Top Business Intelligence (BI) Tools-An Overview
In a data-driven world where a huge amount of data (around 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are generated each day) is generated each day, companies are looking to leverage the high volume of data generated to provide a personalized experience for which BI tools are being used to visualize a 360-degree view of the customer. In this blog let us understand the leading tools available in the market.
While there are 100’s of BI tools in the marketplace and we have expertise in many of them, in this blog, we have taken only 5 of the leading BI tools to do a comparative study. In subsequent blogs, we will try to do similar analysis of other leading BI tools.
We did an objective comparison of 5 of the leading BI tools across different metrics and dimensions. We realize this set may not be complete, but believe it at least captures many of the important ones.
The following section goes into a detailed study of each of the above mentioned BI tools.
Tableau has evolved since 2003 and has become a go-to BI solution for various companies across industries.
- Desktop: Tableau Desktop helps to connect to the data and build dashboards to get actionable insights. You can import data from various sources using Tableau’s in-built connectors
- Prep: As the name suggests, Tableau Prep is a data preparation tool that allows users to combine, shape, clean the data before injecting into modeling and visualization tasks
- Server: On-prem or cloud solution to share your analytics securely across the organization
- Online: Serverless solution hosted on the cloud to share and collaborate
- Mobile: Helps to make better decisions via mobile devices
- Public: Allows users to create interactive graphs, maps, and live dashboards with automatic mobile-friendly layouts for free
- Reader: Tableau Public and Desktop allows the user to create the visualization. While Tableau Server, Online and Reader helps to access the visualization by wider audience. Tableau Reader is free, and the users will only be able to view the dashboard
- Data connections: Tableau has 60+ native connectors that connects to various data sources making it more flexible and scalable
- Live and In-memory data: You can either extract data or keep the connection live based on the business use cases and data types
- Dynamic parameters: Earlier, Tableau allowed only static values that can be used in the calculations. Now parameter values can be dynamically populated when the new data flows in
- Viz animation: Viz animation helps you analyze data progress by sorting, filtering, adding, and excluding certain parameters/dimensions
- Analytics Extensions API: Developers can create their dynamic extensions to integrate new programming languages, machine learning models, and advanced statistical functions
Tableau offers a discussion board called Tableau community and maintains a knowledge base repository.
It also offers data management add-on for $5.50 user/month to enhance data preparation and governance.
- Loading large size datasets for the first time takes a longer time
- The learning curve could be steep depending on the user’s background and experiences
Microsoft Power BI takes advanced analytics to the next level. It has been used by companies from various industries.
- Power BI Desktop: A free tool with which you can create visualization, query data, and build models. Even though the capabilities are available, distribution of the dashboards to others is limited
- Power BI Pro: Included in the Office 365 Enterprise E5 Tier subscription comes in with features such as on-premise data gateways, more storage, sharing and collaboration
- Power BI Premium: Premium offers clients with separate resources, ability to work with larger datasets (up to 50 GB), and user sharing access
- Power BI Mobile: It helps you connect and interact with your cloud and on-premise data on iOS, Android, and Windows 10 mobile devices
- Power BI Embedded: It allows you to embed interactive reports and dashboards into your applications with ease
- Power BI Report Server: On-premise solution that provides users with enterprise reporting capabilities of SQL server reporting services
- BI Clouds: Power BI leverages the power of the cloud and helps you meet regulatory compliance
- Power Query: It allows you to ingest, transform, and integrate your data within Power BI
- Microsoft AI: Enrich your organizational decision by taking advantage of the Microsoft AI to elevate users – with or without data science background – to get insights from structured data and unstructured data
- Real-time data streaming: Supports real-time analytics, be it monitoring factory sensors or social media conversations
Microsoft provides a vibrant supporting mechanism, including extensive guided learning, comprehensive documentation, developer community, and webinars. It also allows you to create a ticket for the issues that are not solved.
- Pricing for Power BI Pro starts at $9.99 user/month
- Power BI Premium, the enterprise BI solution comes in with big data analytics and advanced administration/deployment controls and costs $4.996 /month per dedicated cloud compute/storage resource
- Power BI is a windows application and does not run on Mac, but it is possible to run through a virtual machine.
- It provides limited sharing of dashboards and reports where users with the email domains listed in the office365 can only be accessed
Founded in 1993, Qlik supports a wide range of users across the organization and caters to the needs of the entire data analytics life cycle.
Over the years, Qlik has designed and developed products customized for specific usage.
- Data Integration: It automates data streaming, refining, cataloging and publishing
- Qlik Replicate
- Qlik Compose
- Qlik Gold Client
- Qlik Enterprise Manager
- Qlik Data Catalyst
- Data Analytics: Built-in AI-driven analytics empowers data discoveries
- Qlik Sense
- Developer Platforms: APIs allow developers to embed Qlik products into their preferred applications with the flexibility to customize, extend, and adapt
- Qlik Core
- Qlik Analytics Platform
- Data Integration Platform: It helps to streamline data pipelines by capturing change data and automates data pre-processing
- Embedded Analytics: It helps users in integrating analytics into their websites and other applications
- Data Literacy as a Service: It provides 24x7 enterprise-grade support, tailored consulting, education and customer success services
- Conversational AI Platform: This platform helps in code-free development, with contextual guidance that supports multi-language and pre-configured bot
Qlik ensures its customers transform into data-driven organizations by providing community support portal, training, and services. With over 100,000 members in the Qlik community, questions regarding data analytics, data integration and the rest of the products are answered by users from around the world.
- Developers help is required to build the dashboard most of the times
- Ad-Hoc reports are not easy to create using Qlik
More than just a BI tool looker is a modern data platform which focusses on SQL-based and NoSQL Big Data. It specializes in eCommerce, Media, Ad Tech, SaaS, Healthcare, Game and FinTech industries with their web-based interface. Google has acquired Looker for $2.6 Billion and it is now part of Google Cloud Platform. Looker and Google cloud share similar philosophy that made this acquisition a win-win.
Looker is a data-discovery application that exclusively runs on a web browser, yet it is extremely flexible and responsive because of its in-database architecture.
- Connectivity: Looker connects with Redshift, Snowflake, BigQuery, and 50+ supported SQL dialects
- Modeling: Users can deploy over 100+ pre-built Look ML models to accelerate the development
- Applications: It has a wide range of built-in tools such as sales analytics, digital marketing analytics, and web analytics
Looker has a collection of resources and learning materials. Queries can be raised in the community, or you can contact support.
Price ranges from $3,000 to $5,000 per month for 10 users. Additional users are charged $50 per month.
- Limited customizations compared to competitors
- Requires basic SQL knowledge
DOMO is a cloud-first self-service visualization tool that enables business users to create dashboards with ease. Users with minimal technical skills can easily connect to various data sources and start building dashboards. It is designed for mobile and cloud.
DOMO Business Cloud platform enables customers to securely connect and transform the data, get real-time insights from the data and build custom connectors.
- Connectors: DOMO has more than 1000 pre-built connectors that can be used to connect various data sources like Facebook, Salesforce and many more. On-premise data can be easily loaded into DOMO using workbench functionality
- Storage: DOMO can connect to different data sources, pull data and store it in single place, due to which, query engine can quickly query and provide the result
- ETL: MagicETL functionality in DOMO allows the users to clean, transform and load the data in a way that extensive ETL or SQL knowledge is not required
- “Profiles” is a social networking feature that enables the user to collaborate
- Reports can be scheduled to share with a specific set of audience
- Task feature allows DOMO to manage the workflows
- Insights module in DOMO let the user gain automatic insights.
- With Text bot, you can ask questions and receive an instant response from the bot which is connected to different data sources
- Alerts: Users will receive alerts when the business KPI falls below the threshold value
Users can access contact the support team via live chat, email, and phone during business days from 7 AM to 6 PM MST. DOJO is the DOMO’s user online community, where users share knowledge and communicate with fellow users. It offers premium support service options as well.
It offers a professional plan with standard features and an Enterprise plan with added features like Security, HIPAA compliance, storage, etc. To know about the pricing, users would have to contact the customer care.
- DOMO is expensive for small scale businesses
- It lacks on-premise deployment
- Support is not up to the mark
- Extracting data from DOMO is difficult
Comparing BI tools is a daunting task as every tool comes in with a set of unique features. While choosing BI tools, organizations must consider parameters such as complexity, ease of use, ability to integrate with other tools, sharing and data handling. The best way to choose the right BI tool is to look at your organization’s requirements and critically evaluate them.
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