Business analytics has evolved in the last couple of years from being enterprise IT’s domain to now being more for the business end user. Earlier, enterprise IT would roll out dashboards that enterprise users might access. However, enterprise IT now allows governed data discovery with visual dashboards developed by the end user themselves as per their needs opening a new space of self-service tools.
Budding data engineers/developers should focus IT-focused solutions of the enterprise and budding managers, business analysts should focus on the business end user (self-service) focused solutions.
Let’s take a quick look at some of these leading tools.
SAP BusinessObject and BI, SAP Lumira, SAP
SAP has a vast portfolio of tools. SAP BusinessObject/BI is intended for enterprise use whereas SAP Lumira directed to business users. Again, SAP BI becomes a gold standard as most of the companies have SAP ERP implemented.
- SAP BI has a large range of functionalities.
- SAP BO is mostly in demand by large enterprises as SAP ERP is already implemented.
- Each suite can integrate with each other. Hence, Lumira can be integrated with BO and HANA respectively.
- The high cost of deployment hence probably adoption only by large enterprises.
- Costly training but still high availability in the Indian market.
Oracle BI, E-Business Suite, Oracle
One of the traditional biggies in the BI/BA space, Oracle has a large suite of applications available mostly implemented in large scale enterprises. According to Gartner, Oracle BI Foundation Suite incorporates close to 80 BI applications.
- Primarily deployed in large scale enterprises, primarily due to the earlier deployment of Oracle ERP suite.
- A Large suite of applications available for all business scenarios and industry verticals.
- A Large set of integrators, outsourcers who work on implementing these solutions.
- Difficulty to use, and need trained manpower to develop reports.
- Weak business end user self-service offering.
- Training on Oracle technologies is readily available in India.
SQL Server, SharePoint, Power BI Microsoft Corporation
- The optimum cost of ownership.
- Freemium offering for their Power BI suite targeted at Excel users.
- SQL Server and SharePoint are widely adopted in the industry for enterprise IT / developer focused usage.
- Costly training.
- A confusing mix of the product portfolio.
- Power BI primarily for the self-service user, whereas SQL and SharePoint are more developers focused.
IBM Cognos, Watson Analytics, IBM
IBM is focused on the traditional aspect of BI. The release of Watson has however given business users a leg up.
- Strong enterprise BI/BA implementation support.
- IBM Cognos well suited to large enterprises IT type implementation.
- Has a strong administration, IT developed reports and dashboard features.
- Watson Analytics cloud-based strategy could be a game changer for enterprise self-service users.
- Training modules for Cognos are easily available in India.
SAS Enterprise, SAS Visual, SAS Institute Inc.
SAS provides a range of products. SAS Enterprise directed to enterprise IT and SAS Visual/Statistics for business end-users.
- SAS Enterprise BI has vast adoption amongst large to medium enterprises. However, it does not provide complex analytical use cases. Visual Analytics provides a more complex analytical use case.
- Product portfolio covers most of the features required for BI/analytics.
- Suitable for enterprise IT as well as business end users.
- Limited adoption of SAS Visual Analytics.
- License cost very high.
- SAS training is costly, and reading material is not available freely.
Tableau, Tableau Software
Tableau is intuitive, easy to learn visual data discovery tool.
- Easy to learn – enterprise users need not be a specialist in BI.
- Easy to use for data discovery – Users can import data from Excel files and manipulate them without affecting the original Xls files.
- Availability of online training material (both free and paid) and large online community.
- Limited portfolio of tools.
- Not strong in enterprise IT-driven BI reporting.
- Training is costly in India. But self-learning material available on company’s website.
Qlik Sense and QlickView, Qlik Tech International
- Easy to use due to their easy dashboard creation particularly for self-service.
- Easy to manage – enterprise IT can use it for governed data discovery.
- Easy availability of online training material and tutorials.
- Qlik Sense is relatively new; there are risks in adopting a new product.
- Limited acceptability in enterprise IT-driven BI reports.
There are many other vendors whose products fit niche sectors or requirements. However, the above-listed vendors are some of the heavyweights in the industry and will remain to be so in near future. Users should pick the tools depending upon their choice of career as mentioned in the starting of the article. Usually, companies now expect business users to be comfortable in using any one of the above tool.