Book Image

Business Intelligence with MicroStrategy Cookbook

By : Davide Moraschi
Book Image

Business Intelligence with MicroStrategy Cookbook

By: Davide Moraschi

Overview of this book

Business intelligence is becoming more important by the day, with cloud offerings and mobile devices gaining wider acceptance and achieving better market penetration. MicroStrategy Reporting Suite is a complete business intelligence platform that covers all the data analysis needs of an enterprise. Scorecards, dashboards, and reports can be explored and delivered on desktop, the Web, mobile devices, and the Cloud. With the latest Visual Insight tool, MicroStrategy brings the power of BI to the business users, allowing them to discover information without the help of IT personnel. Business Intelligence with MicroStrategy Cookbook covers the full cycle of a BI project with the MicroStrategy platform, from setting up the software to using dashboards in the cloud and on mobile devices. This book uses step-by-step instructions to teach you everything from the very basics to the more advanced topics. We will start by downloading and installing the software and a well-known sample SQL Server database. Then, one brick at a time, we will construct a fully-featured BI solution with a web interface, mobile reporting, and agile analytics. The chapters are ordered by increasing difficulty, and each one builds on top of the preceding chapter so that the learning process is progressive. The examples given in this book are practical, and you will be able to see the immediate result of your efforts. We will first cover setting up the platform, including the creation of the metadata and the different objects that are part of a BI project: tables, attributes, and metrics. Then, we take a look at how to create and analyze reports, charts, documents, and dashboards, as well as how to manipulate data with the desktop application, the web Interface, and an iPad device. The last part of the book is dedicated to advanced topics like the new agile analytics technology from MicroStrategy, where we cover both Visual Insight and MicroStrategy Cloud Express. Whether you are a database developer, data analyst, or a business user, Business Intelligence with MicroStrategy Cookbook will get you up to speed with one of the most powerful BI platforms on the market with the smallest possible investment of time and money.
Table of Contents (25 chapters)
Business Intelligence with MicroStrategy Cookbook
About the Author
About the Reviewers


The MicroStrategy Analytics Platform™ enables leading organizations to analyze vast amounts of data and distribute actionable business insight throughout the enterprise. It delivers reports and dashboards, enables users to conduct ad hoc analysis, and share their insights anywhere, anytime. The MicroStrategy Mobile App Platform™ lets organizations rapidly build information-rich applications that combine multimedia, transactions, analytics, and custom workflows.

In this book, we will make a journey from the initial setup to Big Data passing through the construction of the project, the design of interactive dashboards, and the visual data discovery.

Join us on this self-paced trip and follow the tracks of more than 90 recipes, which lead to the creation of a complete Business Intelligence project with MicroStrategy Suite.

What this book covers

Chapter 1, Getting Started with MicroStrategy, covers the installation of training environments, complete with sample data, MicroStrategy Suite, metadata, and ODBC connections. Operating system and web server configuration are also covered.

Chapter 2, The First Steps in a MicroStrategy Project, explains the creation of a project: how to connect to a data warehouse, the use of tables as data sources, and how to create logical views with SELECT statements.

Chapter 3, Schema Objects – Attributes, shows the creation of the first objects: attributes and hierarchies, and how attributes relate to each other (parent-child relationship). We create our first report during this chapter.

Chapter 4, Objects – Facts and Metrics, covers the numbers: the use of aggregation functions, how to filter on metrics, the creation of level metrics, and a basic "previous month" transformation.

Chapter 5, Data Display and Manipulation – Reports, treats the design and manipulation of reports in the desktop application. Drill, page-by, custom subtotals, and conditional formatting are shown with practical tips and real-life examples.

Chapter 6, Data Analysis and Visualization – Graphs, covers the graphical part of data analysis, showing how to create compelling graphs with the use of the most common options. Advanced charting techniques like dual axis are demonstrated too.

Chapter 7, Analysis on the Web – Documents and Dashboards, shows how to port the project to the Web, set up the server, and create documents and interactive dashboards for consumption in the Internet browser.

Chapter 8, Dynamic Selection with Filters and Prompts, explains the usage of different filtering techniques and how to use dynamic selections to customize reports. It also explains the use of moving dates in filters.

Chapter 9, Mobile BI for Developers, covers the installation and configuration of mobile Business Intelligence. It shows how to design ad hoc reports and documents for the iPad, using linked documents and info windows.

Chapter 10, Mobile BI for Users, covers the most common scenarios for mobile usage and gives insights and tips on how to consume data (and ask for help) from the user's perspective.

Chapter 11, Consolidations, Custom Groups, and Transformations, explains advanced techniques and objects to solve specific reporting requirements, such as different aggregations, creating banded reports, or month-to-date and year-to-date running sums.

Chapter 12, In-Memory Cubes and Visual Insight, covers the latest In-Memory technology to create Visual Insight dashboards and self-service data discovery from the web interface. It demonstrates the usage of the new network graph visualization.

Chapter 13, MicroStrategy Express, introduces the SaaS version of MicroStrategy self-service data discovery tool and dashboards. It shows how to upload data or connect to on-premises and cloud-based databases to design interactive panels and visualizations without support from the IT personnel.

Appendix A, Solution to Exercises, gives answers to all the questions and exercises of the book.

Appendix B, Where to Look for Information, is a collection of useful resources, blogs, books, and discussion groups to network with fellow BI developers.

Appendix C, Cloudera Hadoop, explains how to connect from MicroStrategy to one of the most commonly used platforms for Big Data. The distribution used is CH4 with Impala.

Appendix D, HP Vertica, demonstrates the connection to a common platform for columnar databases, the Vertica engine by HP. The distribution used is the Community Edition, freely available from the vendor site.

What you need for this book

To make the most of this book, you need to have a virtualization environment with a 32-bit Windows 2008 R2 installed. I am using VMware workstation in the screencasts. The installation of the operating system is not covered by the book, which starts with the setup of a local SQL Server.

Adobe Flash is used in some examples and a PDF reader is needed to use the product documentation.

The use of a modern browser with support for HTML5 is mandatory during Chapter 13, MicroStrategy Express.

Who this book is for

This book is intended for Business Intelligence developers who want to expand their reach and add a leading data analysis product to their toolset.

This is also for experienced database developers or administrators, and for everyone who wants to learn how to use one of the most widely used platforms for reporting, dashboarding, and data discovery on the market.

ANSI SQL language familiarity is required. No previous knowledge of MicroStrategy is needed.


In this book, you will find a number of styles of text that distinguish between different kinds of information. Here are some examples of these styles, and an explanation of their meaning.

Code words in text, database table names, folder names, filenames, file extensions, pathnames, dummy URLs, user input, and Twitter handles are shown as follows: "Click on Save and Close naming the report 01 Countries list."

Any command-line input or output is written as follows:

ALTER TABLE DimDate ADD CalendarYearMonth VARCHAR(7) 
 UPDATE DimDate SET CalendarYearMonth = CONVERT(VARCHAR(7), FullDateAlternateKey, 111) 

New terms and important words are shown in bold. Words that you see on the screen, in menus or dialog boxes for example, appear in the text like this: "Click on the Schema Objects | Facts folder. Right-click on the right pane and select New | Fact."


Warnings or important notes appear in a box like this.


Tips and tricks appear like this.

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