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The Big 3 in Business Intelligence: Power BI, Tableau, and Qlik

Choosing the Best In Business Intelligence:  Tableau vs Power Bi vs Qlik

While your company undoubtedly would benefit from business intelligence software, the best fit from the top three vendors, Tableau, Power BI and Qlik will be determined by your use cases for leveraging these tools, and the features they provide.

Here’s a quick review of the features offered by the three leaders in business intelligence software.

Tableau is a powerful data visualization tool that allows you to quickly connect, visualize, and share data with a seamless experience across devices. Create and publish dashboards and share them with colleagues, partners, or customers with no programming skills.

 Tableau products query relational databases, online analytical processing cubes, cloud databases, and spreadsheets to generate graph-type data visualizations. The products can also extract, store, and retrieve data from an in-memory data engine.

 

Tableau has three main products:

  • Tableau Prep provides a visual and direct way to combine, shape and clean data, making it easier for analysts and business users to start their analysis faster. Tableau Prep consists of two products: Tableau Prep Builder for building data flows, and Tableau Prep Conductor for scheduling, monitoring and managing flows across the organization.
  • Tableau Desktop is used when you want to take data offline or bring it in-memory, Tableau lets you extract massive data for limitless exploration in seconds. It combines advances in database and computer graphics technology so you can analyze huge datasets on a laptop.
  • Tableau Online and Server: Tableau Online is an analytics platform fully hosted in the cloud. Publish dashboards and share discoveries with anyone. Invite colleagues or customers to explore hidden opportunities with interactive visualizations and accurate data. All easily accessible from a browser or on the mobile apps. Tableau Server allows users to securely collaborate and share critical insights and information through comprehensive dashboards created in Tableau Desktop or directly in Tableau Server.

Tableau has some unique features such as:

 

  • Tableau can connect to any data source on-site or in the cloud. Connections include: Redshift, Cloudera Hadoop, SQL Server, Salesforce, Google Analytics & Google Sheets, MongoDB, PDF files, spatial files, Dropbox, Amazon Athena and many more.
  • Easy switching between extracted data and live connections
  • Secure collaboration between Tableau Server and Tableau Online to securely share and iterate on key insights
  • Embed dashboards into existing applications, such as Salesforce, SharePoint and Jive
  • Great drag-and-drop integration which helps easily use data and create visuals to pinpoint patterns with a few clicks
  • Ability to use multiple filters and calculate them on a fly

Microsoft Power BI is a cloud-based business analytics service that provides a full overview of critical data.

Power BI is not only a data visualization service, it offers data warehousing including data preparation, data discovery and interactive dashboards.

Power BI has two main products:

  • Desktop is an on-premise solution connecting to a cloud-based service. It’s easy upload and share data and information across the company.
  • Mobile is a feature-rich mobile version as above.

 

Power BI has some unique features:

 

  • Reports can be imported to any dashboard for quick, simple sharing among colleagues
  • The Q&A question button allows users to explore data by asking a question
  • Deep integration with others Microsoft services, for example it connects with an Azure SQL database or Azure Tables in a few clicks
  • Cloud-based file storage that opens files with Excel, Office, PowerPoint and others
  • A REST API to build dashboards, reports or integrate external applications with Power BI
  • Great notification and comment system
  • Icon visualization (you may assign some values as icons)

QlikView is a data analysis and visualization tool which enables users to fetch, integrate, process and analyze data from varied sources. Use it for developing data models, analytical applications, dashboards, visualizations to create analytical reports and deliver it to end-users via an access point.

QlikView is available in two editions:

  • Personal edition is intended for individual use on a personal computer. There are no expiration periods or limitations, and it contains all the same features for app development and data manipulation as the enterprise version.
  • Enterprise edition includes unlimited capabilities for data access and app development.  

Qlik has some unique features:

  • distinguished from other BI tools by its unique inference engine, which maintains data associations automatically. As opposed to query-based tools, Qlik’s inference engine (known as the Qlik Associative Engine) maintains associations in the data automatically.
  • has a Google-like search
  • relationships in data are illuminated with QlikView’s visuals, for example relevant, important data will be identified and highlighted in a bright color, but irrelevant data will be colored gray
  • Qlik Sense automatically manages all the relationships in the data and presents information to you using a green/white/gray scheme.
  • allows users to interact with and explore advanced calculations from third-party engines such as R, Python, Matlab, Spark, etc
  • KML support in map visualizations

Summary

Tableau ranks somewhere between Power BI and Qlik, but has many excellent features . It has a unique drop-and-drop interface which looks similar to database visualization tools. Also, a free desktop version for every OS is a big plus.

Power Bi has a familiar dashboard, similar to Word and Excel, plus it has the biggest number of features with monthly updates. But, a desktop version is only available for Windows, most of the integrations are related to Microsoft applications, and it is an expensive option for small business.

Qlik might be the most flexible with scripting available for data load options and data transformations, plus it can make advanced calculations in multiple languages. The Green/white/gray feature looks great, but the dashboard has an outdated design.

 

Next: See how the APIs compare in The Big 3 in BI, part 2 – the APIs

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