Most Popular Business Intelligence Reviews So Far in 2017

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Since the start of 2017, the Business Intelligence category on IT Central Station has been viewed over 34,811 times.

Which BI solutions are these viewers most interested in?

More specifically, which BI product reviews do users view the most?

As March 2017 comes to a close, we take a look at the most popular BI reviews on our site, as determined by the number of pageviews had by our top user reviews thus far in 2017.


business intelligence

Tableau Review by Jonathan Friesen, 3,765 Views

In his review from March 2017, Friesen emphasizes topics such as organizational improvements and which solutions he used prior to Tableau:

Improvements to My Organization

“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 at two different levels of granularity.”

Previous Solutions Used

“Initially used Tableau at a large electric utility where we were largely using Excel. Utility had bought into SAP BusinessObjects but IT had locked down these tools so much that all we had was Excel. Used to work at BOBJ myself but I haven’t used their tools in while. We’re going with Tableau right now because it works for our department and we could get it working quickly and without an enormously long and expensive project to get IT involvement.

Now I work for a small start-up but one of the first things I did was to get a copy of Tableau.”

Tableau Review by Gareth Crawshaw, 2,844 Views

In his review from January 2017, Crawshaw emphasizes key aspects of the Tableau solution:

Valuable Features

“Extraordinary ease of use, easier to use than any competitor product I’ve used in 15 years or so I’ve worked on MI/BI.Since I originally wrote this, I have found the mapping on Tableau has been extremely useful and easy to use, particularly that it includes very good geocoding for the UK.  In terms of the UK, the support and community here is also exceptional and I know that I don’t have to trawl through sites endlessly to find solutions, the community is one of the strongest I’ve seen thus far in BI.”

Room for Improvement

“Expansion of number of visualisations, as well as potential for straight to dashboard function, rather than design individual visualisation – these are, however, genuinely not priority to amend.

Having used another software for a reasonable period of time, I wonder about the chances of incorporating other languages, such as d3.js in future releases (NB I’m still using 8.3).”

Cost and Licensing Advice

“Standard software license cost to set up initially and an optional maintenance fee which includes version upgrades. On balance, the costs of software balance nicely against the user experience because you probably wouldn’t need to spend a great deal on training as the product is straightforward to use. I continue to use Tableau in my free/personal time but have been using Tibco Spotfire much more frequently in my professional capacity, so will look to update my review of that software as well.”

Other Advice

“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 pros and cons of the tool. Even the biggest evangelists will be honest enough to tell you where it doesn’t meet their expectations.”

oracle obiee

Oracle OBIEE Review by Peter Cseh, 601 Views

Valuable Features

In his review from February 2017, Cseh lists many features which he considers “most valuable”, and also discusses room for improvement, and other solutions that he considered as a potential BI tool.  

  • Multiple data sources
  • Three-layer repository
  • Security management
  • Smart cache management
  • Interactive dashboards and analyses
  • Spatial integration
  • Individual customization using CSS and Javascript

Room for Improvement

“Of course, there is some room for improvement, because a perfect BI platform does not exist in IT.

The following things would be welcomed:

  • Detailed editing of dashboard prompts: By this, I mean the appearance and localization. If I create a dashboard prompt, I cannot edit freely the columns and texts on the user interface of dashboard prompts…”
  • Smarter BI navigation using hierarchical columns: By this, I mean the navigation from a measure is quite difficult when I use hierarchical columns. When I use a hierarchical column in an analysis and expand the levels and click on a measure on the second level, for example, the BI does not know the appropriate level using navigation and it will result in wrong amounts…”

Other Solutions Considered:

“When I first encountered OBIEE, I had no choice to use other options, because this platform was preferred at that company. That was five years ago and since that time, I have been using OBIEE and I can recommend using it to everyone. On the other hand, if our customers would like to use an open-source BI platform, I can recommend using SpagoBI, for example.”

Oracle OBIEE Review by Satyendra Yenugula

In his review from January 2017, Yenugula emphasizes topics such as any stability or scalability issues he has encountered, and which BI solution(s) he used prior to Oracle OBIEE.

Stability Issues

“The solution is very stable. I’ve been involved in this product for close to 14 years now, even before Oracle acquired Siebel. The initial Siebel Analytics did some good generation of BI.

There wasn’t a lot of advancement made initially, but later the architecture changed and it was taken to the next generation with a lot of new, rich, and cool features like mobile, geospatial integration, and integration with new data sources. It’s been great.”

Scalability Issues

“Scalability-wise, it’s pretty good. When you use it with an ERP system or with CRM applications, it integrates with SAP, Oracle-based e-business applications, and even the Microsoft stack. Scalability-wise, you can leverage this product, and not only with an Oracle database. It can work with any database and with any heterogeneous source. It’s very scalable and easy to maintain.”

Previous Solutions Used

“When I started at this organization, we had a Microsoft BI stack and a SAP BI stack in place. Both of them used the dashboard capabilities and kept all of the reports together in one place. Microsoft BI has a subscription facility where you can subscribe users to set up reports and get them by email.

Neither of these solutions was robust nor scalable. The ad-hoc reporting capability is one more area which was missing in these previous solutions. One of them has it, but it’s very complex to configure it.

Another reason why we chose this tool is the ease of use. You don’t have to know a lot of programming to deal with this product.”

microsoft bi reviews

Microsoft BI Review by Rafael Martins Cardoso, 64 Views

In his review from January 2017, Cardoso emphasizes what he considers to be Microsoft BI’s most valuable features, where he finds room for improvement, cost and licensing advice, and more.

Valuable Features

“Since its integration into SQL Server 2005, Microsoft has made a number of improvements and added many new features. It had a big overhaul in 2008 and acquired a bunch of new features with 2008 R2: KPIs, maps, sparklines, new functions, published Report Parts, and more.”

Room for Improvement

“The few things I mention below constitute very strong reasons why Microsoft has essentially abandoned the platform and why I agree with them.

  • Lack of mobile support. Reports look terrible on mobile screens. They don’t have the ability to redraw themselves as with responsive UIs. Security remains a hassle on mobile because SSRS relies heavily on Active Directory.
  • Speed of development is too slow. To be fair, each SSRS report has the potential to be its own business application, aware of who is viewing the report and customizing the output accordingly. Those that take advantage of the advanced features are in for a surprise – developers will spend countless hours squinting at the screen getting every pixel to fall exactly where they want it. Setting up data sources is still a thing for advanced SQL developers. It’s not like other modern BI platforms where stores of data sets are easily converted to dashboards.
  • Antiquated IDE for code developers extending it. I really wish that the custom code windows provided richer programming assistance (like autocomplete, object-oriented constructs, Intellisense…) and support for other programming languages.”

Cost and Licensing Advice

“The SQL Server Reporting Services works as a part of SQL Server license. If we have a licensed copy of SQL Server, we can run Reporting Services on the same server for no additional license fee. However, if we run Reporting Services on a separate machine that is not yet licensed for SQL Server, such as a Web server, we will need to purchase an additional SQL Server license.”

Read our full collection of BI reviews, written by real users at IT Central Station.


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