By Patrick Callahan and Noah Baker

A major component to CompassRed’s  predictive analytics capabilities - or any data analysis, is the method of delivery for the insights we unlock from a customer’s data. Gathering insights without making them useful is a waste. Delivery can come in many flavors: via application programming interface (“API”) integration into your company’s software, custom triggers that alert via email/mobile notification/tweet, or in most situations, through dashboards delivered via “Business Intelligence (BI)”. There are a significant number of BI platforms in existence - all taking advantage of the great features from the basic such as flat visualizations, to the more complex such as integrating live Artificial Intelligence-based streaming data or complicated Conceptual Data Modeling tools.. The big players in the current field are applications such as Tableau, Qlik, Microsoft’s PowerBI, IBM Cognos, and the more recent additions such as Sisense. 

As in any industry - the competition amongst platforms is complex and each has it’s benefits and detractions. We perk up our interest every year around this time when the Gartner Group releases it’s Report on Business Intelligence. This year fascinated us with the changes and movement amongst the platforms. Here are our top 5 key takeaways from the report:

Insight #5) SalesForce - Where did they come from? We only ever thought that they were leveraged for Salesforce data - but in the last year – their own Business Intelligence offering made a significant shift to the “visionary” quadrant which drew our interest towards them. Since Salesforce is the standard in CRM applications - it’s only natural that we keep an eye on them for deployment alongside their data insights. 

Insight #4) Ability to Execute: Tableau still has the highest ability to execute but has started to lose ground to Microsoft. Tableau pretty much defined the industry in the beginning simply because of its ease of use and propensity to attract the business user. Think of it as Microsoft Excel on steroids. But ease of use does not always benefit when the complexities arise behind the scenes. It does a great job at visualization but has a lacking technical base. You’ll still need to contact IT.

Insight #3) Newcomer Sisense has made a dramatic move towards a “Visionary Status”. We first heard of Sisense with a few of our non-profit clients, but then started hearing about them when it came to needing to run complex algorithms “in chip” without the complexity of preparing a ton of data. Sisense’ move to Visionary Status makes us take them more seriously, although there is still not a lot of talent around that fully understand how they work.

Insight #2) Qlik is still in the magic quadrant, but barely. Though we always stay agnostic - we do have several clients leveraging QlikView and QlikSense. While it stayed in the magic quadrant (Ability to Execute, and Completeness of Vision) along with Tableau and Microsoft (a great sign), it did slip a little. We wonder if they’re planning for a significant change since their acquisition. For some clients, because of their arqitecture, Qlik is the only possible solution. 

Insight #1) Microsoft Power BI (PBI) - Growing stronger by the day. We have been watching Power BI since it’s release in 2014, and have been providing Power BI - and all Microsoft solutions since then. Microsoft has made significant headway towards their stated goal to “put the power of data in the hands of every business and person on the planet. It is our objective to serve over a billion users with the Microsoft business intelligence (BI) platform.”, which we’re starting to think might be possible.  Microsoft continues to align their cloud and on-premises solutions, making it easier than ever for organizations of all sizes & needs to add the power of data analytics.   

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AuthorPatrick Callahan