- It combines data from disparate data systems so that it can all be viewed in one place
- The drilling and filtering capabilities are outstanding! We've really been able to get to the lower level of detail that we needed, but could not get, before we started using Birst.
- Once created, Birst updates all by itself. No downloading, exporting, or re-aggregating of data to update reports.
- Report designer user interface is poor. For example, Birst has a feature that allows report designers to build and save custom expressions. This is helpful because, rather than having to rewrite the expression each time it's needed, the designer can simply select it from the saved expression box and drop it into the report. However, there appears to be no rhyme or reason to the organization of the expression box. It's not alphabetized and you can't categorize expressions by creating folders. This can lead to frustration when time is wasted just trying to find the custom expression that you need.
- Creating new reports is a clumsy process.
- Data exports are sloppy. This is due more to the lack of flexibility in the designer UI than to the actual exporting capability. For example, when creating a data table, you often need the label to be a larger size than the column because the label requires descriptive text while the column is just a value. However, in the Birst designer UI, you cannot independently change the size of a measure label and the size of its corresponding column--they have to be the same size.
- It's hard to quantify the time savings and improved decision making that occurred because of Birst, but it is substantial.
I have really enjoyed working with Birst, both the people and the product. The Birst team truly cares about customer success and is committed to helping clients find solutions to their business intelligence needs. Despite all the benefits the product has brought my company, I still feel like we are just scratching the surface of its reporting capabilities. For example, just last week I submitted a support case for help creating a report. I ended up learning of an entirely new container report capability that we hadn't used before. The container report is about 10 times better for displaying the data than what I had originally planned to do. And because the Birst customer service is so outstanding, I had the new report up and running in less than a day. This is the kind of service that I believe makes Birst an outstanding BI tool.
Evaluation and Selection
Birst can do a lot of things, but it can be difficult to figure out unless you have someone to answer questions and to help explain new functionality. Thankfully, Birst customer support has been outstanding. As mentioned before, questions are usually answered the same day the support case is created.