MicroStrategy rolling out 'Express' version of cloud BI

Now in beta, the service is a step up from the free Personal edition

MicroStrategy is adding an Express option for potential users of its cloud-based BI (business intelligence) service, the company announced Tuesday.

The Express edition, now in beta, is a move up from MicroStrategy Cloud's Personal version, which is available at no charge, but doesn't offer as much as the full-featured Platform edition.

Personal is aimed at individual users, who can upload information from Excel spreadsheets and Salesforce.com to MicroStrategy Cloud and then run visualizations and analytics against it. The resulting reports can be shared through blog posts or social media.

Express adds the ability to create, schedule and deliver such reports to any number of people, as well as fine-tune them according to a recipient's job, location and other factors, MicroStrategy said in a statement.

In addition, Express allows users to share content though a native iPad app, MicroStrategy said.

Express will be offered via subscription, but planned pricing information wasn't immediately available Tuesday.

MicroStrategy hosts the cloud BI platform, which became generally available last year, but also allows customers the choice of storing their data in MicroStrategy's cloud or keeping it on-premises. In the latter scenario, MicroStrategy Cloud would connect to the customer's data source via a VPN (virtual private network).

The service offers the choice of a number of databases, including ParAccel, SQL Server, Teradata and Netezza, according to a FAQ document.

MicroStrategy's three-tier marketing approach for its cloud offering provides a "natural progression" for customers, according to Forrester Research vice president Boris Evelson.

"If I just want to do quick analysis on my own without any investment, there's Cloud Personal," Evelson said in an email. "If I want to move on and start sharing and collaborating with colleagues with a minimal investment, there's Cloud Express. If I now want to move my entire BI infrastructure into the cloud, there's Cloud Platform. Same platform, same tools."

MicroStrategy made the Express announcement during its MicroStrategy World conference, which continues through Thursday in Amsterdam.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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