Best TCO of any comprehensive database and analytics platform
Updated November 04, 2014

Best TCO of any comprehensive database and analytics platform

Jacob Saunders | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Software Version

SQL Server 2012 / SharePoint 2010 - 2013

Modules Used

  • All

Overall Satisfaction with Microsoft BI

  • The 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.
I've been implementing Microsoft, and other, BI tools for many years and will continue to drive adoption of this platform in my client base as it matures. My firm also uses the platform internally for all our operational and analytical systems.

Using Microsoft BI

  • Traditional "canned" reporting.
  • Online transaction processing systems.
  • Data warehousing.
  • High availability.
  • Self-service analytics.
  • Collaborative decision making.

Evaluating Microsoft BI and Competitors

Microsoft BI Implementation

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.

Microsoft BI Training

  • Online training
  • In-person training
  • Self-taught
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.

Microsoft BI Support

While support from Microsoft isn't necessarily always best of breed, you're also not paying the price for premium support that you would on other platforms. The strength of the stack is in the ecosystem that surrounds it. In contrast to other products, there are hundreds, even thousands of bloggers that post daily as well as vibrant user communities that surround the tool. I've had much better luck finding help with SQL Server related issues than I have with any other product, but that help doesn't always come directly from Microsoft.
No - Premium support is available to us at no cost.