What users are saying about

Birst

Top Rated
178 Ratings

Microsoft BI

594 Ratings

Birst

Top Rated
178 Ratings
Score 6.8 out of 101

Microsoft BI

594 Ratings
Score 7.8 out of 101

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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

Flexibility, engagement, training resources, updates, cost, implementation, ease of use, support; these are the reasons why I would recommend Power BI. Power BI is best suited for situations where collaboration is needed among several different groups who are working concurrently on different activities. Where there are multiple levels of data that need to be parsed through. It's difficult to think of a scenario where it wouldn't be beneficial other than the obvious.
Jason Leidig profile photo

Feature Rating Comparison

BI Standard Reporting

Birst
6.8
Microsoft BI
8.2
Pixel Perfect reports
Birst
6.7
Microsoft BI
8.1
Customizable dashboards
Birst
7.6
Microsoft BI
8.1
Report Formatting Templates
Birst
6.3
Microsoft BI
8.4

Ad-hoc Reporting

Birst
6.9
Microsoft BI
8.5
Drill-down analysis
Birst
7.4
Microsoft BI
8.6
Formatting capabilities
Birst
6.6
Microsoft BI
8.3
Integration with R or other statistical packages
Birst
6.4
Microsoft BI
8.3
Report sharing and collaboration
Birst
7.3
Microsoft BI
8.8

Report Output and Scheduling

Birst
7.6
Microsoft BI
8.7
Publish to Web
Birst
7.8
Microsoft BI
8.7
Publish to PDF
Birst
8.0
Microsoft BI
8.5
Report Versioning
Birst
7.4
Microsoft BI
8.8
Report Delivery Scheduling
Birst
7.4
Microsoft BI
8.8
Delivery to Remote Servers
Birst
Microsoft BI
8.5

Data Discovery and Visualization

Birst
6.6
Microsoft BI
8.8
Pre-built visualization formats (heatmaps, scatter plots etc.)
Birst
7.2
Microsoft BI
9.0
Location Analytics / Geographic Visualization
Birst
7.0
Microsoft BI
8.8
Predictive Analytics
Birst
5.7
Microsoft BI
8.5

Access Control and Security

Birst
8.1
Microsoft BI
8.7
Multi-User Support (named login)
Birst
8.3
Microsoft BI
8.8
Role-Based Security Model
Birst
8.1
Microsoft BI
8.6
Multiple Access Permission Levels (Create, Read, Delete)
Birst
8.0
Microsoft BI
9.0
Single Sign-On (SSO)
Birst
Microsoft BI
8.5

Mobile Capabilities

Birst
7.4
Microsoft BI
8.5
Responsive Design for Web Access
Birst
7.0
Microsoft BI
8.4
Dedicated iOS Application
Birst
7.6
Microsoft BI
8.7
Dedicated Android Application
Birst
7.6
Microsoft BI
8.5
Dashboard / Report / Visualization Interactivity on Mobile
Birst
7.4
Microsoft BI
8.5

Application Program Interfaces (APIs) / Embedding

Birst
Microsoft BI
8.4
REST API
Birst
Microsoft BI
8.6
Javascript API
Birst
Microsoft BI
8.4
iFrames
Birst
Microsoft BI
8.4
Java API
Birst
Microsoft BI
8.3
Themeable User Interface (UI)
Birst
Microsoft BI
8.7
Customizable Platform (Open Source)
Birst
Microsoft BI
8.0

Pros

  • Birst is an platform that provides connectors to some of the applications we use, but also allows us to bring in data from disparate systems to perform ETL and integrate all of the data for analyses. It makes no assumptions about your data, which is good for us, as we have a lot of customizations to many of our systems.
  • Birst is making inroads towards a more modern UI.
Sean Keesler profile photo
  • 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

  • Better MS-Office Integration: Almost all the Business users have invested in MS-Office products such as Excel, Word and Powerpoint. Currently there is very limited options available for taking data from BIRST and making it to work with these products. More export options would be a welcome feature among these users. Also the ability to connect to BIRST and refresh/download certain reports through excel would be very helpful.
  • Powerful Report Designer: The current version of Designer and Visualizer lack certain features to create Complex reports. Few examples are, ability to create multiple tables in a report, link data from two or more queries and be able to show as one data, templates, free style reports rather than just using different bands etc. A light weight client tool for designer reports will help in faster turn around development time as the current web based interface is slow in designing reports for customized layout options.
  • Custom forms / write ability: Dashboard 2.0 has evolved greatly. If custom forms can be created for users to enter certain inputs, this will make Dashboards even more interactive. Just a wish list.
  • Live connectivity to Salesforce.com: This will be a very good feature to introduce especially for Sales team. We have been asked at least 1000 times if there is a way to make the data more live or real time.
Krishnakumar Govindhan profile photo
  • More than two dimensions. Yes, I know that 2D is the core of Excel's DNA. However, we're starting to deal with higher-dimensional arrays here in analytics land so better visualization support would be cool.
  • UI weirdness. By default, you are flipping back between regular Excel tabs and super-top-secret BI tabs. You create charts in one place, but look at them in the other. That kind of stuff. I know there are a couple of other ways to interact with Microsoft BI, but please figure out the main way.
  • Better hookups to other analytics tools including Microsoft's. Microsoft BI has a good variety of data connections, and I don't expect it to bloom into a full-fledged analytics tool, but it may be a good idea to keep hammering at connectivity with "hardcore" analytics. In my case, Python stuff.
Alexander Lubyansky profile photo

Likelihood to Renew

Birst9.0
Based on 36 answers
It's a perfect fit for our organization! We have been able to reasonably increase our licensing to grow with our organization
Deborah Stillwell Judy profile photo
Microsoft BI8.0
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

Birst3.4
Based on 6 answers
Nowhere near as user friendly as other tools. Part of the problem is combination of Flash and HTML options, although this is configured at a user level rather than a dashboard level. As the features in each option are not the same, this can mean users working in one format cannot utilise dashboards that are more suited for the other format.
Tim Welch profile photo
Microsoft BI7.0
Based on 5 answers
It's a good rating for people willing to learn and get used to it, but it's not inherently user friendly, especially to people who are not Excel power users.
Alexander Lubyansky profile photo

Reliability and Availability

Birst4.2
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 BI9.5
Based on 2 answers
The product has been reliable.
Robert Goodman profile photo

Performance

Birst7.5
Based on 6 answers
Birst struggles with complex data sets coming from SSAS, that resolve very quickly on tools like PowerBI
Tim Welch profile photo
Microsoft BI7.0
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

Birst4.5
Based on 14 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 BI7.1
Based on 6 answers
We are not currently utilizing Microsoft's technical support.
Robert Goodman profile photo

In-Person Training

Birst9.1
Based on 4 answers
I went to their annual user conference (Birst Forward) and their standard training class (Birst Boot Camp) this year, and both were excellent. Very educational, and I got all of the personal attention I needed to get my questions about my specific answered. I've also reached out to the trainers after those events to ask more questions, and they've been great about getting back to me with answers
Brett Mooberry profile photo
Microsoft BI6.9
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

Birst8.0
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 BI8.5
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

Birst5.3
Based on 6 answers
Our initial implementation was rocky. Without writing a novel, there were a few main issues. The professional services company was decent, but not great. We also did not have adequate resources on our end to provide the services company what they needed (an expert on our database, etc.). As the project manager, I definitely tried to do too much with the initial implementation and was very guilty of "chasing squirrels", as I've heard it called. All of this lead to us running out of professional services hours we had paid for, without a working product. After that unsuccessful first attempt, Birst sat on the shelf for a bit before we got our new (and current) CSM. He called us to see how things were going. After learning that the product wasn't in use and how poorly our first go at it went, he bent over backwards to get us up and running, first with spreadsheets, and then with our database, all at no additional charge to us. Combine this with the training I've received, and we've got a working product up and running without the use of a professional services company. We are definitely one of their smaller clients, and I was surprised at how much work they put into turning the project around for us
Brett Mooberry profile photo
Microsoft BI9.6
Based on 7 answers
Thorough project planning and requirements gathering ensured project's success.
Boris Skylar profile photo

Breadth of Deployment

50 licenses, 32 assigned, 10 active users 22 periodic usersExpectation is that periodic users will move to active users as we deploy more cross departmental data visualization.
Deborah Stillwell Judy profile photo
Everyone uses it around my company. Mostly as BI professionals that use it to create BI solutions.
Michał Becker profile photo

Alternatives Considered

Selection was made before my involvement, but I agree with the selection. The ease of use of the web-based platform is a major plus, and compensates for some of the limitations.
Eric Lagace profile photo
With over 20 years in IT, I have experienced a full range of relational and non-relational data solutions, from Oracle and Informix to MongoDB and Hadoop. In my opinion, the Microsoft BI stack is the most complete, well-rounded, high performing data management system on the planet right now. More and more, the ability to make data-driven decisions sets organizations apart from their competitors, and no one offers a better solution than Microsoft and its partners. As more and more of what we do in business life moves to the cloud, Microsoft is again leading the way with its Azure platforms.
Chris Utter profile photo

Collaboration and Sharing

Birst6.8
Based on 25 answers
Common interface makes distribution of reports/dashboards easy. Easily exports to Excel, PDF, PowerPoint, etc. Use of single sign on enable it to be embedded in other interfaces. Unfortunately, there's no support in the tool for encapsulating a dialog around the dashboards/reports.
Price Hatfield profile photo
Microsoft BI8.2
Based on 27 answers
Microsoft BI's templates are superb and result in a graphical summary of information that is easy to display/present to the wider team
Brian Caulfield profile photo

Data Integration

Birst7.5
Based on 76 answers
JDBC connectors are very flexible. They are more difficult to set up than Tableau but once you have figured out the syntax once it is easily repeatable.
Lee Ann Benson profile photo
Microsoft BI8.7
Based on 26 answers
Microsoft BI uses the Machine Learning tool when gathering data from the web. It can detect page elements and learn what you want to get then find itself a way to get this data.
Celil ÇİYNEKLİ profile photo

Scalability

Birst6.0
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
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No answers yet
No answers on this topic

Return on Investment

  • Now we have a better control of data availability, with a better SLA.
  • The easier access to data for the user.
Ricardo Alexandre Bastos profile photo
  • 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
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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
Birst
Additional Pricing Details

Birst More Information

Microsoft BI

General
Free Trial
Free/Freemium Version
Yes
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
Entry-level set up fee?
No
Microsoft BI Editions & Modules
Microsoft BI
Edition
Power BI
$0
Power BI Pro
$102
2. per user per month
Additional Pricing Details

Microsoft BI More Information