Business Intelligence (BI) has evolved from ‘Data Analytics’ to ‘Data Analytics and Visualization’. Almost all traditional BI solutions providers – even several new, for that matter, like Alteryx, SAS, SPSS, Hadoop – provide data visualization (DV) features embedded in their platforms. However, many organizations, focused on leveraging the business value offered by big data analytics, prefer to use pure DV tools, in addition to the data analytics software. This is because
- Integrated DV features of Data Analytics software are basic in nature and limited in functionality.
- Pure DV tools specialize in presenting the data in a pictorial or graphical format and offer a vast range of visual representations – such as scorecards, dashboards, heatmaps, scatterplots, charts, graphs and reports etc.
When it comes to choosing between these DV tools – although there are a number of them – most users find themselves comparing only a couple of them. The top players in this field include Tableau, QlikView and TIBCO Spotfire.
QlikView has been dominating the market for two decades with the largest and a loyal user base. Its latest version is QlikView 11.2.
Spotfire has been giving it competition ever since, and has gained more popularity after it was acquired by TIBCO in 2007. Spotfire 7 is the latest one.
Tableau is the youngest and growing fast. It has secured the top position amongst leaders in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for BI and Analytics Platforms in 2014 and 2015. The latest version, Tableau 9, was launched this year.
A quick comparison of the business values offered by these three platforms makes it clearer as for why Tableau has been gaining popularity and position. Have a look:
The comparison shows QlikView is powerful, sophisticated and multifaceted software, which is capable of dealing with huge and multiple data sets.
Spotfire is as sophisticated and powerful as QlikView.
Tableau is the most user-friendly, easy and vibrant with excellent data visualization. It is ideal for mapping, requires no hard-core coding, and has the best support.
Realising the power of simplicity and ease of use that Tableau offers, Qlik has recently launched QlikSense, a self-service visualization tool. QlikSense has a neat and intuitive UI, drag and drop dashboard formats, and smart visualizations. However, it still needs improvement in a number of areas, including mapping, printing and cross tabs.