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BI (Business Intelligence) Tools
August 2022
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ROMIL SHAH - PeerSpot reviewer
Deputy General Manger - Information Technology at Nayara Energy
Real User
Provides fast data access with in-memory extracts, makes it easy to create visualizations, and saves time
Pros and Cons
  • "Its visualizations are good, and its features make the development process a little less time-consuming. It has an in-memory extract feature that allows us to extract data and keep it on the server, and then our users can use it quickly."
  • "When it comes to visualizations, Tableau has a limitation as compared to Power BI. It has a limited set of visualizations. Power BI has the entire marketplace, so you can connect and import many visualizations and use them, whereas Tableau has only 10 or 15 visualizations. There should be more visualizations, and there should also be data integration with more cloud providers."

What is our primary use case?

We are majorly using it for our procurement business area. We have created almost 50 to 60 dashboards for the entire procurement cycle. We have used it for procure-to-pay, and we have also used it for our retail business. We have a lot of petrol bunks, and we get a lot of data from them regarding sales and other things. So, procure-to-pay and retail business are the main use cases.

We've been using its latest update. It is on-premise. All our solutions are on-prem because we are in the Oil and Gas sector, and data is very critical for us. We have not yet migrated anything to the cloud.

What is most valuable?

It is very easy to build charts and drag and drop the fields that are there. It automatically identifies the dimensions and measures and makes our life easier when we need to build any dashboard. It is pretty user-friendly.

Its visualizations are good, and its features make the development process a little less time-consuming. It has an in-memory extract feature that allows us to extract data and keep it on the server, and then our users can use it quickly.

What needs improvement?

When it comes to visualizations, Tableau has a limitation as compared to Power BI. It has a limited set of visualizations. Power BI has the entire marketplace, so you can connect and import many visualizations and use them, whereas Tableau has only 10 or 15 visualizations. There should be more visualizations, and there should also be data integration with more cloud providers.

Tableau has recently launched a paid version for the documentation. So, documentation has become a little bit challenging when it comes to Tableau development because we do not have any tool to export the data out of it. It is a license-based feature that you need to purchase to prepare documentation. So, on the documentation front, for preparing clear documentation for any dashboard, it would help if we get an embedded option, rather than buying a license for each user for the documentation. To document anything, if I have to connect to each workbook and see what has been written as a formula and then document in the Word document, it is pretty time-consuming.

We have the Microsoft stack, and we are currently evaluating Power BI because Tableau has a limitation of 50 columns for a drill-down report. If we want more than 50 columns, we have found a hack, but there is no ready-made option for doing it. So, we have to use another tool in case we need a drilled report with more than 50 columns. There are many instances where users need 80 or 90 columns for their analysis, and switching between two technologies becomes a challenge. It is not a cost-effective approach for us.

Their support should be improved. We are not happy with their support. Whenever we raised queries, we were pointed to a few blogs, and we didn't get a proper solution from them.

Their licensing should also be improved. They want us to purchase a Tableau Creator license for business users, whereas Power BI Desktop is free for business users. They should come up with a basic license with one or two connectors that our business users can use for preparing their visualizations. Tableau also charges us per user for users who want the data only through email.

For how long have I used the solution?

Tableau has been in our organization for more than four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Its performance and stability are good. Because we are not on the cloud, and it is on our internal servers, it is performing well.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have a team of three people who are Tableau developers, and they have been working with me. We have one Tableau senior developer who does the server administration, as well as major Tableau development. Two members are supporting him on small dashboard developments.

When we were given the first project, we had hired a consulting company called PWC. They had implemented Tableau for us for procure-to-pay. They had deployed one project manager, one Tableau developer, and one MSBI because the data is on SQL. After that, for our support, we hired one senior Tableau resource, and then we internally trained two people. They have been using Tableau and supporting us.

How are customer service and support?

We were not happy with their support. We did not get many solutions. Whenever we raised queries, we were diverted to a few blogs here and there. 

Even for the production issue, they didn't give proper support to us. There was a lack of clarity about how to resolve the issue. They work in shifts. So, one person hands over the ticket to another person, and we again have to explain. We had also approached our sales representatives, but unfortunately, because of Tableau being acquired by Salesforce, the team had changed. We had lost all points of contact because of which it was a little chaotic to get support when we needed it the most. 

Now, the first step we take is to go and search on Google about the issue and also on Tableau blogs and forums. That's because whenever we first approach Tableau support, we anyways get pointed to those blogs. So, we first try to search on our own. If we are still struggling, only then we approach Tableau support.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of Tableau was not much complicated for us because we had hired a partner for its implementation.

It was implemented almost four years ago, and it probably took 10 to 15 days because it also involved getting the server, configuring it, and then doing proper configuration of the rights, etc. It is on-prem. So, we had to take care of a lot of security factors, such as opening the ports, etc. The vendor had to develop and establish proper architecture based on our security policies, and that is the reason it took more time. For simpler infrastructure, the deployment would take less time.

In terms of maintenance, Tableau does require maintenance from our end. We need to ensure that the servers are basically up and running. Sometimes, the upgrades come, and they have to be done properly. We had one instance where we rebooted without stopping the Tableau services and our entire server got corrupted. Luckily, with support from Tableau, we found the solution, and we could get back our project. So, it requires monitoring and server administration in terms of closing the services, giving the user access, and ensuring that the database size is proper because they use PostgreSQL as a backend for Tableau. These things are required to be maintained and overseen, and the licenses also need to be monitored. So, it requires a lot of administration activity and server maintenance because we are not on the cloud.

What about the implementation team?

A partner had implemented it for us. We didn't find its installation much of a hassle.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Tableau is a little cheaper as compared to Power BI and other technologies that we have used in the past. However, if the business users in our organization want to make presentations, Tableau has been asking us to purchase a Tableau Creator license, and $35 per month is expensive for business users.

Power BI is giving a free desktop version for business users to connect to any data source and build their own dashboards. That's why we have proposed to use Power BI for most of the business users in our organization. We wanted them to be able to create charts and presentations for the management, and we didn't want to spend $35 per month on a Tableau Creator license. We tried to give them a Tableau Explorer license. We had purchased 15 licenses, but the Tableau Explorer license had a limitation where it did not allow business users to connect to their own data source. So, they had to come to IT to connect to the data source, which didn't work well for us. That's why we told them to use Power BI Desktop. This is where Power BI wins over Tableau. 

In 2011, we had purchased perpetual licenses for Tableau, and at that time, they were selling its perpetual license at $1,500. We had purchased these licenses for our business users, and they were making a lot of visualizations for presentations, but about a year or two ago, Tableau stopped issuing that license. Tableau can come up with a basic license for connecting with Excel because most of the business users only connect to Excel for preparing their visualization. They can provide one or two connectors at a cheaper rate than the Creator license. It would help them in promoting it to more business users and increase users across the organization.

Most of our users are on the field, and because we are not on the cloud, one of the challenges with Tableau was about giving access to them. They didn't want to log in to Tableau Mobile, and they wanted the data in email. We have around 400 territory sales managers who want to see the data in email. When we have to publish that, Tableau charges us per user, even if they're not going to the dashboard to view it. For sending an email, they charge you per user. So, if I have to send an email to 400 users who don't even use dashboards, it becomes expensive. That's why we moved to MSBI, which is free for us. We have bought a perpetual core-based license, and we can send an email to unlimited users. We no longer use Tableau in this use case.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We are currently using two tools, and we are considering moving to Power BI. We are evaluating whether we want to move to the cloud or not. If we are moving to the cloud, we may completely move to Power BI in the future. If we move to the cloud, we mostly would move to Azure, and integrating Azure and Tableau doesn't make sense. We are also considering the pricing point.

What other advice do I have?

First, I would advise evaluating the data stack or database that you have, and based on that, you should make the decision of going ahead with Tableau or another technology. If you are on Azure, going for Tableau doesn't make sense. If you are on AWS or Google cloud, they have their own visualizations. So, the integration becomes a little challenging. You also need to see whether connectors are readily available for your database stack. For example, Tableau has a connector for SAP HANA, but it doesn't have a connector for SAP ECC, which is the older version. My organization is still on ECC, so we had to buy another connector to pull the data into our SQL, which increased the total cost of ownership for the company. Therefore, you need to first understand your database architecture and the kind of data you have been using and then move to visualizations.

Second, while implementing Tableau, you should not keep developing dashboards after dashboards. That's because they would require maintenance as you grow. The maintenance cost increases as you grow. Therefore, you should first evaluate the scope and then go ahead and build dashboards. 

Third, there are many selling partners, and they loop you in with a minimum purchase, such as 5 Creator licenses, 15 Explorer licenses, and 100 user licenses for two to three years, which is binding. You should evaluate licensing options properly because when you are starting a journey, you don't want to spend so much at an initial stage. One Creator license, one or two Explorer licenses, and 20 to 30 user licenses are generally fine. You should negotiate on the number. Otherwise, your licenses are underutilized. This is where we could have saved money while purchasing Tableau. We are now juggling between two technologies for drill-down reports.

Fourth, if you want to send an email to your team on the field, you need to understand and ask about how many users would subscribe to emails. If most of the users are going to just subscribe to emails and not use Tableau as a dashboarding tool, it is a waste of money. In most organizations, senior management doesn't like to go to the mobile app. They want to get information through email, and if you are buying a license just to send an email, it is a waste of money for the organization. 

I would rate it an eight out of ten. Two-point reduction is mainly because of the support quality, visualization limit, and lack of documentation capability.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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James John Wilson - PeerSpot reviewer
Head of Project Management at Freelancer
Real User
Top 10
Robust, powerful, and easy to use
Pros and Cons
  • "In general, Domo is very powerful and very easy to use, relatively speaking."
  • "There were very few cases on some of the tables, the data tables, where I wish there was an additional feature or two."

What is our primary use case?

I was building executive dashboards for project management offices. I would have a portfolio of projects. Mainly, it was for opening new units and new markets. I would have project plans and action item logs, and I would use those in Smartsheet, and then I would ingest those up into Domo and I would be able to run statistics and metrics to track the progress of any given project. I would be able to calculate things like percent complete according to the calendar, percent complete of the budget, percent complete of the scope, number of tasks, percentage of tasks against total tasks, et cetera.

I could, for each project, if I wanted to drill down, go in, and see the detail of the tasks. I could also go see the action items, the risks, the issues, and the action items associated with the project. Therefore, I could see how many of those there were, what were critical, high, medium, or low, and which ones were late in terms of the due dates and things like that. I could run both a general project status meeting for a given project and also, at a high level, show a swift health check of a set of projects. That was very helpful for the executives.

What is most valuable?

Domo is very strong.

In general, Domo is very powerful and very easy to use, relatively speaking. And so I didn't have a lot of complaints. I'm unsure if I was fully tasking it and stressing the Domo system.

What needs improvement?

There were very few cases on some of the tables, the data tables, where I wish there was an additional feature or two. However, they were particular. What I wanted to see was the ability to collapse when you group a set of rows, let's say when you group them by status or health, so you have your red projects grouped up top. I wanted to compress or collapse that group of red and then open the yellow projects and then the green projects. There were a bit more features in the tables than I wanted to see.

They have a widget that you can use either in Microsoft PowerPoint to pull over data into your PowerPoints and refresh graphs or charts or metrics or tables. I would love to see that available in Google Slides. I used it successfully in PowerPoint; however, at one company, they were only using Google products, and so that widget didn't help with reporting in slides. Therefore, we had to do a bit more manual work for our quarterly business reviews or monthly business reviews to produce our executive presentations.

Sometimes the fonts were difficult to read if you're trying to put a lot of data in a table and show a lot of rows. Sometimes the fonts got too light, and you had to really play with it to try and figure out how to make it readable.

One thing I had to do, and I don't know if it's necessarily a bad thing, was when I was running a meeting, I would have to go turn off the data jobs. If I was running a meeting and a lot of times people were scrambling in the background to do their updates even as the meeting was occurring, it would cause the page to render very slowly. It would sometimes pause or freeze. I found that if I went and turned off the status, the data update jobs that we're pulling data from Smartsheet, then the meetings would work more smoothly, and there were no interruptions or delays.

For how long have I used the solution?

I started using the solution since 2019. I just finished a job and used it up until this month.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable. I never had it crash or go out of service.

I’ve never witnessed performance problems like graphs taking a while to render, things like that, only when there were data updates going on in the background.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I never saw any scalability problems. There’s probably not a scalability issue. It’s just if you've got multiple processes hitting the same data source. Sometimes it has to wait for the data to update. Perhaps maybe there's a way in bigger organizations where there's a lot more going on where that could become a problem, and you might have to schedule how that gets done.

I had everything set to real-time, meaning if a database update was made over in Smartsheet, it would immediately notify Domo and start to pull the data over. However, if I had set it to do it every hour or two times a day or something, then that wouldn't have interrupted the project meetings.

It scales pretty well. My data set was not big. I didn't have millions of records or billions of records, so I never really stressed the system. I had 100,000 records or less across all my entities.

At one company, it was being used across all the major teams. There's a data engineering team and a finance team that was using it for the general ledger reporting. Operations were using it, and those operations encompassed a large number of things. That included procurement, construction, hospitality, training teams, and HR teams. So it was fairly broad. However, we were a small division in the company, so it was less than 100 users.

At another organization, I was the only real power user. However, there were 35 people when I left that was given access and were using the reports or had access to the reports. It was not that many in the grand scale of an enterprise or big business.

How are customer service and support?

I don't remember opening a ticket. I did at one company when we had a professional services team helping us set up the instance, and we had a success manager, who were all very skilled. For most of my time there, I was able to work with the implementation team that was able to answer any of my questions, or if there was any logic I was trying to work out, like to take daily snapshots is something that you need to be shown how to do, they could help. That said, once you have the model, you can copy it and replicate it across to other data sets.

I’ve never had a bug and do not remember saying "This system's not working."

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We had Tableau. However, the problem with Tableau is it was part of the corporate team, and you had to wait a long time to get at least the way they set it up, where you had to make a request to get your data into the data warehouse. Then, it had to get loaded and cleaned and architected and then approved and pushed out to the production instance. You could start to run your reports after that. They might have to structure it so we just gave up on Tableau since it was such a heavy enterprise system, the way that the one company was using it.

That's the reason why the chief technical officer for our division brought in Domo, as it was a rapid solution that users could get in there, and analysts could start working right away and running reports and analyzing data. That's the only comparison I have. We were a Microsoft shop, and I don't know why we didn't consider Power BI. However, Smartsheet was the tool that was being used, so it didn't really come up as an option. My guess is if I go to my next Microsoft shop, I'll use Power BI instead of Domo since it's probably already in-house and cheaper, and it's pretty flexible and fast.

A company that I used to work for switched over to Power BI.

How was the initial setup?

I was able to have my PMO executive dashboards up and running in a couple of weeks. It's straightforward. If what you want to do, it's swift and easy. Like my data is projects, the tasks, the projects, and the action items. If I have budget data, I pull in budget data as well. Then, I just need to make sure I know how those three link up on the keys. And if that's done correctly, then you can immediately start building the dashboards and linking in all the data. To get it to work out what the executives want to see is just iterative, but you can have something that an executive can see very rapidly, just in a couple of weeks, if not sooner. If that was the only thing I had to do, I could get something up and running very quickly.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I had an enterprise license.

It started out at about $600 a seat. However, then as we started to grow, it scaled that down to about $330 or 3$50 a seat, if I'm not mistaken. Obviously, it's scaled pricing. When I was using it previously, they had the full enterprise license, and they'd negotiated an even lower price.

I don't know if I know the cost when you compare it to all other types of software that are being used across the business. Perhaps it's cheaper than Tableau. However, I don't know all that. However, it was a tricky part of the approval process for me to get that approved due to the price tag. It wasn't tricky at the other organization I worked for, as the CTO knew what he wanted it. He's a very senior member of staff and has a big budget. He was able to get that approved.

What other advice do I have?

I am just an end-user.

I’m not sure which version we’re using. It's a software as a service solution, so it's the latest one. I wasn't using all of the capabilities of the tool.

I’d advise other users that it goes much faster if you really have a sense of what your data. I have an immaculate, apparent picture of my data in my head. It's straightforward. Its projects, tasks, its action items, and budget information are great. As long as you know how you're going to link that up and what you want to be able to analyze. For example, I want to be able to see over time that my issues are coming down. They're shrinking by the day. I want to see a daily snapshot of the total number of issues on my projects. If you have that type of clarity, you can set up your system and data routines reasonably quickly.

After that, it's really just, how do you want to display it? That's just iterative and working with some fairly straightforward widgets. To get your data nice and clean, ensure you understand how it will all hang together. That’s what's nice about Domo. You don't have to formally create a data model behind the scenes, as long as your data from one table to the next has the same column with the same name, then when those. When you put different widgets on the page, you can configure the page to each all of the widgets on that page to respond to that same key.

They'll all filter on the same key even though one data type may be tasks and the other one might be action items. If you have the project ID in both of those data sets, then they'll both filter. Therefore, you don't have to go through a lot of complex data modeling or formalized data modeling. Just knowing your data is probably the key - or at least it was for me. My data set wasn't as complicated as perhaps others.

I’d rate the solution eight out of ten. It was pretty expensive.

The cost didn't justify keeping it around when you look and compare it to other existing tools in the business. That's why I might give it an eight. However, from a feature and functionality perspective, it's just a really straightforward, elegant tool. I like it.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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DENNISSUNNY - PeerSpot reviewer
Business Intelligence Architect at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 10
Web intelligence will work with any amount of data even if you have 10 million rows
Pros and Cons
  • "There are two tools inside BusinessObjects' schematic layout called the Universal Design Tool and Information Design Tool. These are the most powerful tools that set BusinessObjects' reporting from other solutions. If my organization has 300 or 400 tables, I can combine all of them into one universe, and everyone can use that. It is just a schematic layout that does not hold any data but the table relationships."
  • "Factoring in total implementation and maintenance costs, SAP BusinessObjects is too expensive. If you deal with a huge amount of data, you can go with BusinessObjects. However, if you are a medium-sized company with a modest amount of data, you can opt for another solution."

What is our primary use case?

BusinessObjects has a lot of tools, including Web Intelligence, Crystal Reports, Analysis for Office, SAP Lumira, and Analytical Cloud. SAP also has a new tool for HANA-based applications it introduced around 2018. Analysis for Office is an SAP add-on inside Microsoft Office. It works inside of Office tools like Excel, so you have the option to get data from Excel, and there's a direct connection with SAP. You can point that to your HANA database or a BEx query also. 

You can also connect SAP to PowerPoint, so you can create presentations from the HANA database or a BEx query.  We had more than 180 to 200 reports on Analysis for Office in my last implementation. Most of our company users were good at Excel, so it was easy to use an external data connection to Excel.

For example, say we have different sheets in Excel. We populate the data from the BEx query or the HANA database in the first sheet. In the second, we'll do some options like the lookup function for Match Index and the reports. The data will be constantly refreshed in the backend. Finally, we have to create the report and publish it to the SAP BI Launchpad to be shared with everyone. 

The other thing is the WEBI, or Web Intelligence report. That's the most powerful reporting feature inside BusinessObjects. We normally use WEBI for ad hoc reporting, not for dashboarding, because the dashboard visualization is not that great. WEBI will work even if you have more than 10 million rows. 

WEBI will work with any amount of data. I have more than 100 gigabytes of data in WEBI. It's best for ad hoc reporting instead of dashboards. SAP has its own dashboard tool inside BusinessObjects dedicated to dashboards and visualizations. You cannot do any ad-hoc reporting inside that.

In terms of the dashboard, they introduced another tool called Design Studio. Design Studio is another took inside SAP BusinessObjects. Design Studio is better for dashboarding and summary reporting. For example, you can take a data table and create a graphical representation. That's SAP Design Studio, and WEBI is a tool we use globally. 

All of our SAP Businessthey will always prefer to work in WEBI, Web Intelligence. WEBI has two versions. One is inside the launch pad that is a browser-based tool. Second, you can have a tool of WEBI inside your desktop itself, that is called Web Intelligence Rich Client. Web Intelligence Rich Client is the same tool as the second version, there are two versions of WEBI, one is inside the browser, and the second is, you can install it on the desktop. Lumira is comparable to Tableau, or Power BI. Lumira was introduced in 2013 or 2014. I forgot the year, but it was introduced after Tableau. Lumira has a great story function. There is a story option in Tableau, but that started in Lumira.

SAP had another tool called Explorer. Explorer is a simple tool to preview the data that can be used for both ad hoc reporting and visualization, but they discontinued Explorer in December 2020. Adobe Flash Player was discontinued, and Explorer was completely dependent on Flash. The last tool, SAP Analytics Cloud, is currently strong in the market, and it was introduced in 2020, I think. They prefer SAC. SAC can be used for both ad hoc and dashboard reporting. 

What is most valuable?

There are two tools inside BusinessObjects' schematic layout called the Universal Design Tool and Information Design Tool. These are the most powerful tools that set BusinessObjects' reporting from other solutions.

If my organization has 300 or 400 tables, I can combine all of them into one universe, and everyone can use that. It is just a schematic layout that does not hold any data but the table relationships.

UDT is perfect, and you can do anything in it. There are never any issues when joining the tables because there are a lot of options. In terms of tables, two things always come to mind: looping and traps. These are the main difficulties we face when joining tables, but loops and traps are easily resolved inside BusinessOjbects UDT and IDT. We have API functions and contact operators that resolve these issues.

IDT and UDT form the backbone of BusinessObjects. There is one more thing called publication. I haven't seen this feature in any other tools. Publication is useful for bulk reporting. For example, say I want to send reports to 200 Indian salespeople, and I want to apply a filter so the reports only go to specific cities. This can be done in BusinessObjects in five minutes. This cannot be done in any other tool like Tableau or Power BI. 

What needs improvement?

BusinessObjects reporting tools have not been perfected yet. However, there are two ETL tools inside the BusinessObjects. They are ETL tools in the schematic between the database and the reporting. 

But if we're talking negative aspects of BusinessObjects, it's like comparing a bus and a bike. If you want to reach somewhere nearby within five minutes, you can use a bike instead of the bus because there will be a lot of traffic and lots of people inside the bus. If you have large amounts of data, then go for BusinessObjects. If you have a light amount of data, it's better to use Tableau or Power BI tools.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've worked with SAP BusinessObjects for 10 to 15 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

BusinessObjects' stability is awesome with a huge amount of data, but you're often running three or four tools at a time. For example, say I want to do reporting in BusinessObjects. First, I have to think about the type of schematic layer I must use: UDT or IDT.  Second, I have to think about what type of reporting tool I'll need: ad hoc, detailed summary, or dashboard reporting. 

If it is an ad hoc report, I will go for Crystal Report. If it is just dashboard reporting, I've to go for SAC or Lumira. These confusions will be there for every user. If someone wants to really work on BusinessObjects, they should understand at least three or four of its tools. With Tableau, you only need to know about Tableau. You don't have to think about other tools because everything is inside Tableau or Power BI.

BusinessObjects will give you a lot of options. There will be a proper category, like schematic layout developer, report developer, report viewers, etc. And there are different categories of users inside BusinessObjects. Tableau and Power BI don't have such categories.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Factoring in total implementation and maintenance costs, SAP BusinessObjects is too expensive. If you deal with a huge amount of data, you can go with BusinessObjects. However, if you are a medium-sized company with a modest amount of data, you can opt for another solution. 

What other advice do I have?

I rate SAP BusinessObjects eight out of 10.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Implementer
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Specialist Geosciences Data Consultant at a energy/utilities company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5
Simple to use out-of-the-box features, but customization is difficult
Pros and Cons
  • "The out-of-the-box features are simple and easy to use across the board."
  • "Personalising Spotfire, as a whole, is painful and is something that could be made easier."

What is our primary use case?

My daily tasks are related to data mining and TBICO Spotfire is one of the products that I use. We are a small group of geologists operating in a niche area who are analyzing geochemical data. Our backend database is MySQL and we use products such as Power BI, Tableau, and Spotfire to display data for the geochemists.

How has it helped my organization?

If we get dirty data in, we might use Spotfire to see what it is we actually have. This might include how many files we have and the file types, in the case where we have this massive data purchase or something similar.

We use Spotfire to slice and dice and see what we're looking at. But then at the end of the day, we end up just taking the data and loading it into Oracle tables. After we have figured out what we have, we might connect Spotfire to those data tables, to better display the different analyses that a geochemist needs.

What is most valuable?

The out-of-the-box features are simple and easy to use across the board. Some of the features that we use are bar charts, pie graphs, and cross tables. They are simple dashboards to show the different metrics on the data, and sometimes data quality, as well.

What needs improvement?

Personalising Spotfire, as a whole, is painful and is something that could be made easier. As a result, I'm not doing much coding.

The background process is something that I find difficult to work with, although that may be more related to company policy and procedures than it is to Spotfire. Specifically, having it on the servers for development and then moving to acceptance in production is not user-friendly. I understand why it's got to be done, so you don't mess up anything that's in production, but to me, it's a little bit antiquated. I think it could be more robust in how you pull in your data, from a database level. Using data in spreadsheets is very simple but when you start connecting to databases, it can be clunky and difficult to do.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with TIBCO Spotfire for approximately six years. My company has had a license for much longer than that.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Spotfire is stable, although sometimes it is slow. That may be related to the company and how the data is being rendered, and where our servers sit for the databases. I don't think that its' a fault of Spotfire because I've seen it work with real-time data really fast. It seems, however, the implementation can cause it to lag a little bit.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This is a scalable solution if you're not trying to customize it too much. If you can use what it comes with out of the box, I think it's very scalable and very simple to use. It's when you start having to make custom coding adjustments and whatnot, that it could be a pain because then only one person can fix it typically, and that's the person who initially worked on the coding.

How are customer service and technical support?

We don't connect directly with TIBCO because we have our own technical support in the company. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We also use Microsoft Power BI and Tableau to create views of the data.

As of last year, my company has been starting to move away from using Spotfire and focus on Power BI, only because it is part of the Microsoft Office Suite. This means that it's easier to integrate. However, for now, we are still using both products.

Spotfire X was a big improvement from the previous versions. They now have an export option to PowerPoint, which was a large pain point in the past. Generally, this is not something I use personally. I create a web service and I give the links out for people to access it directly.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is pretty simple. All we have to do is request a license, download it, and start using it. You can start bringing spreadsheets in, for example.

We are a small group within the company and we have dedicated groups within our organization for Spotfire support. We just tell them that we need a place on a server and they set it up. For the most part, deployment is straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

We have an in-house team for deployment and maintenance, and they provide technical support to the rest of the company. It used to be a large team and they are very helpful. My understanding is that there was a reorganization and we now have only two people who are contacts for Spotfire support. At least in the past, if we needed help then it was easy and they were great.

Additional people have been brought in to assist us with Power BI, although I have not yet been using it regularly.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The cost is a few hundred dollars per user per year.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

As a data analyst, I am not in operations and don't have a say in which products we use.

What other advice do I have?

My advice for anybody who is implementing Spotfire is to first speak with TIBCO to make sure that your data model and everything that operates in the background is implemented correctly. If it is done improperly then it may render slowly.

Don't assume that you know everything, the way we do in my company. There are times when we get something new and because it has to be done our way, we end up breaking it.

I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
SusheelA - PeerSpot reviewer
Director - Metrics & Analytics with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Excellent correlation analysis, highly scalable, but more features needed
Pros and Cons
  • "The correlation analysis is excellent. It's one of the best that I have used to date."
  • "The data uploads that we do, such as Excel files, have a lot of restrictions. If we can make it a bit more user-friendly, allowing us to have more flexibility it would be a great help."

What is our primary use case?

I am using IBM Cognos the analytical pack that is provided, I've used it to do a lot of forecasting, proactive analytics, prescriptive, predictive analytics, and correlation analysis. Additionally, I have developed some leadership dashboards.

What is most valuable?

The correlation analysis is excellent. It's one of the best that I have used to date.

What needs improvement?

The data uploads that we do, such as Excel files, have a lot of restrictions. If we can make it a bit more user-friendly, allowing us to have more flexibility it would be a great help.

In the next release of the solution, It would be a great addition to the analytical tool pack if there were histograms on the fly it would be a benefit. I know there is a workaround on IBM Cognos and I've used that workaround to develop the histograms, but not everyone is that tech-savvy. It would be a great help if we had some of these features, such as histogram, box plots, on the fly.

Lastly, the solution could improve by adding some of the user-friendly statistical calculations, such as percentile calculations, median, mode, for calculations.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using IBM Cognos for approximately two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of IBM Cognos is excellent.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

IBM Cognos is used on a daily basis and sometimes for the entire day. It is scalable. We have approximately 2,500 users using the solution. 

How are customer service and support?

We had an issue with the dashboards and we were in touch with the technical support from IBM to resolve the problem.

On the overall experience with the technical support, I would rate them a four out of five. However, the initial response time could improve.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

The analytical parts of IBM Cognos are some of the best in the market, it is excellent. I've used Qlik Sense, Microsoft BI, Oracle Business Intelligence, and to some extent Tableau. The second feature that IBM Cognos is excellent with, is the table structure that we can create on the fly. I have had a very good experience with them.

Microsoft BI is much more user-friendly and non-technical personnel can also start working on the Microsoft BI quickly. It would be great if IBM Cognos would also look at doing something on that front, where a non-technical person can also develop some small, very basic dashboard on their own.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was a bit complex. 

The joins and structures that we had to create were somewhat difficult. I've worked on the OB as well and the RPD constructions that we do on OB are pretty straightforward. If we have some features such as we have in Oracle Business Intelligence, of the RPD structure, it would be a great help for IBM Cognos.

I would rate the complexity a three out of five.

What about the implementation team?

We used support from the vendor for the implementation. It took approximately one and a half months for the process.

For some of the aspects of the solution requires maintenance. One of the features that we were using is the development of interactive and interdependent dashboards. For some reason, this dashboard used to fail when we would get out of the dashboard and close IBM Cognos and come back to IBM Cognos again. That required an upgrade on the application, which we did, but it was still not working. This issue required some maintenance to resolve.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

IBM Cognos price is on the higher side of the spectrum. However, with the features that it brings, such as correlation analysis, it's worth the money. They should look at the pricing more clearly because it's a little on the higher side.

What other advice do I have?

My advice to others is to be very particular about the architecture that you are developing because once you deploy it, it's really difficult to change and very complex to change. Once you deploy it and start working on it, and then you realize that something that you had to do, you have not done it right, it's a really complex process to change it.

The second thing I would advise is always to keep on top of the updates that IBM Cognos sends over. Some of the features that you might require in your work environment only come with the updates. You need to upgrade your application and that is when the features would be available.

Lastly, make sure that you explore every bit and piece of the analytical world of application because there are some very good features that the IBM Cognos brings in. It would be great if you explored everything and then start using it. 

If the cost is not a problem for the organization, then I would highly recommend IBM Cognos.

I rate IBM Cognos a seven out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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