MicroStrategy 10.11 ups the front-end ante

Just when you thought MicroStrategy was going all-in on the back-end, it adds new visualizations, MapBox integration and native smart phone apps to the front-end.

In January, MicroStrategy announced something pretty radical: supported connectors for its core BI platform for popular self-service BI front-end tools, specifically Tableau, Microsoft Power BI and Qlik.

Also read: Enterprise, self-service BI hook up: MicroStrategy releases connectors for Power BI, Tableau, Qlik

That announcement convinced some people that MicroStrategy was ceding the front-end to the self-service BI holy trinity. Were you one of them? I'll admit I was wondering too. Well, it seems those concerns were perhaps unfounded. Because today, MicroStrategy is announcing its 10.11 release and -- guess what -- it's all about the client.

New Visualizations
To begin with, MicroStrategy is adding new visualizations -- and new first-party vizzes are not something that happens to established BI platforms every day.

MicroStrategy will now offer waterfall visualizations, histograms and box plots. Waterfall visualizations are good for quantitative analysis; the histogram is helpful to data scientists for understanding the distribution of a variable and the box plot as critical for visually displaying possible outliers.

Geospatial services
Plain old visualization not good enough for you? Then how about an entire new mapping component powered by MapBox? Yup, MicroStrategy 10.11 has that too.

MapBox maps in MicroStrategy are vector-based and provide global coverage of all U.S. zip codes and postal codes for more than 150 countries. The MapBox technology will join the ESRI-based mapping facilities that were already in the product.

MapBox is a very popular GIS platform, for BI and Big Data vendors alike. The open source nature of its core platform has helped it establish a strong ecosystem upon which many paid/commercial are offered.

Dossiers go mobile
A "Dossier" is a MicroStrategy vehicle for presenting data visualizations, but in the form of an application. Enterprises can build their own Dosssiers or build a range of them and make them available through the MicroStrategy Library.

Dossiers have thus far been deployable to desktop/laptop devices as well as iPads, but not as native apps on mobile phone platforms. With today's 10.11 release, that changes: Dossiers can now be deployed to smart phones, using the MicroStrategy Library app for iPhone or Android. This is made possible by Dossier apps' responsive design, something that's been there all along.

Dossier apps themselves are being improved in MicroStrategy 10.11 as well. Now they offer various optimizations for faster performance on larger data sets. Users can also pause and resume execution while editing or designing a Dossier.

And more
MicroStrategy has also added new administrative features (like statistics on CPU and memory utilization, number of database connections, and free storage space) on its MicroStrategy for AWS product.

There are lots of new connectors too, including for Eloqua, Marketo, Paypal, Hubspot, Shopify, and Concur as well as several Microsoft Azure cloud services, including Azure SQL Data Warehouse, Cosmos DB, and HDInsight (Microsoft's cloud Hadoop/Spark/Kafka service).

MicroStrategy front-end lives!
That all amounts to a lot of new functionality in a product that some were quick to dismiss. Still dubious of MicroStrategy's front-end prowess? Try downloading MicroStrategy Desktop for free and see if it passes muster with you.