Narratives for MicroStrategy (NLG)

Natural Language generation (NLG) is one of the widely used processes by most of the organizations to improve interaction with customers and empower their employees. As a company, we decided to explore this widely used process with one of our valued BI tools MicroStrategy.

MicroStrategy is an Enterprise Business Intelligence tool that helps various organizations to analyze their data of any scale and create interactive reports and dashboards and then distribute to their users to make effective business decisions. It has a suite of tools for developing, deploying and sharing reports and dashboards. It provides multiple interfaces like web, desktop, mobile and also integrates with Microsoft office. It has various other features like intelligent cubes, optimizations for various databases and a highly secured environment.

While browsing through MicroStrategy forums we came across “Narratives by Narrative Science” regarding an NLG plugin that is used with MicroStrategy to allow for better understanding of the data.

Narratives help non-technical users better understand the data. This feature generates rich text insights from the visualizations. Instead of requiring users to interpret data on their own, Narratives help point the users in the proper direction. This amazing feature establishes better communication with both technical and non-technical users.

Utilizing the free trial version from MicroStrategy we executed the following:

Installation Instructions

  1. Download the narratives plugin from the below link https://community.microstrategy.com/s/article/Narratives-generated-by-Narrative-Science
  2. There are two ways to deploy the plugin in MicroStrategy:
    1. Navigate to MSTR web admin page, on the left side you have a custom widget option click that and upload you zip folder and click the deploy button.
    2. Navigate to plugins folder (<Tomcat-home>/webapps/Microstrategy/plugins) and upload the extracted narratives folder.
  3. Send out an email to microstrategysupport@narrativescience.com and request an API key to activate the plugin.

API Key Activation

  1. Microstrategy support team will send the terms and conditions. Once accepted they will send the API key.
  2. To activate the API key, navigate to <Tomcat-home>/webapps/Microstrategy/plugins/NarrativeScienceNLG/javascript/mojo/js/source/NarrativeScienceNLGConfig.js
  3. Open the js file in editable mode and hit Ctrl+F and type “to-get-a-key-from-narrative-science” and replace it with the API key you received.
  4. Once replaced, save the file and restart the tomcat server and the intelligence server.
  5. Now when MicroStrategy Web is opened click “create dossier” and the narratives option in the list of customizations will be visible.

Limitations

  1. The narratives plugin can only be used in MicroStrategy Desktop and Web.
  2. It is possible to use narratives only in visual insights.
  3. Not available for all kinds of charts and graphs, so it is limited to few visualizations.
  4. Data is shared with narrative science and stored in their server for several days. So it wouldn’t work out if the client is particular that their data cannot be shared.
  5. It might not work if the organization has strict firewalls.

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