Here They Are: Our Top 5 BI Consultants at IT Central Station

In the IT Central Station community, our biggest category is BI Tools, which boasts 1,018 reviews for 85 different solutions. Out of the 18,530 IT Central Station users that follow the BI category, we’ve handpicked five notable consultants from our BI user community, sharing their most notable quotes and leaderboard rankings for their respective solution expertise.
bob itcs


Bob Edis, Expert in IBM Cognos and Infosphere


Bob Edis is a Principal Consultant at a tech services company with over 10 years of experience in IBM Cognos. Bob has been a member of the IT Central Station community since June 2015.

Bob is on three product leaderboard(s) in IT Central Station:

Expert BI Feedback from Bob

In his IBM Cognos review from November 2016, Bob describes the three (of the numerous) times he deployed IBM Cognos;

Bob describes the stand-alone installation of IBM Cognos on a Windows machine as the “easiest install ever”, while the “concurrent install” with C10.2.2 on a Windows machine was “smooth with little confusion” except around SSO and WebDAV. Used port 9305 as 9300, as 9300 is for 10.2.2 install.

When upgrading on a Linux machine, he adds, installation was “quick and painless.”

Notable Content in the IT Station Central Community

Another expert contribution that Bob made to the IT Central Station community is the project he published on our website, where he shares how he used IBM Cognos to build “sophisticated BI dashboards targeted to “C” level executives.
gareth itcs


Gareth Crawshaw, Expert in TIBCO Spotfire, EMC Greenplum, and Tableau

Gareth Crawshaw is a consultant at a financial services firm with over 10 years of experience with Business Intelligence tools. Gareth has been a member of the IT Central Station community since August 2014.

Gareth is on three leaderboards in IT Central Station:

  • Ranked #1 in the TIBCO Spotfire Leaderboard
  • Ranked #1 in the EMC Greenplum Leaderboard
  • Ranked #2 in the Tableau Leaderboard

Expert BI Feedback from Gareth

Gareth gives detailed advice for users considering Tableau:

  • The software license cost is standard, he writes, and there is an optional maintenance fee which includes version upgrades. Because the software is straightforward to use, costs of training should be minimal, which balances out well with the licensing costs.
  • Gareth also urges users to “assess the scalability using the Server set up, engage users of the tool independently through the Tableau community for their ideas and advice on the pro’s and con’s of the tool…Even the biggest evangelists will be honest enough to tell you where it doesn’t meet their expectations.”

Gareth makes a similar point when advising users about TIBCO Spotfire, emphasizing the benefit of a user community and software consultants that can offer feedback and expertise regarding the solution. Gareth suggests that users “find experts in Spotfire; perhaps get some consultancy to fast-track your knowledge.”

kathy itcs


Kathy Williams Chiang, Tableau Expert


Kathy is the VP Business Insights at a tech services company, with over 10 years of experience in Business Intelligence Tools. Kathy has been a member of the IT Central Station community since April 2016.

Kathy is ranked as the #9 expert on the Tableau leaderboard in IT Central Station.

Expert BI Feedback from Kathy

Kathy shares that Tableau’s ease-of-use allows her to set up “basic analytic structures in the metadata with some starter chart types, then turn over to analysts who can then ask all the detailed questions of the data on their own.”

Kathy also addresses points within Tableau’s software that need improvement. These points relate to ‘advanced query functions’, which Kathy argues need to be improved, “especially when working with large datasets.”

Other areas in the solution which Kathy suggests improvement for are:

  • Custom query editor; it needs to be easier to work with the database in one environment, as opposed to “having to open another query editor to develop custom queries for advanced analytics.”
  • The formatting interface needs more customization options.
  • More integrated statistical functions.

guillermo itcs

Guillermo (Bill) Cabiro, Expert in Qlikview and Tableau


Guillermo is the Director of Development at Strat-Wise Consulting, and has over 10 years of experience in Business Intelligence tools. Guillermo has been a member of the IT Central Station community since January 2013.

Guillermo is on two leaderboards in IT Central Station:

Expert BI Feedback from Guillermo

QlikView and Tableau are both part of “the new BI generation, known as Interactive Visual Analytics”, writes Bill.

Bill draws a distinction between QlikView and Tableau in terms of the types of professionals that are more catered for by each solution.

Bill defines QlikView as more intuitive for “regular users or executives that are not technical experts”, and “Tableau on the other hand is a lot easier to use for developers, analysts or power users who need to connect, manipulate and visualize data rather quickly.”


Julie Schellberg, TIBCO Spotfire Expert


Julie is an Analytics Consultant at Big Mountain Analytics, with over 12 years of experience in Business Intelligence tools. Julie has been a member of the IT Central Station community since June 2016.

Julie is the #4 expert on the TIBCO Spotfire Leaderboard in IT Central Station.

Expert BI Feedback from Julie

Julie values several features provided by Spotfire, such as its integration with R, and the ability to import, manipulate and transform data from disparate sources, as well as to create visualizations that communicate insight.

Julie also suggests additional features that would improve Spotfire, which include “allowing insert columns to be changed after the initial operation.” This change, explains Julie, would solve the current issue of the user needing to replace an entire table each time an insert columns operation needs to be changed.

See the full list of Business Intelligence consultants, or read our entire collection of Business Intelligence solution reviews.

Microstrategy vs Cognos—Face Off

Microstrategy Review vs Cognos Review
Check out the new Face Off on IT Central Station for Business Intelligence (BI) tools. Each solution has more than 28 real user reviews and four and five star ratings!

Microstrategy Review vs Cognos Review

Microstrategy Review vs Cognos Review

First look at these quick summaries from expert reviewers for each product:

Senior Manager of IT at government with 5000+ employees:

Cognos Review

“Provides us with “a single version of the truth.”

Manager of Development at tech services company with 5000+ employees:

Microstrategy Review

“Issues with reports, however can be quickly fixed.”

Here’s more of the Face Off—click each one to see all the reviews for each product:

Microstrategy vs Cognos

Now take a look at this line up of the industry’s top BI tools comparison on IT Central Station and add your perspective. You can comment on these reviews, check out what others are saying, or add a review of your own. Also make sure you check out Microstrategy alternatives and Cognos alternatives.

      Ibm                                                               qlikview                     

Cognos Express       SQL Server Reporting . . .         QlikView              Microstrategy

To see a detailed comparison between Cognos and MicroStrategy, check out IT Central Station’s comparison.

Join the “face off” by getting involved in the Yelp for the tech-buying community.

Every review on IT Central Station has been verified to be an authentic review by a real user. You can count on our Station Master, Russell Rothstein and his team to continue to provide you with the kind of tech-buying community source that will shape the future. Take a look at how it all started here.


SAP vs. OBIEE Review Roundup: Enterprise Wrestling Match

Wrestling for a position in an enterprise-level match up, both SAP and Oracle, SAP BO vs OBIEE, provide business intelligence (BI) solutions that are typically central to mission-critical reporting and strategic planning for most organizations. Each wSAP BI vs Oracle BIill be awarded points during the match for a “take down” or “reversal.” In some cases, a clear “pin” secures the match.

Both very competitive, SAP and Oracle could win depending on the circumstances of the day. Consider an evaluation of the match up before going the mat here on IT Central Station.

To see a full product comparison, check out SAP BO vs. OBIEE.

Here are a couple of reviews to highlight:

SAP BO – “Provides a platform for developing reporting that can be used by end users, which will give relevant, consistent and correct results. Also, ability to combine data, I created a report based on SAP data from BW and combined it with data from SQL server to be able to report on the data in a way that would not have been possible to do except with manual steps. The solution I built replaced a manual process that would take 3 weeks and provided an automated solution. We were able to get the critical analysis in a small fraction of time and able to run the business better as a result. Can be a little buggy. As with any system you need to do the work to set up the foundation; nothing is as easy as you install it and all your problems are solved.” Read the full review here.

OBIEE – “Exalytics combined with Exadata server makes it possible to query ~ 50TB of datamart data (uncompressed size), that’s really great and ~ 1000 of simultaneous requests.In the past it was not possible to join data from so many different sources due to the performance limitations imposed by the size of the data Self service BI. It’s clear that Endeca tends to be integrated into BIFS and probably self-service functionality will be covered by Endeca.” Read the full review here.

You can also look at a comparison of the two products matched up: SAP BO vs OBIEE or the BI RFP Templates available at IT Central Station, in the right corner of the Business Intelligence Category Page.


Cognos vs QlikView – Dancing with the Stars

This week at IT Central Station we present a comparison between two very popular BI Solutions. Check out these real user, crowdsourced reviews so you can find out what’s really happening with the tools you’re considering, such as Cognos vs QlikView.

Qlikview vs CognosCognos – “Valuable features include Dashboarding presentations of key metrics. Room for Improvement: Ability to easily manage source code and environment deployment, Pricing model is frequently changing and hard to manage and Maintenance fees were based on a percentage of the base cost, not the discounted price we paid which was a surprise the first year.” Read the full review here.

Another user writes: “IBM Cognos is a sprawling set of products aimed at providing a complete BI solution for organizations of all sizes, but specifically large organizations. Unlike some other offerings that incorporate data mining and predictive analytics capability, Cognos is targeted specifically at the traditional reporting and analysis tasks using a variety of presentation techniques. These include dashboards, graphs, charts, reports, tables and so on. For organizations that have not yet implemented an organization wide solution to this need Cognos is a prime candidate.” Read the full review here.

Qlikview – “For the user QlikView is a wonderful tool of data discovery, providing powerful tools to navigate easily between a sea of data in an intuitive, easy, and clear way, allowing them to go from facts to KPI and vice versa. Improvements to My Organization: Qlikview can be used both as an advanced reporting tool as well as an BI KPI tool, becoming the base for continuous process improvements. It is well know that the ETL is quite far away from leading products like Data Stagem Informatica and others. Currently Qliktech is working on this problem with Expressor, a powerful graphic dataflow tool. ” Read the full review here.

Interestingly, another user writes about Qlikview that “Qlikview is to reduce uncertainty, make the participants question, discover, interact with each other, and eventually improve the process. Properly used should function as an improvement catalyst for the processes involved. Room for Improvement: It is well know that the ETL is quite far away from leading products like Data Stagem Informatica and others.” Read the full review here.

Visit the Cognos vs QlikView  comparison to see these reviews—side-by-side dancing with each other!

Ok, let’s be realistic, it doesn’t have to be like dancing. Visit the site and hear what a real user who contributed a review on the “Yelp for Enterprise Tech,” as referred to by the Wall Street Journal on IT Central Station, is saying about the solution you are researching. You can also check out these other BI comparisons:

Cognos vs. Tableau Endgame

When you watch a chess game—unless you’re a master—you typically don’t know all the moves and exactly how one strategy wins over another.

Cognos vs Tableau

The Cognos vs Tableau business intelligence endgame is up to you. Here on IT Central Station, find out what real users are saying—their implementation tips, tricks, and gotchas. View them during the match and before you decide your endgame.

Cognos: “The report designer, Report Studio, is incredibly versatile and easy to use. Reports can be served in multiple formats, such as PDF, HTML, Excel, or even as a JSON data source. The meta-modeling tools allows for a complex security system which can automatically filter data, in any report or ad-hoc tool, based on a user’s roles or groups. Dashboards are slow compared to other tools currently on the market. Visualizations are improving, but still difficult to get just right. The default mapping solution included is only useful for the most basic requirements.” Read the full review here.

Tableau: “I’m able to prototype charts/dashboards in hours vs days or weeks with other tools (mainly Excel). Doesn’t require me to think about the level of aggregation that I’m going to need as it deals with large data sets. Blends disparate datasets together which is awesome for plan vs actual reports where the data is a two different levels of granularity. Needs a metadata solution plus some enhanced ETL functionality.” Read the full review here.

You can also check out the Cognos vs Tableau to see a full comparison of these solutions.

Check out these other useful BI comparisons for your research:


MicroStrategy vs Tableau—Enterprise Vendor Boxing Match

Enterprise vendor comparisons such as the one here for MicroStrategy vs Tableau, help you evaluate what real users are saying—their implementation tips, tricks, and gotchas. View them as boxing matches that might last several rounds.MicroStrategy vs Tableau

Just as in a boxing match, you can be a spectator to find out the strengths and weaknesses of the players—or the strategies used by vendors in the ring—before investing in a solution or even talking to the sales teams. You want to get a sense for what’s really going to work in your environment to save you both time and money.

The first place you might want to visit is our comparison page for these two products. In addition, you can read highlights from some of our real user reviews:

One reviewer, Vijay Madhavan, compares both products and says that: “Tableau has found its sweet-spot as an agile discovery tool that analysts use to create and share insights. It is also the tool of choice for rapid prototyping of dashboards. Within a MicroStrategy project, applications can be built relating multiple visual insights analyses. A visual insights analysis may also support ad-hoc drilling workflows that access the data warehouse.” Click MicroStrategy vs Tableau to see his full review.

A Microstrategy user writes: “MicroStrategy can read data from a wide variety of different DBMS and web services, producing optimized SQL code for each of them. It’s a one stop solution for BI: after 10 years using it I still haven’t found a report or graph that can’t be done with the suite. We use it for any kind of reporting and analysis. It helped manage the institution, reduce costs and provide better service to the patients (which are our customers…) The web is full of very interesting data, and the number of web services providing datasets is increasing. I would like to see Support for OAuth 1.0 and 2.0 to be able to attach external data sources. I’d like to have Support for JSON data. I hope HTML5 and JavaScript will be used extensively in next versions, to substitute the Flash based components. Read the full review here.

A Tableau user writes “I will address Tableau’s enterprise web-based and mobile usage at a later date but for departmental desktop usage, there are few hurdles to using Tableau. If you have “spreadsheet jockeys” trying to perform data visualization with just Excel, then Tableau is a perfect holiday gift.” Read the full review here.

Ok, let’s be realistic, it doesn’t have to be exactly like a real boxing match with a knockout blow that indicates one wins over the other. What makes more sense is what’s right for you in your environment. Let go of the analyst spin, the marketing spin—the spin for vendor success in general might not be what you need.

You might want to read the review of a real user who contributed a review on the “Yelp for Enterprise Tech” as referred to by the Wall Street Journal on IT Central Station. You can also check out these other vendor comparisons: QlikView vs Microsoft BI and Microsoft BI vs. SAP Business Objects. Enjoy!



Read, Write, and We View Vendors for TechTarget VMworld Awards

Elmer_FuddDid you get Elmer Fudd, tongue tied on that?

Well, if you did who cares? The point is that you can get to enterprise vendor reviews from real users here on IT Central Station—no disguises, no vendor speak, no vender hype, just real content from the field. Now, let’s see about these awards.

As the official media partner for the VMworld Awards for the seventh year in a row, TechTarget’s staff appointed a team of experts and editors that selected winning products from more than 175 entries. The team judged the products according to their innovation, value, performance, reliability and ease of use.

Let’s quickly take a look at the run down of some of the VMworld TechTarget winners:

Category: Storage and Backup for Virtualized Environments
Winner: SimpliVity, OmniCube
Runner-up: Dell Software, Dell AppAssure 5.3.3

Category: Security and Compliance for Virtualization
Winner: AFORE Solutions, CloudLink Secure VSA
Runner-up: Intigua, Intigua Virtual Containers

Category: Virtualization Management
Winner: Eaton, Eaton Intelligent Power Manager 1.3
Runner-up: CloudPhysics, CloudPhysics

Category: Networking and Virtualization
Winner: PLUMgrid, PLUMgrid Platform
Runner-up: Anuta Networks, nCloudX 1.7

Category: Desktop Virtualization and End-User Computing
Winner: Lakeside Software, SysTrack Resolve 6.1
Runner-up: Atlantis Computing, Atlantis ILIO Persistent VDI 4.0

Category: Private Cloud Computing Technologies
Winner: Nutanix, NX-6270
Runner-up: Metacloud, Carbon|OS

For the complete TechTarget article on the awards and show, click here.

For more information about any enterprise vendors, where are you going to start? It’s simple. Search for the vendors of your choice on IT Central Station.

Visit IT Central Station to browse hundreds of real user reviews of virtualization and cloud solutions including VMware, Citrix, Microsoft, Amazon, Red Hat, Oracle, and more.

Become a part of the “Yelp for Enterprise,” as referred to by the Wall Street Journal. Get your profile up and start reviewing, posting, and commenting. From the TechTarget awards, we have product pages for OmniCube and AppAssure that need your reviews . If you are a real user, write a review for these or others today!

Microsoft BI vs IBM Cognos and More—a Big Data Shouting Match

Are you listening? You don’t want to necessarily hear people shouting about Big Data—you do, however want to hear from the crowds. Business Intelligence

Check out these real reviews from all your peers on IT Central Station. What we’re saying is stop your Big Data from becoming Bad Data by checking out who’s implementing what and where.

With a nice round of reviews like these, you won’t have to call the IT vendor sales folks until you’re absolutely ready with your questions and concerns.

With well over 20 reviews from Business Intelligence tools such as Microsoft BI, IBM Cognos, Prism, Logi Info, Microstrategy, and Qlikview, you can check over which ones are relevant to your needs.

For example, as you get involved in finding a vendor solution, a lot of time gets sucked into setting up the engagement with a vender rep. You can do a lot beforehand by finding out what others are saying whom you trust—like when you’re about to hire a plumber, you look through Yelp or some other crowdsourced media. Now it’s even easier for enterprise vendor evaluations and reviews. Look at them all now in the list below.

Business Intelligence Tools for Big Data Analysis

Big Data

Getting Started

If you’re a vendor and want to get involved check out How do we engage with this community?  Regarding reviews, if you’re a real user of any vendor solution, follow this formula to hear from peers and demonstrate your expertise:

  1. Read one
  2. Write one
  3. Comment on two

Getting involved with what the Wall Street Journal calls the “Yelp for Enterprise IT” will have a huge impact on your buying decisions. To get more acquainted with social media for B2B, check out this post: IT Central Station Named One of the “Top 3 Highlights for B2B Tech Social Marketing


QlikView vs SAS Business Intelligence—Down River Regatta

A down river regatta typically entails a competition where sailing teams battle a common river using various techniques to get to the finish line. Everything QlikView vs SAScounts—the weight of the people on the boat, the style of boat, the size of sail, the wind of course, and so on. The best combination of these aspects determines the ultimate winner.

Similarly, differentiating a vendor based on individual factors alone can be just as complex . You often find yourselves comparing two solutions that cannot be pitted against each other side-by-side with every metric for functionality or cost benefit and end up with what “wins” for you.

Instead, you have to find the uniqueness of how a particular solution fits your need. Everyone knows that marketing spin inspires you to believe that a “one size fits all” approach. We all know that it’s better to find out what other real users of a solution are experiencing and how relevant that is to your current circumstances.

Enter IT Central Station, the “Yelp for Enterprise IT” as referred to by the Wall Street Journal,” and see this comparison of QlikView vs SAS Business Intelligence. When real user peers commenting on the facets of each of these vendors, the pros, and the cons, you get a sense for how these solutions might fit in with your environment.

Here’s a glimpse at two reviews:

QlikView Review
QlikView is a highly effective management tool, allowing a broad area of analysis.

SAS Business Intelligence Review
Great for data analysis and reports once we got it up and running. Recommended!

Both of these sailors—I mean real users—come from different environments. Do you think that has anything to do with their review? Of course it does and that’s why each reviewer—whether anonymous or not—includes the type of business where they base their review. Each review is also evaluated for authenticity and approved by IT Central Station staff.

For more information about becoming a contributor, see Become a Contributor.