MicroStrategy hosted its annual user conference to 2500 people earlier this month in Las Vegas.
This was one of the few times in more than a decade that I could not attend – too many competing deadlines – so I caught the Live Stream for what’s new. Here are my key takeaways.
- Focus on Customer Success. CEO and founder Michael Saylor kicked off the keynote. He likes to talk about the future and cool technical things – like will the iWatch be the next phase of the mobile wave. MicroStrategy is often a product company, with a “build-it-right-and-they-will-come” mindset. As I’ve often said, though, rarely does the best product win in any market (Betamax, anyone?). It was good to hear, then, that MicroStrategy is re-focusing on its customers, adding hundreds of support and service engineers. The goal is to be more proactive on best practices with customers. This is a pivot from a few years ago, when the company significantly reduced headcount in these areas as the company emphasized profitability. As a publicly held company, financials matters too, and the market has been conflicted in its desire for growth versus profitability.
- Dossiers and Natural Language. CTO Tim Lang showed new capabilities in the latest release 10.10. Many of these were part of the product roadmap presented in 2017. There is an improved user experience, with the new concept of Dossiers (a kind of briefing book for BI content) with new support for discussions. In addition, there is a natural language interface to use keywords to create visualizations. This builds on our prediction from last year: By 2019, 50% of analytics queries will be generated using search, natural-language query or voice, or will be autogenerated.
- Integration with Microsoft Power BI, Qlik, Tableau. In a nod to the reality of co-opetition, MicroStrategy released drivers to the community that lets you mix and match analytics and BI solutions. Leverage MicroStrategy cubes and reports, while presenting in your favorite visual exploration platform. This is not a new concept as we wrote in this now archived note. We’ve seen Birst and DataMeer take similar approaches. Third-party solutions also exist from Analytics8 for SAP content and BI Connector for Oracle content.
- Hackathon. MicroStrategy hosted its first hackathon at the conference. The winner, Dante Martinez, CEO of OnTime BI, walked away with a nice $10,000 check for their app. In speaking to Dante after the conference, it is a very innovative app, combining telemetry via Usher to track driver locations within a facility. He plans to productionize the app, particularly for usage in the oil and gas industry.
I have to give kudos again for the second annual charity run, to benefit STEM for Her. No doubt, it was a warmer run through the streets of Vegas than the chilly one in DC last year!
Stay tuned for more insights on the latest Analytics for BI Magic Quadrant that should publish in a few weeks.
Have you signed up to join us at one of the world wide summits? I’ll be in Sydney, Dallas, London, so hope to see some of you in person!
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