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Finding the Right BI Tool for Your Business

Nov 24, 2017
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Data visualization is a great way to better understand the numbers that matter. We process images 60,000 times faster than text. This is one reason data visualization has taken hold across the business world. Leaders and C-Level executives want to see if their investments are paying off. Taking your data and creating compelling visualizations can help you and your team make better decisions faster. In this post, we will cover the 3 most popular data vitalization tools on the market and compare their features. 

Before choosing a tool, you should know what it does and if it’s the right fit for your company. Microsoft BI, QLIK Sense, and Tableau are three of the most used visualization tools on the market. Each one of them has benefits and weaknesses. Making the right decision for your team will depend on a number of factors like coding knowledge, your data sources, how much data you want to break down and so forth. Below is an infographic that compares and contrasts Microsoft BI, QLIK Sense, and Tableau.

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Key Points: 

Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft Power BI is considered to be the easiest to use. If your business has a Microsoft 365 subscription, then you already have access to the tool. To get additional features, the cost starts at just $9.99/month, but this is only for 10GB of data. Power BI integrates with a number of data sources outside the Microsoft Ecosystem. Power BI uses its own language, DAX, which is very similar to Excel functions. This makes the software very appealing to Microsoft users. One of the advanced capabilities is that Power BI supports R language visualizations. For the more experienced data analyst, this is an excellent feature. 

QLIK Sense

QLIK Sense has an in-memory data engine that allows users to build interactive graphics. This allows for the user to combine multiple sources into a dashboard quickly. They offer both Cloud and Server versions of the software.  They also offer both enterprise and single-user licenses for the product. QLIK Sense provides 500GB of cloud data storage, which is considerably more than what Power BI offers. One downside is that QLIK Sense does not allow the use of R or Python, but it does have predictive, clustering and regression through third party APIs.

Tableau 

Tableau also has an in-memory data engine that allows users to build interactive graphics. They have been in the visitation game the longest and a number of Fortune 100 companies use them. Tableau is extremely flexible. Not only does it fully support both R and Python it also has native tools for clustering and forecasting. Tableau has both desktop and cloud-based versions, and prices are available for both enterprise and single users. From the get-go, Tableau offers 100GB of cloud storage to their users. One of the most attractive pieces to Tableau is the ability to connect to nearly any data source across the web easily.

There are many more data visualization tools across the web, but when choosing the right one for your business, take the time to understand your needs. Remember, these are only tools. Your results depend on your actions. If you put bad data in, you’ll get bad data out. At SMA Marketing, our mission is to help companies take their data and learn how to use it to make powerful decisions. Decisions that impact the lives of people. We believe data can help us all make business more personalized and human-centric. 

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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

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