Cloud BI Has Grown Up
It wasn’t long ago when Cloud Business Intelligence, or as it has also been called, SaaS BI, was considered by many as simply charting on the web. Sure, the benefits of the Cloud were self-evident—easy to deploy, generally easier to use/navigate and usually more cost effective. But as a real enterprise BI solution? Well, that required a lot more. BI is complicated stuff requiring not just pretty dashboards and charts, but a robust backend that can bring together disparate data sources, keep them up to date, and make the data readily accessible for analysis. In more techie terms, this translates into technologies like ETL, a data warehouse, a semantic layer, and ROLAP engine.
So it is super cool that industry analyst firm, Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) released a new report last week that compares Birst, a pioneer in Cloud BI, to the likes of MicroStrategy, Oracle, and SAP Business Objects—the on-premise grand daddies of the BI industry. Assessing all four solutions on what EMA calls its Business Intelligence Continuum which constitutes 75 points of functionality spanning five categories, including Data Acquisition, Data Management, Business Analytics, and more, Birst held its own. In fact, not only did Birst match much of the functionality that the more established on-premise players offer, in some cases, it offered even more. Most importantly and noted by the report’s author, well-known BI expert, Shawn Rogers, Birst additionally offers superior time to value capabilities, is well suited for technology generalists, and finally, offers a TCO that the established on-premise vendors just can’t beat—a 50% cost savings over the least expensive of these other solutions. The report’s conclusion tells it all: “the Birst solution rises to the top of our evaluation group and promises to provide a significant value to mid-sized organizations now and in the future.”
You can read here EMA’s report “Business Intelligence Platforms for Mid-size Organizations: Comparing Birst, MicroStrategy, Oracle, and SAP Business Objects.”