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Comparisons of Bus Obj with others

Comparisons of Bus Obj with others

Comparisons of Bus Obj with others

Instead of re-inventing the wheel, I was wondering if anyone had done any comparisons of Business Objects, MicroStrategy, Brio, or Crystal that they would be willing to share?  - thanks Tulip2.

RE: Comparisons of Bus Obj with others

People pay for this type of information.  

If you are in a competitive sales cycle with the aforementioned vendors you can have them make the case for their own companies.  They all have competitive intelligence on each other so beware of the traps they set.  BO and Cognos sales people still try and lay traps on MicroStrategy that are completely irrelevant now that the MicroStrategy 7 has been released, and MicroStrategy's financial troubles are behind them.  

Your best bet is to visit the following sites and do your own homework:



RE: Comparisons of Bus Obj with others

BTW Tulip2 - thanks for spamming the BO board, Data Warehousing general discussion, and the MSTR board with the same question.  Pure laziness.

RE: Comparisons of Bus Obj with others

Thanks - I have actually already started, but was interested if my findings were close to anyone elses. However, you seem to be defending Microstrategy and I would be interested in your reasons.  I installed it 2 weeks ago, and found it a bear to use compared to Crystal reports.  I also did not see any ad-hoc capability for end-users, and it was terrible for changing report layouts once they were created.

RE: Comparisons of Bus Obj with others

Well, now that I have called you lazy I feel a bit guilty.  I am defending MicroStrategy only to the extent that I know it better than I know BO, Brio and Crystal Reports / Decisions, etc.  I don't work for MicroStrategy, but I use their product on a daily basis.

From an architectural standpoint the aforementioned applications are all OLAP tools...MicroStrategy considers itself ROLAP because it is designed to write ad-hoc queries against relational databases.  BO and others report against RDs as well, but MicroStrategy has been shown to be the premier tool for reporting against extremely large data stores.  In its recent platform release 7.2.x MicroStrategy released its answer to the multidimensional reporting methods that have long been the traditions of the BOs, Brios, etc.

All of these tools have strengths and weaknesses.  You are not the first person to say that MSTR isn't as easy to grasp right away, but I think in the long term a mastery of MicroStrategy means a lot more control over how you get information out of your database(s)...and how you distribute that data.  

At the end of the day it comes down to what you need a BI tool for, what you want to do with it once you have it (i.e. customization), and whether it will grow alongside the growth of your data.  

Lastly, all I can say is "beware of BO's shiny package!"  

RE: Comparisons of Bus Obj with others


You mention 4 somewhat different products.  My first questions would be along the lines of your project requirements - amount of data, types of reports, reporting functionality, local or distributed users, security concerns, usability, etc..  After that you could probably easily filter out several BI vendors.  For example, MicroStrategy is known for handling very large datasets many users.  Business Objects is know for handling small to medium size datasets, but it's architecture breaks down when you try and support too much data and too many users.  Brio is more a desktop OLAP product, where a small dataset is downloaded to the client for analysis (see ROLAP/MOLAP/DOLAP discussions in the Data Warehousing General Discussion group).  Crystal is a very good report writer, but not known for large datasets or ad-hoc capability.

Some other vendors you may consider include Siebel Analytics, Hyperion Solutions, Cognos, and Actuate.

Finally, if you aren't working directly with the vendors yet, a lot of them have direct comparisons on their websites, such as MicroStrategy who offers comparisons against Business Objects and Cognos.

RE: Comparisons of Bus Obj with others

Thanks JR - I will only have about 10 users.  I do have security issues - this is sensitive data, and needs to be able to be accessed from foreign countries. Needs to be deployed through the web.  I do have millions of rows of data, but the users have not narrowed down for me the exact data that is going into the data warehouse. I am doing my prototype based on the current and past year, which right now amounts to about 600,000 rows in the fact table. I know I will need some ad-hoc capability.  I have talked with several vendors to get evals copies.  I was trying to get MicroStrategy to give us a demo, but the rep I was talking to says he is not allowed to do it, it has to be with our customer not us.  So that turned me off, since I am the one making the decision. - open to any suggestions/opinions -Tulip2

RE: Comparisons of Bus Obj with others

Well, for starters, it makes no sense to me that MicroStrategy refused a demo to the decision-maker.  Granted I don't know the exact nature of your business, but in a former life I used to be heavily involved in sales cycles for a major BI vendor.  I would try and go around this person, or contact an authorized re-seller of MicroStrategy.  This info you can also find on their website.

Some other notes:

10 users - this is obviously not many.  the only thing i would be wary of is a company forcing you into a CPU based pricing.  you should be able to buy licenses for 10 names users.

security - given the international reach, i'd want a zero-footprint (no download components) web interface.  i'd also want the application to provide a layer between the user and the database.  database id's and passwords should never be passed over the internet.

data - it sounds like a lot of data, but i have no way of knowing how it breaks down.  given your users though, you probably don't want a product that will require downloads of datasets to the client.

ad-hoc - most vendors provide some degree of ad-hoc.  make sure you differentiate between simple ad-hoc report analysis (sorting, pivoting, drilling, etc.) and actual report building, saving, and sharing.

keep usability and education in mind as well, since your users sound very distributed.  the product should be as intuitive as possible.

hope this helps.

RE: Comparisons of Bus Obj with others

Thanks for the input, I thought it odd MSTR would not do the demo, everyone else seems to be bending over backwards for me.  I think I will take your advice and try a re-seller.  All companies did give me a quote for 10 named users.  I am trying to get the prototype up fast, so that may be a disadvantage for Bus Obj, I just installed it today, and haven't created the universe or anything yet, still digging thru the documentation.  Maybe once that is created it will go fast. - thanks again - Tulip2

RE: Comparisons of Bus Obj with others

Yeah - Bummer about MSTR not lending a hand here.  As JRO061601 pointed out there a lot of resellers out there that can help you out.  The MicroStrategy web site has a complete listing of its partners - perhaps there is someone in your area.

600,000 rows is a small data set, and if users are looking for easy slice and dice and you have the space to build out cubes, BO et al aren't bad choices.  10 users is a small community, agreed.  A great selling point re: MSTR in this aspect is the all-HTML web interface and ability to integrate LDAP or NT authentication into the login.  Also, MSTR uses cutting-edge encryption algorithms.

BTW, sorry again about the earlier comment.  Past experience on other boards makes me wary of students looking for someone else to do their homework...your case is legit.

If you have specific install issues, etc. feel free to post them and we can help you out...

Good luck,


RE: Comparisons of Bus Obj with others

Apology accepted Chael.  This was my first time on the forum, and as I was digging thru I saw someone named Adam had asked about a matrix back in the summer, I saw no response to his question.  I also see what you mean about the students.  I have created the matrix, but still have some holes to fill in.  MSTR headquarters is only about 1 hour 15 minutes from us, and they are aware this is for the defense dept, so if we had chosen them, it could have led to other projects choosing them, especially within our organization. I might go look at some resllers, but the client is leaning on me to make a decision asap, which I think means the end of next week at the latest.  Thanks for the info - Tulip2

RE: Comparisons of Bus Obj with others

I'm not going to defend any product, instead I would suggest you get a set of "use cases", or everyday tasks and see how the products perform.  examples include

- create 1st report
         - connect to data source
         - create analysis
         - format
- create 2nd report
         - reuse analysis from report 1
         - format
- add 10 users
- specify security for 10 users
         - report ACLs
         - priveleges (one user can drill, other cannot)
         - data level security (eg.  city = NY or DC)
         - schedule report 1 to run for 10 users at different times
- deploy over web
- create new report over web
         - use analysis from report 1
         - format report
         - save condition and layout for reuse
         - save report
         - print report, set headings and footers
- change management
         - change table name or column name in database
         - see what it takes to update reports
         - search for reports that use a specific table column
- analysis capabilities
         - find the report you have not been able to create without macros and stored procedures.  Create this in the tool out of box without macros and stored procedures
         - create a simple decile report
         - create multiple conditions and let users choose which "sets" to combine

etc...you get the idea, the point I'm trying to make is to avoid making an choice based on a single feature but on the entire project lifecycle.  So you must simulate the life cycle in your eval.

good luck

RE: Comparisons of Bus Obj with others

Contact me at cchristopher@atlanticintelligence.com if you are interested in taking this thread offline.  I may be able to address some of your immediate concerns that are outside the relevance of this forum.


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