Great value for money with Microsoft's BISQL Server Management Studio provides a nice interface to view, query, and modify the database tables. The interface is user friendly and logical. Microsoft, in general, has fantastic educational pricing. This allowed the TCO to be much lower for our university. Microsoft tools integrate nicely with one another. We are also in the process of implementing SharePoint. We plan to use SSRS (.rdl) reports which will integrate with SharePoint - and also will have the ability to experiment with PowerView (.rdlx) dashboards and PowerPivot (Microsoft's in-memory BI tool).,The end-user reporting tool, Report Builder, is not that flexible. We feel that the Cognos Report Studio tool is more robust in this area.,9,,10,Firstly, reduction in cost from the three previous vendors which we were supporting. Just by replacing these legacy pieces of software, we have saved money. We are working to quantify the cost savings achieved in business improvement from the reporting that we have provided. We don't have a specific figure as of yet, but the reports that are now available 'on-the-fly' have saved many man hours. Previously, data needed to be consolidated across multiple systems which could have taken weeks of manual manipulation. Now, this data is available in one platform and we have cross-functional reporting capability.,3000,8,We use the database platform to warehouse the data from our disparate admissions, student information, human resources, finance, and advancement systems. SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) is used to move the data from these ERPs into staging - then onto our dimension model and SSAS cubes. SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) is used to report on this dimensional data and provide parameterized, drill-through reporting. SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) is used to build cubes for specific functional areas. These cubes can then connect back to the dimensional data as required for drill-through analysis.,Using the enterprise version, we leveraged data-driven subscriptions. This feature allows you to publish reports to specific individuals or groups based upon data events. This has become useful for a wide variety of things. In a previous company, I used this feature to drive process improvements by notifying teams of early task completion. In some cases, we were able to drive a process that typically took 4 weeks down to a process that only took 2.5 weeks. That led to revenue gains. Since Microsoft BI contains an out-of-the-box ETL tool (SSIS), we've been able to leverage this functionality to help support other projects. Recently, we created a SalesForce integration to Workday. We have been able to setup nightly data feeds using SSIS which extract known sets of data for our statisticians. While the data isn't formatted in SAS dataset, it outputs the data in a common format that is easy for the statisticians to consume and transform into a useful SAS dataset.,,Implemented in-house Professional services company,8,Self-taught,We had Microsoft SQL BI specialists on staff. We would advise to have training on the platform otherwise.,10,No,8,10,7,Ellucian Banner. Workday HCM. Workday Financials. PeopleSoft Admissions. Apply Yourself. Sage Millennium.,We will continue to support systems that are key pillars to our business units.,Utilize Microsoft's Higher Education EES (Enrollment for Education Soulutions) licensing. This is a great value.Microsoft BI platform reviewEasy development tools with ability to support large data.,Features of the predictive analytics are not the best in the industry yet.,9,,10,Rapid report development, simple web-based reporting tools, easy support, common development techniques.,60,5,SQL Server Data Warehouse and Microsoft BI platform allow us to collect data from transactional sources, transform to reportable format, and aggregate to a level that can be used to measure business operational metrics.,,Implemented in-house,9,Self-taught,Yes, it was a simple deployment due to ease of the SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) UI.,9,No,8,9,9,7,Microsoft SharePoint,Defined price versus value, and finalized support terms.Thoughts on MS BIOverall it is a robust BI platform that is not difficult for a technically-oriented person to learn and use. I am a huge fan of Analysis Services and actively try to find ways to get data into cubes for reporting. While learning MDX may be one of the more difficult aspects of MS BI, it is powerful and anyone who has prior experience using T-SQL alone to build complex reports can appreciate its power.,I have been disappointed in how all the front-end delivery tools have been centered around Excel and SharePoint. I understand it from a business sense but I much preferred the ProClarity interface as a stand-alone ad-hoc reporting tool. Many end-users are intimidated by merely mentioning pivot tables and therefore do not even try to create their own queries.,9,10,8,7,We use Microsoft BI products to publish accounting reports and automatically generate general ledger journal entries to distribute departmental expenses.,Implemented in-house,7,In-person training Self-taught,5,Yes, the product was fairly easy to learn without training. There are some professionals that could use this approach as well depending on their learning styles. With all the information available, I generally recommend this approach.,4Best TCO of any comprehensive database and analytics platformThe Microsoft Business Intelligence stack has come a very long way since its inception. For value and TCO there's really no comparison. Where other vendors charge hundreds of thousands of dollars for database systems, ETL tools, MDM solutions, reporting portals, etc. Microsoft ties all this functionality and more together for the price of just one of those components. Developers that know the toolset well are readily available worldwide and at a lower cost than those with expertise in competing platforms. In partnership with both Dell and HP, Microsoft has recommended reference architectures running on commodity hardware to create highly performant, highly available warehousing and OLTP systems. The SharePoint layer adds a rich user interface and collaboration platform for analytics, data discovery, reporting (both ad-hoc and scheduled) and data driven subscriptions.,The Microsoft platform - today - comes up short in cross-platform delivery. While efforts are being made to port the Power BI tools to HTML5, so far these tools are only available with this rendering engine in the online (O365) version of the platform. Silverlight is a dying technology, and it can be frustrating to explain the design and interop limitations of the end user facing dashboard tools. For true styled enterprise dashboarding where the look and feel of the artifacts is important (external audiences), it's often necessary to turn to a Microsoft partner tool such as Dundas to augment the stack. These problems will resolve themselves over time, but right now Microsoft comes up short in this area. The MDM solution in the Microsoft toolset, Master Data Services, is effectively a blank slate. This is both a strength and a weakness, in that you can model any data domain imaginable without being pushed in a particular direction but having some basic customer or other key domains available either via Codeplex or otherwise would be helpful. Additionally, record lineage isn't handled well OOTB in MDS and this key function shouldn't require a custom implementation.,10,,10,Traditional "canned" reporting. Online transaction processing systems. Data warehousing. High availability. Self-service analytics. Collaborative decision making.,,Implemented in-house,9,Online training In-person training Self-taught,8,8,I'm always an advocate of self-learning. Training is an opportunity to catch things you missed and get answers to questions that have arisen through your use, not a primary vehicle for mastering a tool.,No,7Tools and IntegrationETL and Cube reporting through Excel are the two main functions where Microsoft BI excels.,Without Sharepoint, web reporting is not very robust. SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) provides limited functionality but, without Sharepoint integration, Microsoft BI doesn't match up well against other products.,8,,9,Financial month-end reporting. HR Resource and Manager reporting Ticket resolution and project management tracking. Data is pulled from 4 different systems and loaded into SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) for reporting. SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) - Used for data integration across multiple systems.,No,Vendor implemented Implemented in-house,8,In-person training,8,Yes,9
Microsoft BI
617 Ratings
Score 7.9 out of 101
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Microsoft BI Reviews

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Microsoft BI
617 Ratings
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Score 7.9 out of 101
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Robert Goodman profile photo
January 15, 2016

Microsoft BI Review: "Great value for money with Microsoft's BI"

Score 9 out of 10
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Be prepared to help business users define their data. We found that different campuses had different definitions for the same thing. This took some change management and negotiating to get each team to come to a common understanding.
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Jacob Saunders profile photo
November 04, 2014

Microsoft BI Review: "Best TCO of any comprehensive database and analytics platform"

Score 10 out of 10
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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.
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Sean Brady profile photo
September 06, 2013

Microsoft BI Review: "Build a highly automated and flexible BI solution for your organization!"

Score 10 out of 10
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You need to have (1) a very solid SQL Server DBA and (2) a Windows Server administrator with domain administrator rights to get the BI stack set up correctly. As most Windows systems people will tell you, a lot of good comes out of doing some security planning on the domain side (users, groups, roles, etc.) before you start the implementation. This is a big integrated system, and getting it set up right is half the battle.
On the development side, you will want to have a full time data architect making sure that the model you are developing holds together and supports the reporting requirements of the business. You will also want a technical lead who has rich experience with the stack - that person will be able to shepherd the rest of the development team and help them come up to speed with the tools.
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Feature Scorecard Summary

Pixel Perfect reports (28)
Customizable dashboards (34)
Report Formatting Templates (32)
Drill-down analysis (30)
Formatting capabilities (34)
Integration with R or other statistical packages (27)
Report sharing and collaboration (34)
Publish to Web (31)
Publish to PDF (30)
Report Versioning (27)
Report Delivery Scheduling (31)
Delivery to Remote Servers (12)
Pre-built visualization formats (heatmaps, scatter plots etc.) (33)
Location Analytics / Geographic Visualization (30)
Predictive Analytics (30)
Multi-User Support (named login) (32)
Role-Based Security Model (29)
Multiple Access Permission Levels (Create, Read, Delete) (32)
Single Sign-On (SSO) (14)
Responsive Design for Web Access (24)
Dedicated iOS Application (19)
Dedicated Android Application (19)
Dashboard / Report / Visualization Interactivity on Mobile (25)
Javascript API (12)
iFrames (11)
Java API (10)
Themeable User Interface (UI) (10)
Customizable Platform (Open Source) (8)

About Microsoft BI

Microsoft BI benefits from the ubiquity of SQL server and the set of tools built around the database, including an ETL layer, master data management, data cleansing, report and reporting.

The reporting engine is SQL Server Reporting Services which does not have the visualization capabilities of  visualization tools like 
Tableau or Qlik. Excel has historically been the platform visualization tool. Power BI for Office 365 has done much to improve the discovery and visualization capabilities of Excel.

Microsoft  now offers Power BI cloud as the visualization platform with geospatial 3D, natural-language query generation, and self-service ETL along with charting and other data visualizations that can be uploaded and shared through the Power BI service. 

The Power BI platform also provides  live access to on-premises Microsoft SQL Server instances, and self-service access to third-party cloud sources including Salesforce, Marketo, Zendesk, and GitHub. Mobility is supported through a native iPad app, an iPhone app.

This new platform is viewed by Microsoft as a visualization layer sitting on top of their earlier generation of installed SQL-based technology.

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Microsoft BI Technical Details

Deployment Types:SaaS
Operating Systems: Unspecified
Mobile Application:No