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Reviewing BI Suites

It looks like the normally-reliable Business Intelligence Pipeline site has bitten off more than it can chew with its recent attempt to review the leading BI platforms. Not only have readers got upset about certain products being missing from the review – the result of a ‘no-review’ policy on the part of the vendors – but a quick look at the review of Analysis Services/Reporting Services reveals a number of very basic mistakes/misunderstandings. For example: "Chart generation, prevalent among other participants in our evaluation, was not an option with Reporting Services". Eh? Is this meant to mean you can’t have charts in RS reports? Of course you can. And even more worryingly: "Microsoft SQL Analysis Services is an extension to SQL Server 2000, with client access provided through its Enterprise Manager"; several other comments made me think that the literal interpretation of this sentence is in fact what the reviewer meant. Enterprise Manager as a client tool? What does this mean for the quality of the other reviews? Why, while we’re at it, did they review AS+RS and not AS plus Proclarity/Panorama, which is surely a more sensible combination?
To be fair, any attempt to try to review such a vast area such as BI platforms with all the different architectures, functionality etc on offer, is doomed to failure. Certainly all the Gartner reports on this subject – which people pay substantial amounts of money for – seem to be pretty useless and provide less information than would be revealed by spending a few hours Googling. The only worthwhile BI reviews I’ve ever seen are on the OLAP Report website, and even there Nigel Pendse focuses on OLAP engines and the odd front-end, and not BI platforms as a whole.

3 thoughts on “Reviewing BI Suites

  1. True, reviewing the various BI tools out there is a timely and confusing process in the beginning. Once you get into the various products out there, it\’s easy to filter out the ones which don\’t meet your needs. Alot of it depends on your budget, since the top end tools are fairly expensive. Gartner and OLAP review are very biased based on who pays the most for advertising. TDWI is a pretty good reference though. I reviewed basically all of the top end BI tools out there such as MicroStrategy, Cognos, Business Objects, etc. and none of them compared to MicroStrategy. They were able to do a proof of concept without any problems whatsoever. I would recommend MicroStrategy highly if your budget permits. For ETL, there isn\’t even a question, it\’s Informatica. Nothing can do what Informatica can do.

  2. The thing is Dave, that budget is the most important variable most of the time, can\’t compete with Microsoft BI offer.And strictly technically speaking, i think that Microstrategy isn\’t the best choice if you\’ve got to deal with a very large datawarehouse. I mean the benefit of compression that SSAS MOLAP partitions have.Regards,PSM

  3. I agree with Pabblo that he would recommend Microstrategy based on budget. However, you do miss the point, Mstr is a heavy duty reporting tool with a large number of users. you might have the budget, but not tera size database to report. Note also, Mstr works very well with a Teradata database. In terms ETL, I would try SAP BW……There is also the SQL server2005 ETL and oracle Paris coming out soon…lets wait and see. remember Teradata too has very powerfull etl tool that do very well within Teradata datawarehouse envromnt. This means envromrnts too matter when considering which BI platfom.Herrick OCHOM BSc

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