Wednesday, July 11, 2012

MicroStrategy 9.3 unveiled

BI giant MicroStrategy has unveiled MicroStrategy 9.3, the latest version of its BI platform.
The platform contains new capabilities that enhance MicroStrategy Visual Insight for data exploration and dashboard creation, allow businesses to gain insights from big data, and incorporate advanced analytics from R – an open source programming language for statistical computing.

Mark LaRow, SVP Products at MicroStrategy, says the release empowers business people by providing them with the information they need to make better decisions and be consistently more productive. The new release includes important enhancements in a number of areas, providing users with the ability to better explore data visually to discover actionable business insights.

LaRow says it also allows users to build and share their own dashboards in minutes without help from IT teams. It also lets users better leverage big data through greater access to the vast volumes stored in Hadoop repositories, and search more quickly to locate and build reports and dashboards.

In addition, he says, it enables the use of advanced and predictive open source analytics in all users' reports for better decision-making, and lets them get more information and increased availability for lower cost and through automated system management.

He says MicroStrategy 9.3 also features ease-of-use enhancements to MicroStrategy Visual Insight, the company's user environment, which allows business users to instantly create powerful insights and dashboards.

“MicroStrategy Visual Insight allows business people to visually explore and understand their data in a way that is fast, simple and engaging. It also includes new data visualisations that quickly and easily let business people of all skill levels spot outliers, discover patterns and uncover problem areas that otherwise may be difficult to discern.”

In addition, he says new geospatial density maps present colour-coded location data to represent higher levels of concentration over map areas. “It also features image layouts that provide the ability to customise layouts, such as sales regions in a country, customer traffic through a department store, or productivity on the floor of a manufacturing facility.”

Another feature, the network diagram, offers a powerful way to see relationships between pairs of items or groups of items. “For example, network diagrams are useful for Web page traffic analysis or affinity analysis, which shows the propensity for two products to sell in conjunction with one another.”

Other features include best-fit data visualisations, which help users find answers quicker by suggesting which of the many data visualisations in the MicroStrategy library to use for a given set of data; quick searching, which supports fast search features for long lists of data items; and enhanced interactivity, with smoother drag-and-drop metric actions, making interacting with the data simpler.

LaRow says another improvement, expanded analytics, gives access to over 300 analytical functions to its users. “Instant metrics provides shortcut metrics for the most often used calculations, such as moving averages for time-series data, and guided metric creation provides users with a function wizard to create new metrics simply, based on any analytic function in the MicroStrategy library.”

The power-filtering capabilities allow users to quickly identify the top- or bottom-performing business areas. “Filters can be applied across many visualisations at once or just to a single visualisation, offering fine-grain control for data analysis.

“Advanced threshold options allow users to quickly characterise and display differences in their business data, and data access improvements allow users to analyse data wherever it resides – relational databases, multi-dimensional databases, Hadoop distributions, Web services, or data imported from personal data stores, such as Excel files,” he concludes.

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