This week at MicroStrategy World Europe, top executives unveiled significant revisions in their go-to-market strategy. In colorful CEO Michael Saylor’s opening keynote presentation, he describes a changing world with undeniably compelling new technologies and cloud market forces. Saylor stated, “If someone is going to cannibalize me, it should be myself.” He goes on to announce a reduction from 21 MicroStrategy apps down to 4 along with simplified transparent public pricing, free training and a new cloud offering on Amazon Web Services (AWS) along with free consulting resources for it.
Transparent pricing, simplified purchasing, free consulting…WOW, all of these concepts are unheard of in the MicroStrategy realm of the past. In a letter to customers MicroStrategy states, “Our software, its packaging and pricing, our professional services, training and customer support are all changing to make every interaction with MicroStrategy easier for you.” Most likely MicroStrategy had to reinvent themselves as a result of recent market share losses and slowed market momentum despite their innovative, higher quality solution offerings. MicroStrategy’s new approach should be warmly welcomed by their customer base but will it be enough?
I discussed my surprise in MicroStrategy’s latest Gartner rankings earlier this year and I also reviewed their freemium Microstrategy Desktop offering late last year. Looking at the latest MicroStrategy Desktop release yesterday, it is ok but still nowhere near a Tableau solution quality due to the use of a Flash user interface, limited feature set and clunky development experience. MicroStrategy paid offerings are much stronger but freemium offers plant much needed “land and expand” seeds.
Significant market interest in newer, agile data discovery vendors such as Tableau, QlikView and Spotfire is changing the BI game. Tableau has been taking notable market share and winning deals when competing with the traditional BI players. Tableau and other data discovery tool market pressures have also been impacting SAP, Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, Acutate and others. In addition to data discovery players, there are also numerous newcomer cloud and big data visual analytics players entering the market all fighting for the same BI business user budget dollars! Big data, cloud and low barriers to entry are fueling extreme numbers of startups in this hot space. Check out CrunchBase data if you want to dig into startups. Gartner reports in 2014 that half of BI and analytics spend will be business driven with 50% of new licenses being driven by data discovery requirements. The BI table stakes are high…thus expect to see more bold moves like the ones made by MicroStrategy this week from other big BI players soon.
Additional announcements were made around MicroStrategy’s Mobile BI offerings and also a totally new, modern, cyber-security solution for user security called Usher. If you’d like to watch the MicroStrategy World Europe keynotes, check out the recently updated Microstrategy web site.