The world of cloud-based business intelligence tools is a saturated market. It is a market that has a wide variety of larger, more established brands and new kids on the block with fresh offerings. Conventional wisdom says you go for the more trusted name, but what if that means you miss out on the best features and you’re also substantially overpaying? There are so many variables that make this a difficult choice. Price is more often than not cited as one of the primary deciding factors, alongside features and accessibility. To help you out, we’ve taken three of the more popular and best-kitted out options for a blow-by-blow analysis. Whether you need specific features or just need to save a bit of budget then read on.
SAP Analytics Cloud
SAP Analytics Cloud is an end-to-end business intelligence (BI) platform. In essence, that means it comes with every tool in the box that you should need. It covers dashboards for visualising your data and has machine learning built in to uncover insights that you might have missed. Coming from a big name such as SAP you can have confidence that this product has been well thought out and it has gone through several iterations before becoming what it is today. That means better reliability and performance for its users.
The benefits for its users start with the ease of use of the platform. The web-based front end means there is no need to bother with installations. This, in turn, means easier adoption for companies, especially those with limited IT support or resources, as well as all updates being applied automatically.
Of particular note for SAP Analytics Cloud is its predictive analytics capabilities which are easily accessible and incorporated into wider analyses. The platform allows all this functionality within a single application, reducing the complexity and lowering costs.
At $24 per user, per month it is on the pricier side of this comparison, but for that money, you do get increased functionality and the ease and simplicity of having all your tools in one box.
Microsoft’s PowerBI has very quickly become one of the major players in the BI industry. With the backing of such a large name it was almost inevitable that PowerBI would be a well-polished and incredibly reliable piece of software, and so it has proved.
The Microsoft name is a huge draw for PowerBI and there are certainly some benefits that come with that. For example, PowerBI is incredibly easy-to-use straight out of the box, it has a highly intuitive UI/UX and you can be creating dashboards within minutes. Likewise, it also comes with a whole host of integrations out of the box, Office 365 probably goes without saying, but also Salesforce, Dynamics, Sage, Oracle, and MailChimp to name but a few. Microsoft are also very pro-active in releasing new integrations so expect that list to grow.
PowerBI’s strengths lie mostly within its data visualisation tools. Dashboards are easy to set up, as well as being instantly shareable and fully interactive. The standard integrations mean the data to fuel these dashboards is easily accessed and PowerBI even has natural-language functions so you can ask questions of the data, although this feature probably isn’t quite where Microsoft would like it just yet. If you want to get hands-on with your data and explore trends yourself then PowerBI is a great option.
‘Pro’ licenses cost only $9.99 per month, per user so it is also very reasonably priced. Be aware though that you won’t get as much functionality, but perhaps you shouldn’t expect to at that price point. There is also a completely free to download version which can be a great way to figure out if PowerBI could work for you.
A relatively small player in the industry in terms of reputation, Yellowfin nevertheless has plenty to offer anyone looking for a cloud-based BI platform. Yellowfin is an end-to-end fully integrated platform, meaning it should be able to tackle most things you throw at it. Because Yellowfin offers several BI solutions on its one platform it makes collecting, analysing and presenting your data easy.
One of Yellowfin’s party pieces is what they refer to as data storytelling. Yellowfin’s Storyboard function allows you to craft interactive presentations of your data with a raft of chart types and visualisations. There’s no need for any coding, Yellowfin does all the hard work for you.
Yellowfin wants to make BI as easy as possible for its customers which is why recent enhancements have improved everything from data preparation to collaboration to its presentation and storytelling functions.
Professional licenses start at $50 per month per user, although licenses are free if you only have up to three users. The functionality will also suffer. For larger enterprises, Yellowfin operate on a quote basis.
Time To Decide
There are many options for businesses looking to improve how they analyse and interrogate their data. Picking the right one can be a difficult operation, which is why gathering as much information as possible beforehand is always the best first step. Different platforms will suit different businesses based on their exact needs, and in our experience, no two businesses have the same needs. If your needs are more complex, then it may be a good idea to discuss them with an experienced BI vendor or specialist. Rushing in can lead to many BI pitfalls!
If you’d like to talk to one of our BI experts, get in touch today.