Fall has always been a busy time in the BI and analytics space, and this year, the pace has once again bordered on frenetic. The Gartner Symposium in Orlando, the Munich BI Summit and Microsoft Ignite conference a few weeks ago are fast fading from my memory. So here is a quick recap of the most important highlights from Microsoft, MicroStrategy, and Munich:

Microsoft: Power BI On-Premises?

This was Microsoft’s second annual Ignite conference, held in Atlanta this year, with over 20,000 attendees. We know based on inquiry calls that Microsoft Power BI has been a hot topic and on many BI buyers’ short lists. So it was no surprise that many of the Power BI sessions at Ignite were on overflow. The one question everyone was asking: when will Power BI be able to publish on premises? Microsoft would not comment on a time line, but I caught a demo of this in one of the track sessions on Reporting Services, so it gives a hint on both the approach and timing.

It’s a good thing I got to the session on Power BI in the Enterprise early as many were turned away. (If you missed it, sessions were recorded and this video may be public.) Hybrid connectivity through the gateway, performance, and security were the top concerns, all well addressed in the session and continuing to evolve.

Baking analytics into all the Microsoft products – whether Power BI, Azure Machine Learning, or Dynamics CRM – was another theme. I liked hearing how Cleveland Clinic is using Power BI and machine learning to predict the likelihood of cardiac failure. Hendricks Automotive shared how 500 MB of data is generated from a single car in a single race. It’s a good example of how a politics and an exogenous even can prohibit and/or enable analytics: NASCAR only recently allowed the use of radio transmissions to stream this sensor data.

I also have to give kudos to the number of networking and track sessions on Women in Technology.

MicroStrategy Desktop: A Free Version

MicroStrategy scored well in the Critical Capabilities last year but in a highly competitive market place, they have faced challenges in getting customers to consider them. It’s a smart strategy that they just announced that MicroStrategy Desktop is now free. Yep, free! This approach lets individual analysts try MicroStrategy, mash data together, and visualize it. If you want to share the dashboard with others via a server, that’s when you’ll have to buy a license. I’ll be curious to see the market impact on this approach, an approach that competitor Qlik has successfully had for a number of years. It certainly takes the idea of freemium to a new level and the shift to land-and-expand we discussed in this note.

Munich BI Summit

I was thrilled to be able to once again participate in the Munich BI Summit, with over 400 attendees from all over Europe. I started my career in BI while working in Switzerland, so there is much about the European culture that I love and miss. Across the globe, companies are trying to modernize theiEnglish Garden in Munichr BI and analytics portfolios (see this note), so many of the conversations are similar to those in the U.S.

But some of the biggest differences centered around the politics of trying to change decades-old approaches. As well, in deploying BI in the cloud, the matter of where the data center is located, risks of privacy violations from data mashups, and respect for country-specific EU laws were top of mind. Beyond that, check out this photo from the nearby English Garden – those Packers fans are everywhere!

(About the author: Cindi Howson is a research vice president at Gartner Group. This post originally appeared on her Gartner blog, which can be viewed here)

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