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MicroStrategy Professes Smarter Business Intelligence

MicroStrategy has updated its business intelligence software platform to offer a spiced up blend of reporting, analysis and performance monitoring tools.

The latest release is also a way for MicroStrategy to keep up with advancements in business intelligence software from top rivals Business Objects and Cognos .

Report groupings, sections and calculations can now be mixed in the upgrade. Users may format reports and scorecards in WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get), obviating the need for programmers to assume the formatting requirements of users.

Analytic utilities in version 8 include MicroStrategy's Relational OLAP (ROLAP) technology, which enables users to cross-reference data against very large databases in order to procure different perspectives.

Also, a new data mining and predictive analysis module lets users integrate data mining into mainstream reports. The software can also now import data mining models from IBM, Teradata, SAS, and SPSS and convert those models into MicroStrategy metrics.

With MicroStrategy 8, users can move between scorecards and dashboards to reports and analysis without being forced to navigate separate interfaces.

The platform also allows users to access data stored in their financial, human resources or supply chain systems without having to move it into a data repository.

The more than 2000 improvements in MicroStrategy 8 correspond with the trend in the BI space of blending several intelligence functions, such as enterprise reporting, analysis and performance monitoring, in one offering.

In the past, such solutions were offered individually. But customers have insisted that vendors provide all of the features in one platform to help them gain more insight into their business. Vendors like Business Objects, Cognos and now MicroStrategy have been making their BI platforms as inclusive of intelligence gathering perks as possible to compete.

For example, BI market leader Business Objects recently unveiled its most integrated and feature-full software suite ever, finalizing the integration of its Crystal Decisions purchase.

"Robust reporting and interactive analysis have traditionally required multiple products," said IDC Research Director Dan Vesset in the statement. The analysts praised the ease-of-use of the revised drag-and-drop Web interface.

MicroStrategy has a ways to go to catch Business Objects. But the McLean Va., company last week reported positive fourth quarter earnings. The company said it made $24.5 million or $1.43 per share, beating Wall Street's estimates of 88 cents per share on $61 million in revenues. Sales rose to $71.6 million, up 39 percent from the fourth quarter of 2003.