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Review: "Microsoft BI from a Consultant's Perspective"
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Megan Juell profile photo
November 15, 2016

Review: "Microsoft BI from a Consultant's Perspective"

Score 8 out of 101
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Microsoft BI

My company is a Microsoft partner, and we use the Microsoft BI stack throughout the organization. We mainly use it for development and implementation of ETL, database management, analytical processing, and reporting (SSMS, SSIS & SSRS). As consultants, we typically design these processes in our clients' environments (which range from SSMS versions 2008 - 2016), but also do some in-house work for internal product development.
  • Database management: Although learning all the features of Management Studio may initially seem daunting, they provide a intricate system to support the entire database environment.
  • Data flow and process management: SSMS and SSIS work together seamlessly to automate processes, allow users to create jobs to kick off their processes, and provide users a log of runtime variables, errors, and warnings.
  • Data modeling: SSAS provides a feature-rich environment to develop both multidimensional and tabular models.
  • There seems to be a slightly different language for every need: T-SQL, MDX, DAX, Excel formulas, Access DB SQL, C#, etc. While there are a wide variety of needs these meet, it would be helpful to have a more common base-language between languages with similar functionality (SSMS's T-SQL and Access' SQL, Excel formulas and DAX).
  • Reporting Services in Visual Studio tends to be a little buggy, especially when dealing with parameterized reports.
  • It would be helpful to have processing time displayed when processing tables from SSMS. I'm often forced to decide between the detailed error log that the processing dialog box displays (with no start/end times) or scripting out the job to XMLA for the gain of process start/end times but a loss of the detailed errors.
  • My organization uses Microsoft BI for nearly all of our development. We would not be able to integrate with our clients to deliver our solutions easily without it.
Microsoft BI has many more features than MySQL and contains a set of fully-integrated applications to cover all BI needs. It is widely used as an enterprise-level BI system among our clients, allowing us to easily design solutions in-house and implement them in our clients' environments. Additionally, Microsoft provides methods for importing/exporting data that may be sourced from or delivered to outside sources/destinations.
It is well suited for organizations that require a scalable environment, rich with features. Windows integrated security and role configurations also make it especially easy to configure advanced security for a large number of users. It may be less necessary/appropriate for projects with simpler needs or organizations running on operating systems other than Windows.

Microsoft BI Feature Ratings

Pixel Perfect reports
Not Rated
Customizable dashboards
9
Report Formatting Templates
Not Rated
Drill-down analysis
8
Formatting capabilities
10
Integration with R or other statistical packages
Not Rated
Report sharing and collaboration
9
Publish to Web
Not Rated
Publish to PDF
Not Rated
Report Versioning
Not Rated
Report Delivery Scheduling
10
Pre-built visualization formats (heatmaps, scatter plots etc.)
Not Rated
Location Analytics / Geographic Visualization
Not Rated
Predictive Analytics
6
Multi-User Support (named login)
10
Role-Based Security Model
10
Multiple Access Permission Levels (Create, Read, Delete)
10
Responsive Design for Web Access
Not Rated
Dedicated iOS Application
Not Rated
Dedicated Android Application
Not Rated
Dashboard / Report / Visualization Interactivity on Mobile
Not Rated