Tableau vs. Business Objects - Which is a better solution for visualization and analysis?

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Our HR workforce analytics and process management team have been using Tableau desktop for over a year and found a great deal of benefit from its various features. Our teams deal with a lot of MS Excel and Access files but also have to push data out of key HRIS systems like Workday into Tableau since there is no existing driver connection currently. Now that we are pursuing Tableau server so managers can utilize the dynamic reporting our IT department is concerned since they've invested heavily into Business Objects (with limited use in the company) and we now have to justify going with Tableau Server vs. using Business Objects. Our HR team requires very quick turn around on reports and metrics with strong reporting visualization. Our workforce analytics handles a lot of predictive analytics/forecasting. Ideally we hoped using Tableau would actually free up IT resources to other larger priorities instead of managing change requests on reports consistently. In our opinion based on all of this, including low cost for implementation (under $60k incl. hardware) and low annual maintenance (under $10k) for 30 licenses that Tableau seems to be the clear route to go but I'd like to get some input from others.

So I'd like to ask users out there who are familiar with both systems to provide feedback on what they think a better option might be and any pros/cons when matching up the two systems.  Thanks!

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14 Answers

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Paul GrillReal UserTOP 5

I agree with Larry Keller's first comment that you should not be comparing Tableau with BusinessObjects - it is like comparing apples and oranges. BusinessObjects is a fully mature Business Intelligence suite which includes powerful analysis and data visualization tools.
You could certainly compare Tableau to Lumira but Tableau would probably come out ahead since Lumira is still new and catching up.

Like (0)14 April 14
Anonymous avatar x30

I think you all need to understand that Business Objects has several different end user experiences including visualization. The traditional query and reporting supported by IT and the end user tools that require no IT involvement. You get both with one integrated platform (server) if you want or stand along if you want a desktop tool. You have already made the investment, you just need to let the users have the right tool. You already have what you need without going to another server or desktop tool.

Disclosure: I work for SAP

Like (0)09 April 14
Anonymous avatar x30
Msc001Real User

I think you have quite convincingly answered your question. IT made an
investment in Business Objects but has seen limited use/acceptance. Your
department went with an agile solution that meets your needs for quick
turnaround and excellent visualization and you want to expand that solution
much to the chagrin of IT. How dare you business users go around IT or even
think about not using the
corporate-back-office-IT-blessed-probably-more-expensive-we-know-all-your-reporting-needs
solution?

Make friends with IT and have them buy and host/administer the Tableau
server; and if they don't agree use the hosted version in the cloud!

Like (0)09 April 14
Anonymous avatar x30

I would agree. However, the new tool Lumira is developed and designed for the end user. You have it right on the use, except Lumira is new just to combat Tableau, but with the power of integration to BOE is desired.

Disclosure: I work for SAP

Like (0)08 April 14
0cae98b7 d854 46fb ad83 6e7e5a8cf45b avatar
JhornberReal UserTOP REVIEWERELITE SQUAD

I'm reiterating what has been said in one way or another but: We currently use BO for end user generated ad hoc reporting, which it works well for, but I wouldn't even consider it for use in the way one would utilize Tableau or other similar data visualization/exploration/dashboarding tools (though admittedly I've never looked into Lumira). Likewise, I wouldn't use Tableau as a primary canned and/or ad hoc reporting tool as this is not where it shines.

Like (0)08 April 14
Anonymous avatar x30

Sure, if you have the desktop, you need the server product to publish your results. Then considering Tableau server is absolutely legitimate.
Using Tableau desktop should be able to free up IT-resources already. You can ask the BO fans in the company, - in the case of choosing BO as the only platform- if they are ready to adopt the work on Tableau-desktop, and are they going to be able to provide on the fly reports/analysis as your team does with Tableau at the moment.

Like (0)08 April 14
Anonymous avatar x30

If your HR team feels happy with Tableau and at the same time you can get their active involvement and their promise to develop and support it today
and future managers of information systems, go for the Tableau server solution. My past experience is that using Tableau at the users side, we as an IT team had no change request, users were self-serviced and happy. This was not the case at the same time with some other user communities at the same company using Business Objects. The second community never managed to be self-serviced. Engage IT Team in the areas of Tableau server to all
other Applications servers you need to get your data automatically (eg
HRIS , ERP) and leave your "specialists" and experienced HR users in the
areas of reporting. They know, they "feel" the data better

Like (0)08 April 14
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Alex KriegelReal UserTOP REVIEWERPOPULAR

Given familiarity with the Tableau toolset, and assuming that it meets your current and projected needs the choice is clear indeed... e.g. if your needs are met by MS Access - why use full-fledged RDBMS such as Oracle? :)

Switching to BusinessObjects at this point would bring little to your specific environment (scalability, for one), and would gobble up your IT resources - not free them up.

Like (0)08 April 14
Larry keller li?1414328940
Larry KellerConsultantTOP 5POPULAR

Having a background in stats, I do appreciate the fact that Tableau now connects directly to R and has forecasting models in version 8.1

Disclosure - I have been training/consulting Tableau for 7 years

Like (0)08 April 14
Anonymous avatar x30

Tableau has very nice visualization tools and if that is the extent of your needs and you don't see a significant growth in users it may be your best value.

If, on the other hand you anticipate the number of users or report consumers to increase or you want to perform analytical analysis, you may want to consider SAS Visual Analytics, as it can provide state of the art data visualization, BI reporting, and statistical analysis at a very competitive price.

Disclosure: I work for SAS

Like (0)08 April 14
A3d6b732 0d91 4200 a2f5 1500a9d7c9d6 avatar
Steve CornettReal UserTOP 5

I don’t think it’s one versus the other … but both depending on the use case. Managed, governed, validated, role-base secured, company standard reports and dashboards with guaranteed SLAs in terms of availability and performance should come from the enterprise BI platform. Prototyping, departmental, self-service, explorative/discovery reporting can come from Tableau. If/when a report from Tableau gains acceptance and needs included in the managed BO platform, the working Tableau prototype will serve as a tremendous accelerator for developing the managed report in BO. The need for one-off, departmental reporting and exploration will always exist and is being done in sub-optimal ways using Access, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. – so implementing Tableau puts this onto a common platform that won’t slow that progress or stifle speed/creativity, but gives IT visibility/displays/prototypes from which to engineer managed reports when needed.

Constraints with Tableau trying to be an enterprise/managed platform include:

- Lack of robust metadata layer required for governance/validation and effectively rationalizing data from multiple sources

- Inability to scale across the enterprise – good at GB level, not TB+ level

- Inability to create new relationships or dimensions within the data at the BI layer

- Lack of robust security amidst its method of bringing data down to the client machine’s memory when processing – doesn’t encrypt data and not compliant with industry security standards

- Limited scheduling/notification/alerting capabilities

- Simply put – Tableau is an awesome data visualization/exploration tool, not an enterprise class BI platform

Thanks,
Steve

Like (0)08 April 14
Larry keller li?1414328940
Larry KellerConsultantTOP 5POPULAR

Business Objects now SAP and Tableau should not be in the same room together or compared to one annother.

Like (0)08 April 14
Anonymous avatar x30
BIConsultant870ConsultantTOP 10

Hi, sorry I can not help you with the case.
I am not oriented in such a detail.

____________________
S pozdravem / Regards
Milan Škerko

Like (0)08 April 14
Anonymous avatar x30

You should download Lumira from Business Objects/SAP website. It is included with the Business Object – BI Suite edition or cost competitive with Tableau. The features are the same and you can please your IT department by leveraging the investment in BOBJ. You can use your existing hardware too, that BOBJ is deployed on.

Disclosure: I work for SAP

Like (0)08 April 14
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