It’s a MicroStrategy World and we’re all just living in it

Bright and early, with a 6:05am flight I was on my way to MicroStrategy World 2018!

Rather than dwell on the difficulty of finding breakfast at the Hamburg airport at 4am, let me just say I love Las Vegas, and this is more in spite of the entertainment industry than because of it. My wife and I love the desert nature around the city, and once you get past the glitz, it’s just a really welcoming and friendly town.

I was at the VitaraCharts booth. We were showing off the visualizations and the new VitaraMaps capability. Here’s the demo videos for anyone who missed the show:

VitaraMaps:

The charts:


While VitaraCharts took up a lot of my time, I managed to fit in a few trainings, keynotes, and meetings.

Content
MicroStrategy has made the content available, so you can take a look at the presentations, directly. Most of the (non-keynote) classes were 25 minutes long, so there was definitely a bit of a rush feel to some of them but the content itself was great and extensive.

Keynotes
I’m going to focus on the Day 2 Keynote, as I’m more concerned about the technology changes here. Mike’s keynote is also worth listening to, it’s just not my primary goal.

There’s a number of interesting segments at the beginning of the video, dealing mostly with customer applications, and well-deserved awards in dashboard design.

But to look at the technology changes, I would start at 25:30 which begins with a flash of the Safe Harbor rules – which are kind of essential here as some of this is not quite fully baked.

Dossiers
Dossiers are, of course, the next big thing. A refinement of the Visual Insight concept into something that can be used in the same way as traditional Report Services Documents, so it should come as no surprise that Dossiers and MicroStrategy Desktop take center stage here.

I spent the last day of the conference in a Dossier training, and I strongly recommend that if you have the chance to take one, you do. It’s definitely still based in the Visual Insight world, but the focus is shifting.

Here are the important points from the keynote video from my perspective:

  • 30:30 – MicroStrategy Community integration directly into MicroStrategy Desktop. This may not seem like a big deal, but having been in Tech Support, I can tell you that the easier it is to contact people, the more you learn about issues within the product and how they affect people – so this seems like a winning success to, if nothing else, improve the product more rapidly.
  • 32:00 – The big amazing component is Natural Language, which allows you to state what you want. When you think about the growth of Natural Language in ability (from Google Translate’s ability to process linguistic concepts to Alexa and Siri), you realize that we are coming to the point where this is just possible, and you start to think about where this could possibly go in the future.
  • 33:50 – Responsive design. This is an essential step in the process begun with RS Documents
  • 44:45 – Prompts within dashboards in dossier which is the other major change that makes the move from RS documents to dossier actually possible

Honorable mentions:

  • 38:30 – Library, which organizes the Dossiers and Documents graphically, and uses connections within the project to act a bit like a Wiki of your MicroStrategy reports
  • 41:30 – Visualizations as a filter and Collaboration with filter sharing. These are great refinements to the existing functionality.

Workstation
Beginning at 57:50 we take a look at Workstation. What a breath of fresh air. This is super-desktop. A combination of functionality within MicroStrategy Desktop and Developer (which itself used to be called MicroStrategy Desktop, and which I still call Desktop quite frequently) along with some other new and interesting functionality.

I notice that this isn’t really said, but Tim makes the point that they will be adding more and more functionality over time. If the goal is to replace MicroStrategy Developer, it is a very nice looking application to do that with. I haven’t really thought about how “of the past” Developer is looking these days – but maybe that’s because it’s like a comfortable old shoe to me. Time to face the future, and Workstation seems to be doing that.

  • 59:30 – Certifying data and data permissions
  • 64:00 – Platform analytics is huge, and a huge step forward in being able to analyze your projects. The fact that you can track usage at the individual dossier level (via an embedded dossier) just by right mouse clicking and looking at the properties is something I didn’t even know I wanted. Of course, Platform Analytics goes into the overarching environment, and gives you control capabilities – putting those two together should speed up improvements, corrections, etc. dramatically.

MicroStrategy on AWS 2018
Let’s check in with my old blog with the high points beginning at 55:30 and 67:30. Of course, we should first take a step back to 36:30 to point out that you can now Create a MicroStrategy on AWS environment within MicroStrategy Desktop.

There are a lot of improvements to the interface and functionality, but for my money the biggest is the automation of upgrades (mentioned at 68:45). Given that the environments are a bit more cookie-cutter than the average onsite environment, it seems likely that these upgrades should go fairly smoothly, although having been involved with many MicroStrategy environment upgrades, I know the really important part is the testing, and so it’s a good question on how well this will work out.

Voice and Augmented Reality
75:10 – The Alexa video from MicroStrategy does a decent re-hashing of MicroStrategy’s voice capabilities.
76:00 – Southport’s video really kind of rounded off the keynote, and it’s worth pointing out that Southport dealt with voice integration in 2017:

Outside of the keynote Third (I) also showed off some Augmented Reality work using the new Rest APIs, which are different from the old TaskAdmin architecture if you’re familiar with that. Worth mentioning that these Rest APIs can also be used to automate more administrative tasks (in case you missed that in the keynote):

Neat Additions
Some quick points that came up which are worth looking at:

  • 70:15 – Adding over 80 data sources this year and will be up to about 200. So, basically, if you have Data it can probably be pulled into MicroStrategy somehow.
  • 71:55 – A lovely demo on how MicroStrategy have embedded Microstrategy content on their own customers directly into their email system. As with any demo like this, the point is that things like this can be done, but the question is what do you need? Where do you need your data?
  • 73:20 – A long sought after capability, we see an example of pulling in reporting from multiple projects in web in a single dashboard.
  • 74:00 – We discover that Microstrategy attempting to be leveragable from Tableau, PowerBI, and Qlik’s interfaces, which should make bringing governed data into a disparate departmental landscape of solutions much easier.

So, that’s my two cents on the world presentations. I hope it’s helpful.