What are some of the top priorities for your organization? They could be things like having strong management, or a solid business plan. Whatever your goals might be, a business intelligence (BI) tool can take your organization to the next level. BI tools aren’t just a way to see crucial data patterns – they help organizations make informed decisions based on that data, instead of just making educated guesses. With the ability to analyze data that’s gathered from many different sources, a single BI platform can help you every step of the way, from generating reports to acting on relevant data.
Which is the best business intelligence tool? That depends on what you’re searching for. A good starting point is to look at these 5 key capabilities, and how the 3 best business intelligence tools compare to each other.
1. How is the data administered?
You don’t just want the BI tool to give accurate data – you’ll want it to get accurate data back from users, as they do their own work on the platform. It’s important for everyone to have consistent and easy access, just like it’s important for the data to be validated and managed on a central server.
Qlik Sense – All users work on the same server, which makes it easier to maintain consistency. As new content is created, IT is able to oversee everything as it happens; this helps keep data pollution to a minimum.
Tableau – Data from the BI platform is used for work that’s done on hard drives, and then gets sent to a central server. This means that users can generate content even while they’re offline.
Power BI – This platform also lets users create content on their desktops; once it’s moved to the cloud, it’s validated by IT.
2. Where is the data stored?
Some businesses already have their own storage capabilities; others will need to expand as they integrate a BI tool. One of the main things to consider is how your data storage solution will impact established workflows – how much will users have to adjust as they’re learning how to utilize the new platform?
Qlik Sense – There’s no lack of choice with this BI tool. You can use public or private clouds, store everything on-premise, or combine the three options. You’ll also be completely in control of your data, since Qlik Sense is an independent company.
Tableau – Everything is stored in a cloud solution that’s provided by Salesforce, through Tableau.
Power BI – You can either use on-premise storage, or use the Azure cloud solution from Microsoft. Each option comes with different capabilities, so you can choose which one fits your organization best.
3. How does the data engine approach its sources?
There are two main options here – either the traditional query-based approach, or the less linear, more free-thinking approach. Which one is best for you depends on the kinds of answers your organization is looking for. Do you prefer a question/answer approach, or are you looking for a BI tool that knows how to think outside the box?
Qlik Sense – They focus on answering questions with data that’s drawn from multiple sources. Their associative data engine lets users find creative solutions that go beyond the obvious answers, so they don’t have to do all the brainstorming themselves.
Tableau – Their data engine operates on an SQL database, so the data analysis software takes a linear approach.
Power BI – Just like Tableau (and many others), Power BI uses linear queries to gather data from their SQL database.
4. Does the BI tool offer embedded analytics?
This could be one of the most vital features for users, especially as they’re integrating the BI platform into their workflows. Rather than having to constantly switch between platforms, users can seamlessly embed analytics into the processes, portals, or applications that they’re already implementing.
Qlik Sense – Users can embed dashboards, numbers, metrics, and individual values into their portals, products, workflows, and edge devices. With this robust embedded analytics feature, it only takes a few seconds to get the relevant data, no matter what that might be.
Tableau – Dashboards are the only feature that can be embedded, so this could be a better option for organizations who don’t need quite as much variety.
Power BI – This is the happy medium between Qlik Sense and Tableau, with both dashboards and other objects available for embedding.
5. Are broad use cases supported?
The right BI tool doesn’t just integrate easily into established workflows – it supports them well beyond the initial learning curve. Users should be able to implement the BI platform in a variety of scenarios, whether that’s data exploration, augmented analytics, BI reporting, data visualization, or a range of other tasks.
Qlik Sense – Tools like traditional data analytics reporting tools, embedded analytics, and interactive dashboards are at the user’s fingertips. Each use case has the same interface, so there’s no need to interrupt the workflow in order to get valuable insights.
Tableau – The use cases offered by this platform are geared towards skilled business authors more than average users; Tableau also offers a healthy range of use cases, focusing on self-service data visualization.
Power BI – Their use cases require a few different Microsoft products to function, so this could work for an organization that’s already using multiple Microsoft products and services.
What’s the conclusion?
Each of these BI platforms have their own unique offerings, just as the organizations that use them have different needs. It’s just a question of how well these platforms would fit with your organization – which one will help it develop to its fullest potential? Whether it’s the data storage solutions, the embedded analytics that are offered, or the range of possible use cases, make sure the business intelligence tool you select gives your organization plenty of room to grow. After all, that’s exactly what BI tools are designed to do – to give organizations the insights the need to move forward, no matter where they’re starting from.