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Business Objects vs. Cognos vs. Microstrategy: Anyone have direct and recent experience with purchasing any of these?

Diane Robbins's Profile

Business Objects vs Cognos vs MicrostrategyWe have, as they are now saying, “big data”. We are collecting volumes of user data from our website for analytics and in some cases, billing. We have had home-grown systems which allow us to run scripts and download data in csv’s which we then pull into Excel and slice and dice. However, as you can imagine, this is difficult for our finance users and makes sharing and automation really difficult. We are looking at a large scale BI platform and multiple resellers have pointed us to the big players, Business Objects vs. Cognos vs. Microstrategy. So, has anyone done a bake-off between these or any of them lately? Any recommendations? Any of them have untenable pricing structures or are particularly difficult to work with? Any input would be welcome. Also welcome would be alternative suggestions. If we could get that power available in a cloud app that would be interesting to consider.


Topic Expert
Jeff Chase
Title: Advisory CFO
Company: Hazelcast, Juicebox Energy, and Social I..
(Advisory CFO, Hazelcast, Juicebox Energy, and Social Inertia ) |

Very interesting question Diane. Your question may become the most highly read question on Proformative, as I think a lot of folks are interested in this topic. Historically, we know that tools like Business Objects and Cognos attack the problem from the slice and dice of data warehoused ERP information, they aren't necessarily the leaders in real time, nimble solutions pulling data from disparate sources, so I'm not going to comment a lot on them, I honestly haven't looked at them much. In the SaaS analytics space, which is the area that my company focuses, I would offer up competitive information that may assist you.

Here are few of the SaaS based companies we have noted as we look at the landscape fo the type of information I believe you are interested in:

• BI focus, not focused on the marketing space
• Doesn't connect to digital marketing sources
• Not designed for real-time, streaming data
• In-memory analytics requires extensive IT support, resources, and consultants
• Solutions built on dated technology platforms
• Difficult customization after implementation

• Has no back-end; purely a visualization tool
• Can only connect to SQL and spreadsheets
• Not designed for real-time, streaming data
• Requires IT support and resources
• Built on dated technology platforms
• No focus on the digital marketing space

• Not designed for real-time, streaming data
• Users must manually upload data using batch uploads & files need to be .csv or converted before they can be analyzed
• Uses Boomi and Castiron to manage connectors but even with the third party connectors this is a manual uploading process
• Built on dated technology platform

Microstrategy is one of the most widely recognized BI brands in the world. They position themselves as a platform as a service (PaaS) that runs on top of enterprise data warehouses. They do not have a marketing / digital analytics focus.

• Can't connect digital marketing data sources
• Not designed for real-time, streaming data
• Extremely steep learning curves & hard to use
• Requires extensive IT and consultant support
• Limited packaged solutions; only a platform

Good luck on the journey, its an exciting area and it's great time to examine what your processes are and find a great solution that works for you.

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