Using MicroStrategy Transaction Services and Automation to Achieve a Simple Multi-tenant User Management Interface

Gaurav TrivediOctober 21, 2015

The multi-tenancy model (1) is emerging rapidly in the business intelligence industry, given that this common infrastructure is shared by multiple customers in the form of different MicroStrategy projects. This makes the model very cost-effective in terms of infrastructure management, but it’s not easy to achieve. With multiple customers hosted on same server, it becomes necessary to design a rigid user access structure to ensure that customers have access only to their project on the MicroStrategy platform. What user management challenges does this model bring?

  1. It creates a dependency on the MicroStrategy administrator to create users with the correct user groups assigned.
  2. The administrator needs to be vigilant in assigning users to the correct access groups, which could lead to human errors.
  3. Lastly and most importantly, MicroStrategy has different components, such as security roles, security filters, and ACLs, to fill-in while creating users — a painful task for non-MicroStrategy users who are not accustomed to it.

This scenario represents a real-life problem with customers who have MicroStrategy-based multi-tenant products rolled out to 100s and 1000s of end users across different customers, geographies, and departments. If such an organization’s sales team wants to set up customer accounts on the MicroStrategy platform on demand of the end users wanting to attend the latest product demo, creating and configuring the huge list of user level security can become a huge task in itself. Imagine the complexity here with multiple tenant (customer) projects on production platform and three user groups (privilege, ACL, and security filter) for each tenant. It becomes painstakingly difficult and time-consuming to perform user creation for each attendee.

What’s the solution?

With these challenges, a portal to setup user accounts in MicroStrategy (just like it is done for any other web applications, such as Gmail) can be a real boon.

We designed and implemented a “user creation portal” for one of our clients with a similar need. This portal provides users with an interface through which they pass the user account details (login and password) and select the suitable groups (for instance, this could be based on work area like HR, operations, etc.), and the rest is handled by the MicroStrategy User Management workflow, designed by InfoCepts.

Essentially, the portal we developed helps with these two tasks:

  1. Creating MicroStrategy users based on user inputs.
  2. Updating the password/ enabling user accounts expired or disabled in MicroStrategy.
How we approached the project

Using MicroStrategy Transaction Services, a report is generated that allows users to enter inputs required to create a username, password, and to select the appropriate groups. The System Manager workflow then reads the data entered by the user from the database and takes the suitable action (user creation/modification). Success/failure logs are sent to the user through mail.

What MicroStrategy components does the solution utilize?

  1. MicroStrategy Command Manager to automate the user creation task.
  2. MicroStrategy System Manager to integrate the Command Manager tasks with non-MicroStrategy components.
  3. MicroStrategy Transaction Services to provide a UI interface for end-user data entry.
The benefits

This portal provides a number of benefits:

  1. Dependence on the MicroStrategy administrator for user management is no longer needed.
  2. Since the workflow is designed using System Manager, it can be deployed quickly across different client environments by changing few parameters.
  3. Users get success/failure logs via email, eliminating the need to monitor the logs manually.
  4. Coding is not used in this workflow, making it easy to understand and implement for end users.
Usage of the automation

User management is a very routine task in every project, and this automation can be easily adopted in situations where:

  • A multi-tenancy model is implemented.
  • The number of users is very high, thereby making administration efforts high.
  • Dependence on the MicroStrategy administrator for user creation/updating tasks is not practical.
The limitations

While the User Management portal solves a number of problems, it also comes with a few limitations. For one, any company using it would need to have MicroStrategy Transaction Services and System Manager licenses. In addition, the current workflow is designed to update only the password. Any further requirements would need to be addressed by modifying the underlying Command Manager script.

Want to learn more about how InfoCepts approaches BI automation and management projects? Reach out, and let’s find a time to talk.

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1 Multi-tenancy refers to content that is created once, maintained in one place, but delivered to multiple tenants/customers who view that same content using their own data.