Many companies are evaluating business intelligence (BI) tools to turn information into insight, to provide actionable uses of data assets, and to stay ahead of the curve in a rapidly changing modern business world. But what tools are best for business intelligence, and how are they used? Here is a comparison of three major resources for business intelligence projects.
Qlikview, which advertises its product suite as “guided analytics,” offers a choice of desktop, server or cloud models. Some helpful features include drag-and-drop dashboard design capabilities, and the ability to create presentations in Microsoft Office formats.
The company promotes its business intelligence solutions as offering security and scalability, with muscular reporting options. A component called Qlikview NPrinting helps make customized, polished reports quickly. Prospective customers can request a live demo on the site, or view report examples showing results in visual map and chart views, to get a better idea of how these visualized solutions look.
Other components of the Qlikview service include Qlik Sense, a self-service data visualization and data discovery app, Qlikview Market, a tool for connecting various modules, as well as the Qlikview analytics platform, where users build business intelligence applications. The web site entreats users to “find applications, connectors and extensions to expand your Qlik platform” while offering an I-tunes-esque set of dynamic lists showing the highest-rated, newest and most downloaded modules that connect to the core Qlikview architecture.
SAP BusinessObjects is a comprehensive and broad-spectrum analytics resource offering flexibility to a diverse customer base. BusinessObjects offers the power to deliver on any device, and through any platform.
With the ability to create highly visualized data, it includes many different components such as a Microsoft Word edition, a proprietary Design Studio, BusinessObjects Explorer (their version of a self-service BI), Web Intelligence (web-based reporting/analysis) and other BI tools that are specifically engaged to do different things with gathering, organizing and reporting data. Another big plus is that BusinessObjects is compatible with Crystal Reports, another product of the SAP company. Crystal Reports has been a go-to reporting format since before the days of robust BI, which is a feather in SAP’s cap.
As for other extras, a BusinessObjects Explorer element incorporates Internet search, while a BusinessObjects Mobile tool brings alerts on customers, products and more to a mobile-connected roving workforce.
The Spotfire business intelligence suite from TIBCO also offers versatile choices including desktop, cloud and platform editions. The desktop edition is aimed at single users, where the platform choice would accommodate larger and broader efforts. There is tiered pricing, with subscription pricing for the desktop edition.
The sample views available on the website show how Spotfire helps companies to solve problems with neatly presented, colorful and visual, interactive dashboards of aggregated data. In the words of TIBCO, Spotfire helps “share complex thoughts with clarity” and gives users confidence that decisions are supported by accessible facts.
Spotfire often runs on virtual machine platforms for Apple systems. A collection of videos and other resources helps new users get started. In fact, one of the best things about this particular offering is the use of various “wizards” and tools that, according to TIBCO, can help a new user to “create presentations in under a minute.”
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In-Memory Technology for Agile BI
All three of these platforms share an in-memory approach, where data gets loaded directly into internal memory in order to support faster and more capable analytics results. The in-memory or hybrid model (with some disk-based support) plus a completely web-centric cloud option makes these types of systems easy to use, efficient to deploy, and less cumbersome for business users.
In general, BusinessObjects may work better for company-wide, broad projects, where Qlikview or Spotfire can be more useful for single-user projects. Spotfire’s attention on its desktop edition follows the idea that precision in a smaller context is one of the biggest value propositions for this BI resource. As for Qlikview, customer testimony and input shows how this platform might benefit a company trying to work with a particular branded bookkeeping software or other outside elements. On the other hand, SAP BusinessObjects often beats the competition on things like report output and scheduling, as well as mobile capabilities, while again, offering compatibility with Crystal Reports, and it’s widely lauded as a high-powered option for massive business intelligence projects.