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User Review: "Intelligent big boy Microsoft BI"
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Ved Mishra profile photo
Updated February 19, 2016

User Review: "Intelligent big boy Microsoft BI"

Score 10 out of 101
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Microsoft BI

Microsoft Business Intelligence (MS BI) is integral part of our technology eco-system across whole organization. Various tools of the MS BI stack are used to Extract Transform and Load (ETL) data from various data sources and provide and platform to do analytics using pivot tables, pivot charts, power BI, SharePoint, SSRS reports, BI Semantic Model (BISM) reports etc.
  • Wide variety of tools : Microsoft BI possesses a wide variety of tools to cater needs of presentation, performance caching, integration and ease of use.
  • Popular online and location communities : Online and local communities around Microsoft BI is very popular. You can find a lot of resources and helpful information online and within your communities more efficiently and effectively.
  • Tighter and broad integration options : Microsoft BI tools are very well integrated with other Microsoft products (Office 365, SharePoint, .NET Apps, Project Server etc...) and Line of Business (LOB) applications. Being a large player in BI domain, there are various third party components available which compliment MS BI.
  • Visualization and presentation is an area that may need some improvement. I have used a competitive tool Tableau which has better visualization capabilities against Pivot Charts/Power BI.
  • For ultra large organizations, certain BI solutions require more volume of data to be processed. Although Microsoft Windows Azure, HDInsight and various other big data mechanism can cater to this need, other MS BI tools like Power Pivot, SharePoint etc... need to be more performance oriented.
  • Licensing is one aspect which is relatively more complex as compared to its competitors. Microsoft is now following subscription-model approach in a lot of areas but still there is a scope of improvement in providing more clarity and simplicity when purchasing MS BI tools.
Microsoft BI is a great tool when it comes to various integration with line of business applications and its own ecosystem which contains office applications widely used all over the world. Hence, it is well suited for organizations that are complex and have global foot-print. It is also well suited for Power Users who may not have deep technical knowledge but familiarity with day-to-day applications such as word, excel etc...Tableau, Spotfire, Apptio and other tools are much better suited for web-friendly visualizations and for smaller organizations.
Microsoft BI tools can connect to various data sources using ODBC, OData protocols. There are options to connect a range of data sources like Oracle, SQL, IBM DB2, Teradata, Sybase, Informix, Text file and data various other feeds. BI reports can bring data from various data sources and separate data connection. All data is alike once it is imported/connected and available in data-model.
Also, tools and solutions can be modified to fetch data real-time. Minimum download strategy ensures and tool is responsive to latest data changes in the back-end.
Role based and item-level securities can be configured to ensure proper control of report and data. Various collaboration tools like Office 365, SharePoint and other office applications provide platform to share and collaborate. Although, formatting can be sometimes challenging; MS BI reports can be embedded in web-pages to provide user-friendly dashboards.
I found that Tableau is more efficient in providing options to calculate measures, percentages as compared to MS BI Power Pivot. Also, Tableau is more web-friendly. However, analytic capability is well suited in Microsoft BI. Microsoft BI is well suited in larger organization setup which requires various integration with external line of business applications. Sometimes, the cost impact can be bigger for smaller organizations as they look for savings while shopping for minimum viable product.

Microsoft BI Feature Ratings

Pixel Perfect reports
6
Customizable dashboards
10
Report Formatting Templates
6
Drill-down analysis
8
Formatting capabilities
5
Report sharing and collaboration
10
Publish to Web
7
Publish to PDF
6
Report Versioning
7
Report Delivery Scheduling
8
Pre-built visualization formats (heatmaps, scatter plots etc.)
6
Location Analytics / Geographic Visualization
6
Predictive Analytics
5
Role-Based Security Model
8
Multiple Access Permission Levels (Create, Read, Delete)
8
Responsive Design for Web Access
6
Dedicated iOS Application
6
Dedicated Android Application
6
Dashboard / Report / Visualization Interactivity on Mobile
5