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BI 2.0 Product Features

New advanced BI 2.0 products have significant architectural and feature differences with older BI 1.o products such as Business Objects and Cognos.

These include:

  1. Unified BI Architecture
  2. Enterprise Scalability and Performance
  3. Reusable & Rich Metadata Layer
  4. Interactive WYSIWYG Web Interface
  5. Security
  6. Dynamic Report Personalization
  7. Centralized Enterprise Administration
  8. Flexible and Powerful OLAP Analysis
  9. Enterprise-Scale BI Into Microsoft Office
  10. Heterogeneous Data Source Access
  11. Robust Enterprise Reporting
  12. Information Delivery and Proactive Notification


Unified BI Architecture

Some BI 1.0 products claim to have an "integrated BI architecture" providing the ability to join existing products and legacy code obtained from multiple BI company acquisitions. In BI 2.0 proeucts, integration is a fundamental requirement for a scalable high-performance architecture.

Shared Metadata: A single shared metadata consisting of all reports and underlying reporting objects ensures one version of the truth.

Single Interface: A single web interface provides a common interactive paradigm for all users’ reporting and analysis needs

Compared With BI 1.0

No Centralized Metadata: BI 1.0 product were generally a loosely integrated set of tools consisting of multiple overlapping tools, multiple different code bases, and multiple separate metadata repositories. This multiplicity results in redundant setup and administration tasks

Multiple Interfaces: BI 1.0 products have multiple interfaces often with overlapping functionality. This requires a separate product and interface for each style of BI, so end users need to learn and use multiple interfaces and reporting paradigms. Support costs are also higher.


Enterprise Scalability and Performance

Scalable Architecture: ROLAP approach leverages the latest innovations from database technology. It efficiently processes large volumes of transaction level data in the database, minimizing network traffic.

Full 64-bit Support: 64-bit processing allows MicroStrategy to support much greater numbers of users and data sizes while improving performance.

Robust Multi-Level Caching: Caching provides for high user scaleability without compromising performance.

Compared With BI 1.0

Limited Scalability: A high degree of workstation-based processing required in both BI 1.0 products and Crystal architectures means that most analysis is performed inefficiently on the workstation or web server, and does not leverage the full power of the database.

Limited 64-bit Support: BI 1.0 products cannot leverage the extra memory provided by 64-bit hardware. More hardware boxes are required to support higher numbers of users and larger volumes of data.

Limited Caching: limited interuser caching of reports, datasets and element lists which adversely impacts performance.

Reusable & Rich Metadata Layer

Reusable and rich metadata layers provides for greater consistency across reports due to:

Reusable Objects: metadata objects can be nested as building blocks to create more complex objects. This allows each report to be developed more quickly than the last report.

Automatic Change Propogation: If a metadata object changes, every other object dependent on it automatically changes. This ensures consistency across business definitions and reduces maintenance overhead.

Compared With BI 1.0

Un-Reusable Objects: Report objects cannot be reused, meaning many calculations, conditions, and prompts must be recreated for each new report and cannot be used as building blocks to build other reporting objects.

Multiple Versions of MetaData: BI 1.0 products multiple metadatas are stored in different repositories, resulting in multiple versions of the truth. Changes to underlying business rules require modifications to reporting objects in multiple places, making reports cumbersome to maintain and keep synchronized.

Interactive WYSIWYG Web Interface

Fully Interactive Web Interface: End users have a high degree of interactivity and can create, manipulate and format information through a single Web user interface.

WYSIWYG Report Design Via Zero-Footprint Web Interface: Users create highly formatted reports using a zero-footprint WYSIWYG editor that drastically cuts report development time.

Compared With BI 1.0

Limited Interactivity Over The Web: The Crystal Explorer Web interface is primarily for static viewing of desktop created reports. The pure HTML and ASP versions of Web Intelligence have limited sorting, pivoting, subtotaling and formatting functionality. Most BI 1.o products require use of IE ActiveX controls, not available in other browsers.

Limited Report Design Over The Web: requires heavy desktop report development. Full Crystal report development is limited to the desktop interface and is unavailable to the Web interface. Designers cannot edit and format reports whilst viewing it real time to see the changes. This means multiple iterations must be completed, increasing time of development.



Centralized Security: centralized security administration across reporting, analysis and delivery.

Pervasive and Robust Security: User privileges ensure users only access the appropriate application functionality. Security filters provide data security down to the cell level.

A typical security profile will include SSL 128 bit from the public zone User Layer to the DMZ Web Server Layer and a second 128 bit firewall to the protected corporate zone, the Application Layer. Internal security is provided between the application server and the intelligence server, and between the intelligence server and the Datawarehouse and Datamarts at the Data Layer.

Compared With BI 1.0

Decentralized Security: Security is typically set up in multiple tools using multiple interfaces and multiple approaches, making it maintenance intensive. Security configurations must be manually done, increasing the risk of human error.

Limited Security: security flaws, including limited built-in microcube security and no automatic data-level security. Limited encryption constrains web deployment for extranets.

Dynamic Report Personalization

Robust Prompting: a single report can automatically support hundreds of possible data combinations tailored to different user needs. Advanced report parameters, like object and hierarchy prompts, allow users to pick any business attributes and KPIs to include in the report.

Compared With BI 1.0

Limited Prompting: Several key prompt types are limited, including column prompts, hierarchical prompts, cascading prompts, and optional prompts. Limited prompting constrains BI 1.0 products' report personalization capabilities and typically leads to a high number of redundant reports that are maintained for each user. Object prompts such as selection of attributes, metrics, filters and hierarchies are not supported on the fly, requiring messy work-arounds such as hiding columns and extensive formatting on each report view.


Centralized Enterprise Administration

Enterprise Manager Project Dashboard Shows System Usage At A Glance

Centralized Management: centralized administration provides a single console for real-time user and system management.

Comprehensive Administration: a comprehensive set of tools that provide usage monitoring, change management, system management, and automated administration capabilities from a single centralized console.

Automatic Integrity Management: object managers perform automatice dependency checking and conflict resolution options to maintain integrity.

Compared With BI 1.0

Decentralized Management: Users and processes are administered through multiple tools. Security is configured in multiple places. Separate servers for each product mean multiple points of server administration.

Limited Administration: functionality for monitoring usage, auditing, managing metadata and performing proactive impact analysis are limited and vary by product, providing no easy centralized way to administer a multi-product BI 1.0 products environment.

Flexible and Powerful OLAP Analysis

BI 2.0 products are designed from the bottom up to achieve seamless Speed-of-Thought analysis.

Advanced Analysis: ability to dynamically generate database-optimized multi-pass SQL allows users to ask complex business questions.

Drill Anywhere: Users can drill anywhere in the entire data warehouse for boundary-free speed-of-thought investigative analysis.

Aggregate Awareness: automatic aggregate awareness of the SQL engine ensures efficient use of the relational database by selecting optimal aggregate tables that satisfy the query, improving performance and scalability.

Compared With BI 1.0

Limited Support For Advanced Analysis: A single-pass SQL engine which does not fully leverage database processing features means limited support for advanced analysis.

Limited Drilling: Drilling is generally limited to static predefined report linking, especially in Crystal Reports and Dashboard Manager.

Lack of Aggregate Awareness: this lack of aggregate awareness impedes performance optimisation and limits scalability.


Enterprise-Scale BI Into Microsoft Office

Create New Reports In Microsoft Office: MicroStrategy delivers the complete reporting and analysis environment to Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, Word and Outlook users. Users can access existing reports or create new ones from within Microsoft Office applications.

Access: Access reports, scoreboards and dashboards from the Web or Microsoft Excel. View reports offline, and refresh with one click.

Multiple Views of Data: Visualize data in performance snapshots and view data across multiple business dimensions

Persistent Formatting: Microsoft Office formatting changes are preserved after automatic data updates.

Compared With BI 1.0

Cannot Create Reports In Microsoft Office: Live Office is missing full new report creation capability, limiting users to running only predefined reports.

Non-Persistent Formatting: Formatting changes made within Microsoft Office do not fully persist the next time the user runs that same report.


Heterogeneous Data Source Access

Access All Data From Across the Enterprise in the Same Report Document. For instance, access data objects from Data Warehouse, SAP BW, Call Center Application Database is integrated to provide a unified source of data to support business calculations.

Integrated View of Heterogeneous Data: allows a single document to present data pulled directly from multiple data sources.

Unified Data Access: directly access relational and multidimensional data sources from a single unified Web interface.

SAP Support: directly query SAP BW InfoCubes and QueryCubes.

Compared With BI 1.0

Non-Integrated View of Heterogeneous Data: Dynamic access and presentation of data from multiple dimensional data models is not available in Crystal or Cognos, requiring third-party plugins.

Non-Unified Data Access: Different BI products are needed to access different kinds of data. Web Intelligence is required for ad-hoc query against relational data sources. OLAP Intelligence is used for accessing OLAP sources. For instance, in BO XI Release 2, Desktop Intelligence can only access relational sources despite previously being able to access OLAP data sources.

Limited SAP Support: access to SAP BW is mostly limited to accessing QueryCubes. Access to InfoCubes is generally not supported by BI 1.0 products.

Robust Enterprise Reporting

Create Comprehensive, Interactive Reports in a Number of Styles.

Real-Time WYSIWYG Report Design: Highly formatted documents are built using WYSIWYG report design and formatting over a zero-footprint Web interface.

Interactivity On Any Report: Formatted documents are also highly interactive, providing drilling, in-place analysis, and pivoting capabilities within the document.

Compared With BI 1.0

No Real-Time WYSIWYG Report Design: Crystal Reports design must be performed on the desktop. Report consumers are unable to edit the report layout while viewing the live report, so there is no support for a real-time WYSIWYG view of changes.

Limited Interactivity On Formatted Reports: Analysis and ad-hoc query functionality cannot be incorporated in formatted reports. Crystal Reports has limitations such as not being able to support absolute positioning, freeze pane, format templates, and hide columns.


Information Delivery and Proactive Notification

Dynamic Distribution Lists: platform leverages highly scalable technology that dynamically distributes personalized information to only the right users.

Report Bursting: A single report definition can burst personalized information to thousands of users, saving processing resources.

Compared With BI 1.0

Static Distribution Lists: Administrators often have to manually define and maintain static distribution lists; cannot use complex conditions to create dynamic recipient lists.

Limited Report Bursting: BI 1.0 products limited report bursting capabilities force a separate database query for each Crystal Report and Web Intelligence report recipient. Inefficient processing leads to limited capabilities for high-volume reporting.

NEXT: Intiating A BI 2.0 Program


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