drawbacks we've found with Birst easily and it has fulfilled almost all of our analytic needs to date. Having seen their roadmap it would be highly unlikely we would move away from this platform any time soon. You simply can't beat the functionality that Birst provides for the price and the things I see coming out of the company solidify that our decision to choose Birst was the best possible choice. We have never regretted the decision.
Brian Flood profile photo

Microsoft BI

Microsoft BI 8.0
Based on 25 answers
Microsoft BI is fundamental to our suite of BI applications. That being said, Northcraft Analytics is focused on delighting our customers, so if the underlying factors of our decision change, we would choose to re-write our BI applications on a different stack. Luckily, mathematics are the fundamental IP of our technology... and is portable across all BI platforms for the foreseeable future.
Lee Cullom profile photo

Usability

Birst

Birst 6.4
Based on 11 answers
We have been using Birst for 10 years .We like a lot of things it offers but especially the ability to create new data sources and build reports/dashboard on top of that data very fast and relatively easy. What we dislike is a way how some of new features/modules have been designed and developed and lack of consistent focus on product stability. Since Birst became part of Infor, a lot of things changed for the worse (product reliability, tech support,...) We hope that this is just a phase that will be over soon.
Sanja Prstojevic profile photo

Microsoft BI

Microsoft BI 7.0
Based on 5 answers
Usability is great. This product will make most feel right at home. I feel like this question should be asked from two points of view:1. Creator of reports, Data Models, Views etc: Most Advanced users will still rate the usability as very high. Its capabilities are still robust. However when compared to other Enterprise Class products it will not do many of the advanced application queries. 2. End user, Consumer: All end users will feel right at home. Many will be able to create connections to already created data models and other external publicly available sources like twitter, Facebook, World Health order etc... These connections are then in turn very very easily available to publish to SharePoint and Power BI. It took me a while to understand what I think is Microsoft's strategy. This will handle all but the most of robust needs. Much like many American made cars and my favorite Corvette, Microsoft is fast, has it own break downs from time to time but all of these are really to tolerate when the price is considered and the next one up that can out perform it is three to four times as much money makes this an easy one to still recommend
Sean Warren profile photo

Reliability and Availability

Birst

Birst 4.1
Based on 6 answers
We frequently experience -103 errors due to us using the Live Connect functionality, which does not seem to handle even minor interruptions in connectivity, and treats all future connection attempts or data requests as errors, even if the issue does not exist any longer
Tim Welch profile photo

Microsoft BI

Microsoft BI 9.5
Based on 2 answers
The product has been reliable.
Robert Goodman profile photo

Performance

Birst

Birst 7.5
Based on 6 answers
Everything runs very fast and smoothly. The only process that I wish was faster would be processing the data after uploading new data or making changes to the existing data model. It can take 15-20 minutes (roughly) to upload and process new data once you start getting into 10's of millions of rows. Given my experience with how long it takes me to pull the same data using SQL Server Management Studio, I don't think Birst is unreasonably slow - but for me to give a higher rating, I would want it to be unreasonably fast
Brett Mooberry profile photo

Microsoft BI

Microsoft BI 7.0
Based on 2 answers
SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) can drag at times. We created two report servers and placed them under an F5 load balancer. This configuration has worked well. We have seen sluggish performance at times due to the Windows Firewall.
Robert Goodman profile photo

Support

Birst

Birst 5.2
Based on 18 answers
When we have an issue that is stopping our business from proceeding, I want answers sooner than later. While Birst does have a published response time for each case level, we always wish it could be quicker. What response improvement could there be with a larger support team?In response to first question: Blackhole of issues - Birst needs to improve upon closing issues that resolution was dependent upon code fixes or enhancements, perhaps someone to add a comment on all case tickets at least every 60 days.Escalation - I always have the ability to electronically or via phone escalate a ticket. I also have my Customer Success Manager through whom I can escalate topics.
Deborah Stillwell Judy profile photo

Microsoft BI

Microsoft BI 7.1
Based on 6 answers
While support from Microsoft isn't necessarily always best of breed, you're also not paying the price for premium support that you would on other platforms. The strength of the stack is in the ecosystem that surrounds it. In contrast to other products, there are hundreds, even thousands of bloggers that post daily as well as vibrant user communities that surround the tool. I've had much better luck finding help with SQL Server related issues than I have with any other product, but that help doesn't always come directly from Microsoft.
Jacob Saunders profile photo

In-Person Training

Birst

Birst 9.1
Based on 4 answers
I have attended two different training sessions. The first one was my initial training on the system. It was well paced, clear and concise. If there were questions that were not able to be answered by the instructor, he took down the question and actually followed up and provided us a response quickly.The second session was specific to the dashboard and report design components. This training was very good though there were some attendants who had little or no experience and their questions slowed the class.
Timothy Humphreys profile photo

Microsoft BI

Microsoft BI 6.9
Based on 3 answers
This training was more directed toward what the product was capable of rather than actual programming.
Stephanie Grice profile photo

Online Training

Birst

Birst 8.0
Based on 2 answers
Birst has been a solid provider of BI tools in the years we have used them. They have grown with us and have shown they are investing in their service by providing new tools.
George Sanchez profile photo

Microsoft BI

Microsoft BI 8.5
Based on 2 answers
I have used on-line training from Microsoft and from Pragmatic Works. I would recommend Pragmatic Works as the best way to get up to speed quickly, and then use the Microsoft on-line training to deep dive into specific features that you need to get depth with.
Sean Brady profile photo

Implementation

Birst

Birst 5.3
Based on 6 answers
Have clean data! Birst flexibility allows - Start small, then introduce functionality and complexity along the way. If you try to present all the functionality [bells and whistles] and wow them, but bad data is uncovered, the end user blames the new application and turns away.
Deborah Stillwell Judy profile photo

Microsoft BI

Microsoft BI 9.6
Based on 7 answers
We are a consulting firm and as such our best resources are always billing on client projects. Our internal implementation has weaknesses, but that's true for any company like ours. My rating is based on the product's ease of implementation.
Jacob Saunders profile photo

Alternatives Considered

Birst

Birst provide a much better web UI and end user experience and distribution mechanism than both Tableau and SSRS. Power BI simply did not have the full complement of features that we needed at the time of our selection to be competitive and Pentaho was too custom and would have required an investment in professional services that we could not afford. SSRS is good for data dumps, but creating user friendly visualizations is not practical. Snowflake ended up as our EDW platform, and we integrate that with Birst to provide a complete BI stack for our end users.
Marci Augustine profile photo

Microsoft BI

Looking at the visualization portion of BI, there are three types of tools.
  1. Programming packages. Free and powerful, they let you make any diagram, at the cost of difficulty of use.
  2. Specialist software like Tableau and Microsoft BI. This is the best choice in most cases due to ease of use and quality of output.
  3. More generic software offered by the big IT companies, often part of a BI suite. There's really a lot of variety here. Use this when it fits the workflow and you are already using the relevant software. But, personally, I'd still use the specialist software.
Alexander Lubyansky profile photo

Scalability

Birst

Birst 6.0
Based on 2 answers
we can see that loading a lot of data can cause a noticable slow down in performance. Birst support indicated that they don't really consider anything less than 30 seconds to be an issue, but that is not the case for our customers, so we have had to change some of implementation to address this
Tim Welch profile photo

Microsoft BI

No score
No answers yet
No answers on this topic

Return on Investment

Birst

  • Being a manufacturing company we tend to lag behind technologically. But having all the data for different ERP systems in one place has been an eye opener for the executives. It has lessened the need to convert some legacy ERP systems.
  • Having such a simple reporting tool is a great asset to some of our sites that have traditionally had trouble gathering data from AS400 systems.
Andy Olson profile photo

Microsoft BI

  • Business users easily learned self service BI with training and what to do and what not to do with self service BI
  • Learning curve for Powerpivot and other office 365 tools for IT team who already knew about data warehousing concepts is steep
No photo available

Screenshots

Microsoft BI

Pricing Details

Birst

General

Free Trial
Yes
Free/Freemium Version
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
Yes
Entry-level set up fee?
No

Birst Editions & Modules

Additional Pricing Details

Microsoft BI

General

Free Trial
Free/Freemium Version
Yes
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
Entry-level set up fee?
No

Microsoft BI Editions & Modules

Edition
Power BI$0
Power BI Pro$102
  1. per user per month
Additional Pricing Details

Add comparison