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MicroStrategy vs.

Business Objects

A Comparison White Paper by MicroStrategy


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Patent Information

One or more of the following patents may apply to the product(s) referenced herein: U.S. Patent Nos. 6,154,766, 6,173,310, 6,260,050, 6,263,051, 6,269,393, 6,279,033, 6,501,832, 6,567,796, 6,587,547, 6,606,596,
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7,082,422, 7,113,993 and 7,127,403. Other patent applications are pending.
MicroStrategy vs. Business Objects

I. Executive Summary.. . . . . . . . . .................................................................................. 5

II. MicroStrategy – A Market Proven, Industrial-Strength Technology.. .................................. 6

MicroStrategy 8 Overview.. . .................................................................................. 6

Why Companies Choose MicroStrategy?.................................................................... 6

III. Comparison of MicroStrategy and Business Objects On The 12 Key BI Requirements.............. 7

IV. Critical Questions to Ask when Evaluating MicroStrategy and Business Objects.................. 12

V. Top 10 Points to Consider When Migrating from the Business Objects’

Version 5 and 6 to XI.. . . . . . . ................................................................................ 20


I. Executive Summary

In the business intelligence marketplace, MicroStrategy competes vigorously with vendors such as Business Objects.
At first glance, both MicroStrategy 8 and Business Objects XI Release 2 can be used to report and analyze corporate
data, providing business insight to organizations. However, once customers implement these business intelligence
(BI) solutions, they recognize critical differences derived from the architecture and paradigms of these very different
technologies. Key architectural differences affect the variety of report types, the breadth and depth of analysis, as well
as the cost required to maintain the BI application. The technology and architectural differences result in disparities
in performance, scalability, usability, efficiency and reliability of the system; all of which impact user adoption and
ultimately, the success of the BI project.

Ironically, as user and business requirements have become more complex, IT budgets have come under increasing
pressure. Business intelligence applications must now be developed, deployed and maintained with the minimum of IT
resources, while serving more users across the global organization. Clearly, the BI architecture can be either a liability
or an asset to IT departments. A technologically superior architecture will meet all the needs of the end-user, while
minimizing the amount of IT maintenance and administration. An inferior architecture will require redundant and
repetitive administration, and the constant development of one-off workarounds.

MicroStrategy technology is based on a completely relational object-oriented metadata model that insulates the
BI application from changes in the data and business environment. This centralized and reusable metadata is self-
maintaining and adapts real-time to changes in user requirements, data schemas and business logic. In MicroStrategy,
report developers do not need to duplicate metadata definitions across reports as they do in Business Objects. This
duplication increases the cost of ownership and change management of the BI application. With MicroStrategy, IT
departments have an industrial-strength administration infrastructure on which they can rely to maintain their BI
applications with ever increasing economies of scale.

Securing corporate data is a top priority in today’s enterprise BI applications. Drug prescription records, human
resources records, cell phone call records and financial transactions are just a few types of sensitive data. The security
requirements become even more urgent when information is distributed via extranets or when users drill from the
high-level performance reports to detailed transaction information, anywhere in the data warehouse. MicroStrategy
provides airtight security with 128-bit end-to-end encryption and cell level protection applied automatically across all
reports and all data. Business Objects does not provide the same level of security across the entire product set out of
the box and requires security setup and maintenance from multiple locations.

Business Objects has pursued a product strategy based on technology acquisitions which can be directly correlated
with its lower levels of customer loyalty1. Conversely, MicroStrategy has concentrated on a single product architecture
that spans reporting, ad-hoc query, analysis, proactive notification, scorecards and dashboards under the same user
interface and metadata, thus ensuring a single “version of the truth.” Business Objects XI Release 2 still requires heavy
desktop dependence and is still comprised of many different architectures and interfaces. In Business Objects, much
MicroStratEGY VS. Business objects

development must be done on the desktop using either the Crystal Reports developer tool for reporting or Business
Objects Desktop Intelligence for ad-hoc query. Users will need Web Intelligence for ad-hoc query, will need OLAP
Intelligence for OLAP analysis, will need Crystal Reports Explorer for formatted reports, will need Dashboard Manager
for dashboards, and will need Performance Manager for scorecards. A greater number of different architectures
means more maintenance effort for IT. A greater number of user interfaces means more training for end-users,
elevating the total cost of ownership of the business intelligence application.

1
The OLAP Survey 6- Author: Nigel Pendse http://www.survey.com/olap/


For over a decade, MicroStrategy customers have built thousands of mission critical BI applications with MicroStrategy
technology. With an administration-friendly architecture, robust security, a self-service zero-footprint Web interface,
and proven user and data scalability, MicroStrategy 8 is the only business intelligence vendor to obtain the highest
technology score from the leading industry analyst firm’s Vendor Ratings. The most respected independent survey in
the industry, The OLAP Survey 6, stated that MicroStrategy surpassed Business Objects in delivering higher business
value and better technical support resulting in the highest customer loyalty ratings across any BI vendor.

This document discusses in detail the important characteristics of the MicroStrategy 8 architecture, the key differences
between MicroStrategy 8 and Business Objects XI Release 2, and the critical questions that should be asked when
evaluating Business Objects and MicroStrategy. Conclusions are rooted in publicly available documents and not subject
to individual interpretation.

II. MicroStrategy – A Market Proven, Industrial-Strength Technology

The MicroStrategy architecture is the result of 4 years of development and 5 years of subsequent refinement, driven by
the needs of the most demanding BI applications in the world. MicroStrategy is an industrial-strength BI technology,
uniquely capable of serving BI application requirements characterized by the largest scale, most sophisticated analytics,
highest report volumes, and most users. This caliber of BI technology is now being sought after by companies, not
just for their most demanding BI applications, but for the purpose of hosting all of their BI applications – standardizing
all BI onto a single, highly-functional and economical architecture and reaping significant economies of scale and
enterprise-wide consistency.

Unlike BI Suites offered by other vendors like Business Objects, MicroStrategy offers the only organically grown BI
architecture. All of the MicroStrategy 8 components were expressly built to work within a unified architecture and not
as separate standalone products or acquired technologies that were subsequently joined together.

MicroStrategy 8 Overview
Launched in 2005, MicroStrategy 8 offers the latest in technical innovations with over 2,000 enhancements across
the platform. One of the key differentiators of MicroStrategy 8 is its integrated BI platform, eliminating the need for
companies to use numerous distinct technologies from different vendors for reporting, analysis, and performance
monitoring. MicroStrategy 8 provides a BI platform that companies can standardize on for all their BI needs.

With a scalable architecture and a single metadata, users can seamlessly navigate from scorecards and dashboards
to reports and analysis without being required to open and close multiple BI tools and navigate dissimilar interfaces.
MicroStrategy: Best in Business Intelligence

MicroStrategy 8’s newly designed Web interface is specifically tailored for the business user. The user interface
includes an array of “one-click” actions with familiar paradigms to make business users more productive. For the first
time, users can format reports and scorecards in WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) mode and leverage the
formatting skills they already have to radically reduce the time it takes to develop and deploy new reports.

Why Companies Choose MicroStrategy?


1. Integrated architecture: The MicroStrategy product set is built from a single architectural foundation, delivering
all 5 Styles of BI: Scorecards and Dashboards; Reporting; OLAP; Advanced Analysis; Alerts and Proactive Notification.

2. Full featured Web interface: MicroStrategy’s Web interface delivers a Windows-like feeling with drag-and-drop
interactivity from any Web browser. The advanced Web architecture is zero-footprint, using no Java or Active X
controls, and delivers a rich reporting experience both inside and outside the firewall.


3. Seamless integration of reporting, analysis, and monitoring: MicroStrategy can embed OLAP features directly
into enterprise reports like scorecards and dashboards, providing a seamless user experience that uncovers root
causes without the need for programming or switching interfaces.

4. Ease of use and self service: MicroStrategy’s unique WYSIWYG report design and editing allows MicroStrategy end
users to easily design and refine reports over the Web using familiar skills similar to Microsoft® PowerPoint or Excel.

5. High performance scaling to thousands of users: Unlike other BI providers, MicroStrategy software expands
with the application to efficiently scale from hundreds to thousands of people.

6. Proven data scalability: For the past six years, The OLAP Surveys have ranked MicroStrategy highest in data
scalability. With terabyte-size databases commonplace, MicroStrategy’s field-proven technology enables customers
to deploy more BI applications with greater analytic sophistication and user functionality.

7. Automated report maintainability: Dynamic metadata architecture ensures that changes ripple throughout all
reports automatically.

8. Pervasive security and user administration: Security is automatically applied to all users, reports, and data
through role-based user administration.

9. Engineered on a single code base: MicroStrategy is widely recognized for its meticulously engineered software
based on a single code base, scaling to organizations and applications of all sizes; leveraging any hardware,
operating system, and data source infrastructure while making BI more approachable for the average business user.

III. C
 omparison of MicroStrategy and Business Objects On The
12 Key BI Requirements

Business intelligence has the power to provide performance feedback and visibility to all people in an organization,
enabling businesses to make thousands of better decisions every day. However, not all BI technologies deliver on this
promise, falling short on a number of key requirements demanded of enterprise BI applications. The following table
outlines the 12 overarching and important criteria by which all modern BI technologies need to be assessed, and
provides a side-by-side evaluation of MicroStrategy 8 and Business Objects XI along these requirements.

KEY BI REQUIREMENT MICROSTRATEGY 8 BUSINESS OBJECTS XI RELEASE 2

Unified BI Architecture YES NO


MicroStrategy’s unified architecture provides Business Objects (BO) is a loosely integrated
• Seamless integration of
a seamless integration of analytics and set of tools, not a unified architecture.
analytics and reporting for
reporting from a single web interface.
Release 2 consists of multiple overlapping
MicroStratEGY VS. Business objects

root cause analysis


• Single code base across MicroStrategy is a single code base that tools (with different interfaces and user
platforms is truly platform independent. A single paradigms); multiple different code
• Single Web Interface shared metadata consisting of all reports bases, multiple separate metadatas and
• Single metadata and underlying reporting objects ensures repositories. This multiplicity results in
one version of the truth. A unified web redundant setup and administration tasks.
interface means a common reporting and
BO’s portal, Infoview, is necessary to
analysis paradigm for all users.
combine up to 10 different user interfaces
together since BO reports and reporting
objects do not fully integrate across their
distinct tools, or from their desktop to web
interfaces.


KEY BI REQUIREMENT MICROSTRATEGY 8 BUSINESS OBJECTS XI RELEASE 2

Market Proven Enterprise Yes NO


Scalability and Performance
The MicroStrategy platform is designed for BO performance is constrained by its heavy
enterprise scalability. MicroStrategy’s ROLAP dependence on the desktop processor and
• 64-bit business intelligence
and multi-pass SQL approach leverages the its inefficient SQL engines.
processing
latest innovations from database technology.
• Minimal re-query of the A high degree of workstation-based
It efficiently processes large volumes of
database processing required in both BO and
transaction level data in the database,
• Multi-layer caching Crystal architectures means that most
minimizing network traffic.
technology analysis is performed inefficiently on the
• Customer references for Data is automatically cached at multiple workstation or web server, and does not
large user and data scalability levels to reduce redundant computations leverage the full power of the database.
customer deployments and network traffic. The MicroStrategy Unnecessarily high amounts of detail data
• Aggregate awareness SQL engine’s aggregate awareness can is often extracted out of the database and
• Multi-pass SQL dynamically determine the most efficient replicated on the desktop or web server
• Distributed processing with table in every analysis. 64-bit processing for subsequent processing in the “BO
the relational database allows MicroStrategy to support much microcube”.
• Minimize network traffic greater numbers of users and data sizes
BO’s basic SQL engine does not support
while improving performance.
true multi-pass SQL and many other
performance enhancing features, such as
automatic aggregate awareness and many
database specific tuning optimizations. BO’s
aggregate awareness is manual, requiring
tedious hand-coding of the specific table
access for each calculation on each report.
BO cannot leverage the extra memory
provided by 64-bit hardware.
Reusable and Rich YES Limited
Metadata Layer
MicroStrategy’s object-oriented metadata BO’s multiple separate metadata models
• Robust abstraction layer defines an enterprise’s business layer in a (Universes, Business Views and Metric Uni-
(where all physical constructs single repository. The metadata objects verses) vary in functionality supported and
can be modeled logically and can be nested as building blocks to create are stored in different repositories. Many
hidden from business user more complex objects. If a metadata object calculations, conditions and prompts are
• Highly reusable metadata changes, every other metadata object typically created anew for each new report
• Automatic change dependent on it automatically changes. and cannot be easily used as building blocks
management This ensures consistency across business to build other reporting objects.
• Object oriented metadata definitions and minimizes the number of
Crystal stores many report objects e.g.,
objects to maintain.
some prompt values and formulas, directly
MicroStrategy assembles all metadata in the report and not in the Business View
objects necessary for a report and dynami- metadata model, minimizing the ability
cally builds the report SQL at run-time. It to share report objects across users. With
does not store a finished report as a static Desktop Intelligence much functionality is
SQL statement. locally-stored in the report file, and not fully
shared in the Universe across users. These
include user objects, formulas, local variables,
and functions.
Local, or one-off, reporting objects in BO
require much redundant setup and effort to
maintain as changes occur to business rules,
MicroStrategy: Best in Business Intelligence

the database or other underlying reporting


objects.


KEY BI REQUIREMENT MICROSTRATEGY 8 BUSINESS OBJECTS XI RELEASE 2

Interactive WYSIWYG Web YES LIMITED


interface
Business users create highly formatted User interactivity available via the Web
• Fully interactive reporting, reports leveraging any metadata object interface is minimal and differs widely
completely zero-footprint and using a zero-footprint WYSIWYG between the multiple BO product
over the web from any design paradigm that drastically shortens interfaces.
browser the report development time.
As Crystal development is mainly limited
• WYSIWYG document design
End users have a high degree of to the desktop the Crystal Explorer Web
and editing over the Web
interactivity and are able to create, interface is primarily for static viewing of
• Self-service
manipulate and format information previously created desktop reports. For
• Easy to learn, familiar
through a single Web user interface. example, it is not possible to sort or filter a
windows on the Web
Changes are available right away without Crystal report from the web while viewing it.
paradigm
any need to “publish” or “export”
• WYSIWYG print capability The WYSIWYG interactivity of Web
information to other environments.
Intelligence varies considerably by program
MicroStrategy does not rely on ActiveX. download. HTML and ASP versions of the
Report designers can use any browser. Web Intelligence interface are missing
key functionality and include only limited
MicroStrategy Web complements the on-
filtering, sorting, pivoting, subtotaling and
screen display with identically formatted
formatting.
printed reports with features like page
break logic and page setup options like The Java and ActiveX versions provide more
“fit-to-page”. functionality but require downloads and
have browser dependencies. Report object
changes are not available across the entire
product set and require a “publish” and
“export” process to fully make changes
available to other users.
BO’s Web Intelligence has limited built-in
print capability.
Industrial Strength YES NO
Multi-level Security
MicroStrategy provides centralized security BO security has five fundamental
• 128-bit encryption - extranet administration across reporting, analysis weaknesses. It has security flaws, it is
ready and delivery. User profiles and privileges typically set up redundantly in multiple
• Integrate with any security ensure users only access the appropriate tools and interfaces, it requires manual
infrastructure with single information and functionality. Security set up, it is not fully extranet-ready and
sign-on filters provide the right access down to does not fully leverage existing source
• Same report yields different the cell level. system security. All these things make BO
views of the information administration unnecessarily labor intensive.
MicroStrategy supports 128-bit end-to-
based on user profiles
end encryption with a zero-footprint Web Security flaws include limited built-in
• Truly zero-foot print. No use
client making it a secure platform behind microcube security and no automatic data
or download of ActiveX and
the firewall. MicroStrategy integrates level security.
other plug-ins
with existing security authentication
• Cell level security Security is overlapping and must be set
infrastructure such as LDAP, NT, and
up separately for users of Crystal Reports,
databases.
Web Intelligence, and Dashboard Manager
in various metadatas (i.e., Business Views
and Universes) and multiple locations (i.e.,
Central Management Console, Designer
and Business Views Manager tools).
Data level security requires manual hand
coding of SQL WHERE clauses for each user
group, for each table, and each level of
MicroStratEGY VS. Business objects

data accessed.


KEY BI REQUIREMENT MICROSTRATEGY 8 BUSINESS OBJECTS XI RELEASE 2

Dynamic Report YES LIMITED


Personalization
In MicroStrategy, a single report can Limited prompting and basic SQL engines
• Comprehensive parameter automatically span hundreds of possible constrain BO’s report personalization
and question prompting data combinations tailored to different and typically leads to a high number of
• Security profiles personalize user needs. Advanced report parameters, redundant and overlapping reports that are
report content for individual like object and hierarchy prompts, allow often created and maintained for each user.
users users to pick the business attributes and
Several key prompt types are limited in
• Report bursting KPIs to include in the report.
BO, including column prompts, hierarchical
A single report definition for IT to maintain prompts, cascading prompts, and optional
can burst personalized information to prompts. A separate report for each type of
hundreds of users. prompt is often required. Many of Crystal’s
prompt values are typically hard coded into
each report.
Centralized Enterprise YES LIMITED
Administration
MicroStrategy’s centralized administration BO administration is distributed across
• Self-tuning scalable server for provides a single console for real-time user multiple tools and is missing critical
maximum performance and system management. functionality necessary to proactively
• Usage monitoring / auditing monitor and tune web-based deployments.
MicroStrategy Enterprise Manager provides
• Controlled environment for
hundreds of KPIs and corresponding Users and processes are administered
analysis
dashboards to perform impact analysis, through multiple tools. BO security is
• Version management /
auditing and tuning of the BI application. configured in 3 different places: Central
migration
Management Console, Designer and
• Single management console MicroStrategy Object Manager facilitates
Crystal Business View Manager. Separate
metadata life cycle management, metadata
servers for each product mean multiple
dependencies and project management.
points of server administration.
BO’s functionality for monitoring usage,
auditing, managing metadata, life
cycle and change management and
performing impact analysis are limited
and vary by product, providing no easy
way to administer a multi-product BO
environment.
Seamless Microsoft Office YES LIMITED
Integration
MicroStrategy delivers the complete BO’s Office integration is missing key
• All Office products supported reporting and analysis environment to functionality and provides only limited
(Excel, PowerPoint, Word, Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and access to the BO analysis environment.
Outlook) Outlook users. MicroStrategy Office
BO’s Live Office cannot fully access BO
• Leverage all BI reports and applications are linked to MicroStrategy
Universes, meaning it cannot fully run
reporting objects security and administration, ensuring 100%
Desktop Intelligence reports. It is also
• Full new report creation data consistency across the enterprise.
missing full new report creation capability,
• Persistent and
Users are able to access existing reports or limiting users to running only predefined
interchangeable formatting
create new ones. Changes are immediately reports.
across Office and Web
reflected interchangeably across
Formatting changes made within Microsoft
MicroStrategy Office and Web interfaces.
Office do not fully persist the next time the
Microsoft Office formatting changes are
user runs that same report. Formatting
preserved after automatic data updates.
changes made in Office are typically lost
MicroStrategy: Best in Business Intelligence

when a user refreshes data.

10
KEY BI REQUIREMENT MICROSTRATEGY 8 BUSINESS OBJECTS XI RELEASE 2

Flexible and Powerful YES NO


OLAP Analysis
The MicroStrategy SQL Engine’s ability BO provides only limited support for ad-
• Integrated predictive analytics to dynamically generate multi-pass SQL vanced analysis. BO’s latest release still has a
and forecasting with best-of- allows users to ask complex business single-pass SQL engine similar to what it had
breed data mining tools questions such as market basket and set over 10 yrs ago.
• Collaborative processing analysis e.g., view sales for the current
A single-pass SQL engine which does not
(between analytical year for all customers who purchased
fully leverage database processing features
engine and RDBMS-based product ‘x’ last year. Users can drill
means no dynamic or multi-level analysis as
processing) anywhere for a boundary-free speed-of-
is required for contribution or semi-additive
• Built-in financial and thought investigative analysis.
analysis.
statistical functions
MicroStrategy’s Data Mining Services
• Business question complexity Many key SQL constructs are supported spo-
leverages definitions from all major
supported by multi-pass SQL radically across the tools, and some are not
third-party data mining vendors, providing
capability supported at all, including no direct support
predictive analytics to thousands of users.
• Drill anywhere fosters for split fact table analysis, subqueries and set
investigative analysis MicroStrategy’s Analytical Engine provides operators, and no full leveraging of database
• Set analysis hundreds of built-in financial, statistical, functions.
and mathematical functions. The SQL
Some analysis capability is provided in BO’s
Engine and the Analytical Engine work
Performance Management modules but is
collaboratively to ensure that processing is
not available in Crystal Reports, so BO’s analy-
performed efficiently on the optimal tier.
sis cannot be used in formatted reporting.
Drilling is limited to static predefined report
linking.
There is limited integration with 3rd party
data mining products.
Heterogeneous Data Source YES NO
Access from a Single Web
MicroStrategy allows a single document to Dynamic access and presentation of data
Document
present data pulled directly from multiple from multiple dimensional data models is
• Direct access to SAP® BW, data sources. not available in Crystal.
Hyperion Essbase and
MicroStrategy’s Operational SQL Engine can Different BO products are needed to access
Microsoft Analysis Services
generate reports from data residing in any different kinds of data. Web Intelligence is
• Operational database
operational database across the organization. required for ad-hoc query against relational
reporting with freeform SQL
MicroStrategy can directly query SAP BW data access. OLAP Intelligence is used for
InfoCubes and QueryCubes. accessing OLAP sources. In BO XI Release
2, Desktop Intelligence can only access
relational sources despite previously being
able to access OLAP data sources.

Robust Enterprise Reporting YES LIMITED


• Support for wide range of MicroStrategy’s Web Interface is designed to Reporting functionality varies widely by
report styles maximize business user and report designer tool. Analysis and ad-hoc query cannot be
• Pixel-level absolute productivity. Highly formatted documents incorporated in formatted reports.
positioning are built using common desktop publishing
Formatted reporting is available in some
• In-place analysis paradigms such as rulers and pixel-level
products and not in others. Web Intel-
• Desktop publishing positioning, all over a zero-footprint Web.
ligence provides only limited formatting.
formatting
MicroStrategy offers comprehensive report Formatted dashboards are created in
• High quality printing
styles from banded reports to dashboards the stand-alone Dashboard Manager or
• Export to Excel
and scorecards. These documents are Excelsius products.
highly interactive providing in-place analysis,
Despite being a report writing tool, Crystal
pivoting, drilling and Excel-like formatting
MicroStratEGY VS. Business objects
Reports has limitations such as not being
toolbars.
able to do: absolute positioning, freeze
pane, format templates, and hide columns.
Report consumers are unable to edit the
report layout while viewing the live report,
therefore there is no support for a real-
time WYSIWYG view of changes.

11
KEY BI REQUIREMENT MICROSTRATEGY 8 BUSINESS OBJECTS XI RELEASE 2

Information Delivery Yes Limited


• Wide range of output types: Users get personalized alerts triggered by BO’s information delivery capabilities varies
Web, print, fax, wireless dynamic events and time scheduled reports, widely by tool. Publishing Profiles used
• Alerting and Thresholds via portal, print, email, wireless or file servers. to personalize report content by recipient
• Dashboards and Scorecards can only be applied to Desktop Intelligence
MicroStrategy platform leverages highly
• Portals integration publications. There are limitations to e-mail
scalable technology that slices a single report
bursting and personalization with Crystal.
and dynamically distributes personalized
information to the right users. Reusing a WebIntelligence and Crystal Reports have
single report across hundreds of users saves limited support capabilities for efficient
processing resources. high volume reporting. For example,
neither supports single-pass report bursting
Users can easily assemble scorecards and
thereby forcing a separate DB query for
dashboards based on existing objects and
each recipient of the same basic report. BO
integrating several data sources, without the
Publications lack true dynamic distribution
need of an extra application or interface.
list capabilities. Therefore, Administrators
often have to manually define and maintain
static distribution lists since they cannot
fully use conditions to create dynamic
recipient lists.

IV. C
 ritical Questions to Ask when Evaluating MicroStrategy
and Business Objects

There is a fundamental difference between the software architectures of Business Objects and MicroStrategy. Despite
the introduction of some new tangential BI functionality in Nov 2005, Release 2 is still primarily the same Business
Objects legacy of multiple tools with disparate architectures. Business Objects’ development efforts on the backend
still have not addressed some of Business Objects’ fundamental architectural shortcomings. Web user scalability is still
constrained and administration is not centralized. Much core functionality is still restricted by its desktop legacy of local
microcube, file-based processing, and a basic SQL engine. Business Objects’ R&D has had to focus on product line
integration at the expense of product innovation. Growing through acquisition has left Business Objects with a loosely
integrated set of tools with multiple overlapping metadata layers. Business Objects is still some number of years away
from a full unified product offering which is truly re-architected for the Web.

By contrast, MicroStrategy’s code base was completely rewritten over the course of five years as a unified server-centric
architecture. MicroStrategy has been building its platform organically and keeping the utmost integrity and efficiency.
This basic difference allows MicroStrategy customers to benefit from:

• A greater range of functionality through a single Web interface and unified architecture which decreases training
MicroStrategy: Best in Business Intelligence

and maintenance costs.


• A productive WYSIWYG editing environment which can be used across any Web browser.
• Market proven user and data scalability with more efficient use of network and server resources.
• Greater analytical breadth, including predictive analytics.
• A market-tested and bullet-proof security infrastructure.
• Lower total cost of ownership by lowering IS support and maintenance requirements.

The following questions elicit these basic MicroStrategy strengths with some very specific comparisons that should be
made when evaluating Business Objects and MicroStrategy.

12
1. MicroStrategy provides all the major styles of BI – Scorecards and Dashboards, Enterprise Reporting,
OLAP analysis, Predictive Analysis and Alerts and Notification from a single unified web interface.
Why does Business Objects require two desktop products to create, and as many as four web-based
products to deploy, a limited subset of this same BI functionality?

MicroStrategy supports analysis and reporting functionality, from dashboard creation with OLAP analysis to WYSIWYG
creation of formatted reports from a single Web interface. MicroStrategy Web allows business users to move seam-
lessly between all necessary styles of BI and combine multiple styles within a single report display.

Business Objects XI Release 2 requires a separate product and interface for each style of BI, making transition from one
style to another very cumbersome for the user and developer who has to encode and maintain the transitions. Despite
Business Objects marketing claims of an integrated architecture, Business Objects still requires a separate Crystal Reports
desktop environment for formatted reporting and a separate, somewhat overlapping, Business Objects Desktop Intel-
ligence environment for ad-hoc query and light analysis with very little functional integration between the two. From the
Web, a minimum of four Web interfaces are typically required; true formatted reporting is only available to Crystal Reports
Explorer users; ad-hoc query of relational sources requires Web Intelligence; but for OLAP source analysis, the OLAP Intel-
ligence product is used; finally, true dashboard creation and usage requires Dashboard Manager or Excelsius. Functional
integration between them is limited to manually coded static report linking from one interface to another. Another
symptom of Business Objects’ non-integrated architecture is that core BI functionality varies widely between the products.

This Business Objects tool fragmentation negatively impacts both end-users and IT administrators. End-users need to
learn and use multiple interfaces and reporting paradigms. For example, reporting centers around “Business Elements”
and a “Data Foundation” in Crystal Reports and is a completely different paradigm in Desktop Intelligence which uses
“classes,” “objects” and “dimensions.” End-users need to know which tool other users have in order to export, publish
and share documents properly. The negative impact on IT administrators is even greater. IT administrators must create
and support reporting environments for multiple tools each with their own corresponding servers, including manually
migrating and reconciling the metadata of the various tools.

2. MicroStrategy’s 64-bit native platform takes advantage of customers’ investments in the latest 64-bit
hardware and operating systems from Windows to UNIX. Can Business Objects XI Release 2 leverage
64-bit hardware and operating systems?

The MicroStrategy 64-bit platform is compiled natively to leverage the memory address space benefits from 64-bit
operating systems and microprocessors.

Business Objects XI Release 2 is compiled in 32-bit native mode even if it is running on 64-bit operating systems which
results in Business Objects not being able to leverage the benefits of 64-bit environments and customers’ 64-bit hard- MicroStratEGY VS. Business objects

ware investments.

MicroStrategy has a modular code base which allows just a portion of its ‘kernel’ to be compiled for the appropriate
OS-chipset combination. This allows MicroStrategy to perform very little work to support a broad range of platforms.
An inherited benefit of MicroStrategy’s unified code base is that every enhancement done in the code is common for
all the platforms supported. Therefore, “software bugs” are less prone to be introduced.

Business Objects XI Release 2 is made of a mix of C++ and Java code taken from different products requiring major
changes in order to support new environments or enhancements (e.g., 64-bit environments). For this reason, Business
Objects’ UNIX versions typically lag the Windows versions.

13
3. MicroStrategy’s unified architecture and centralized administration minimizes the effort in developing,
broadly deploying and maintaining multiple applications across multiple platforms. Why is Business
Objects so maintenance intensive and hard to deploy broadly?

MicroStrategy’s ROLAP engine dynamically generates optimized SQL for any type of analysis, minimizing the need
for any manual workarounds or custom SQL. MicroStrategy is fully automatically aggregate aware, meaning that the
MicroStrategy Engine automatically selects, every time, the most efficient table for data retrieval.

MicroStrategy provides comprehensive centralized administration through MicroStrategy Administrator, which auto-
mates the development, deployment and maintenance of multiple applications across multiple platforms. A remote
administration console enables complete control over system monitoring of all tasks and administration of users and
objects. The Object Manager component facilitates complete life-cycle application management. Reporting objects can
be migrated easily across development, test and production environments and can be shared between users, groups,
and projects.

Business Objects is maintenance intensive and challenging to deploy primarily due to its basic SQL engine which
requires a high degree of local custom processing and manual workarounds for key functionality such as aggregate
awareness and the implementation of data security. Heavy local processing, such as is required for Business Objects’
user objects, formulas, local variables and functions, means reports are not sharable across users and must be recre-
ated for each user. Multiple products have their own repositories meaning redundant metadata setup and manual
“export” and “publish” processes are required before reports can even be statically viewed by other users.

Business Objects provides a very weak object oriented definition of the data and has only a basic SQL engine which
prevents Business Objects tools from supporting automatic aggregate processing. The workaround is for a Business
Objects Administrator to manually point each calculation for each report and each user to the most efficient table.
The steps are tedious and risky because double counting is possible if “incompatible” tables, or tables not at the
appropriate calculation level, are not fully defined.

The following five steps must be performed each time a new calculation or aggregate table is added:

1. Define aggregate table(s).


2. Manually join each aggregate table to all related tables.
3. Define all possible table(s) where a calculation could be made.
4. Within each measure, list tables in order of descending size (so the Business Objects SQL Engine knows which
table to access).
5. Define all possible incompatibilities relative to all other reporting objects.
MicroStrategy: Best in Business Intelligence

The high degree of manual setup and maintenance limits the performance, maintainability and scalability of Business
Objects deployments.

In addition, multiple metadatas and limited support for centralized administration hinders Business Objects’ deployability.

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4. MicroStrategy fully supports sophisticated “n” order analysis. Why is Business Objects only suitable for
simple first order questions?

MicroStrategy provides a number of optimized features necessary to provide comprehensive sophisticated analysis at
the desired level of detail which include:

• Collaboration between MicroStrategy’s optimized SQL engine and mid-tier analytical engine in an iterative
fashion to enable “n” order calculations.

• Analytical library consisting of over 200 built-in statistical, financial and OLAP functions. In addition,
end-users may define their own analytical functions and embed them into the platform.

• Integrated Set Analysis or the filtering of an attribute based on its relationship with another attribute.
In supporting this, MicroStrategy is implicitly using the result set of one analysis as a filter for a second
analysis all completely transparent to the end-user.

• User-defined custom groups or dynamic virtual attributes which support multiple levels of analysis on
one report.

• Nested aggregation capability to transparently support calculations at varying dynamic levels of analysis.

• 3rd party out-of-the-box integration with best-of-breed data mining systems like SPSS, SAS and IBM
Dataminer for predictive analysis.

In MicroStrategy, all analytical sophistication either occurs seamlessly, as in the case of iterative processing and nested
aggregation, or is user defined such as with custom group definitions. No administrative support is required. In addi-
tion, the use of all of these features is fully available to web users; any web user with full report creation privileges can
leverage the full range of analytical sophistication.

Business Objects does not fully support the important analytical features, discussed above, across the entire product
line without customizations due to the limitations of microcube architecture and the inherent challenges of integrating
cube-based processing with database access. Business Objects offers very limited analytical functions which can be
shared across users. Crystal Reports does not fully expose RDBMS-specific analytic functions. Analysis on metrics in
Business Objects’ Dashboard Manager is limited to a single dimension and time.

Most importantly, the Business Objects approach typically requires advanced analysis to be set up by an administrator as a
pre-defined measure via Business Objects’ Designer product. Web end-users can only use existing simple measures and ap-
ply sum, avg, min, max, count, and percentages to existing calculated values. This restricts valuable analytical flexibility from
end-users and also means that new analytical requirements typically require administrators to rebuild universes. Given this,
the sweet spot for Business Objects is simple ad-hoc query and report writing for departmental needs, where a small num-
MicroStratEGY VS. Business objects

ber of users need basic report access to summary data. Users are not able to analyze transactional level or customer-centric
data in any truly meaningful way since all data must be returned to the desktop or web server for processing.

Business Objects microcubes answer simple first order questions, but any further analysis requires costly non-optimized
database access. End-user reporting queries will change significantly and grow as users start to explore data. Due to
local memory and disk capacity constraints which limit microcube size, users typically spend significant time accessing the
database outside of the local microcubes. The only workarounds are for users to try to pre-select as much as possible
from the universe (not without significant cost given microcube build times) or schedule everything for batch execution.
Any type of meaningful ad-hoc analysis will result in microcube explosion and multiple trips across the network to the
database. No support for multi-pass SQL means limited multi-level analytics.

15
Business Objects cannot answer many important business questions. Most necessary sophisticated analytics are not sup-
ported across the entire product line. Limited and manually intensive metric dimensionality means percent-to-total analysis
is impaired. Limited non-aggregatable metrics means that inventory or account balance analysis is very impaired. Limited
prompted conditional metric support means Business Objects users are unable to prompt for sophisticated calculations
which is needed for capabilities such as allowing the user to pick the start and end date of a report at run time. Business
Objects’ limited ability to provide ranking-within-ranking means it is not possible for Business Objects products
to transparently support important queries such as “show me my top 5 products for my top 5 customers”. Many other
analytical requirements are only supported in some Business Objects tools or through manual SQL coding.

5. MicroStrategy has a single unified highly reusable metadata layer. When will Business Objects have a
single unified metadata that is reusable and fully shared by users?

MicroStrategy reporting objects are all object-oriented. Report objects can be used as building blocks for other objects,
so the same report component can be used by multiple reports, reducing redundant work. Since MicroStrategy reports
are objects, they automatically inherit changes to related objects without any additional developer effort. For example,
if a metric’s formula changes, all reports that use that metric will seamlessly inherit the new formula. MicroStrategy’s
object-oriented metadata lowers development time by reducing redundant work, and reduces maintenance work by
minimizing the number of objects that need to be maintained.

Business Objects has multiple independent metadata — Business Objects Universes, Crystal Business Views, and Per-
formance Manager Metric Universes­ — none of which provide the layers of abstraction MicroStrategy’s metadata does.
Further complicating matters, the file formats between Web Intelligence documents (.WID) and Desktop Intelligence
documents (.REP) are different, making it hard to seamlessly move desktop reports to Web-based reports without
recreating various underlying reporting objects and undertaking manual web publishing steps.

The lack of metadata integration means limited functionality with duplicate separate storage, and manual synchroniza-
tion, ultimately resulting in “multiple versions of the truth.” Most underlying reporting objects, including conditions
and calculations, formulas, variables, and user defined objects are not fully reusable across Business Objects tools.

The lack of an object orientation means multiple report versions are typically maintained and significant limitations in
metadata management exist. Business Objects does not support impact analysis and change management across the
entire product line. Proactively detecting which specific reports and reporting objects are impacted by either a change
to the physical database or a change to the ‘profit’ measure is limited and varies widely by product.

While Business Objects marketing claims they are moving towards a unified metadata and that three separate meta-
data versions are not limiting, an organization will have to determine if all the following top 10 challenges created by
MicroStrategy: Best in Business Intelligence

multiple metadata are acceptable:

1. Metadata is populated by multiple different products: Designer, Crystal Business Views Manager, Dashboard
Manager, etc.
2. Metadata is stored in different physical repositories, requiring copying and metadata duplication
across repositories.
• Universes are stored in the Enterprise repository.
• Metric Universes are stored in the Performance Management repository.
3. All Metadata is not fully available from all products:
• Crystal Business Views can only be used by Crystal Reports, not by any of the other Business Objects products.
• Business Objects Live Office – Excel cannot access Business Objects Universes or Desktop Intelligence documents.
• Metric Universes are not available to Crystal users.

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4. Not all functionality is available from all Business Objects metadatas:
• Significant functionality (e.g., multiple SQL SELECT statements, embedding of objects that contain HTML
links, etc.) from Business Objects’ Universe metadata is not available to the Crystal environment.
5. Varying degrees of functionality; some functionality available in one metadata is not available in other metadata.
• Crystal Business Views do not support functionality such as basic aggregation calculations, ability to handle
multiple STAR schemas, etc.
6. A manual process of some type (depending on the desired synchronization) is usually required to port metadatas.
While Business Objects offers various Import and Migration Wizards to assist with some of the required porting,
Universes that contain measures must be manually copied to the Performance Management repository.
7. Business Objects web tools (e.g., Web Intelligence) cannot fully leverage key Desktop Intelligence reporting
objects, including Business Objects formulas.
8. Metadata repositories have varying physical structures resulting in separate maintenance, including back-up
and recover processes.
• Business Objects Enterprise Universes are file-based.
• Performance Management Metric Universes are table-based.
9. Metadata implementation differences exist.
• A much higher degree of intelligence is built locally (i.e., on a by report by user basis) into Crystal Reports as
opposed to Business Objects Universes.
• Security is embedded in different metadata layers (i.e. Universes, Business Views) to varying degrees.
10. Migration of multiple metadatas from one product version or architecture to another is essentially a manual
process requiring significant testing and recreation of reports and underlying reporting objects.

6. MicroStrategy allows users to run any type of report from within Excel, Word and PowerPoint. Does
Business Objects’ Live Office support the access of all pre-defined Business Objects Enterprise reports or
the creation of any new report?

MicroStrategy Office provides full MicroStrategy reporting, analysis and monitoring to Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint and
Word users. Users are able to access any existing MicroStrategy report, or create new reports completely from scratch,
from within any Microsoft Office product.

Business Objects’ Live Office is missing key functionality and provides limited access to the Business Objects environ-
ment. Live Office cannot fully access Business Objects Universes which means no full access of Desktop Intelligence
reports. In addition, key functionality is missing including limited new report creation capability, forcing users to
running pre-defined reports only. Formatting changes made within Microsoft Office do not fully persist as changes
made are typically lost when a user refreshes data. Live Office is a step backward from the prior Business Objects
Business Query Excel Add-in product, which at least supported Universe access.
MicroStratEGY VS. Business objects

17
7. MicroStrategy can perform full analysis across the breadth of transaction-level data. The amount of
data that MicroStrategy can support is limited only by the amount of data the RDBMS can support.
Why is Business Objects so limited in the amount of data it can analyze?

MicroStrategy’s third generation ROLAP architecture fundamentally scales to terabytes of data by performing analysis on
the optimal server-based platform: in the database or on MicroStrategy’s Intelligence Server in an iterative fashion. By
definition, database technology scales and is the optimal location to perform high volume data processing assuming the
underlying BI platform generates highly optimized platform-specific SQL as is the case with MicroStrategy 8. MicroStrate-
gy’s Intelligence Server is the optimal location to perform multidimensional analysis, such as applying various OLAP func-
tions or performing cube-like slice and dice, fully off loading analysis not handled efficiently by a database.

Business Objects’ desktop-based processing and microcube architecture are inherently limited because building
large-sized result-set microcubes is a network bottleneck, involves extensive manual maintenance and requires very
significant hard disk capacity on the workstation. By definition, microcube sizes are fundamentally constrained by the
amount of data which can be replicated across the network, stored in desktop memory and processed on the desktop
computer. While large data volumes can be accessed, they cannot be fully analyzed.

Data scalability negatively impacts web users who access desktop reports and must download not only the report re-
sults but all underlying data contained in the corresponding microcube to their desktops. In addition, even Web Intel-
ligence-based microcubes, which reside on the web server box, must be replicated across the network and individually
loaded into web server memory, along with their corresponding project universe definition, limiting the number of
cubes which can be analyzed concurrently.

Additional architectural limitations hindering Business Objects data scalability include:

• High number of uncontrolled direct connections from the desktop and the Web to the database introducing
the risk of crashing the database
• Use of generic non-optimized single-pass SQL bogging down the database
• Limited aggregate capability resulting in a high amount of data aggregating on the fly
•Limited shared caching, across the entire product set, means high number of queries running live against the
database
• Limited application server functionality
•Most data processing performed locally, which over-utilizes the desktop and grossly under-leverages the data-
base. Business Objects performs most processing on the client desktop and the web server box with minimal
leveraging of the power of the database (e.g., particularly that processing, such as transaction-level analysis,
which is far more efficiently performed closer to the data source by the database)
MicroStrategy: Best in Business Intelligence

8. MicroStrategy is a pure-web architecture built from the ground up – for the Internet – and provides
the web reporting, security, performance and web standards necessary for scalable web deployment.
Why is Business Objects not suitable for a broad web-based deployment of business intelligence?

Business Objects’ lack of a pure-web architecture severely limits web user scalability by placing heavy loads on the
network and the web server. Limited true web application server functionality and an architecture which requires
the execution of costly client/server programs on the Business Objects WebIntelligence box means extensive memory
requirements per concurrent web user, significantly limiting web user scalability.

18
Equally problematic, Business Objects requires varying amounts of client-side downloads depending on the Web
requirements and the type of Business Objects report accessed. High reliance on a heavy client plug-in for web users
to view or modify a Business Objects desktop Document or create a Web Intelligence report means Business Objects is
limited in its ability to support web-based enterprise BI. Any type of access – even simple view only access – of a desk-
top report by a web user requires some degree of program download to the web browser machine. Without this client
plug-in, web users will have limited access to Business Objects desktop reports and will have only very limited report
creation and editing capability, access to only very simple calculation types such as sum, count, min, max, and percent
only, and limited drill capabilities. In short, BI architectures that bolt-on web front ends to legacy client/server systems
cannot scale to the necessary number of concurrent web users.

9. MicroStrategy provides high performance data analysis. Why is Business Objects performance lacking?

MicroStrategy 8 provides the data scalability of a ROLAP architecture with the response times of a cube approach.
MicroStrategy 8 achieves this by dynamically optimizing performance at all levels and proactively preventing bottle-
necks from occurring at any point in the BI environment. MicroStrategy supports aggregate tables which optimize the
performance of the OLAP and Reporting application. MicroStrategy’s engine is “aggregate aware,” ensuring process-
ing against the most efficient tables.

While analysis within a pre-built Business Objects microcube can be reasonably fast, there are two other points where
data processing occurs: the initial loading of the microcube, and whenever analysis extends beyond the microcube
(which it often does) and all raw data must be re-retrieved and the microcube is completely reloaded. Initial microcube
loading will often require more time to build than a comparable MicroStrategy 8 query due to the non-optimized SQL
generated, the extensive raw data which must be retrieved and the inefficiency of performing data processing on the
desktop or web server.

Business Objects’ manual aggregate awareness means there is no guarantee that the most efficient table is accessed.

64-bit processing allows MicroStrategy to support much greater numbers of users and data sizes while improving
performance. Business Objects cannot leverage the extra memory provided by 64-bit hardware.

10. MicroStrategy provides industrial-strength multi-level security. Does Business Objects support data level
security and what other security limitations exist with Business Objects?

MicroStrategy 8 security contains the necessary depth and breadth to allow the secured deployment of BI applications
to employees, partners, suppliers and customers through the Internet. MicroStrategy accomplishes this via the use
of privileges at the application functionality level; access control lists at the reporting object level; and security filters,
MicroStratEGY VS. Business objects

connection mapping, and support for database views at the data level. In addition, user level security is supported via
MicroStrategy’s integration with NT and LDAP while transmission level security is supported via 128-bit SSL transmis-
sion, 128-bit data encryption or double firewall configuration with no database connection on the web server.

MicroStrategy 8’s profile-based security ensures that every part of the platform and delivery architecture is secure and
can be centrally administered. In addition, MicroStrategy’s implementation of industry-standard security measures
ensures MicroStrategy’s security model can be integrated into any existing security approach. MicroStrategy security is
fully granular to the “cell level” meaning all reporting objects and underlying data cells can be controlled at the neces-
sary level via a right mouse click.

19
Despite being radically revamped in Business Objects XI Release 2, Business Objects still lacks true industrial-strength
security. Business Objects is still not only missing key security components, but their security architecture has serious
security flaws which jeopardize corporate assets. These flaws include limited built-in microcube security. Business Ob-
jects has a number of fundamental security risks (e.g., heavy use of Active X and Java applets) and security weaknesses
(e.g., limited support for existing source system security, and data level security can be bypassed).

Business Objects security is maintenance intensive because security is typically set up and maintained in multiple tools
and interfaces: Business Objects’ Central Management Console and Designer tools and in Crystal’s Business Views
Manager tools. Business Objects’ data-level security is manually implemented with hard-coded SQL WHERE clauses,
creating significant risk. These hard-coded SQL WHERE clause qualifications are manually written in Universes and
Business Views for each user against each table at each level of data analysis to fully restrict data level access. This is
very administrator intensive and if the necessary WHERE clause is left off even one table in the reporting environment
for a given user, unauthorized access is possible. For Web Intelligence users, microcubes, containing potentially sensi-
tive data, are stored on the web server.

V. T
 op 10 Points to Consider When Migrating from the Business
Objects version 5 and 6 to XI

Business Objects’ customers currently using versions 5 and 6 will face numerous challenges when they migrate to the XI
product line. It is important for current Business Objects’ customers and prospects to understand the level of effort and
risk given the negative impact and distraction these extensive migration efforts will have throughout the entire Business
Objects organization.

Surveys, such as The OLAP Survey 6, show that a software vendor distracted with the development, migration and
support of multiple divergent product lines is far less likely to deliver new and stable product functionality on time
and will most likely provide sub-standard quality support. Given this, Business Objects’ customers and prospects must
consider the following ten migration points:

1. Tedious Effort
All Business Objects and Crystal functionality, including reports and underlying Universe and Business View metadata
objects, requires conversion to XI on an object-by-object basis in a rigorous sequence. Administrators must follow
a complex road map specifying the various report conversion, migration utilities, import wizards and manual
MicroStrategy: Best in Business Intelligence

customization to apply to each object. When the process is not followed and an object is missed or not migrated in the
proper sequence the report breaks.

2. Manual Effort
Given the radically different repository file structures and security model in the XI architecture, heavy manual conversion
effort is required. Business Objects’ migration and conversion utilities “automate” a minimal percentage of the effort
and require a high degree of manual processing; the number of steps varies by product version and functionality type.

20
3. Extensive Rework
In addition to the manual steps on the basic functionality conversion, a high percentage of the Business Objects
reporting environment must be completely recreated in XI including:

• All 5.X reports and metadata objects


• All locally defined report logic (e.g., user objects, functions, formulas, user defined variables, etc.)
• All customizations (via SDK, any hand-coded SQL, etc.)
• All Broadcast Agent type functionality (e.g., publications, schedules, distribution lists)
• All user and user group definitions
• All security setup (Note: The XI security model is radically different)
• All Business Query analysis
• Most Corporate Document functionality
• Most Universes with any degree of complexity (e.g., linked universes)
• Most complex WebIntelligence reports (e.g., OLAP source-based )

4. Not for the Risk Averse


Given XI is largely unproven and untested in production environments, it is the risk, complexity and XI stability issues
which potentially pose the biggest challenges in converting to XI. Erroneous results and corrupted reports result if multi-
step manual processes are not followed in precise order.

5. Comprehensive Testing is Required


Given the complexity and risk, Business Objects recommends side-by-side parallel running of the 5.X and 6.X along
with XI for an extensive period. Testing is cumbersome given the amount of manual object rebuilding and includes user,
system, load/stress and performance testing. The effort is compounded given the many differences between the 5.X/6.
X architectures and the XI architectures including varying structures, models, calculation engines, user paradigms and
server processes.

6. Migrations are Time Intensive


The conversion process is time and resource intensive, given that migration occurs one object at a time. While Business
Objects offers numerous performance tips, including suggesting that organizations minimize the number of reports
they convert, the strain on the network and database is significant resulting in the need for a fully dedicated server and
processing environment.

7. Migrating Is NOT Cheap


Organizations will need to pay Business Objects an XI migration tax, yet for no additional capacity and minimal
product functionality. Customers must either have separate licensed copies of infrastructure to run both Business
MicroStratEGY VS. Business objects

Objects and Crystal content or they must upgrade at a significant cost from Business Objects Enterprise Professional to
Enterprise Premium. The biggest cost may be the opportunity cost organizations incur as they must forgo new report
development and enhancements while the migration is under way.

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8. Building Migration Utilities Have Distracted Business Objects’ R&D
Creating multiple migration wizard and conversion utilities has distracted Business Objects’ R&D efforts. Every major
release since the Crystal acquisition has either been late or lacking in relevant new BI functionality.

9. Supporting Migration Efforts Have Distracted Business Objects’ Technical and Field Support
Supporting multiple migration and conversion processes has distracted Business Objects’ support efforts, resulting in
diminished support quality for all customers. The OLAP Surveys have found that for four years in a row, Business Objects’
customers have been among the least satisfied with the quality of their technical support.

10. Minimal Upside


Business Objects XI does not include a sufficient amount of new end-user functionality or back-end architecture to
justify the migration costs. The only reason to migrate is that Business Objects will soon be dropping support for
versions 5 and 6. Most end-user functionality has not been enhanced e.g., Business Objects XI Desktop Intelligence
offers very little additional functionality over Business Objects Desktop version 6, and some key functionality is missing in
XI e.g., the ability to publish web reports or use stored procedures in Universes.
MicroStrategy: Best in Business Intelligence

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