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Birst Review: "Solid tool with opportunites to become even better."
https://www.trustradius.com/business-intelligence-biBirstUnspecified6.8178101
Marci Augustine profile photo
March 07, 2018

Birst Review: "Solid tool with opportunites to become even better."

Score 6 out of 101
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Birst

Birst is our enterprise-wide BI visualization and distribution platform. Our company has 4 different revenue models ranging from big buy advertising, subscription based advertising, affiliate / performance based revenue as well as (digital) product driven revenue. Nearly every department here uses it for something, though it does not yet solve all problems within most departments. Currently we are able to report and distribute sales numbers to individual account executives as well as provide sales management views across as well as revenue and user across our B2C business lines as well. It solves for reporting automation and some visualization as well as distribution.
  • For end users, Birst has a friendly UI that allows them to naturally interact with reporting data via web browser.
  • For properly modeled data, the visualizer tool makes it easy do build quick visualizations.
  • Surfacing data on dashboards with global filters allows users the flexibility to view multiple metrics with the same lens.
  • Data modeling is a particular challenge for both novice and experienced data engineers. The ETL tools are insufficient to meet even 1/2 of our needs, and as a result we have a separate platform for data warehousing and use the back end of Birst solely for data exploration projects.
  • There are occasionally delays in the UI when applying filters that often lead users to think that something is broken when in fact they just need to wait a few more seconds for the UI to change, even to let them know that it's still updating.
  • Customer service, while it has improved, is still poor relative to other vendors that we work with. I often feel that both our CSM and our support technicians are defensive and try to push the responsibility for sub-optimal experiences back on us, and while it sometimes *is* the case that it is an issue on our end, more often it is not and even when it is we shouldn't FEEL like that. None of our other vendors take this approach, and even when the problem is on our end, they support us getting through it in a much less defensive way.
  • Speed and agility
  • Ability to meet corporate data standards such as scale and security
  • Decreased deployment time and risk
  • Ability to do ad-hoc analysis and scheduled reports
  • Increased adoption, usage and self-service
Achieved: scale & security, scheduled reports, increased adoption, usage & self-service
  • Every user in our organization has a Birst log in and where we have been able to create reports, it has been easy to provide the appropriate access. The ease of access for end users has gone a long way in adoption and self-service.

Did not achieve: speed and agility, decreased deployment time and risk, ad-hoc
  • It takes a *long* time to model data either in Birst or in our EDW in a way that makes it usable in Birst reporting. The admin UI is not intuitive even after several years of daily use.
  • Due to issues of data modeling it has been difficult to provide data in a way that serves ad hoc reporting across the organization. Most of our reports and dashboards are use case specific and simply do not allow for the flexibility for users to go in and play around with the data in an ad hoc fashion, though there have been cases where we are able to provide that.
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.
I like that Birst can connect to multiple data sources. I do not like that in a multiple DS scenario, Live Access cannot be used. The data modeling administration is very clunky and counter intuitive if you have any experience with traditional data modeling tools and practices.
Birst is very appropriate for companies that have a low to mid-level of technical sophistication with data preparation, but have a high need for visibility and distribution. I think that it *can* become a good option for mid-sized companies for whom large scale BI implementations like Cognos or MicroStrategies are not practical, or in our case, even relevant, but it can be frustrating for those who have a high level of technical experience with data warehouse development as the tool is very specific and has a fairly steep learning curve, and the technical support resources don't always seem to have the appropriate level of expertise to deal with advanced users.

Birst Feature Ratings

Pixel Perfect reports
2
Customizable dashboards
9
Drill-down analysis
5
Formatting capabilities
7
Integration with R or other statistical packages
Not Rated
Report sharing and collaboration
6
Publish to Web
8
Publish to PDF
7
Report Delivery Scheduling
8
Pre-built visualization formats (heatmaps, scatter plots etc.)
5
Location Analytics / Geographic Visualization
5
Multi-User Support (named login)
9
Role-Based Security Model
6
Multiple Access Permission Levels (Create, Read, Delete)
8
Responsive Design for Web Access
7
Dedicated iOS Application
Not Rated
Dedicated Android Application
Not Rated
Dashboard / Report / Visualization Interactivity on Mobile
Not Rated