BI Solutions Review Face-off : Tableau vs. QlikView vs. IBM Cognos

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Which BI Tool will meet your company’s business intelligence needs in 2017?

So far in 2017, the Business Intelligence Solutions category page on IT Central Station’s website has seen over 700,000 pageviews. The number of enterprise tech professionals evaluating BI tools is spiraling upward and onward.

But as the demand grows for business intelligence solutions, what do users and potential buyers look for in their software evaluations? Many of these inquirers turn to peer reviews for information about the best BI tools on the market.

Continue reading for our handpicked selection of peer reviews of the top BI solutions used by enterprise tech professionals.


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Q: “What are Tableau’s Most Valuable Features?”

A:  Ease of Use

Yali Pollak speaks of Tableau’s drag and drop features, explaining that it’s “very intuitive and simple to create insights.”

Gareth Crawshaw , Jonathan Friesen, and Rajiv Kumar each point to Tableau’s ease of use, and Crawshaw describes it “extraordinary…easier to use than any competitor product I’ve used in 15 years.”

Crawshaw adds that Tableau’s mapping features are also very easy to use, and his personal experience has shown that it shows “very good geocoding for the UK.”

A:  Variety of Data Connectors and Configurations

Pollak also finds that Tableau’s database connectors makes it very easy to connect to several databases, such as MySQL, SQL Server, Amazon EMR, Presto, Redshift, BigQuery, and others.

Sai Krishna J, values the ‘Create Calculated Field’ feature, describing how it allows him to create data fields that he won’t have without the solution, and that allow him to “tell a good, convincing story” as well as extract “the maximum amount of information” out of his data.

Q: “Where do you see Room for Improvement in Tableau?”

A:  Data Science and Machine Learning

Rajiv Kumar “would like to see more advanced data science capabilities like predictive analysis and advanced linear regression.”

Yali Pollak also points to Tableau’s data science capabilities as a point for improvement, writing that it “lacks machine learning algorithms that you can implement using R, SPSS Modeler and Python.”

Pollak points out that while Tableau does have helpful clustering and time-series forecasting abilities, missing features include: machine learning capabilities like decision trees, CHAID analysis and K-means would “make the product perfect.”


Q: “What are QlikView’s Most Valuable Features?”

A:  Flexibility with Data Management

Roy Yung and Shabaz Shaikh each speak of the flexibility that QlikView’s data modeling offers, and Yung elaborates that these features allow him to “highlight relationships between different kinds of data.”

Shaikh describes his appreciation for capabilities such as data extraction, data modeling, dashboard creation and overall ease of operation. Additionally, he points to the many customizations offered for the dashboards, explaining that these objects “can be used to make complex KPIs for visualization.”

Q: “Where do you see Room for Improvement in QlikView?”

A:  Improved Functionality

Shabaz Shaikh points to several components in QlikView that could be better:

  • JavaScript and jQuery features
  • Improved responsiveness
  • Mobile app functionality 

A:  Compatibility with External Reporting Applications

Both BIConsultant870 and Shabaz Shaikh hope to see improved compatibility with Microsoft Excel.

Similarly, BIDirector821 would like to see not only better integration with advanced analytics platforms, but also an option to see embedded predictive analytics models.


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Q: “What are IBM Cognos’s Most Valuable Features?” 

A:   Advanced Data Reporting Without the Need for IT Assistance

“IBM Cognos Analytics is a data discovery and reporting platform…but it’s much more than just managed reporting” says Mike Bernaiche. “It provides departmental users with the self-sufficiency they need to bring in their own external data, explore it, and even merge it with corporately governed data, all without needing to go to IT.”

Paul Desmond also notes “advanced, enterprise-level data modeling” as one of IBM Cognos’s most valuable features.

Also voicing his appreciation for the reporting features, Pavan Kumar Maddali calls IBM Cognos Report Studio “one single powerful tool which works across all concepts like slicing and dicing, drill through, drill up and down, advanced filtering/prompts, master-detail, report bursting, and conditional formatting/rendering.”

A:   Combining Data Sources

For Jonathan McKnight, the ability to combine data from multiple sources across the organization and report on the information as a single source is of top value.

Bob Edis also speaks of this feature, pointing to the “dashboarding with combined shared and local data.”

Q: “Where do you see Room for Improvement in IBM Cognos?”

A:  Improved User Interface

Paul Desmond argues that IBM Cognos is “struggling to compete with the front-end ease of use and visual appeal of QlikView and Tableau.”

Jonathan McKnight takes a similar position, saying that “the visualizations are nothing flashy, but they can be customized (with some extra work).

Mahesh Kanderi makes suggestions towards improving the UI, such as “enabling more GUI based functionality so that creating of dynamic report and dashboards by using Excel/flat file is easier.”

How have are major BI players in the enterprise tech industry being discussed among other users?

Read our full review collection of BI solutions to find out.


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