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Data is one of the biggest assets for any business in the current environment. And a lot of business owners are finding it very tough to maintain large volumes of business information. Entrepreneurs these days are looking to get a better understanding and control of business-related data to get out the best value for their business investment.

What is MicroStrategy[/caption] To make lives easy for business owners, developers around the world are constantly competing with various business intelligence tools. But, MicroStrategy is proving to be the most reliant, trusted, and secure platform. In this MicroStrategy Tutorial, we will be discussing What MicroStrategy is, why it is being used widely, and thorough research about it.

Microstrategy Tutorial - Table of Contents

What is MicroStrategy?

MicroStrategy is a business intelligence tool, that supports interactive dashboards, highly formatted reports, scorecards, alerts, ad hoc queries, automated report distribution, thresholds, etc. MicroStrategy interfaces include desktop (for developers), web, Microsoft Office integration as well as Mobile Applications. Unlike most of the old-fashioned multidimensional OLAPs, which were known for supporting summary-level reporting, MicroStrategy’s relational OLAP helps users to “drill anywhere” in the entire database. MicroStrategy allows you to access all your business data, even the data related to a transaction.

History and Versions of MicroStrategy

MicroStrategy was founded by Michael J. Saylor and Sanju Bansal in the year of  1989. These two were students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

  • The company started by producing data mining and business intelligence software using nonlinear mathematics.
  • In 1992, MicroStrategy penned a $10 million deal with McDonald’s which proved to be a groundbreaking deal for the company.
  • Its revenues kept increasing by 100% every year between 1990 and 1996.
  • In 1998, MicroStrategy was converted into a public company.
  • The research and development unit of the company started at in 2000.
  • In February 2009, MicroStrategy penned a deal worth $27.7 million to sell with ABS Capital Partners. In the same year, the company came up with OLAP services with a shared cache and data.
  • In 2010, the company started to work on developing BI software for mobile platforms like the iPhone and iPad.
  • In 2011, MicroStrategy introduced its cloud-based service called “MicroStrategy Cloud”.
  • In 2014, the company announced its collaboration with Facebook and came up with a new feature called PRIME (Parallel Relational In-Memory Engine).
  • In June 2015, MicroStrategy announced the availability of MicroStrategy 10.
  • In January 2019, MicroStrategy 2019 was introduced.
  • In February 2020, the company announced the latest version of MicroStrategy, MicroStrategy 2020. It is known for its analytics tool and Hyper Intelligence.


How Does MicroStrategy Work?

All MicroStrategy dashboards are designed for specific business objects. These various objects are responsible to determine the way of importing data from your data source, how to perform calculations on the collected data, and more importantly, how to display results while each dashboard is in action. When you put your business data into MicroStrategy Desktop, data is stored within the dashboard. A dataset allows you to manipulate the data appearing on a dashboard, and that too, without importing data to a different dataset. MicroStrategy tool allows you to perform the following manipulations on your data without transferring it to a new dataset: 

  • Displaying data on the fly.
  • Filtering data on the fly.
  • Creating metrics on the fly.
  • Creating attributes on the fly.
  • Combining multiple attributes data into a single item.


Why is Microstrategy Used Widely?

Now, the question is, why is MicroStrategy used much more than most of its competitors? There are numerous reasons for it being one of the most preferred. Organizations chose MicroStrategy over other BI tools to prepare unique and modern business-grade applications of all types. It allows businesses to prepare both traditional and modern business applications. Here are some other reasons for its popularity:

  • MicroStrategy is the only platform that allows both enterprise analytics as well as mobility.
  • It is very good at combining traditional, but valuable business intelligence with modern, cutting-edge analytics, cloud technology, and mobile technology. -
  • It helps businesses to maximize the information value and to accelerate business by building and deploying revolutionary business applications.
  • MicroStrategy’s unique technology is designed organically, so all of its pieces work cohesively without any issues.
  • It is one of the very few platforms which integrates very easily with most of the leading technology vendors and open-source tools. So, it becomes seamless to manage any application, process, or workflow with its superior analytics. -
  • MicroStrategy reporting is currently one of the best in the business.
  • Features like Mobile Business Intelligence, enterprise cloud technology, and big data analytics ensure faster delivery of the applications.
  • It allows organizations to replace traditional BI tools with digital badges to relay real-time, valuable telemetry data.


Architecture of MicroStrategy

The overall system of MicroStrategy is designed around a three-tier or four-tier MicroStrategy Architecture:

  • There are two databases in the first tier: the Data warehouse containing the information that is analyzed by your users, and the MicroStrategy metadata, which is about the information related to MicroStrategy projects.
  • The second tier of the architecture contains MicroStrategy Intelligence Server which is known for executing your reports, documents, and dossiers against the data warehouse.
  • MicroStrategy Web or Mobile Server is the third tier, which submits reports to the clients.
  • The fourth and last tier contains MicroStrategy Web Client, Desktop client, Library client, Workstation client, or MicroStrategy Mobile app. It works to provide documents and relevant reports to software users.


What are the Main Features of MicroStrategy?

The following are the features of Microstrategy:

1. Cloud: 

MicroStrategy Cloud presents business intelligence as a service, instead of as a feature. It provides users with the comprehensive performance of Analytics Enterprise like detailed analysis, mobile analytics capabilities, and sophisticated reporting, etc.  If you are wondering, why is MicroStrategy used so widely, this is one of the strongest reasons. As a user, you get the option to host your data warehouse on-premises as well as in MicroStrategy’s secure cloud. The cloud feature is built for high performance as well as consistent reliability. It is engineered with a strong security framework according to industry-standard controls to ensure your valuable business data is safe like never before.

2. Easy to Use and Maintain:

MicroStrategy is surely a very advanced BI tool. But it is easily accessible to everyone thanks to its sophisticated analytics. Whether you are a business administrator or analyst, you can easily connect to, blend as well as prepare business data without any third-party application.

3. Proven in the Enterprise:

MicroStrategy is a business platform at its core. It is very easy to integrate it into a larger business landscape, as it allows to integration with almost all types of data systems or business applications. Businesses can combine the functionality of MicroStrategy with already existing corporate applications and systems, as well as upcoming and updated tools.

4. Self-service Analytics:

MicroStrategy helps business users to become self-reliant by offering them self-service capabilities like no other BI platform. You can easily connect to a wide range of data sources, and that too, without third-party IT intervention. MicroStrategy makes it easy for you to create dashboards using its simple “drag-and-drop” feature. You can do it without modifying or changing your data.

5. Enterprise Reporting:

It helps you to create enterprise reports with more elegant analysis. It offers you level metrics, conditional metrics, compound metrics, as well as transformation metrics. Also, you get the option of creating advanced filters like attribute-to-attribute qualifications, joint elements list, prompted filters, and relationship filters among others. Enterprise reporting from MicroStrategy is also very good to set up custom groups to build relationships between attributes. Also, it helps you to perform row-level mathematics by using consolidations. You can also create drill paths for each report using the custom drill maps feature.

6. Scalability:

Whether it is about supporting a small business team or managing thousands of employees, MicroStrategy makes it very easy to provide information to every individual. It is designed to access and handle the world’s largest datasets. So, businesses can easily as well as rapidly calculate their deployments without compromising on performance.

7. Powerful Security and Administration:

MicroStrategy makes analytics deployments so simple through its powerful and consolidated interface. MicroStrategy integrates group, platform, and user-level security controls that are manageable through a power control mode. With the strong combination of MicroStrategy and Usher Technology, it is now convenient for organizations to deploy additional security layers to their valuable business data.

Components of MicroStrategy Platform

  • MicroStrategy metadata: An archive storing MicroStrategy object definitions and the details related to the data warehouse.
  • MicroStrategy Intelligence Server: An analytical server designed for business queries, OLAP analysis, and reporting.
  • MicroStrategy Developer: A modern, Windows-specific environment designed to provide a complete range of analytical functions built for facilitating the reports deployment.
  • MicroStrategy Web: An easy-to-maintain, but highly interactive user environment specially designed to learn MicroStrategy analysis and reporting.
  • MicroStrategy Project: This allows you to design as well as store all schema objects along with the information you require to create application objects like reports. It facilitates a flexible environment for reporting.
  • MicroStrategy Architect: Designed around a centralized interface, the project design tool helps you to define all the necessary components of your project.
  • MicroStrategy Integrity Manager: An automated tool for the comparison of various documents and reports.
  • MicroStrategy Object Manager: A lifecycle management tool designed for MicroStrategy environments, and helps you to copy various objects inside a project or across different related projects.


Applications of MicroStrategy

There are various applications of MicroStrategy.

  • It gives you the leverage of generating real-time reports and monitoring data.
  • Helps you to manipulate the database in a single package.
  • MicroStrategy makes it easy for you to generate enterprise reporting, dashboards, scorecards, notifications, etc.
  • MicroStrategy is packed with some advanced thresholds and alert features.
  • This BI platform makes automated report distribution very convenient.
  • Helps in making properly informed business decisions.
  • Performs detailed analytics on a wide range of data, including payroll data, sales, and inventory. And makes business decisions easy like never before.


Important Terms Used in MicroStrategy

After getting a detailed idea of what is MicroStrategy, it is now important to understand some important terms used in it:

1. Facts:

These are the MicroStrategy objects around which metrics are designed. There are two characteristics of a fact: numerical and aggregatable. Account balances, inventory, and revenue are some of the major examples of Facts. You will find the Facts in the data warehouse of the platform. The fact tables consist of various columns, and each of these columns consists of specific information. SQL aggregations like SUM and AVG are managed on the Facts on database tables.

2. Attributes:

It works as an information holder, and allows users to add context to the facts in a report. In short, attributes provide different categories to summarize business data.

3. Attribute Elements:

These are the data displayed in the report. You can call them sub-level of the attribute. In the data warehouse, attributes are represented in a table by columns, whereas, rows represent the attribute elements.

4. Metrics:

The analytical calculations against the data or facts are known as metrics. These are performed to produce results that can be either analyzed for decision-making or to read as status material. Metrics play a critical role in MicroStrategy reporting. They are pretty similar to the formulas you see in spreadsheet software. Metrics are the representation of business measures and important performance indicators. Through metrics, MicroStrategy can calculate employee counts, inventory levels, revenue, or can visit a web page.

5. Prompts:

A prompt is very useful to modify the content of a report. Prompts allow you to determine the objects to retrieve for reporting and to report filtering conditions. Also, you have the option of making different prompt selections according to your reports.

6. Reports:

It is an important MicroStrategy object known for representing a request for formatted data collected from the data warehouse. Reports are the ultimate goal of any business intelligence. Reports help users to achieve better business insights with the help of data analysis.

What are the Various Objects in MicroStrategy?

The objects MicroStrategy allows you to create are divided into three categories:

  1. Schema Objects: These are the objects usually created by a project designer. It includes things like attributes, facts, hierarchies, transformations, etc. Schema Objects are like building block objects and are used for creating application objects.
  2. Application Objects: Users use application objects for creating reports. These objects are usually created by a report designer and are prepared from schema objects.
  3. Report and document objects: Reports are designed from application objects. Report and document objects display the results collected from your data for analysis. A report designer usually creates reports and documents.


Why Should You Learn MicroStrategy?

Understand why there is a need to learn MicroStrategy. Here’s a brief

  • It is turning out to be the core of business intelligence these days. MicroStrategy helps you to understand the concept and application of business intelligence to successfully achieve your business goals.
  • You can learn applications of business intel like advanced data analytics, formation, and creation of reports, connecting MicroStrategy to relevant databases and data warehouses, and so on.
  • According to top business research firms - Gartner, MicroStrategy is the top challenger to the administration of the business intelligence and analytics segment.
  • Through MicroStrategy, you can show your business skills more powerfully and attractively.
  • This is an era of extreme competition. And MicroStrategy helps you to become not only a skilled entrepreneur but also helps you to do business in a more organized and fruitful way.
  • You can show your business intelligence skills. These skills of you are going to be demanded by businesses around the world that are already getting the best out of business intelligence.



MicroStrategy is rapidly turning out to be one of the most preferred BI tools. In this write-up, we have had a detailed discussion on what is MicroStrategy, why it is so popular, and what are the main features of this BI tool. Hopefully, you are now well-placed to invest in this amazing BI tool.  Tell us, what you liked about this content. Ask your queries and doubts, we will be pleased to answer.

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Liam Plunkett

Solution Architect

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