Microstrategy Interview Questions and Answers for Experienced

  1. Explain what is Microstrategy?

Microstrategy is an enterprise business intelligence application software vendor.  It supports scorecards, interactive dashboards, ad hoc query, high formatted reports etc.

  1. What is Microstrategy Desktop?

Microstrategy Desktop is a Windows client-server software application that provides integrated monitoring, reporting, and analysis capabilities.

  1. What does Microstrategy Desktop allow users to do?

Using Microstrategy Desktop, users can easily access and share critical corporate information they need to make cost-cutting decisions and improve business processes. The information found in databases can also be used to help increase revenue and boost profits. Users can access this database and SAP data without having to learn technical database query (SQL) or multi-dimensional expression (MDX) syntax.

  1. What can users do with the information they access using Microstrategy Desktop?

 Users can analyze the information using standard aggregations and more sophisticated functions such as average, summation, percentage contribution, standard deviation and net present value. Investigative reporting, using pivoting, sorting, slicing, and drilling to more detail, can be performed with simple mouse clicks. Users can also format reports to their specifications and view the data as intuitive charts and graphs to identify trends and anomalies quickly.

  1. What are the benefits of using Microstrategy Desktop?

Users can obtain critical information immediately without waiting for IT departments to create reports. The software is easy to use and provides context sensitive help, thus eliminating the need for extensive support and maintenance staff.

  1. Are the reports created using Microstrategy Desktop available to other products such as Microstrategy Web?

Yes. Reports created using Microstrategy Desktop are immediately available to other Microstrategy products because of our centralized metadata architecture.

  1. Can Microstrategy Desktop access SAP data?

Yes. With the release of Microstrategy 8, Microstrategy Desktop incorporates a new dynamic data access engine designed to access multi-dimensional databases (MDDBs or OLAP Cube Databases) such as those from SAP Business Information Warehouse (BW) databases.

  1. Can Microstrategy Desktop access operational data systems?

Yes. Microstrategy Desktop users can use a new Operational SQL Engine to include data from any operational system using completely free-form SQL, including stored procedures and views.

  1. How fast is the performance on Microstrategy Desktop?

Microstrategy Desktop provides instant access and analysis of information. This high performance is enabled through Intelligence Cubes™, caches, incremental fetches and advanced analytic features.

  1. How long does it take to learn Microstrategy Desktop?

Microstrategy Desktop preserves the look and feel of popular desktop software such as Microsoft® Windows® Explorer and Microsoft Office. As such, users are immediately comfortable with Microstrategy Desktop. A customized interface using HTML can be created, simplifying navigation and report execution.

  1. Can I make my data and graphs look professional?

Yes. Users can format their data into appealing reports using various formatting styles and graphs for maximum visual impact. Users can choose from more than 30 different charting options to present information in the best layout possible.

  1. Is it possible to display multiple reports, images and information on the same page?

Yes, users can easily combine tables, images, graphs and other information onto the same page in a document. Visually impressive and compelling documents can be printed out and shared with corporate executives. Business users can now rearrange the organization of any report with simple drag and drop actions or by clicking on the new toolbar icons to get entirely new views of the data, all from the same report and without requiring assistance from IT.

  1. What printing capabilities are available in Microstrategy Desktop?

Microstrategy Desktop offers advanced printing capabilities. Features include repeating row/column headers, customizable headers and footers, and a comprehensive page setup menu. Users can preview reports before sending it to the printer.

  1. What subtotaling features does Microstrategy Desktop contain?

 Microstrategy Desktop has more than 10 different subtotaling functions that aid analysis of the data. Subtotals can be presented at any level in the rows, columns and pages on the report.

  1. What are the minimum requirements for Microstrategy Desktop?

Minimum requirements are a computer with at least a 450MHZ Pentium- compatible CPU, 256MB of RAM and 500MB of hard disk.

  1. Is Microstrategy Desktop available in other languages?

Microstrategy Desktop is available in English, French, German, Spanish, Korean, Italian, Swedish, Japanese and Portuguese.

  1. How long does it take to get Microstrategy Desktop up and running?

Microstrategy Desktop installs in minutes and automatically presents a list of available Microstrategy Intelligence Servers. Within an hour, the installation and setup are completed.

  1. How does Microstrategy Desktop integrate with the rest of the Microstrategy platform?

Microstrategy Desktop is the intuitive client-server interface used by business analysts and application developers. Microstrategy Desktop interacts with the Intelligence Server to build metrics, create and format reports, and retrieve timely, accurate information to the desktop to enhance the decision-making process.

  1. To what extend can Microstrategy Desktop be personalized?

Each Microstrategy Desktop user has a security profile defined by their administrator. This profile controls access to application functionality, specific reports or particular data for individual users or groups of users. The Desktop interface will adapt and display only what this user is allowed to see.

  1. Mention what specific features and functionality do you get with OLAP services?

With OLAP services users can create a unique report views by removing or adding attributes and metrics contained within the intelligent cube. Without submitting a new request to the data warehouse, the new calculation is performed.

  1. Explain how intelligent cubes are different from ordinary cubes?

Intelligent cubes are generated automatically when a new report is run against the data warehouse. Users don’t have to mention the cube to which they want to connect. Within the Microstrategy platform, the logic to match user requests with the proper intelligent cube is automatically handled. Subsequently the requests made by other users can seamlessly hit this new intelligent cube.

  1. List out the end user products that delivers OLAP Services?

End user product that delivers OLAP services includes

  • Microstrategy Web
  • Microstrategy Desktop
  • Microstrategy Office

They all leverage the functionality enabled by OLAP services

  1. Explain what is the difference between the Report filter and Report limit?
  • Report limit: It determines a set of criteria used to restrict or limit the data returned in the report data set after the report metrics are calculated
  • Report Filter: It applies the where condition to the query sent to the warehouse to retrieve the results
  1. Explain what is Logical view in Microstrategy?

In Microstrategy, logical view is a table that you create by writing the SQL in Microstrategy instead of pulling it out from warehouse catalog.

  1. Explain what is Smart Metrics in Microstrategy?

Smart metric is referred when a compound metric is defined with other metric objects using arithmetic operations like sum M1/M2.

For example: Simple or Compound Metrics Total (profits/unit sold) Smart Metrics: Total (profit)/ Total (sold)

  1. Mention what types of testing can be carried out over the Microstrategy reports?

Microstrategy can carry out test like

  • Naming convention tests
  • Total calculations test
  • SQL query validations
  • Attribute and metric positions in the report
  • Drilling options tests
  • Prompts related verifications
  • Security filter tests
  • Formatting/export functionality tests
  • Threshold testing
  1. Explain what is Microstrategy Narrowcast server?

Microstrategy Narrowcast Server is a software product which monitors and delivers individualized information to users through e-mails, web portals and wireless devices like pagers, PDAs, and phones. Users determine what information they want, when and how they want to receive it, through an easy to use web page.

  1. Explain what are the advantages of dataset compared to file-set?

File set consists of total tables and information while data-set consists of attributes, metrics of a particular report only.

  1. Explain what security does Microstrategy provides?

Microstrategy provides many security options to make sure that data is kept private and confidential.  To make easy access and minimum maintenance, Microstrategy desktop synchronize with Windows NT and 2000 security and with Novell directory.  Due to that users who have logged into these systems does not have to log on again.

  1. Mention what is the difference between Schema object and Public object?

Schema objects are availed to create Application objects like Attributes, functions & operators, Hierarchies, Tables, etc. While, Public objects are used to create other application objects like Filters, Metrics, Consolidations, etc.  Using architect permission schema object can be created while public object can be created by using a schema object only.

  1. Explain what is Listeners?

Listeners allows us to view the result of samplers in the form of trees, graphs, tables or simple text in some log files.  They offer visual access to the data collected by JMeter about the test cases as a sampler component of JMeter is executed.

  1. Explain how you can resolve attribute roles?

By creating separate table alias for the same or enabling the automatic attribute role recognition, you can resolve the attribute roles.

  1. Mention what does the predictive modeling capabilities does Microstrategy provides?

Microstrategy can calculate four of the primary data mining functions including network algorithm, regression algorithm, clustering algorithm and tree algorithm.

  1. Explain how you can direct the SQL generated to use a specific table?

We can use alias name of that table and alter the logical size of that alias table dnt then modifies main table and use the alias table.

  1. Explain how you can insert and update a record in the database through Microstrategy?

You can insert and update or even a delete a record by using one of the components of Microstrategy known as an ODBC test tool.  You can also alter table specification as per your need.

  1. Mention what is the difference between Microstrategy and Cognos?
                           Microstrategy                                  Cognos
  • Microstrategy is based on single meta-data repository
  • Microstrategy can be operated as web based and a desktop tool
  • There is no cube data-set for Microstrategy, and we obtain latest data-set from data-warehouse automatically
  • Microstrategy reporting is fast
  • Cognos has two meta-data repository based database
  • It can be used as web-base reporting tools
  • Cognos has a cube dataset which needs to be refreshed in order to get current repository values before reporting
  • Compare to Microstrategy, Cognos reporting is slow
  1. Explain how you can create the intelligent cubes in Microstrategy?
  • Intelligent cubes can be made in Microstrategy in the public folder or a particular user folder
  • We can make a report and point the report to a cube or right click in a folder and select the cube option to make a new cube
  • Once the cube is created, select the report objects which is required and save the cube
  • Once the cube is stored and ran to check, one can create multiple reports out of a cube
  • You can also add new attributes and metrics, whenever necessary, and those will be readily available when you run the reports next time
  1. Explain how you can optimize a report in Microstrategy?

VLDB properties enable you to customize the SQL that Microstrategy produces, and determine how data is processed by the Analytical engine.

  1. Mention the process or roadmap that Microstrategy uses to query request and generate BI reports?

The process or roadmap that Microstrategy used for generating BI reports

Step 1) Connect to Database

Step 2) Create Metadata

Step 3) Create Databases ( in-memory ROLAP)

Step 4) Schedule ETL (Query Schedule)

Step 5) Create Reports and Dashboards

  1. Mention different types of attributes in Microstrategy desktop?

Various types of attributes in Microstrategy desktop include,

  • Implicit Attributes
  • Compound Key Attribute
  • Derived Attributes
  • Simple Attribute
  1. Mention what is the difference between Custom group and Consolidations?
Custom group Consolidations
  • A custom group is a set of filters that can be placed on a template. It is made up of an ordered collection of elements referred as custom group elements.
  • Consolidations are used to define the data you want to view in your report. It enables you to group attribute elements in new ways without altering the metadata and warehouse definitions.
  1. Mention what are the business benefits of Microstrategy Narrowcast Server?

The business benefits of Microstrategy Narrowcast Server is that it provides an inexpensive way to send corporate information to untrained partners, employees, and customers. Due to which decision makers have enough information to streamline a business process that will cut the operating costs.

  1. Is it possible that with Microstrategy Desktop you can join data across heterogeneous data sources?

Yes. Microstrategy 8 have extended the data modeling flexibility to include integrated views of data across heterogeneous data stores. Data can come from anywhere- data warehouse, SAP BW, data marts, and any number of operational system databases.  By mapping conforming dimensions from various or different sources, Microstrategy Desktop can join data automatically from multiple unlike sources in the same report document.

  1. Mention what are the algorithm supported by Microstrategy?

The algorithm supported by Microstrategy are,

  • Neural network algorithms
  • Tree algorithms
  • Clustering algorithms
  • Regression algorithms
  1. Mention features that are not supported in Intelligent Cubes?

Features that are not supported in Intelligent Cubes are,

  • Prompts
  • OLAP Service Features: Derived metrics and View Filters cannot be used
  1. Mention the types of Report Cache?

The types of Report Cache include,

  • Matching caches
  • XML caches
  • Matching-History caches
  • History caches
  1. Mention what is an Element Cache?

An Element Cache is most recently used lookup table elements that are stored in memory on the intelligence server or MSTR desktop machines. So that it can be fetched more easily.

  1. Mention whether a MicroStrategy is a MOLAP or ROLAP tool?
  • Relational online Analytical Processing or ROLAP tools do not utilize pre-calculated data cubes.
  • Multidimensional online Analytical Processing tools or MOLAP utilize a pre-calculated data sets commonly referred to as a data cube.

A MicroStrategy is a ROLAP tool.

  1. Mention what is the difference between 2 tier, 3 tier and 4 tier architecture in MicroStrategy?

The difference is that,

  • 2 Tier architecture: The MicroStrategy Desktop itself queries against the Data warehouse and the Metadata without the intermediate tier of the Intelligence server.
  • 3 Tier architecture: It comprises an Intelligence server between MicroStrategy Desktop and the data Warehouse and the Metadata.
  • 4 Tier architecture: It is same as 3 tier except it has an additional component of MicroStrategy Web.
  1. Mention what is heterogeneous mapping?

Heterogeneous mapping enables the engine to perform joins on unlike column names. If the user determines more than one expression for a given form, the heterogeneous mapping will automatically take place when tables and column names require it.

  1. Mention what is an Implicit attribute?

An Implicit attribute has its own expression.   It is a virtual or constant attribute that does not physically exist in the database because it is created at the application level.

  1. Mention what are the types of fact extensions in Microstrategy?

The types of fact extensions in Microstrategy are,

  • Disallows
  • Extensions
  • Degradations
  1. Mention what is fact degradation?

When the fact is at a higher level than the report display level, then you can use fact degradation attribute to state how the Engine degrades the data to the lower level. When you lower the level at which a fact should be reported, you are using degradation.

  1. Mention what is filtered prompt?

You can restrict the number of elements in a prompt using a filter.

  1. Mention what is the difference between Report Limit and Report filter?
  • Report Filter: It applies the “where” condition to the request sent to the warehouse to fetch the results.
  • Report Limit: It defines a set of criteria used to limit the data returned in the report data set after the report metrics are calculated.
  1. Mention what is Prompt?

The prompt is nothing but an attribute through which you can modify the contents of a report dynamically.

  1. Mention different types of prompts?

Different types of prompts are,

  • Level prompts: It allows you to determine the level of aggregation calculation of a metrics
  • Object prompts: It allows you to select objects comprising a report at run-time
  • Value prompts: It allows users to type a value.  It is used in conjunction with metrics or other prompt for filters
  • Filter definition Prompt: This type of prompt enable users to decide how the report’s data is filtered, based on lists of attribute elements, attributes in a hierarchy or metrics.
  1. Mention does it mean when you say in-memory ROLAP?
In memory ROLAP = ROLAP Architecture + Cube Architecture.

In-memory ROLAP is an architectural extension of ROLAP in which physical ROLAP cubes resides in-memory within the Global Virtual Cube.

  1. Mention what is the advantage of using in-memory ROLAP?

The advantage of in-memory ROLAP is that it improves user wait time and free up database capacity.

  1. Name a few algorithms which Microstrategy support?

There are some of the very important algorithms in the Business Intelligence and they all are compatible with the Microstrategy. They are Clustering; Tree, Regression, as well as the widely adopted Neural Networks Algorithms.