Business intelligence has been bifurcated for almost as long as the category itself has existed. IT organizations have long favored BI applications that are tightly integrated with ERP applications, while individual departments have generally opted for BI applications that are simple to use.
That split has been further exacerbated in recent years by the rise of applications such as Tableau Software and QlikView, both of which have gained a substantial base of users within the enterprise. Vendors such as SAP and IBM have responded by delivering better data visualization tools as part of an effort to thwart adoption of these tools, but now MicroStrategy is going one step further with the delivery of a free MicroStrategy Analytics Desktop data visualization application. The company is also offering a free version of its existing MicroStrategy Analytics Express data visualization software that is delivered via the cloud.
Both offerings are subsets of a new release of MicroStrategy Analytics Enterprise, which adds support for multiple sources of Big Data as well as support for both the open source R programming and an additional 300 analytics algorithms that have been embedded in the application.
MicroStrategy also announced that all three of its BI offerings now share access to a common user interface and suite of dashboards.
Finally, MicroStrategy also announced that its applications can now run 10 times as much data in-memory.
According to Kevin Spurway, senior vice president of product marketing at MicroStrategy, the goal is to allow organizations to substantially reduce their BI costs by making data visualization a feature of a suite of BI applications that also integrates advanced analytics. Right now, many organizations are buying both enterprise-class BI applications and data visualization tools such as Tableau and QlikView, while also spending money on a separate suite of analytics applications.
While it can be argued that BI vendors left those two doors open in the first place, the combination of free data visualization tools alongside support for the R programming language makes it pretty clear that BI vendors such as MicroStrategy are now determined to make sure those doors get slammed shut.