Oh, THAT’S the BI tool we’re supposed to use!

3 Minute Read

Surprise, surprise!

Just as Business Intelligence (BI) tools become the hot topic, there are more solutions available than ever…except that there aren’t, because only two of them are actually worth your consideration.

At Mind Over Machines, we’re always looking for ways to help you win. For our BI practice, this means constantly evaluating the marketplace for the best tools.

Here are the top trends we are seeing:

Only BI leaders are BI leaders – No wannabes allowed

The old guard of industry-leading reporting tools all bolted BI solutions onto the side of their existing wares. You would think that having a single solution for both reporting and BI would be the smart match. You would be wrong.

None of these “hybrids” remotely compare to BI solutions written from the ground up specifically for BI.

Gartner agrees.[1] You’ll notice that of the three Leaders in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant shown above, all are purpose-built BI solutions.

There are a couple reasons for this, but the short version is that reporting and BI are fundamentally different. Reporting is optimized for viewing information at a micro level, while BI is optimized for the macro. They are diametrically opposed. An 18-wheeler isn’t going to win the Indy 500. And Hyperion isn’t going to win BI tool of the year, or even make it to the starting line for that matter.

And then there were three…

So Gartner’s right about the three leaders, except we’d argue that Qlik isn’t quite up to snuff at the moment. As the founding member of the BI cool kids, Qlik hit puberty at the wrong time. Let us explain…

  • The Qlik platform has been around the longest, so it’s mature. That’s good!
  • However, it’s old and in desperate need of a rewrite. That’s bad!
  • Qlik is rewriting its old platform from the ground up. That’s good!
  • Qlik’s new platform loses all the stability and compatibility that maturity provides. That’s bad!

In summary, the entire Qlik solution is now in a weird mix of old and new technologies. The constant switching back and forth confuses developers as well as end users. Qlik is still charging industry-leading prices, but is currently providing an incohesive, buggy solution.

Stay tuned though. Once Qlik’s platform is sorted out, it could be back on top.

Okay, so really there are two

Power BI and Tableau are the hands-down leaders in the BI space. Each brings its own unique advantages and disadvantages. Same goes for their pricing models.

  • Tableau can handle any size or shape of data you throw at it. Cool!
  • Power BI’s natural language query lets you ask a question and get an answer. Awesome!
  • Tableau has an amazing ecosystem of add-ons and visualizations. Sweet!
  • Power BI’s pricing is disrupting the industry in a good way. Radical!
  • Tableau offers an unprecedented level of interactivity within reports. Tight!
  • Power BI makes mixing and matching disparate data sets into one report a breeze. Think Excel, Access, SQL, and API’s all singing together. Bossa nova! (Is bossa nova still a thing? No? Sorry!)

Realizing you may need a new BI solution?

At Mind Over Machines, we recognize that staying current on developments in the BI space may not be your personal, top priority. That’s why we make the time, do the research, and create helpful articles like this one, to help you navigate the landscape and arrive in comfort at your chosen destination!

We’ve described the general reasons why Mind Over Machines recommends Power BI and Tableau in most situations, but you should know there are plenty of situations where we recommend other tools as well. Considerations include compliance, cloud versus on-premise, existing footprint, security, custom development, and much, much more.

Ultimately, you need an experienced, reliable partner to help you select the best tool for your situation and then help you build on it. Mind Over Machines has over 30 years of experience doing just that.


[1] Gartner BI Magic Quadrant



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