MicroStrategy Adds Visual Capabilities to Business Intelligence Platform

MicroStrategy Inc., a provider of business intelligence software, announced it has begun shipping the latest release of its BI platform, which includes data visualization capabilities. MicroStrategy 9.2 includes a feature called Visual Insight, which enables businesspeople to quickly download and explore data. The latest release also beefs up MicroStrategy's interactive dashboard.

"The feature that we believe will offer probably the most universal benefit to all of our customers and their businesses is what we've done to provide businesspeople with a faster way for them to visualize their business data," Mark LaRow, senior vice president of products for MicroStrategy, explained at a webcast announcing the new update, 

Visual Insight is designed to allow business people to answer business questions on their own, avoiding the lengthy process of report specification and design. Users can access data from a full spectrum of data stores, ranging from massive enterprise data warehouses, to distributed departmental databases, to financial databases, to data that resides on the individual's desktop computer and in Excel spreadsheets. The platform also includes a web-based data import feature that enables the importation of data directly from their desktop computers for visual analysis and sharing. Visual Insight also enables users to create multi-tabbed insight dashboards that can present different views of a business issue. These dashboards can be saved and shared.  These capabilities can be offered as an internal software-as-a-service offering.

MicroStrategy 9.2 also offers features that provide even higher performance to end users and at the highest levels of usage. These features include greater use of high-speed in-memory BI. Organizations will be able to stage more information in MicroStrategy's high-speed in-memory technology using new incremental in-memory update features. These features allow companies to avoid refreshing the entire in-memory data store in favor of updating the changed portions of data, which frees up additional processing time and enables companies to pre-position even more data into high-speed memory.

The updated platform also includes greater in-memory hit rate for multidimensional data that automatically redirects queries to in-memory data stores when the data originates from multidimensional data sources, including SAP BW, Microsoft Analysis Services, IBM Cognos TM1, and Oracle Essbase. 

MicroStrategy 9.2 also offers the ability to automatically and transparently combine multidimensional data with relational data and retain full analytical capabilities, including drilling, sorting, pivoting, adding thresholds, aggregating, and adding calculations. Business people can now report on and analyze information that spans financial databases that are typically stored in multidimensional databases with non-financial data that is typically stored in relational databases.

"There is a major sea change afoot in how information is consumed, interactively," LaRow says. "Traditional BI depended on printed reports and OLAP analysis as the mainstay for publishing fixed data and for interactive investigations. These two paradigms have been the model for business intelligence for the last 15 years. But we see their time ending, and its ending very rapidly, and ending right now. And what they're giving way to is this new visual model, where businesspeople can find much greater insight in the amount of time they're looking at the data. I think a new style of dashboards, and a new style of ad hoc analysis is going to become a predominant model for BI." 

More information is available from MicroStrategy.