Tracking digital interactions and usage of MicroStrategy Mobile using Google Analytics...even in offline mode!

 Lately we have been receiving a number of requests from clients asking us to set up MicroStrategy Enterprise Manager (EM) with friendly intuitive dashboards that highlight relevant KPIs for their application while suppressing "noisy" metrics and attributes.

 

Anybody who has implemented EM knows that while it is data-rich, its out of the box (OOTB) reports and dashboards are hard to navigate. To track MicroStrategy Mobile usage, EM is particularly cumbersome. For example, there is no way to capture offline user interactions, in-dashboard events, and track in real-time.

 

 

So recently when a client with a large number of MicroStrategy Mobile applications and users approached us to come up with an alternative that can address the offline, in-dashboard-interactivity, and real-time needs, our engineers jumped at the idea.

 

As it turns out we had been working on a project feeding web analytics data from Google Analytics (GA) into MicroStrategy (more on that in an upcoming blog). GA's got a great framework to monitor mobile usage (albeit optimized for Android) so our engineers thought why not plug GA to sit on top of MicroStrategy.

 

And we couldn't come up with a single reason not to! Here's how we tackled it (with some trickery).

 

We decided on the following metrics to be captured for a "screen":

  • Number of views

  • Number of distinct users

  • Number of actions or events specific to the screen, for example clicks on a radio button, checkbox, or panel selector

 

The setup at quick glance (see figure 1 for an overview):

  1. Configure Google Analytics with Custom Dimensions to reflect the hierarchy of dashboards, dashboard sections, and events.

  2. Create an additional data grid, hidden, in MicroStrategy to store the dashboard event details.

  3. Embed GA libraries within the MicroStrategy XCode project; create custom widgets which will serve as third party tags (the trick here is to tailor the tags to MicroStrategy Mobile events) to track views and events in the app. These widgets write to a local app database in offline mode and when the device comes online, runs a write-and-truncate process, uploading the data to the GA server.

  4. Register the widget in the mobile app, deploy plugin in MicroStrategy.

Figure 1: Architecture

 

Results

We were able to demonstrate through GA reports that we could capture and report in real-time user interactions and views on not just dashboards within apps but essentially any screen and sub-screen in a MicroStrategy Mobile app. And the capability to track offline events is making some enterprise architects salivate.

 

 

 

Possible Next Steps

We are currently reviewing options to:

  • Develop additional custom "tag widgets" to record a more exhaustive set of MicroStrategy events.

  • Create a set of custom drillable reports in GA to show all digital interactions by hierarchy of MicroStrategy metadata.

  • Automate data exchange between GA and the MicroStrategy metadata to keep the hierarchies in sync.

  • Push GA data into MicroStrategy EM.

 
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