An Update on MicroStrategy Licensing for Enterprise-Grade Data Visualization

By Gregg Spivack

Vice President of Client Services, NPI

February 19, 2021

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The data visualization space continues to heat up as enterprises demand more information visualization, analytics, and business intelligence tools. The global market, valued at $8.85B in 2019, is projected to reach $19.2B by 2027. The competitive landscape is also changing as established enterprise software vendors acquire new capabilities (e.g. Salesforce’s acquisition of Tableau in 2019) and new pure-play contenders come to market. With more, shinier options to consider, some established players find themselves overshadowed. MicroStrategy is one example. In this post, we give a recap of why it makes sense to consider this “legacy” analytics provider, and a few thoughts about MicroStrategy licensing and pricing.

Tableau Drawbacks Direct Clients to MicroStrategy Licensing

While NPI increasingly sees clients purchasing their data visualization solutions from Tableau, there are some drawbacks to working with Tableau. On the deal front, they’re not always customer-friendly; offering minimal discounting, and migration paths to new products can be confusing.

That’s prompted some companies to reconsider providers like MicroStrategy. While the competition may deem them “old guard,” it’s not necessarily because of their offerings – they deliver a solid product. More likely it’s because the company lost its way back in 2012. While it was chasing a dream of creating a social media vertical across its platform, competitors like Tableau came out of the woodwork to take the industry by storm.

After a few years and a couple of hits and misses, the company refocused its efforts on its bread and butter – analytics. MicroStrategy version 10 was released in 2015 and the company regained clarity and focus, with added attention to self-service as that was really what the market was asking for. But the wasted time did a number on the company’s competitive positioning.

Prioritizing Enterprise-grade Scalability and Integration with Business Productivity Tools

Don’t overlook the importance of enterprise-grade scalability and integration with business productivity tools. Competition for data visualization and analytics is incredibly strong, but one thing MicroStrategy has going for it is the ability to scale across the entire enterprise. If a customer is looking for a tool that is easy to use but also has the bandwidth to handle a large scale of users accessing a centralized repository, then MicroStrategy licensing should be considered.

A few other features of note from a competitive POV include the ability to plug directly into Microsoft Office. People love their Excel worksheets and PowerPoint slides for presentations. MicroStrategy allows customers to plug a dashboard or report directly into Microsoft’s tools and refresh directly from there. It helps eliminate the need to constantly update through copy and paste – a simple click of a refresh button will do.

With MicroStrategy 2020, the release of “hypercards” was introduced. Like popups, they can get a little annoying but if you want your analytics directly in front of you, connected to specific words (like a company name or a KPI like “revenue”), they offer that ability to experience the company’s “Intelligence Everywhere” promise.

MicroStrategy Licensing and Pricing

MicroStrategy licensing and pricing has become complicated over the last year. There will be a cost based on what exactly you want to do with it. However, to get down to the important details, it depends on a bunch of different factors. List prices range from $600 to $5,000 per user depending on type of access for an on-premise solution and one-third of that cost for cloud (annual).

A sample of license types include:

  1. Reader-only licenses on either a mobile device or a web browser.
  2. For users that would need to create their own reports/dashboards there are a couple of cost factors. One is, as previously mentioned above, the cost per web/mobile access. The second cost is to use MicroStrategy "Developer" or, as they put it, access to the "server."
  3. Another license type is for “architects.” These are considered the true administrators of the platform and include those building the actual attributes and metrics that go into a dataset to create reports/dashboards. Enterprises typically only need a small handful of these - no one wants too many cooks in the kitchen.

Additionally, all MicroStrategy applications can be white labeled as your own branded app or integrated into your website/application.

Users looking to have a serious analytics tool across their company and a single version of the truth in terms of their data should look at MicroStrategy. Scalability, integration with Microsoft, and newer “in your face” analytics capabilities make MicroStrategy a solid contender among a crowded field of competition.

Navigate MicroStrategy Licensing with Data and Savings Experts

Need to make sure you’re getting the best deal on a MicroStrategy or Tableau purchase? NPI can help.

Our vendor-specific price benchmark analysis and license optimization services can help you determine if pricing is within fair market value range as well as identify opportunities to reduce cost through license optimization.