Best of MicroStrategy BI Platform

by Slavko Kastelic | Dec 18, 2017 | Blog

MicroStrategy, a leading, modern BI platform, has been organically developed for more than 20 years. More recent BI products are visually appealing, but they mostly lack architectures suitable for use throughout the company and thoughtful integration with other systems. As a result, BI experts and their business users who are searching for solution systematically, consistently decide to choose MicroStrategy.

Based on user requirements, BI industry is increasingly moving from IT-led BI systems to self-service BI environments, which include powerful visualization techniques and enable independent data preparation. These are all features that are embedded in the core of the MicroStrategy platform, by maintaining the power of control over the system, architecture, speed, and security.

MicroStrategy is the most comprehensive BI system in the market, where it has been setting standards in this field since 1994. It is very different from other major manufacturers that add functionality with purchases and acquisitions and often weak integration with their existing BI offer. MicroStrategy remained faithful to its mission to create a unified, integrated and consistent analytical environment, developed organically inside the company.


MicroStrategy supports any way to use BI: from reports, dashboards, KPIs, ad-hoc reporting, OLAP, forecasting, visual research, and data preparation.
MicroStrategy can be used by business users as information consumers, researchers, data analysts or scientists on any platform: online, cloud, mobile or desktop. It can perform its analysis from data from relational databases, Hadoop, Spark, NoSQL, Hive, JSON environments, or from Excel or text files. MicroStrategy users can also perform analyzes directly on ERP systems, over other BI systems, over data from the cloud, from social networks.

MicroStrategy’s development environment allows developers to create custom reports and documents suitable for printing. Developers can extend MicroStrategy functionality through standard API interfaces with visualizations, additional analytical features, or can be embedded in other applications to create new hybrid custom applications.

MicroStrategy is one of the few BI manufacturers that enables the development of native BI applications for iOS and Android with all natural features specific to mobile devices that are much more useful than typical HTML5 interfaces. Applications greatly increase productivity with built-in workflows that combine analytics, transactions, and multimedia.


MicroStrategy is known for its scalability of data access, which includes multi-step SQL queries that are tailored and optimized for each of the most relational databases, and cloud data.

Queries are distributed across different layers from the database, reports, projects, and applications, and at each level, the results are stored for re-use, which greatly reduces the response times. MicroStrategy is able to perform queries over several unrelated sources of data and thus creates a virtual, unified data warehouse for the user.

MicroStrategy is among the first to introduce BI in the cloud, users can use it as PaaS or SaaS and adjust capacity according to needs, such as increasing capacity every first Monday of the month.


MicroStrategy supports dimensional, ad hoc analysis (eg OLAP) over relational data warehouses, which can be in any form, but most often in the form of a star or snowflake. Based on the ROLAP principle, all types of analyzes have been built from operating reports to dashboards, visualizations, alert alarms, all according to business users needs, based on their applications and permissions.

Users communicate with reports and control panels over the Internet, tablets, phones and desktop applications such as Microsoft Office and email. Users adjust their view on data by drilling, pivoting, slicing and dicing, using different types of graphs, sorting, and tables. Reports can accessed interactively or are sent out periodically or when data values reach the predefined threshold values. Users can also enter data using forms that update back operating databases.

Visual Discovery and Self-Service are an integral part of the MicroStrategy platform. Business users of MicroStrategy Desktop with appropriate permissions can prepare the entire BI environment on their own, and they no longer have to wait for IT. They can publish and share their results and findings with other users as well as collaborate with other users to discuss findings.


MicroStrategy is built over centralized metadata that facilitate management, ensures consistency of data and prevents different parts of BI from becoming data silos. An object-oriented metadata repository catalogs all BI data as logical objects that can be re-used in any project, application, document, report, dashboard, or visualization.

The catalog consists of a logical data model and BI schema objects (attributes, facts, hierarchies, …), components (dimensions, filters, sets, groups), documents (reports, control panels, tables, forms, charts, filters) and regulate access to company information. Administrators update objects in the catalog, and the system automatically populate these changes to all related objects throughout the BI environment.

MicroStrategy dynamically compiles and aggregates all the necessary objects from the catalog and performs a query and delivers results to business users at the run-time.

The MicroStrategy platform contains a powerful data modeling tool that allows BI architects to create a single data model with multi-layer hierarchies and relations between objects.

MicroStrategy provides an interface that allows business users to independently prepare and clean up, convert and merge data, thus upgrading pre-prepared logical models stored in the central metadata catalog. Users can easily share their findings with their colleagues, partners or customers and comment on them in real time.

Users can make their work easier and faster by using pre-prepared templates and samples.


Extensibility is part of the MicroStrategy platform. MicroStrategy SDK allows to build new analytical applications or integrates BI components into other applications either on the web or on mobile platforms.

Business users and developers can also extend the functionality of the platform by adding statistical functions built with R, importing analytical models from SAS, SPSS or KXEN using PMML.

Developers can use visualizations from the MicroStrategy Visualization Library and associate them with existing reports without coding. They can use the MicroStrategy SDK to create customized visualizations and import external libraries, such as D3, Highcharts and Google. They can integrate maps and geolocation functions from external GIS providers such as ESRI, Visual Crossing and Google, or include multimedia content (e.g., Video, Audio, Images, Documents).


MicroStrategy contains a robust, centralized and comprehensive set of BI system monitoring and management tools, which allow logically divide users into groups or regions in large environments.

Administrators have a complete control over the features that users and groups can use. They can restrict users to access  the data on the row and column level. It integrates with third-party authentication systems , such as LDAP and Active Directory. Administrators can also set the interface language so users can analyze data in the language they choose.

Warehouse Manager is MicroStrategy’s tool to monitor the use of BI environment such as use of reports, users, implementation time, bottlenecks.

Object Manager allows managers to move projects from development to test and later to production environment.

Command Manager allows scripting to automate repetitive tasks, such as adding, moving or removing users or groups, granting or revoking privileges, and triggering the execution of scheduled reports.

Integrity Manager compares the results of two versions of the same report to verify the impact of updates and other project activities in production reports.


MicroStrategy is a complete platform for BI and analytics that meets the dual business needs: it is a robust platform for the development and management of BI systems, on the one hand, and it is a visual self-service data discovery environment that responds rapidly developing business users requirements on the other.

MicroStrategy is a golden standard for governed BI.