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HyperIntelligence improvements a focus for MicroStrategy

Since MicroStrategy introduced HyperIntelligence a year ago, the embedded BI tool has received an overwhelmingly positive response, CEO Michael Saylor said in an interview.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- MicroStrategy's HyperIntelligence, a zero-click embedded BI tool that has perhaps become the signature feature of the analytics vendor's platform, has been on the market for a year. MicroStrategy unveiled significant upgrades to it this month.

HyperIntelligence is augmented intelligence in action. It uses cards to provide information that pop up as users engage with text on either their desktop or mobile device, and fits in with MicroStrategy's mantra of "intelligence everywhere." Pre-programmed, the cards provide information that allows someone to make a data-driven decision in the moment rather than having to do research to compile the data that will then lead to an informed decision.

The idea behind HyperIntelligence is to give analytic capabilities to everyone in an organization at every moment.

This week here at the MicroStrategy World 2020 user conference, MicroStrategy, which was founded in 1989 and is based in Tysons Corner, Va., unveiled upgrades and new features for HyperIntelligence that include improved ability to use HyperIntelligence on websites and applications as well as new mobile apps for iOS and Android that work on both smartphones and tablets.

After delivering the conference's keynote address, MicroStrategy chairman, president and CEO Michael Saylor took time to answer a series of questions.

In Part I of a two-part Q&A, he discusses HyperIntelligence in detail. In Part II, he talks about the larger trend of embedded analytics as well as MicroStrategy 2020, the vendor's overall BI platform.

How long ago did you first have the idea for HyperIntelligence?

Michael SaylorMichael Saylor

Michael Saylor: I think about two years ago we were doing hackathons. In our tech culture we do a hackathon and we'll come up with 24 interesting little research projects -- can you do this thing with Google, can you do that thing with the new HTML? We launched a ton of hackathon projects and some of our engineers came up with the idea of using our REST APIs [application programming interfaces] to inject a window of information right into an HTML browser using the Chrome browser. They built an extension so they were using Chrome extensions and our APIs. We hadn't had the APIs before, and most people weren't really thinking much about Chrome extensions, and we saw it and thought, 'This is kind of cool.'

We thought maybe we could do some more with it, so we put a team on it and it worked better, and then we doubled the size of the team, and then we doubled the size of the team again, and then we decided maybe this is going to work. Then we showed it to customers, and we could tell it was going to work once we showed it to the customers and they said, 'I want that!'

Is that response from customers something that happens often or is it unique?

Saylor: In the software business you come up with 42 different cool features, but a lot of them tend to be bells and whistles and they never really get used. You love them, but the customers don't really get it. HyperIntelligence really organically grew very rapidly.

You introduced HyperIntelligence a year ago, so what were some of the first upgrades you introduced?

Saylor: We started by introducing HyperIntelligence on a web browser with the Chrome extension and following that made a bunch of improvements. We launched a Hyper mobile client that allowed you to do search, and then we went beyond that and added the Hyper calendar feature where we started threading the Hyper calendar entries into the mobile app and then pre-calculating all the Hyper cards and organizing them by time. And then simultaneously we created a Hyper Outlook client and we created an extension you could use to inject HyperIntelligence into the Outlook email client.

Later in the year we polished the Hyper web client and we started increasing the cache and we improved the fit and finish and the way it worked in order to get speed.

And as the year progressed, what else were users able to do with HyperIntelligence that they couldn't at this time last year?

Saylor: I don't know exactly when we had it, but HyperVision -- this idea that I can give you a rainbow of cards that represent the good, the bad and the ugly and I can give them three different colors, and then I can extract just the one percent good, the one percent bad, the one percent ugly and then light everything up in color with HyperVision. That was a few revisions after the first one because we had to be able to set the color, set the stack, set the exceptions and get them all to play at the same tame.

The other thing we added subsequent to the initial release was Hyper triggers. When we first created cards we had the ability to have a fixed, static link -- I could launch the Wikipedia website, for example -- but later on we got to the point where it was a contextual link and I could launch to a specific page of Wikipedia. And then it got to the point where we could authenticate it into a particular transaction within an enterprise system so it became a trigger to a transaction. I think that was an important upgrade.

What's the roadmap for HyperIntelligence for the next couple of years?

I think we'll continue to increase the scalability and the speed of the Hyper card, put in more intelligent, dynamic matching of everything [to] just make it progressively more intelligent.
Michael SaylorChairman, president and CEO, MicroStrategy

Saylor: One logical next thing to do is to put complete REST packages of code into the buttons [that appear in the card]. Right now we have a contextual trigger that will take you into Salesforce or into SAP, but what if I just wanted a button that said 'promote' and clicked it and I got that action right in iOS or Android or in Java or in a web browser and it's done? That would give us a completely modern interface to every legacy system. Upgrading the transactional capabilities of Hyper cards is a big thing.

I think we'll continue to increase the scalability and the speed of the Hyper card, put in more intelligent, dynamic matching of everything [to] just make it progressively more intelligent. Our bread and butter for the next few years is just bridging the last mile in the enterprise. If you look at most enterprises, any company, they've all got tons of data sets that are too difficult to mine, too difficult to use, and if we can find a way to put the information at your fingertips in less than two or three seconds, you'll probably use it. We're going to be stitching together information that's sitting dormant and finding ways to inject it into the flow of traditional applications. That'll keep everyone busy.

Editor's note: This Q&A has been edited for clarity and conciseness.

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