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Tableau vs. Business Objects - Which is a better solution for visualization and analysis?

PeerSpot user
Senior HR Analyst at a financial services firm with 501-1,000 employees

Our HR workforce analytics and process management team have been using Tableau desktop for over a year and found a great deal of benefits from its various features. 

Our teams deal with a lot of MS Excel and Access files but also have to push data out of key HRIS systems like Workday into Tableau since there is no existing driver connection currently. Now that we are pursuing a Tableau server so managers can utilize the dynamic reporting our IT department is concerned since they've invested heavily into Business Objects (with limited use in the company) and we now have to justify going with Tableau Server vs. using Business Objects. Our HR team requires a very quick turnaround on reports and metrics with strong reporting visualization. 

Our workforce analytics handles a lot of predictive analytics/forecasting. Ideally, we hoped using Tableau would actually free up IT resources for other larger priorities instead of managing change requests on reports consistently. In our opinion based on all of this, including the low cost for implementation (under $60k incl. hardware) and low annual maintenance (under $10k) for 30 licenses Tableau seems to be the clear route to go but I'd like to get some input from others.

So I'd like to ask users out there who are familiar with both systems to provide feedback on what they think a better option might be and any pros/cons when matching up the two systems.  


PeerSpot user
1818 Answers

Stephan Schaumburg-Lippe - PeerSpot reviewer

In my opinion, Tableau is "best of bread" answering "one type of question" perfectly, while BO is a suite of tools answering "many types of questions" well. If you're looking for SQL based pixel perfect reports go for BO. If you're look for reports, dashboards, analysis in one suite go for BO. If you have a lot of analytic questions and like to visualize them, go for Tableau. If you want to compare them directly, then compare Tableau with Web Intelligence (Component of BO) or compare Tableau to SAC (SAP Analytics Cloud). 

Paul Grill - PeerSpot reviewer
Top 5LeaderboardReal User

Since at least 45% of BusinessObjects customers in North America also use Tableau, you would be a good company using both tools. BusinessObjects is used primarily for BI reporting and Tableau for power users wanting to do data discovery and visualization. Tableau is superior for visualization but really has no built-in BI reporting capability.

You should always choose the best tool for the job which is why so many BusinessObjects customers exist in a state of happy co-existence. There are also third party tools that allow you to integrate BusinessObjects and Tableau so you can leverage your BO investment in Tableau.

I would not advise even looking at Lumira since SAP announced its end of life a while back in preference to their new cloud based analytics platform SAC.

Full disclosure : I work for a BI solutions company that has partnered with BusinessObjects and SAP for 23 years and is also been a Tableau partner for 3 years.

Paul Kellett - PeerSpot reviewer
Top 10Real User

If doing a technical comparison, Lumira (SAP's visual tool) isn't bad but the market share in this space is going to Tableau and Qlik both of which are strong in the visual side of BI.

Most Business Objects sites do the bulk of their reporting using Web Intelligence, which is stronger at the more traditional reporting side with the ability to create interactive dashboards and the like but it tends to be harder to do this well than in Tableau. So, to answer the headline question, Tableau is better at visualization.

You imply that a key driver to considering change is to provide the users with greater autonomy and to support increased self service and the failure of the current approach. The majority of BI initiatives fail because of issues having nothing to do with the products but these are convenient scapegoats when there is failure thus the idea that changing products will fix everything. If one doesn't change what caused the existing implementation to fail then there is high probability of repeating the exercise. I challenge the assumption that better visualization is the solution to the current issues. It might be the trigger for change to be fair.

The Nirvana of self service for users is one of the most areas of failure in BI and will rarely work without a supporting environment of product training, training in the data, user understandable data, serious commitment of time from the key users (or specialist report/dashboard writers embedded in user departments) and ongoing support from IT.

The concept of using Business Objects in combination with a Tableau or Qlik is a reasonable one and I have seen these work and I personally like it when done properly. It is unlikely to free up IT resources, however. It typically changes how and what is delivered not how much effort will be required.

Paul Grill - PeerSpot reviewer
Top 5LeaderboardReal User

I agree with Larry Keller's first comment that you should not be comparing Tableau with BusinessObjects - it is like comparing apples and oranges. BusinessObjects is a fully mature Business Intelligence suite which includes powerful analysis and data visualization tools.
You could certainly compare Tableau to Lumira but Tableau would probably come out ahead since Lumira is still new and catching up.

it_user78309 - PeerSpot reviewer
Real User

I think you all need to understand that Business Objects has several different end user experiences including visualization. The traditional query and reporting supported by IT and the end user tools that require no IT involvement. You get both with one integrated platform (server) if you want or stand along if you want a desktop tool. You have already made the investment, you just need to let the users have the right tool. You already have what you need without going to another server or desktop tool.

Disclosure: I work for SAP

it_user75519 - PeerSpot reviewer

I think you have quite convincingly answered your question. IT made an
investment in Business Objects but has seen limited use/acceptance. Your
department went with an agile solution that meets your needs for quick
turnaround and excellent visualization and you want to expand that solution
much to the chagrin of IT. How dare you business users go around IT or even
think about not using the

Make friends with IT and have them buy and host/administer the Tableau
server; and if they don't agree use the hosted version in the cloud!

it_user78309 - PeerSpot reviewer
Real User

I would agree. However, the new tool Lumira is developed and designed for the end user. You have it right on the use, except Lumira is new just to combat Tableau, but with the power of integration to BOE is desired.

Disclosure: I work for SAP

Jhornber - PeerSpot reviewer
Real User

I'm reiterating what has been said in one way or another but: We currently use BO for end user generated ad hoc reporting, which it works well for, but I wouldn't even consider it for use in the way one would utilize Tableau or other similar data visualization/exploration/dashboarding tools (though admittedly I've never looked into Lumira). Likewise, I wouldn't use Tableau as a primary canned and/or ad hoc reporting tool as this is not where it shines.

H.Emre Arıkan - PeerSpot reviewer
Real User

Sure, if you have the desktop, you need the server product to publish your results. Then considering Tableau server is absolutely legitimate.
Using Tableau desktop should be able to free up IT-resources already. You can ask the BO fans in the company, - in the case of choosing BO as the only platform- if they are ready to adopt the work on Tableau-desktop, and are they going to be able to provide on the fly reports/analysis as your team does with Tableau at the moment.

it_user85368 - PeerSpot reviewer

If your HR team feels happy with Tableau and at the same time you can get their active involvement and their promise to develop and support it today
and future managers of information systems, go for the Tableau server solution. My past experience is that using Tableau at the users side, we as an IT team had no change request, users were self-serviced and happy. This was not the case at the same time with some other user communities at the same company using Business Objects. The second community never managed to be self-serviced. Engage IT Team in the areas of Tableau server to all
other Applications servers you need to get your data automatically (eg
HRIS , ERP) and leave your "specialists" and experienced HR users in the
areas of reporting. They know, they "feel" the data better

it_user3891 - PeerSpot reviewer

Given familiarity with the Tableau toolset, and assuming that it meets your current and projected needs the choice is clear indeed... e.g. if your needs are met by MS Access - why use full-fledged RDBMS such as Oracle? :)

Switching to BusinessObjects at this point would bring little to your specific environment (scalability, for one), and would gobble up your IT resources - not free them up.

it_user4008 - PeerSpot reviewer

Having a background in stats, I do appreciate the fact that Tableau now connects directly to R and has forecasting models in version 8.1

Disclosure - I have been training/consulting Tableau for 7 years

it_user84042 - PeerSpot reviewer

Tableau has very nice visualization tools and if that is the extent of your needs and you don't see a significant growth in users it may be your best value.

If, on the other hand you anticipate the number of users or report consumers to increase or you want to perform analytical analysis, you may want to consider SAS Visual Analytics, as it can provide state of the art data visualization, BI reporting, and statistical analysis at a very competitive price.

Disclosure: I work for SAS

it_user72435 - PeerSpot reviewer
Real User

I don’t think it’s one versus the other … but both depending on the use case. Managed, governed, validated, role-base secured, company standard reports and dashboards with guaranteed SLAs in terms of availability and performance should come from the enterprise BI platform. Prototyping, departmental, self-service, explorative/discovery reporting can come from Tableau. If/when a report from Tableau gains acceptance and needs included in the managed BO platform, the working Tableau prototype will serve as a tremendous accelerator for developing the managed report in BO. The need for one-off, departmental reporting and exploration will always exist and is being done in sub-optimal ways using Access, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. – so implementing Tableau puts this onto a common platform that won’t slow that progress or stifle speed/creativity, but gives IT visibility/displays/prototypes from which to engineer managed reports when needed.

Constraints with Tableau trying to be an enterprise/managed platform include:

- Lack of robust metadata layer required for governance/validation and effectively rationalizing data from multiple sources

- Inability to scale across the enterprise – good at GB level, not TB+ level

- Inability to create new relationships or dimensions within the data at the BI layer

- Lack of robust security amidst its method of bringing data down to the client machine’s memory when processing – doesn’t encrypt data and not compliant with industry security standards

- Limited scheduling/notification/alerting capabilities

- Simply put – Tableau is an awesome data visualization/exploration tool, not an enterprise class BI platform


it_user4008 - PeerSpot reviewer

Business Objects now SAP and Tableau should not be in the same room together or compared to one annother.

it_user85638 - PeerSpot reviewer

Hi, sorry I can not help you with the case.
I am not oriented in such a detail.

S pozdravem / Regards
Milan Škerko

it_user78309 - PeerSpot reviewer
Real User

You should download Lumira from Business Objects/SAP website. It is included with the Business Object – BI Suite edition or cost competitive with Tableau. The features are the same and you can please your IT department by leveraging the investment in BOBJ. You can use your existing hardware too, that BOBJ is deployed on.

Disclosure: I work for SAP

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