Why We Need BI Tools and 5 Metrics to Choose the Best

By Mohsin Ali

Mohsin is a lead data scientist, analyst and strategist. He focuses on solving business problems with various data technologies and methods that entrepreneurs can put into practice.

In this era of the 21st century and the 4th industrial revolution, data tend to be at its core resource. Businesses all around the globe especially transportation business or taxi dispatch solution companies have invested in harnessing this data and gained insights to fuel their decision-making process and more intelligently hence the term born BI or Business Intelligence. Every Success story now has a data-driven approach where you let the data speak to you providing the much-needed view around your organization, big or small. But to achieve that, one must be equipped with the latest and most suited toolbox to their organization or requirements.

These days you must have heard terms like Power BI, Tableau and Qlik. All of them are tools that let you harness your data into meaningful information or business intelligence and analytics through graphical representation which are both pleasing and intuitive. But which one should you pick which one is better than the rest well it is the matter of what you need them to do and what your organization is all about.

Let’s go through how we chose one and how it played off for us. We are going to talk about three well known BI tools with given our self-assessment. Power BI introduced by Microsoft in 2013 and got popular really quickly compared to its competitor Tableau which was introduced in 2003 and Qlik introduced in 1993.

Visualizations

When it comes to visualization Tableau takes the lead with stunning visualization and graphics, owing to their vast experience. Following Tableau lead, we have Power BI with Microsoft experience and an already proven record with MS Office tool Microsoft left nothing as they have stunning dashboards to prove it. Qlik also offers decent visuals but still falls behind its two tools. Ok here is a little scoreboard we will keep to evaluate the three competitors.

Pricing

Power BI offers Power BI desktop free with all set of features and no limits whatsoever and you can also publish them on the Power BI Cloud free, They do offer paid plan Pro $9.99/user/month and Premium Licences which is an enterprise solution. Pro users can share their reports and have different workspaces. Now Power BI seems very cost-effective with its counterpart Tableau and QlikView. Tableau does offer basic single-user plans but is at very limited features and has paid plans such as Tableau Desktop Personal $35 user/month, Tableau Desktop Professional  $70user/month, Tableau Server $35 user/month and Tableau Online $42 user/month yeah we know that’s a lot to take in, but let’s not get ourselves distracted, as now Qlik also offer a basic but limited paid plans include $20 for a single user and $25 per user for multiple users.

Advanced Analytics Capabilities

Ok, here the most interesting part we wanted to talk about. Two terms Data Science and Machine Learning, we have seen how the power of data has changed how we see things today and the endless possibilities. Python and R are two well-known toolboxes for machine learning and data science. Imagine these integrated with your preferred BI Tools. Well, You don’t have to imagine it because Power BI and Tableau Provided offer support for both these languages given it is a bit limited but still gives you a lot to experiment with. QlikView only recently started to support such platforms. Power BI also provides forecasting, clustering, and decision trees in addition to the python and R based visuals.

Learning curve

Power BI, unlike its competitors, is by far the easiest to learn and one can start playing around with it, the reason being the user-friendly interface, Microsoft shares across the MS Office platform and it seems the whole system is some advanced version of excel. Tableau and Qlik both seem to offer a not so friendly user experience for people who are not from the data science background. Even with some basic knowledge, one needs to take time before they can fully grasp these tools.

Data Integration capabilities

All three of the BI powerhouses provide us with multiple ways to get the data from but Qlik lacks integration with major cloud platforms such as Azure and AWS whereas both Power BI offers integration with Azure services and Tableau offers integration with both AWS and Azure.

Conclusion

After reviewing all three of the BI Power Houses we can see they all have their pros and cons each one of them has some trade-offs and also some gains. Let’s look at the scoring table before we give the final verdict.

So as it is very clear to us, given some trade-offs Power BI seems to be a better and cost-effective choice for us with its decent visualization and advanced integration we can achieve our goals. We can also teach other staff so that everyone from every domain can benefit from it.

Here at Absoluit we tend to keep up with state of the art technology by the minute, we experiment  a lot so you don’t have to. Would you like to start for your next BI adventure? You can contact us for Microsoft Power BI consulting and services. 

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