Birst Networked BI and Analytics is a solution designed to eliminate information silos. Decentralized users can augment the enterprise data model virtually, as opposed to physically, without compromising data governance. A unified semantic layer maintains common definitions and key metrics.
Birst’s two-tier architecture aligns back-end sources with line-of- business or local data. Birst’s Automated Data Refinement extracts data from any source into a unified semantic layer.
Users gain access to self-service analytics through executive dashboards, reporting, visual discovery, mobile tools and predictive analytics. Birst Open Client Interface also offers integration with Tableau, Excel and R.
Birst is marketed in two primary ways: as a direct sale, for enterprises using Birst on internal data to manage their business; and embedded, for companies who offer analytic products, by embedding and white-labeling Birst capabilities into their products.
Birst’s is packaged in three available formats: Platform and per-user fee; by Department or Business Unit; by end-customer (for embedded scenarios).
Sarah from Publicis Media
Specialty: Media & Communications
Employees number: 201-500 employees
Birst is a suitable tool to review data without implementing the data in a data warehouse. it is possible to establish real-time connections to several databases or do the modeling directly in Birst. In some situations, you can see that the tool is still in its infancy but the support always finds a solution, however, it looks likes (as long as the source of interruption is critical to your business).
In my opinion, the admin area (modeling) is the least developed area compared to the visualization frontend and still runs (until Birst 6) on the flash basis with sometimes causes synchronization errors between the database and the front-end.
You can do modeling as you like with some limitations in the schemas. Birst can process star and snowflakes but has some problems with multi-fact tables and different aggregation levels in one table (data mart design. in Cognos they call this feature "Determinants").
Nevertheless, it is easy for anyone with a little modeling knows how to build a simple model and report their data. A person who does not anything about SQL or data would have a lot of troubles with modeling which isn't a disadvantage in my opinion but should be noticed.
Birst is pretty limited when it comes to "security" in different ways:
You can set a data security on row level and assign user groups or variables to it but it's pretty complicated for nondatabase developers or architects. our analysts (who do some modeling) had a hard time understanding the security until this task was assigned to us architects. This should be made simpler for every third-class technician to understand.
You are able to grant a user access to the admin area or deny it. you cannot grant access to just some features like upload images and add users. In my opinion, this a limitation and always requires a space admin to do stuff that a normal visualizer can't do.
If you want a user to import images or something then he must have space admin permissions and therefore he can make changed on the model which contradicts to a row level security if set.
The user management really is limited. you're missing a lot of creation/deletion functions and you must always access a space command window to do so. therefore you have troubles to mass create/delete users without using the API. You have to do a lot of extra work to manage your users efficiently.
The frontend is pretty good and you can do a lot of visualizations. You can choose between simple charts from "visualizer" or build pixel perfect reports from "designer". You can add both report types to a selection of dashboards.
Dashboards can be secured via user groups but only for space admins which always involves a space admin a slightly contradicts to a self-services solution.
All in all, Birst is an ETL and visualization tool that allows you so simply add files to your data warehouse and do some reporting. As more complex, your model becomes as more limitations you face while modeling. If you use live access connections the SQL's created are executed on the corresponding database. therefore you face fewer limitations than modeling within Birst.
we personally prefer to model with live access. Even if the tool is on some parts in its infancy the Birst community and support is pretty awesome and without this the tool wouldN't be satisfying but it exists and therefore I grant 4 of 5 starts for this tool.
If you're looking for a full self service tool for end customers you should take a look at Birst 6.
augustin from KEYRUS
Specialty: Software / Technology
Birst is an all in one product that cover BI problematics from data gathering to data visualisation without forgetting performance, security and user experience. Lots of technical aspect are simplified because there already packaged into Birst.
Ultimately it's a real time saver in my projects.
The End user data blending functionality can be limited because you can't make lot of refinement on user's Excel import data.
The ease to create new dashboard is really impressive and simplicity to gather data and make them available to end-users are key factors for projects success.
Leslie from iTalent Corporation
Birst as a vendor has been fantastic to work with as they are passionate, communicate well and always ready to help. The power of being able to have "no more silos" is game-changing for the organization. Love the fact that end-users have a much easier time creating their own visualization versus having to rely on IT.
I am hard pressed to identify something here as I usually find that when I run up against anything causing me a challenge, it is usually a matter of just getting more experience.
Think about your data and whether or not you have siloed information. Almost everyone, even with a data warehouse has some "local" data that end-users would like to include in their analysis. Then, make sure you have an understanding of the requirements/use cases for your end users.
Douglas from objectBusiness Inc.
The product provides a complete BI environment, from your data sources to the final analysis. Further, nothing is wasted in the process. Metadata is an important configuration component, not just a make-work project to be filed and go stale. This makes the final delivery robust, complete, and CORRECT.
The company itself embodies this complete solution concept by providing support in every aspect of an implementation. Unlike other vendors, their focus is on a well-architected business supported by the software rather than just the sale of licenses.
I least like the learning curve of the more advanced features. They are very powerful and based on standards, but are not often used by typical developers. Although a necessary evil, if you will, and mitigated by the support of the vendor, it takes a few passes to get your team up to speed.
I don't really have anything bad to say about the vendor. Perhaps that they don't have a strong presence in Canada is the only issue that comes to mind.
It's important to realize that this is not just a Tableau competitor. When evaluating they have to consider the significant reduction in support roles for a typical data warehouse.
Adam from Vertafore
Specialty: Software / Technology
Birst is a tool that is very flexible and has a UI offering that is very platform independent. They also have designed their product to follow the Kimball methodology for dimensional modeling which helps make the tool easier to understand if you are a seasoned dimensional modeler. They are visibly investing in innovations that are meeting or exceeding the needs of BI Community (Angular, iOS/Android apps, end-user data blending.) They have a very fast development team and release new functionality sometimes quicker than we expect.
Birst staff and leadership know us by our first names. They do try to build a relationship with their clients and not treat you like an accounting revenue stream. Their community is closed but very tight.
Being on the cutting edge, sometimes features don't work as advertised at first. It's usually a good thing to wait for a few maintenance releases after a new major release comes out if you have an appliance.
On the support front, they need not be so quick to recommend that you upgrade to the next release to address a defect, especially if it isn't due out for a few weeks. Sometimes it feels like rely on their community too much to help keep the ship going.
Being an application born in the cloud, there are some unpolished processes that appliance customers need to learn to get things to work from time to time.
Birst is growing and they are ramping up new staff all the time. If you don't feel you're getting the best answer to your question, you need to sometimes push them to get it.
Know what problems you are trying to solve before you engage any BI vendor. We evaluated several major BI vendors in the "Magic Quadrant" and all the sales guys will show you examples that make it appear that their solution is the best. Do your homework and do a POC that is relevant to your use case.
Know the product roadmap and make sure it is aligned with your vision. Birst did an excellent job of communicating their vision for the future and we feel we made the right choice.
Finally, educate your user community on what exactly BI is. There is a large misconception that building a BI dashboard is easy. Using Birst to do this IS somewhat easy, but invest in your data model. Without a good data model, no BI tool can deliver suitable results quickly.
Deborah from Musco Lighting LLC
Birst is user friendly whether viewed as an Administrator, Designer, or Dashboard viewer. Being an integrated end-to-end single application solution makes it easy to administer. I have seen this company grow and yet their basic foundation remains the same "our success is judged by your success", they genuinely are driven by making sure each customer is successful in their Business Intelligence solution deployments.
For a while Birst was deploying new features and functionality at too rapid of a pace. They have now created more of a strategic phased deployment cycle and it is easier to manage the testing and migration to new versions.
1. Quick Start, Intuitive? [Birst has a quick start, simply upload an Excel spreadsheet and you can test drive in Discovery]
2. Software Upgrades? evaluate frequency and who owns the upgrade process, are you forced to migrate to new version or can you remain on an older version. [Birst handles the cloud updates, individual companies test in their environment, but can remain on the previous version until the release of next version]
3. Advanced Expressions/Calculations - what is the coding language - does it take a programmer/developer to design all reports & charts? [Birst uses a friendly BQL internal language; but even a non programmer can pick it up easily. Birst is further expanding more of an auto prompt, drag & drop coaching utilities]
4. Staffing: does it require a programmer/developer to manage the datawarehouse and handle designs? [I am a Business Analyst with no coding background, I am the Birst Administrator, Designer and only need outside IS assistance when bringing in new fields of data.]
Bob from Yosemite Analytics
Specialty: Software / Technology
What is unique about Birst is the way it allows customers to achieve the "Holy Grail" of BI - namely, providing both Governance and Agility in the same product. It does this in an easy to set up and use multi-tenant cloud environment, taking advantage of the use of virtual "spaces" which allow you to provide users with the right level of access to the right data, whether they are more advanced users or more casual users, whether they are located at the company HQ or in a remote location, etc. Birst calls this "Networked BI" and it is well worth looking into if you haven't yet.
Birst also is unique in the way it allows you to combine many different kinds of data sources, some in the cloud and some on-premise (if you want) into one Unified Data Model and then use that to create and populate what they call a User-Ready Data Warehouse. They use something called "Automated Data Refinement" (their own patent-pending technology) to create this data model and data warehouse for you with a minimum of effort on your part, saving you a lot of time and money, and making it much more feasible to keep the data model and data warehouse updated over time.
In terms of visualizations, Birst has a nice tool called Visualizer which is very easy to use, and a tool for more advanced users called Designer, which allows you to create pixel-perfect and very customized reports. Birst also fully supports the use of other front ends such as Tableau and Excel, which can access your many data sources using the User-Ready Data Warehouse created using Automated Data Refinement.
The company itself is easy to work with and is staffed with very knowledgeable people who are eager to help you succeed.
The online help is usually quite helpful, but there is some room for improvement in the search capability and some of the content.
Whether evaluating Birst or another product, I would recommend you get your hands on it and make sure it works with your data and with your people, i.e. let your admins, data modelers, dashboard creators, and end users try it so they will be able to see in advance how it will make their jobs easier. It should not take long at all to get a data model, data warehouse, and some dashboards created using Birst.
Freek from VANAD Group
Specialty: Software / Technology
The product has a lot of USP's like Cloud, Networked BI, low TCO, etc. The ease of use and the possibility to prototype with data warehouses is unique in the BI market. Birst as a vendor is flexible and easy to approach on all levels.
New releases of products are often not stable. Some bugs are fixed and new ones are created. It's not possible to have multiple developers working in the Admin module. Birst as a vendor should consider a clear price strategy for partners, enterprises and mid-size organizations.
Don't focus on the visualizations, but on integration and virtualization of data features.
Mark from Graydon
Specialty: Banking & Financial Services
It is simple to understand.
First appearances offer a fresh user interface
Good plugins for source systems
Its sluggish performance.
Numerous bugs that give the impression that the product is not well tested
Limited reporting and dash boarding capabilities
Bugs that lead to erroneous results, without giving and error.
Their focus on the US market
Make sure your data mart requirements is simple enough
Mario from Achievers
Specialty: Human Resources
Easy integration with 3rd party data, great visualizations and it comes with ETL capabilities.
Language support is completely manual (need to make a copy and translation of the project for every language needed). Their claim that you just point the tool to your data source and it intuitively builds the data model for you is exaggerated. It works well when the source tables and data are perfect (like the data in the spreadsheet they use for their demo). If column names are not perfectly standardized or different column names are used, the tool won't intuitively figure out anything. Unfortunately, most data sources are not perfect.
Make sure you have a comprehensive list of desired functionality and drill the vendor to make sure they support it. For instance, when I asked the i18n question (language support), they said they supported 10 languages, but when I asked how they handled it they kept avoiding the answer until I cornered them. I found out then that all language support was manual. New visualization tools are very flashy, but since they are still relatively new, they don't have all the functionality of a legacy tool like MicroStrategy, Cognos or B.O.
James from iRobot Corporation
The ability to support both cloud and on-premises installations with the same code base was a big part of our decision process. We knew we had short term goals and requirements that would keep us from a pure Cloud based implementation, but wanted to be able to easily migrate from an internally hosted appliance to a private cloud, or public cloud offering. The commitment to move to fully HTML5 rendering and data integration capabilities are also core reasons for our selection.
They are moving away from Flash as a rendering layer for the product, I wish this process was more swiftly executed and already complete.
The integration capabilities of the platform are a selling point, but the tooling isn't as sophisticated as tools that may already be installed or available, so I think it is important to assess and derive a custom integration pattern that supports your business needs. By default, Birst has a bias to use the ETL capabilities of the platform to ingest data directly. I think it is worth while to assess this and determine if some level of cleansing/mapping modelling occur into common staging area that is then consumed by Birst. From a rapid development perspective, the native ETL capabilities are compelling. From a heterogeneous tool environment perspective where data needs to be available in multiple tools, alternative approaches would be desirable.
Raoul from Endowance Solutions
It's easy to integrate with many other SaaS based platforms and on-premise databases.
Administration and developer tools are sometimes still a challenge, but that has gotten better over the years.
Review the data sources you want to analyze. If they're a combination of cloud and on-premise, chances are Birst is a great fit.
Kevin from White Software Inc.
Specialty: Accounting / CPA
This app has been really helpful for me in my day-to-day work. I was able to use this to save time at the office and also make me a much more effective worker. The software is easy to use and has a modern interface. I really like this product.
Sometimes, the app loads too slowly. I want a way to streamline my processes and make things faster. Another issue is the User Interface. Sometimes, it's too confusing. I don't know how to set up certain actions. It would also be nice if common actions were more prominent.
Give this software a real shot, and try to use it for an entire week. The true value of this app is not realized until you've given it enough time to become part of your daily routine. It's also really helpful if you take the tutorial and learn how the app works.
Dan from Sforce
I really liked the buttons. The buttons were very easy to see and use. It made someone who often misses things like me love it.
I really didn't like how slow the service was. I wish it was faster. Speed is everything for me.
I recommend people really give this product a shot. Give it time. You need to be patient.
Weyland from Salesforce
Specialty: Food / Beverage
It was pretty easy to use. All my coworkers use it, too.
The user interface and the performance of the product are probably my least favorite parts.
Keep an open mind. Read the documentation. Check out the examples on the website.
Chris from Salesforce
Specialty: Software / Technology
The ease of use was pretty radical. I've liked using it.
The information available would be great if it was available.
A better wizard would be really helpful.
Laura from Salesforce.com
Specialty: Software / Technology
It's easy to use.
I like everything about it. It's really easy to use.
Read all the instructions. Some things are tricky, but be sure to carefully read all menu options.
Kevin from Salesforce Consultant
Specialty: Software / Technology
I love the options I had to build custom attributes into the system.
Setting up the data warehouse was a bit of a pain, but once you get into it, it is not too bad.
Definitely use the user guide; it is chock full of amazing helpful tools.
David from RelationEdge
I like the dynamic ETL capabilities and trending. Birst support is great, and they're not afraid to get their hands dirty by getting involved in resolving issues.
The software is not inexpensive. For small-to-midsize companies, this might not be a viable solution.
Be prepared to accept the fact that your understanding of the data might be very skewed and that Birst's results, though not expected, might actually show you the truth about your data (quality).