Birst, the strange duckling in the BI-sector?
Birst (recently acquired by Infor) is in multiple respects a strange duckling in our midst. They call their product a ‘network BI’ solution. The unique part of this solution is the fact that it’s Cloud based and the ETL-process is integrated in the platform, so there is no need for a separate ETL-solution.
The product is fully designed for the Cloud, with state-of-the-art multitenant technology and it works with HTML5. Because of this architecture there are barely any problems with scalability, performance and flexibility. Those problems really only surface once Birst is implemented incorrect or if wrong datasets are loaded.
Automating the ETL process fully with Birst
The solution is also unique because of her approach to the ETL-process. End-users will not see the ETL-processes; they are executed in the background. Because Birst possesses a good metadata model, it is possible to fully automate the ETL-process. The solution scores high on the part of data governance. Birst can integrate organization-wide data sources and local department sources easily.
Lack of Social BI and functions for cooperating
The functionality of the solution scores high on areas such as reporting, analysis, data discovery and dashboarding. But the functionality doesn’t yet compare to those of other reputable Enterprise BI suppliers or Tableau. On the area of performance management, social BI and cooperation, they clearly score lower than other suppliers. The fact that Birst scores less than other suppliers comes from the fact that there has only been a relatively limited amount of available connectors for the different data platforms. Birst is currently pushing to catch up in this area.
Who is behind Birst?
Birst was founded in 2004 and produces one product, Birst. The company’s slogan is: Connecting the enterprise through data. The idea of this approach arose from the fact that the founder of the company was involved in developing the Siebel reporting solution and innovations came about very slowly, usually at only one release per year. This had to be done different. For this reason, a completely new architecture has been developed, which ensures that new functionality can be added at a minimum rate of 6 times per year.
Review of Birst in our survey (partial results)
- Infrastructure & architecture
- Cloud architecture
- Performance Management
- Mobile Business Intelligence
"Birst, founded in 2004, is not yet very well-known by the big public, but it catches up quite fast with the big BI vendors. In the first place because the Birst platform is unique in its kind; it is completely (re)designed for the cloud from scratch." Read more in our 100% vendor neutral Business Intelligence Tools Survey.
The philosophy: 100% customer satisfaction
Not much is known about the company itself. It has a team of directors, but what is unknown are the amount of employees the company has and what the turnover is. What is known is that the solution is installed at more than 1000 companies. The average size of these companies is around 500 employees. The philosophy of Birst Cloud BI is that they fight for 100% customer satisfaction. Statistics show that they actually achieve this philosophy.
To learn more about the package or if you desire a demo, you can attend online demos at the provided times. You can register at this event online. This way of sales and demonstrations is very often also used by other BI suppliers.
What are the disadvantages of Birst?
- The solution is innovative, but it is a relatively unknown player in the present market. There aren’t many Birst developers in the Netherlands.
- It is a completely cloud-based solution, whereby data is stored in the Cloud. The problem here for your organization might be the security and privacy regulations.
- The supplier uses a subscription model, which is a flexible model, but the cost will recur monthly. Perhaps a “one time purchase” software would eventually be cheaper?
- The software is less suitable for complex analysis and is used mainly for pilots and organizations with a headcount of around 500 employees. It therefore seems less suitable for very large organizations.
What are the advantages of Birst?
- The solution is entirely Cloud-based, making it highly flexible, scalable and tough. Through the subscription model, costs are clear and you will be able to influence the costs.
- The product was developed in a modern language, which offers great openness and flexibility towards the future.
- New releases are made available on a regular basis, usually more than 6 times per year.
- For Birst as an organization, the customer has a central position and everyone strives for 100% customer satisfaction.
- The ETL-process is fully automated and therefore does not require specific ETL knowledge in an organization nor does it require the purchase of an ETL solution. This results in considerable cost savings.
How to position this solution in the market?
As mentioned earlier, Birst occupies a special position in the BI-landscape with this solution. The supplier has chosen to be completely Cloud-based and they also chose to hide a number of processes completely from the view of the end user. The software company is working hard to add new functionality, but the number of standard connectors is still relatively low. In the near future more and more connectors are expected to be added.
Birst is architecturally a great starting point to build towards the future, but the question is whether the current pace at which new functionality is added, enables them to challenge the ‘established order’ of suppliers. We believe that this is going to be an uphill battle for Birst.
If you want to know where Birst is located in the BI-landscape, you can see this in one overview, the Passionned Parabola for BI & Analytics. You will not only see Birst’s position in the market, but also the positions of other BI-suppliers.
Comparing Birst to other BI-tools
If you consider subscribing to a cloud-based solution like Birst, it’s good that you know exactly what functionality Birst or another BI platform can offer you.
Passionned Group has put together all the important functions at a glance in the independent Business Intelligence Tools survey 2018 and compared them with each other for you. In a large number of clear graphs, you see what the differences and similarities between the various tools are. If you want to quickly arrive at a balanced decision, then this unique BI guide is just the thing for you. You can order this survey right away on our site.
Purchasing and implementing Birst?
Purchase of Birst is relatively simple. It is simply a subscription after which you can basically get started right away. The “moving” of the data to the cloud however, brings with it questions about your infrastructure, security and privacy aspects. How do you handle this process in a proper way?
Our experts can help you with advice and implementation to get your data available in an appropriate manner for your internal organization as soon as possible. Please contact us if you want to talk further about any of these aspects of implementation or purchasing.
Implementing and purchasing Birst is relatively simple, but that’s just the beginning! Birst is a solution that ‘skips’ the ETL process, but only if the definition of KPIs and data, also known as master data management and metadata, is arranged well enough in your organization. Passionned experts can help you set that up in a good manner.
Accessing, interpreting and taking decisions from data is a process that must be started, even though Birst is available on many mobile devices. We help you to get “data-driven decisions’ going in your organization and to organize it as lean as possible. Our interim services can thus help build the necessary BI knowledge in your organization.
Want to know more about Birst Cloud BI or Analytics in general?
Passionned Group has a wide range of services for Business Analytics to support you in your organization in an even better way. Think of services like Business Intelligence training, independent advice and a well-stocked BI & Analytics knowledge base. Please contact us to determine which of our services best suit you.