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Metabase as a visualization tool - pros and cons


Over the past week, I had an opportunity to study Metabase quite extensively. I am pretty confident about my opinions. As a use case, I tried to recreate daily reports, that have already been published through Tableau .

Here are some advantages of Metabase:
1) It is fairly simple to use, and learn, compared to Tableau
2) It has unique features:
 a) you can mail reports or dashboards daily / monthly/ or after any specified time period directly to an email list.
 b) It is very easy to join tables on keys.
 c) It is EASIER to drag and drop tables/ visualizations onto dashboards compared to Tableau.
 d) It is quite easy for a beginner with no experience in building dashboards- to create visualizations. The tool provides certain suggestions such as aggregates on which visualizations can be developed. For example, it gives suggestions for calculating mean of a particular column, say, order amount by customer, and the tool does it directly for you.
 e) If the data is fed correctly through database, visualizations can be created simply by drag and drop.

Here are some disadvantages:
1) The tool is quite inflexible: I wanted to create one filter that can filter data based on orders in last x days. I cannot do that here. I have to create separate visualizations for each of: yesterday, last 90 days, last 60 days, last 30 days. Creating filters is not great with this tool.
2) The tool has a lot less tutorials and community support.
3) Highly reliant on SQL. I can see that there are a lot of duplicates in the dashboard that I have created. It is impossible for me to filter the duplicates through metabase. I am sure that I have joined the tables in a similar manner as I did in Tableau.
4) No formatting flexibility. I cannot add custom labels, I cannot change colors.
5) There is no way to share dashboards other than through an email. I have added you to the email list, and therefore, you should be receiving the daily report everyday at 8 pm PST.

Overall, if I were to create visualisations through Metabase, I will be bound by the limits of the tool. I would better prefer Microsoft Excel over Metabase since Excel also has the ability to integrate with live data for daily reports.

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author avatarAriful Mondal (Wipro Ltd)
ExpertModeratorReal User

@Data Sleek you are most welcome. Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, Qliksense are some of the top tools in the market. If you like Excel, it’s better to use Microsoft Power BI desktop which is also free.

author avatarAriful Mondal (Wipro Ltd)
ExpertModeratorReal User

This is very helpful. Thank you for sharing you views on Metabase. 

author avatarData Sleek
Top 5LeaderboardUser

@Ariful Mondal, MLE℠ Thank you! I'm glad you found this to be helpful. Is there a tool you prefer over the others?

ITCS user