MicroStrategy Express: Using a Data Warehouse to Import Data into Express

MicroStrategy Express makes it easy to use, import, and edit data warehouses as sources of data.

As most of us know, MicroStrategy came out with the exciting new cloud BI solution, MicroStrategy Express. I’d like to share a bit of insight into the data sources that can be used for reporting and look a bit deeper into using a data warehouse as the source.

When we try to create a new Visualization/Dashboard in Express, we have 3 options on the source for the data:

  • Importing an Excel/CSV file
  • Importing from Salesforce
  • Importing from a Database

If you have a small set of data in an Excel or a CSV file, you can directly import and perform analysis. But in most of the cases, if you already have a BI implementation, you might want to use the existing data warehouse.

Importing Data into MicroStrategy Express

Configuring a database connection is fairly simple. You have an option to create a new connection when you are creating a new dashboard or editing the data for an existing one. Express has the drivers for the most common types of databases in the market.

Once connected to the database, you can do the following:

  • Drag and drop the fact table you want to report on, along with any dimension/lookup tables to join with.
  • Select the columns that you want to use from the tables added.
  • Create joins on the common columns by dragging and dropping the column from one table onto the column of the other table.
  • Change the join type between the columns.
  • Preview the data.
  • Express automatically guesses the attributes and metrics from the selected columns. But if you think it guessed any column wrong, you can change the column type.
  • Once you continue and develop a dashboard, the data is static and you can update it manually at any time, or schedule it to be updated regularly.
  • You can even point to a different database with the same tables and structure and have the dashboard report on the new data.

Limitations

  • I found that when using multiple fact tables at different levels, the cross joining results in wrong metric numbers and I did not see a solution to get around this to dictate the level of a metric. (If you found a solution to this, I would be very happy to know it.)

Express is a readily available tool, easy enough to be used by a business person without the need for IT support. It’s limited for developing a full-fledged advanced dashboard but it would serve the purpose of developing basic dashboards quickly.

Keep an eye on the Smartbridge Blog for further posts about MicroStrategy Express, highlighting widgets, visualizations and much more. Until next time!

MicroStrategy is a member of the Smartbridge Partner Alliance.

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