9 Takeaways from MicroStrategy World 2018

January 24, 2018

Our takeaways from a very successful, well-attended, superbly planned MicroStrategy World 2018 where we showcased some of our exciting technology and solution innovations (jump to list  here ):




Michael Saylor’s keynote message emphasized that “customer success” and creating a truly “intelligent enterprise” requires not only technology, but an ecosystem of support and expert guidance. We fully agree with the approach but gently suggest that the best partners positioned to guide MicroStrategy’s customers in strategy and execution are, well, partners like Third I.   



As part of the morning keynote where Third I’s work was recognized (more on that later), Billy Beane from the Oakland A's laid out a moving story and inspiring presentation about how to break the deeply-rooted shackles of gut-based decision-making in organizations. Moneyball is an example of how it takes some seriously gutsy leadership to realign an orthodox organization and recalibrate the attitude to become data-driven.



UBS approach to driving adoption was a refreshing one: rather than start at a summary level and drill into details, bring users in by zooming into important & interesting data (the hooks), then allow them to “drill up” to understand impacts on the summary level.



MicroStrategy is starting to refocus on an open analytics approach. Recent releases related to the Data Connector API, PUSH API, and Embed API will make integrations much easier. Several of our customers and prospects are starting initiatives to integrate with other applications. Third I has been doing some cutting edge work in this arena (see  here  for our Command Manager API blog).


Customer presentations indicated a rise in the use of MicroStrategy REST APIs to exchange data from and to external analyses (such as stats in R), IoT sensor data (the winning datathon entry was a neat use of real-time data from beacons), and AR apps.



There continues to be a push towards using MicroStrategy visualizations and metadata in conjunction with big data stacks. The library of targeted native connectors to Spark SQL, Hadoop, etc. should accelerate such initiatives.

Several of our clients are looking to implement the HDFS -> Spark -> Impala -> MicroStrategy stack. Of particular interest is using Spark to improve performance (and causing some contention about where the in-memory results should reside). This is in step with Cloudera’s distribution approach where Impala is front and center.



The exploratory, collaborative, visual nature of dossiers is compelling technology that aims to fill the gap between low-interactivity dashboards and free-for-all VI. We are excited with the possibilities and our entry for the Dossier competition was recognized as one of the 3 finalists this year - being the third year in a row that we have received an award.  Our submission consisted of EMPower, a dossier that exposes the powerful statistics of Enterprise Manager in an intuitive and user-friendly interface.  



At the inaugural Datathon competition, the Third I team worked tirelessly for 2 days. Our team presented a set of highly interactive screens for a fictional quick serve restaurant that combined technical complexity, custom plugins, a UX based on design thinking, a modern UI, and a library of industry-leading drillable KPIs.  It won the "People's Choice Award" receiving the highest number of votes from everyone that attended the presentations.




Our booth was flooded with customers looking for our live augmented reality + analytics demo. (See more  here )

Third I's embedded analytics session was a success with over 60 people in attendance. We showcased two solutions that take MicroStrategy to the next level - an augmented reality app and an analytics connector to Tableau. Feedback was enthusiastic and we suspect it got much of the audience thinking about the real-world possibilities that MicroStrategy's service-oriented architecture presents.



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