Data Analytics & Business Intelligence comparison guide.

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ThoughtSpot vs. Qlik vs. Tableau vs. Power BI

Leading organisations are putting data at the centre of their business and using data analytics and business intelligence to make better and more fact driven decisions. These companies use data to help scale operations, anticipate market changes, provide a more tailored experience to customers and in many cases are leveraging data to unlock new and lucrative revenue models.

As the market matures and consumers demand more, the leading technologies in this space are also transforming and ramping up their offering. 

The top trends are:

  • Self service search (enabling data democratisation)
  • Artificial Intelligence (surfacing insights and answering questions that humans can’t)
  • Embedding analytics into apps faster and easier than ever before
  • Cloud Usage, both in terms of SaaS hosted analytics platforms, and connecting to cloud data stores.

So, here’s an overview of the best and most popular data analytics and business intelligence solutions on the market. Whilst these technologies are constantly evolving and adding new features, we’ve tried to highlight the strengths and weaknesses as we see it.

ThoughtSpot

ThoughtSpot is a leading search & AI analytics platform, that makes it easy for anyone in the business to get insights out of their data, regardless of technical skill. Employees simply search, just like you do with Google, to analyze their data with a single click at a very granular level.

ThoughtSpot has an AI-powered assistant, SpotIQ, that helps to surface insights, trends, & anomalies across billions of rows of data.

ThoughtSpot Strengths

  • Self-service/ad-hoc analysis for business users
  • Scale on large datasets at granular levels without aggregations
  • Fewer technical resources/analysts teams required
  • Reduced reporting backlog as users can self serve.
  • No need to pre-build content for end user consumption
  • Easily connect and live query the main cloud data warehouses.

ThoughtSpot Weaknesses

  • One of the newer players in the space so smaller community and existing customer base.
  • Not necessarily designed for complex reports and dashboard as it provides best fit visualisations on the fly.

Find out more about ThoughtSpot here.

Qlik

Qlik [pronounced “klik”] provides an end-to-end platform which includes data integration, user-driven business intelligence and conversational analytics.

Qlik Strengths

  • Robust dashboard/visualizations
  • 100+ connectors for popular cloud and on-prem sources
  • Data prep and modeling via visual drag/drop interface
  • Catalog for management and governance
  • Strong user base and user community
  • Low barrier to entry/starting price
  • Grown via acquisition of popular platforms (Podium Data, Attunity)

Qlik Weaknesses

  • Not self-service. Very much still a dashboard tool but making progress with Qlik Sense.
  • Known for slow performance on larger datasets (but getting better)
  • Built for Analysts, often described as ?confusing? by business users
  • Despite multiple acquisitions, scale is still a problem (traditionally limited by CPU and Memory on a single server)
  • Native search only works to find pre-built content

Find out more about Qlik here.

Tableau

Tableau allows you to quickly connect, visualize, and share data with a seamless experience from the PC to the iPad. With Tableau, you can create and publish dashboards and share them with colleagues, partners, or customers.

Tableau Strengths

  • Best-in-class dashboard/visualizations
  • Easy import of data from popular cloud and on-prem sources
  • Data Prep and modeling via visual drag/drop interface
  • Catalog for management and governance
  • Enormous user base and user community
  • Low barrier to entry/starting price

Tableau Weaknesses

  • Not true self-service, traditional publisher/consumer model.
  • Known for slow performance on larger datasets
  • Row-level security only further hinders performance at scale
  • Built for Analysts, often described as ?confusing? by business users
  • Scale. Requires aggregations for large data volumes
  • “Support for querying multiple fact tables and complex schemas in a single data source is absent from Tableau’s product” -Gartner

Find out more about Tableau here.

Power BI

Power BI is a collection of software services, apps, and connectors that work together to turn your unrelated sources of data into coherent, visually immersive, and interactive insights. Your data may be an Excel spreadsheet, or a collection of cloud-based and on-premises hybrid data warehouses. Power BI lets you easily connect to your data sources, visualize and discover what’s important, and share that with anyone or everyone you want.

Power BI Strengths

  • Easy import of data from popular cloud and on-prem sources
  • Heavy integration into many other Microsoft tools (Teams, Excel)
  • Included/bundled in Office 365, Dynamics ERP/CRM, and AzureData prep and modeling via PowerQuery
  • Robust dashboards with monthly feature releases
  • Evolving automation and augmentation capabilities

Power BI Weaknesses

  • Not true self-service. Traditional publisher/consumer model.
  • Complex, built for ‘power’ users (Analysts, IT, Developers)
  • Disjointed platform with multiple components to manage
  • Scale – Requires ‘aggregations’ for large data volumes
  • Azure – only cloud deployments. On-prem version lacks functionality

Find out more about Power BI here.

Conclusion

One size doesn’t usually fit all when it comes to data analytics & business intelligence platforms like the ones mentioned here. Most enterprises will have a combination of tools depending on certain use cases and different business challenges.

For further help with selecting the right solution, check out our other blog – Top 10 Evaluation Criteria for Analytics & BI Platforms.

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