A journalist is writing a story about which Data Visualization software product to choose. Can you help him?


Good morning,

My name is Robert Berkman, and I am co-editor of The Information Advisor's Guide to Internet Research, a monthly international journal for business researchers such as corporate librarians and market researchers. We provide sources and strategies for conducting effective business research.

I am currently writing an article on how to choose among some of the leading business data visualization software products such as Tableau, Qlik, Spotfire, etc. -- what are the critical differences between and how does one go about choosing which product.

If you have any experience or input on this selection process or comparative data between these or other market leaders, I would be most grateful to hear. 

I'm working on a tight publication deadline, so a reply at your earliest convenience would be most appreciated. Thank you very much.

Robert Berkman

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7 Answers

D9246b53 e695 4d12 a1b1 3416dd0d7494 avatar?1444504725
Orlee GillisCommunity Mgr

Hi Robert, do you have a link to the story published by the journalist about Data Visualization solutions?

Like (0)20 October 16
Prasun mitra li?1414338653
Prasun MitraConsultantTOP 20

I work in the area of data analytics and data management from a solutions standpoint.
From my experience on Data Visualization Tools and the their utilities from the customers standpoint I would like to mention the following key criteria not in the order of importance which varies from customer to customer(these are not necessarily all the criteria but are certainly among the important ones):
1.  Ease of use, ie does not require an IT guy to help operate all the time 2. Easy to deploy 3. Integration with portals or standalone 4. The user profiles: Who are the users in terms of their hierarchy in the org and their roles/responsibilities within the org? How do they best visualize their data? Where do they best visualize their data?-Mobile/desktop/conf room/tablets/ and so on. 5. How does the tool integrate with the data sources and how many different types of data sources do they support? Of course not all customers have a large number of data sources but the tool is likely to satisfy a majority of customers if it has good integration capability. 6. How does it work with cloud based apps of the customer? 7. Security of distributed reports/dashboards and data. 8. The tool's ability to support data "type" identification. 9. Speed 10. Types of reports/visualization/ etc

Regards, Prasun Mitra

Like (1)09 January 15
Robert berkman li?1420224035

This is really helpful--thanks so much for the reply--I will definitely look at your post--thanks again! Bob

Like (0)08 January 15
0cae98b7 d854 46fb ad83 6e7e5a8cf45b avatar

Hi Robert,

Last year I evaluated all the tools you mentioned. If you're interested in my actual evaluation criteria, you can locate the post on my profile page. Data visualization tools all tend to get grouped under a single category, but I think they can be subcategorized. A key qualifier in my mind is what type of data visualization tool one is looking for, or rather, what the primary use of the tool will be. If it's business-user friendly, drag and drop, ad hoc data exploration, I'd lean toward Tableau (though cost can be an impediment for some). However, If it's a polished, designed dashboards, that provide a more guided interaction, then I'd lean toward a more flexible tool like Qlikview. Alternatively, if your focus was on predictive analytics & data science, Spotfire (or SAS) might be a better option. One should also consider the state and type of data the Data Viz tool will be accessing, as some are far more flexible in the data types they ingest/combine, and each tool provides varying degrees of ETL-type functionality. There is, so far as I've determined to date, no single tool, that is the clear leader in all those areas, so it's likely about determining the specific needs of the business, and determining which tool balances them best. Hope that helps get you going!


Like (0)08 January 15
Virginio d amico li?1414339029
Virginio D'AmicoReal UserTOP 20

I can’t actually say I’m a true expert on Business Intelligence Tools, since my BI experience is restricted to a few platforms being used in my company.
Our data infrastructure is based on a SAP platform (R/3 systems + Business Warehouse), where most of our business data are stored.
As a BI platform, we started from bare SAP BW, then moved to Business Objects with not so brilliant results and finally, one year ago, me decidedly moved to Tableau.
Tableau has been an exciting discovery and seems to be able to keep all its promises. It’s a beautifully designed software and is very flexible and powerful.
For now we can say Tableau will be our reference BI platform were all analyses and reports are being developed. In about one year of practice, as a developer I can say I have a good knowledge of Tableau, so if you want to know more I am available.

Best regards,

Virginio D’Amico
Business Intelligence Manager

Like (0)08 January 15
Reviewer78465 li?1414329971
John BeckerConsultantTOP 5POPULAR

Glad to be of assistance!

We’ve done loads of research on this ‘best fit BI’ topic over the past 15 years that we’d be happy to share.

As with any comparative analysis or benchmarking question, the answer is truly relative to the needs of the business seeking a business intelligence solution, their leadership buy-in, their organizational size, their project scope, and their financial risks/investment/value that they are willing/intent to take/make/accomplish.

From an earlier posting on IT Central Station, here are our thoughts on the matter, and more importantly why we have finally selected IBI as our BI solution of choice:

Valuable Features:

The simply intuitive end user experience, as well as the data animation/visualization features of IBI’s BI system (a la Hans Rosling, of TED Talks) are a high priority for us.

Improvements to My Organization:

We searched high and low for the above-mentioned functionality in a product that was available to us on-premise (this is a must for us, because we simply can’t afford to use a SaaS/cloud-based solution due to the security/risk factors inherent in the oil industry), and looked at Domo, Qlikview, Tableau, SAP, Birst, SiSense, among many others before we stumbled onto the Information Builders’ BI solution at one of their lunch and learn events, in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Room for Improvement:

As we speak, IBI is adding the data animation/visualization features mentioned above. This is a must for our company, and we and IBI believe it is going to revolutionize the BI space. Here’s the thing…Wouldn’t anyone agree that a data presentation that shows the relationship between factors in a moving/animated way would be more powerful/convincing than the typically static data presentations we have become accustomed to seeing/victimized by in all of those seemingly endless corporate performance meetings? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the results for an organization simply jumped off the page and it was relatively obvious what was going on/what needs to be done? The cool part is that this future functionality will be free from IBI as part of their regular BI solution offering!

Use of Solution:

We are a greenfield operation and are designing all of our IT, BPM and BI solutions to be the best available today, working on a collaborative business partnership level with all of our vendors/business partners collectively. As such, no systems have been purchased, tested, implemented and deployed as yet.

Deployment Issues:

As mentioned above, deployment hasn’t occurred as yet. However, we have designed and built into our lab testing, implementation, and deployment processes a healthy professional services component that is designed to accommodate for any bumps and stumbles that may occur.

Customer Service:

There were many meetings held at our offices, we also participated in their Customer Summit, in Orlando this summer where we met lots of good, solid professionals and customer-based professionals with whom we were able to learn and grow, as well.

Technical Support:

Fabulous so far

Previous Solutions:

We had been positioned to go with Domo, but because of the problems with purchasing Domo as an on-premise solution at the time, we ran across IBI, and the rest is history! Even though Domo has now told us that they would offer their BI solution to us on-premise, we feel that the intuitive, user friendly aspects of IBI far surpass what Domo has to offer, and as such will be going with IBI as a result.

Initial Setup:

BI is complex. Anyone who imagines otherwise isn’t looking at the entire picture of what’s involved. Although we haven’t as yet deployed (as mentioned above), we believe that IBI’s implementation and testing process will be both thorough and illuminating for our staff in IT and enterprise-wide.

Implementation Team:

In-house is planned, with IBI professional services directly.


Since we are a high risk environment, we have calculated that any core business down time will cost us ~$18K per minute (or ~$1M per hour, with our core business process’s reset time projected at ~9 hours = ~$9M or more). Similarly, any efficiencies gained will be realized at those same rates (~$18K per minute, etc.). As a result, we are expecting that our select BI solution will pay for itself many times over in both disasters averted and efficiencies gained through our core business’s continuous process improvement efforts.

Setup Cost:

TBD. We have a cost proposal for both the solution and professional services broken out, but needless to say doing BI the right way can’t reasonably be done on the cheap. I would say that there is an economy of scale where IBI would not be affordable for just any business, as it would be with any IT solution, but for our sized and type of company (~700 staff, revenues projected in the $Bs per year, and both end user experience and continuous process improvement as key business values), we have decided that IBI makes the most sense for us. Guess it all comes down to how much your company has at stake, and how imbedded continuous improvement thinking is within your company’s culture.

Alternate Solutions:

Yes, see above. We looked at Domo, Qlikview, Tableau, SAP, Birst, SiSense, among many others before we stumbled onto the Information Builders’ BI solution.

Other Advice:

Participate in one of their lunch and learn events as we did, and see for yourself what IBI can do!

Hope this helps :)

Please feel free to give me a call or send me an email to follow up with you to further discuss these issues, answer any questions you may have, etc. if you think that may help you in your endeavors.

Like (0)08 January 15
Raymond tsang li?1415579452

Hi Robert,

According to your topic to compare write about those BI tools, it is very
broad and need deep analysis to compare the products. I had evaluated
Microsoft, Oracle and SAS BI tools before but I haven't done any research
on your listed vendors. However, I would recommend to compare the tools in
the following BI areas: Organizational memory, Information integration,
Knowledge/Insight Creation and Presentation. Also technology used and
supported by these tools would be another practical and significant area.

Like (0)08 January 15
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