- Tabular visualisation
- Exporting into excel
- Updating. It has been very slow
- Easy to use. People find it difficult and not intuitive
- Maintenance. Difficult to address errors and find a solution
- Birst has proven itself to be easy to navigate for business users.
- Birst provides the flexibility to provide multiple views so clients can easily consume the insights how they prefer to view them.
- Birst has allowed us to "productize" portions of our business intelligence offerings.
- We really haven't run into any large areas for improvement. The roadblocks we have encountered have been resolved with the help of Birst.
We haven't done this yet, but it appears custom or ad hoc reporting might be a little work for advanced users.
- Allows individual teams opportunity to create their own individual dashboard, specific to their clients and needs.
- Splits our costs easily, with an easy to use filter option, making reporting much faster.
- In order to run Birst on a schedule, a ETL had to be created, this would be much more helpful.
- Visually Birst could improve, we use a large amount of visualisations in presentation and have to use a different software to create these
- Lack of stability in the product, we often experience issues where in which Birst is delayed or down. This being rectified would be extremely beneficial across the entire business.
For a software which needs to be frequently updated on a schedule it is not always very suitable. There are some instances where in which Birst is down and we are unable to produce reports on time or with the most recent information.
- You can load data to Birst with the same SQL you use to load source databases.
- Implementation is easy as it is all Web & Cloud based. Only a few components will need to be installed on your local server when you go to production.
- Modeling your data is difficult. It is a very manual process and easy to get one of the pieces incorrect.
- Birst processing of dashboards is slow. They need to work on speeding up the screen and data retrieval.
- The product is unstable. Spaces are prone to corruption causing rework.
- Flexibility of the tool
- Presentation level very appealing and intuitive
- Cloud offering makes implementation easier
- Birst is supported by partners. We have had issues with some of the partner companies. Once identified though they were quick to fix.
- Training scheduling did not align with our schedule and was not very flexible.
- We are regulated and our change process can take some time. When upgrades occur we could use more notice.
- It automatically builds an analytical star model complaint with Ralph Kimball standards.
- It's an end-to-end tool providing any capability needed within a BI project.
- Visualizer is very easy and intuitive to use for users.
- Building ETL processes is very complex due to the multiple technologies and scripting needed (web service calls, Python, BQL, etc.)
- Testing or debugging is very difficult, especially due to the lack of access to the underlying database.
- Multiple bugs are faced during any implementation at any level: a feature working can stop working at any moment (either due to extending the usage of that functionality or due to Birst upgrade breaking old behavior).
- Birst community is small with lots of unanswered threads.
Being a cloud solution helps with adoption of the tool, as there's no need to have an internal support team dedicated to platform maintenance. The usage of Network BI is quite buggy and should be avoided for complex BI solutions. Management of users is very complex in large organisations, as the administration interface is very reduced and Birst support is needed (with the delays it brings).
- Quick visualizations and data insights
- Quick import of excel or csv files for ad hoc or discovery
- When data model correct, ability to connect data to other data
- Dynamic dashboards
- No source control for change control policies
- Does not follow normal Dev, QA, Production deployments meaning you have to copy spaces to promote collections/reports and in other cases have to recreate Custom Attributes, Filters etc from space to space instead of normal deployment procedures.
- Quirky things that happen with no visibility into what happened, missing security settings while swapping spaces, things working sometimes and broken other times
- Better security and roles, Admin functions or search capabilities, more windows style navigation to easily move things around as needed in collections/dashboards.
- Better metadata Admin functions for tracking production level collections and reports, security groups and users within those groups, and easily producing lists of all Measures, Attributes, variables, custom attributes, custom measures, and ways to manage and cross reference these items within reports or dashboards
Our current challenge is to implement a near real time reporting on our service in order to be proactive and to keep the degree of service at a high level.
- It's rather easy to create a datamodel once you understand some basic rules.
- Development can go pretty fast. Defining the input are more or less straightforward SQL queries, actually called BQL. Transforming input to output can be simple and straightforward but also complex problems can be solved.
- The ad hoc report creation in visualizer is very convenient and easy to use. If needed a powerful formula can be created in order to transform existing attributes or measures. The editor to create those formulas has evolved from a basic one to an editor using type-ahead and lookups.
- Dashboard creation is a piece of cake and the use of the dashboard with filtering,drill through and slice and dice is pretty straightforward and intuitive.
- Birst is spending a lot of effort in the frontend and creating a product which will allow more and more self service for the end user. Nothing wrong with that wouldn't it be that in the backend, the admin part, some effort could be used to improve efficiency and usability.
- Using a cloud application is both a good and a bad thing. When problems occur we sometimes wish to get more insight in the blackbox under the hood of Birst, actually the database with the physical tables. Fortunately the cloud solution offers us still more advantages than drawbacks.
- Some powerusers like to get a whole lot of data so they can do some number crunching in their favorite spreadsheet. But Birst doesn't always fit this need as getting big chunks of data out of the system can be pretty inconvenient.
As we are an international company where a lot of users are spread all over the globe and travelling a lot this is a good point.
The learning curve isn't steep for the users, a little steep for the administrator. Of course, complex solutions or improvement of performance require more insight and knowledge. Integration of different data coming from different sources, on premise or in the cloud, is another good feature of birst.
As stated previously the export of data isn't as powerful as expected. A workaround is of course to change the mindset of the users and get more familiar with using the Birst frontend instead of using a spreadsheet to do the actual analysis. In our current setup some performance improvements are required, and ongoing, to do online and fast analysis.
- Visualization capabilities are good
- Having a datawarehouse is very important
- Generally the end user experience is good
- Performance could always be better
- We don't allow end users to develop their own dashboards and reports. Too much risk that they might accidentaly change something they shouldn't
We adopted BIRST to be used as the enterprise BI solution so all departments with enterprise BI needs would use BIRST.
We use BIRST Cloud solution.
- Being a cloud solution the platform upgrades are not a pain point anymore.
- Once the data model is ready, building basic reports/dashboards are really straightforward.
- One single tool may cover all your business intelligence needs, from data ingestion to reporting so it can be cost-saving in terms of licensing.
- Building an analytical ready model does not require highly skilled developers.
- Lack of access to underlying database and use of non standard languages (propietary code) BQL and BIRST scripting.
- Very poor and not user-friendly administrative area. Big dependency on command line tasks (a few drag and drop) and lack of out of the box administrative views (reports and dashboards showing platform's response).
- Small community. Really difficult to find skilled resources in the market and few technical blog articles or videos available.
- Data ingestion capabilities do not scale. Being capable of ingesting data is an added value however, the solution is mainly based on SQL plus scripting (no out of the box monitoring capabilities, difficult to reverse-engineer...).
Depending on the complexity of your company's data and business needs it may or may not be a good fit. I would say it can be a good BI ecosystem for small and mid-size companies with low complexity so they can have data ingestion and reporting capabilities with one single tool.
If you need to integrate data from many different data source;, your environment does change quite frequently, you have many different business areas, the data volume you have is quite big... then it is less appropriate.
- Ease of use for non-technically inclined users
- Nice UI
- No ability to do a basic left join. I've never used a BI tool that can't support such basic functionality.
- Column sorting is broken all over the place. Trying to sort by a datetime, for example, does not work the way it should and shows things out of order.
- I find it slow and clunky to use.
- Many options can be unclear in the UI as to what they do.
Not great for when those end users want you to build their reports for them. Lack of basic left join functionality really tanks its usefulness.
- Easily deployable. The stand up of the product was easy and one of the reasons we went with it.
- Unnecessary complexity -- Birst seems to make even the basic things overly complicated -- for example, schema and table names. Schema names are horrendously long hexa character names with zero logic build into the naming convention. Same with the table names. Aside from some standard appellations like DW, it creates these fact tables and adds random numbers to the end. All this makes it way more complicated than it needs to be when running queries or developing (and I'm even forgiving the need to add a $ after every column name when querying!).
- Space - schema and data proliferation seems out of ordinary. Again, the complexity of what Birst does in the backend that is the reasoning for so much proliferation is so esoteric that it takes a $185/hr Birst data modeler to really understand it.
- Lack of version control - due to the nature of how Birst is structured, it's necessary to create multiple spaces to support the same product. But none of these spaces are linked - everything has to be manually copied over. And there is zero concept of version control within the Birst eco system. That all has to be done manually and is very prone to error, time consuming, and not what one would expect of an enterprise level product at all.
- Horrible product support after the initial phases of the project. When you are paying their consultants full time at $185/hr then everyone in the organization is eager to help and you are so important. Once you go solo and the product is embedded in the organizationnce they have you as a client you are no longer important. We have product issues that have been open for over a year and still have not been resolved. If we don't complain loud and long and continue complaining, they will ignore us. Additionally, they are reluctant to accept some of their shortcomings as genuine bugs or missed features, and that puts the fixes on low priority on their end.
- Overp romises and under delivers - we have had to practically abandon the feature that is supposed to be our big product differentiator because Birst promised they could deliver what we needed, and after three years and a horrible low -tech design that was nothing like what they originally proposed, we have gotten so tired of hounding them to make good on their promise we've just accepted they don't care and never will.
- Not a modern enterprise solution - processing large amounts of data takes a huge, burdensome amount of time. Dashboard and report functionality are sub-par (i.e. text sizing was a huge issue and took a year and a half for them to even address). Visuals are not appealing. There is a huge lack of flexibility in the presentation of the tool (they don't even have the ability to sort filters other than alphabetically -- though I hear that may have been fixed in a recent release - three years later). We still can't alter the font size dynamically and our dashboards are not visually appealing. And we have to tell all of our users, inside and outside of the company, if they want our product to work right they have to use Chrome. A good solution would work great on any platform.
- Easy access from anywhere in the cloud, including mobile app
- Can be embedded in third party sites
- Full cloud capabilities
- Good for DWH updates on a recurring basis, has live connection
- Complete tool
- Many options available
- Great degree of customization
- Data is imported manually in our organisation
- Some degree of difficulty
- Needs at least a permanent engineer to correctly mantain the system
It enables the analysis of big amounts of data based on pre-defined parameters.
Nevertheless, it is not well suited for departments or organisations which just need basic data or a little amount of different parameters. If used in these cases, it can lead to excesive complexity and confusion.
- Speed - It reads the data from flat files very quickly and performs transformations quickly.
- Intuitive dashboard. It produces attractive dashboards which are easy for the business user to understand the data.
- It is very easy to use and the customization it offers helps to build as per one's need.
- Predictive analytics can be more accurate.
- Though it is easy to use, select modules/features need training to use.
- The help or any question posted in the community will not be answered quickly. More customer support is needed.
- The way Birst simplifies and integrates the ETL with the creation of the star schema is the biggest strength in my opinion. I didn't find any competition that was even close.
- The all-in-one cloud solution is a huge plus as well. Because they have the back end and front end in one solution they have a huge incentive to see that the customer's projects succeed. The overhead for managing multiple products or disaster recovery for a data warehouse has the potential to be a huge headache.
- The pre-built Salesforce.com connection/ETL/DataModel was another big deal for us. This probably took 6 months off of our timeline. Also, being able to look at the code for how they did it continues to be a boon to my learning curve.
- The user interface for the administration and development could use a face-lift. Although I believe this is happening very soon.
- As a small implementation we've had some issues finding a suitable outside partner for consultation.
Any data-warehouse solution that is going to include Salesforce.com.
Any implementations that are going to be handled by small teams. I think everyone should take a look honestly.
As far as less appropriate? I don't think I'm really qualified to give an answer on Birst's technical limitations, although I'm sure they exist.
- Birst handles visualizations very well. The visualizer and dashboard tools are simple to use but effective.
- Retrieving data through their preconfigured data connectors for Salesforce and Jira.
- The Birst API seems to cover everything. We haven't used it yet, but it seems like it will meet our needs very well based on feedback from actual customers at their customer conference.
- The back-end admin tool is still Fash. It should be changing soon.
- Data modeling can be confusing for the Birst novice. Knowing what you want to do and how to actually get Birst to do it as an admin can be more complex than it needs to be.
- Implementation. If they documented some best architectural practices, we could move more quickly and be less dependent on contacting Birst for support.
Business units are finding value in the capability to resolve issues and improve processes. They can see the impact of their effort in days.
Having a fully integrated data store and data warehouse is a great value. Data connectivity is also very powerful while simple. Lastly, Visualizer's interface is very intuitive and easy for adoption. The capability to carve out a topic, build it and deploy stand-alone supports great time-to-market. The Network BI capability allows you to come back and merge, enhance. Very flexible.
- Intuitive navigation. Fast and clean interactive output.
- Back-end incremental updates out of the box. This feature alone is huge.
- Role playing time dimensions are extremely easy to set up. No sweat.
- Back-end administration is very capable, but rustic, rough on the edges. Just a little improvement here (mainly UI) will make a huge difference.
- Having two reporting authoring tools is a little strange, but after all they do have different use-cases, so not terrible.
- Invests back into the product, to improve the user experience.
- Listens to its community to help drive the future of the product.
- Good user base to help with issues and ways to deal with real time issues.
- Training material online, having such a forward thinking company with such a backward approach to training material and documentation is a strange mix.
- Not enough experienced people with technical implementation experience. When questions are asked to Birst people their typical answer is "Have you looked through the documentation?" Translation, I don't know the answer, and I don't know off hand anyone else that does either.
- End-to-end S/PaaS BI platform: ELT, data warehouse repository, semantic layer, reporting. Using the UI, command window or web service calls we can create, clone, refresh all or any part of the platform. This means we can manage the environment with greater agility, smaller team size and no need for specific DBA, Sys Admin, etc. type skills. The team can focus on their core competency as BI specialists.
- The automated semantic layer, created as you add data sources and map them to facts/dimensions, allows us to be more agile than typical on-premise solutions, or former on-premise solutions that have been ported to the "cloud", and so we are able to greatly reduce the time-to-value for the customer. This in turn, leads to better user engagement and support.
- Birst's Networked BI functionality allows us to define dimensions/facts in one subject area (Birst language: Space) and reuse them in others. This feature means we do not need to create a large centralized warehouse, nor involve DBAs to create database specific links across schemas/databases (the feature is a simple configuration). Development time on subsequent subject areas can be greatly reduced whenever you can reuse existing dimensions/facts.
- The new release of Birst 6 allows business users to create their own sandbox environment in which they can import and analyze their own datasets, linking this to already curated (IT managed) information from the Birst subject areas (spaces). Once they have generated information that has value to a broader audience, this can then easily/quickly be linked back into the curated subject areas.
- User administration could be greatly improved. Most user administration tasks (creation, security assignments, etc.) are singular i.e., one action at a time. If you want to batch these activities up, it is up to you to have scripts or create your own mini app to do this.
- ELT development is still using old Flash technology and still requires a lot of coding. It would be nice to have a GUI approach to defining load and transformation processes.
- There is a need for supporting multi-developer teams e.g. ability to lock objects being worked on, check-in/out, version control, etc.
We could see larger installations with many complex subject areas and multiple developers needing to work in the same subject area, as being challenging. Having said that, we have a reasonably large implementation and manage with just two BI specialists.
- The application is customizable to our industry.
- Interactive dashboards allow users to make decisions without having to go to different software programs to gather the data.
- The functionality in designer needs improvement. We have to use designer for several of our reports and the subject areas are not easy to find what you need. It is not intuitive.
- We can't use visualizer for all of our reporting.
Birst Scorecard Summary
Feature Scorecard Summary
Birst Networked BI is a BI product that promises to enable a single view of data and eliminate data silos. Additionally, decentralized teams and individual users can augment this shared analytic fabric with their own local data, without compromising data governance. This consistency comes from a unified semantic layer, which maintains common definitions and key metrics, no matter where users sit.
Birst achieves Networked BI through a 2-tier architecture that aligns back-end enterprise data with line-of-business or local, edge data. Birst’s Automated Data Refinement extracts data from any source (data stores, applications, warehouses, big data, and unstructured external sources) into a unified semantic layer. The result is a consistent view that enables users with self-service analytics through dashboards, reporting, visual discovery, mobile tools, and predictive analytics. Birst Open Client Interface also offers integration with Tableau, Excel and R.
Birst goes to market in two primary ways:
- Direct, for enterprises using Birst for analytics on internal data to drive improved business outcomes
- Embedded, for all size companies who offer data (analytics) products, by embedding and white-labeling Birst capabilities into their products
Birst’s product is packaged in 3 available formats:
- Platform and per-user fee
- By Department or Business Unit
- By end-customer (for embedded scenarios)
Birst Videos (3)
Birst Technical Details
|Deployment Types:||On-premise, SaaS|
|Operating Systems:||Windows, Mac|
|Mobile Application:||Apple iOS, Android, Mobile Web|
|Supported Languages:||Arabic, English, Dutch, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese (Brazil), Simplified Chinese, Spanish|