Comparitive Analysis of Some Leading BI Tools
Business Intelligence (BI) Tools are primarily used by businesses to enhance the decision-making process. This is often achieved by collecting, integrating and analyzing large amounts of data and then creating meaningful reports out of it. And therefore, BI has a direct impact on the strategic and business operations of an organization. There are some basic parameters that need to be kept in mind while picking a BI Tool i.e.. Scalability & Flexibility, Agility, Customization capability and user friendliness.
BI uses various tools and applications to make data discovery accessible to all, and not just to the sophisticated analytics experts. But, most often businesses find it challenging to choose the right tool that aligns with their business goals. Of all the BI tools in the market, there are 3 tools that have gained more momentum over the last few years. They are, Microsoft Power BI, Google Data Studio and Tableau.
All three are different in many way, where one allows you to create customized charts and reports within a jiffy, the other offers dynamic interactive charts with powerful BI capabilities while Tableau has a highly intuitive interface with customizable dashboards.
Gartner has placed Microsoft Power BI and Tableau in the leader’s quadrant for over 5 years in the Business Intelligence and Analytics Platform. This is based on analyzing and rating various categories like infrastructure, product capabilities, architecture, sales & marketing strategies and customer feedback, etc. This report is as of January 2019.
Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms (2019)
The following blog will provide a brief comparison between these 3 tools with regards to
- Complexity and Integration
- Ease of Use
- Visualization & Responsiveness
- Sharing & Collaboration
- Data Cleanup & Transformation
Google Data Studio (GDS)
GDS is Google’s free data visualization tool. It was launched in the year 2016. Since its release, Data Studio has made use of Google Drive to share and store data. It connects to all the marketing data and turns it all into informative and visually appealing reports that are easy to analyze, share and customize. This tool is available for free for small teams and individuals but has limited functionalities and requires manual workarounds.
Users who have not previously worked with GDS might find it strenuous to adjust the charts and visuals and might find the menu navigation to be a bit cumbersome. But on the other hand, it has a very commendable drag and drop feature to generate immediate reports. Data Studio has a huge drawback when compared to its peers. It is the fact that the reports are only available in “Read Only” Format.
Sample Google Data Studio Report
One can easily compare 2 different data reports when using GDS, but it does not have a dynamic report generation feature which makes large data analysis tedious. The reports that are generated can be shared via a link and there is also an opportunity to adjust user-level privileges.
Microsoft Power BI
Initially released in 2011, Microsoft Power BI is a robust and extensive data modeling and real time analytics tool. It helps users gather and interpret business data to make more informed business decisions. Users can view various reports and drill down the data to better consume business insights. There are 3 elements to Power BI - Power Bi Desktop, Service and Mobile Apps. The use of Power BI depends on which tool best fits the business situation. Power BI offers a cloud based and on-premises data warehouse. This tool is best suited for Medium and large businesses.
Microsoft offers this tool with 2 pricing plans. Free version with basic reporting feature and Pro version with full real time reporting and dashboard updates. But this tool has a major setback when it comes to sharing information. The only way that data can be shared is to make the link public and this is not a viable option for most organizations.
Sample Microsoft Power BI Report
Power BI can gather information from various sources and then dynamically create interactive Analytics Dashboards. It encompasses everything from KPI trackers and forecasts to visual calendars and designers for infographics. This BI tool offers a seamless way to clean raw information, rename columns and combine 2 different tables into 1.
When it comes to ease of use, Power BI is voted best. This can be attributed to its powerful drag and drop interface which enables adding information with just a few mouse clicks. It is a more user-friendly tool with lots of out of the box visualization options and widgets. A dynamic connection can be established between all graphs and tables on a current page which makes data understanding much easier.
Tableau is a strong data analytics and visualization tool that blends information from a wide variety of sources and delivers actionable, real-time insights in an understandable format. Tableau has some standout features when compared to its counterparts, Power BI and GDS. It has real time data blending, Data Analysis and Collaboration of data. This tool has garnered a lot of interest now as it does not require programming support to operate.
Sample Tableau Report
This tool is quick to setup, connect and create but takes time to load large files. Due to large load time, creating complex visualizations is more time consuming. But on the upper hand, it has unlimited uptime which makes working long hours very seamless.
Tableau has different pricing structures for different elements. For Eg: Tableau Desktop Personal costs around $35/month. Having said that, this tool is highly compatible with mobile view as well. This tool is usually preferred by medium and large enterprises. Seamless report sharing, great flexibility and free of restrictions are some of the other fantastic features of this tool.
Selecting the best Business Intelligence Software is key to successful data Interpretation and analysis and many business issues can be traced back to poor BI tools selection processes. Some of the criteria that best – in class businesses look for, while evaluating a BI tool are shown in the below image. Before purchasing and committing to a BI tool, it is imperative to carry out a thorough study of current setbacks or requirements and map it to the tool that best satisfies it.
Factors considered while choosing a BI Tool
If there is a cost limitation, Google Data Studio would be the appropriate pick. On the other hand, if a business requires to perform complex data transformations, is willing to pay and wishes to have dynamic report generation, Then Microsoft Power BI or Tableau would be the best solution.
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