Picking the right visual analytics solution that is a “perfect match for you” can be totally overwhelming. Keep in mind that your ideal vendor might not be the highest ranked vendor or even included in popular analyst rankings. Those exercises are often apples to oranges comparisons and have entry requirements smaller or regional vendors struggle to attain. As you will soon see in this fun “The Buyer” – spoof on “The Bachelor” series, a variety of totally compelling, beautiful and fantastic visual analytics solutions never even make the analyst rankings list. They might be exactly what you have been looking for at a fabulous price point. Now let’s tune in and enjoy the show…
The Buyer 2017
It is that time of year. The season you’ve been waiting for is finally here! On tonight’s The Buyer 2017 premiere, our journey begins with an introduction to many wonderful visual analytics vendors seeking love. During the long, stressful first night, one by one, contestants prepare to make a lasting first impression on our Buyer before the first rose ceremony. What vendors will continue their journey to win his heart? Who will be his perfect match?
What to Expect
Tonight’s season premiere episode will see some familiar faces in a mix of amazing new, modern and traditional vendors. Three anticipated, extremely popular contestants – Tableau, Qlik and Pyramid Analytics – are back for another chance at love along with a few others. Several new unknown vendors make a delightful debut – Tellius, ClearStory and Klipfolio. A couple related ecosystem vendors sneak onto our filming location pleasantly surprising our Buyer – Exasol and Incorta. One expected vendor – not to be named – was asked to leave for bullying contestants and refusing to work with our producers. We were unable to find contact information to invite Oracle, GoodData, and Platfora (acquired by Workday). Several other vendors ignored our calls. Another villainess vendor can’t seem to decipher fiction from reality… more to come on that.
The Buyer 2017 is our best season EVER. There will be more drama, more suspense and more surprises. The emotional pressure cooker escalates while vendors are vying to get hometown proof-of-concept invitations to meet the family. Our Buyer may be a sweet guy, but this season will be far from boring as love-hungry vendors aggressively compete for his heart.
Sit back, grab the popcorn and see how it all goes down!
Let’s Meet Our Vendors
Here come the limousines. Our Buyer anxiously awaits for his potential wife…
Youthful and cloud born, Amazon Quicksight exits the limo first. She confidently shares that she is 1/10th the cost of traditional BI solutions at $9 per user per month. She is designed for big data and seamlessly integrates with Amazon AWS data sources such as Amazon EMR, RedShift and awesome Athena. She answers questions in an instant. Her SPICE super-fast, parallel, in-memory, calculation engine adds a lot of flavor to her innovative AutoGraph technology. She also gets along well with other data visualization vendors and tells lovely stories with data. Although shy at first, once you get to know this youngster, she grows on you.
Next up we have market leading cloud BI vendor Birst. She is thrilled to share that she received the top rankings in recent Forrester and Gartner reports. You can read all about them as she hands our buyer links to free detailed reports. As one of the more mature contestants, Birst claims to be the only vendor that connects the entire organization together through a network of interwoven virtualized BI instances on-top of a shared common analytical fabric. She talks fast and showcases her agility with a full-twisting backflip. Our Buyer is intrigued as she shares her values of self-service, embedding into workflows or apps with security and control to meet the most rigorous regulatory standards.
As she steps out of the limo, ClearStory impresses our Buyer with a gorgeous Apache Spark-based platform. She talks about unifying reporting across disparate data sources with inference, automated data prep, automated data blending and harmonization all with a simple intuitive user application for business users to be self-reliant on exploring insights and answering new questions. She shares her values of telling data stories with context. Her youthful, vibrant energy are undeniably catching our Buyer attention as he cannot take his eyes off her as she enters the mansion.
With a bright smile, DOMO steps out looking drop-dead gorgeous with unique infographics and artistic charm. She tells our Buyer that she can see into the future with predictive business apps – she sees her husband. She leans in and whispers in our Buyer’s ear. She quickly turns data into opportunities. With our Buyer a bit uncomfortable, she steps back and says “she is ready when he is ready”. Her cloud has been compliance tested. With 400+ native data source connectors, he won’t be able to resist.
Our next stunning vendor elegantly approaches our Buyer. In a delightful Canadian accent, she shares her vision for endless possibilities. Everything she does is driven by a passion for creating innovative business intelligence software to help solve real business problems. Modestly she shares that her customizable and powerful data visualizations are famous in the industry, and represent over 20 years of technology leadership and innovation. She tells our buyer that she will support him every step of the way, ensuring his success.
Dundas BI comes complete with highly-customizable visualizations including interactive charts, gauges, maps, scorecards and more. Unlike many other vendors, the Buyer can have granular control over almost all visual design elements. Whether he need develop a clients’ web portal with better reporting, embed dashboards into on-premises and SaaS offerings, or build an entire new data application from scratch, she can help him.
Wait…What …Who is that? Out of the corner of our eye, we see a lovely German vendor called Exasol chatting with our production crew. Our Buyer walks over to chat with this unexpected guest. She introduces herself as the world’s fastest in-memory analytic database. She was built from the ground up to offer the highest performance and scalability for in-memory analytics. She is simply here to support her dear friend Tableau with her Turbo offering. She also is helping other visualization vendors. As smaller vendor, she not only provides stellar capabilities…but also best-in-class support.
While backstage, our buyer notices one other mysterious vendor …Incorta. He approaches her and introduces himself. Incorta meekly says that although she has unparalleled data ingest capacity, excellent Google-like search and visual analytics, her true beauty is within her modern Spark data platform. She provides real-time data aggregation on large, complex business data sets. Incorta eliminates the need for data transformation using a data warehouse dimensional design. She accelerates the time required to roll out new analytic applications from months to days, and reduces query and reporting times from minutes to seconds. Incorta is friendly with Excel, Tableau, and many other visualization vendors. She allows business users to easily, securely tap into their enterprise data. Like Exasol, she is here to cheer on others. She did not have the confidence that her visualizations would win our Buyer’s heart.
After returning to the set, our Buyer waits for the next limo. This time Izenda steps out and captivates our Buyer with a lovely HTML5 dashboard. In a bold introduction, she tells us she is a leading embedded business intelligence platform built for ISVs, solutions providers and enterprise users. She is reliable, versatile, and affordable. Her growth-friendly licensing model offers superior ROI, while providing robust functionality, full integration and continual innovation.
IBM Watson Analytics
Our next highly anticipated, born in the cloud vendor, is one to watch. She brings the power of unbiased cognitive computing and artificial intelligence via IBM Watson to the world of visual analytics. She modestly describes that her smart data discovery abilities can anticipate needed actions. She can help him reveal unforeseen patterns and relationships based on relevant facts. She can inspire him to ask the right questions and direct him to the answers that truly matter.
After a bit of skeptical banter from our Buyer, she also shares that she can cleanse data, discover insights, predict outcomes, visualize results, and collaborate with others with fun storytelling capabilities. Our Buyer tells her to find him later, he is intrigued. He wants to learn more.
Another Canadian beauty steps out of the limo and our Buyer’s eyes light up. Vibrant young cloud Klipfolio is nothing less than striking. Klipfolio is a cloud app for building and sharing real-time business dashboards on web browsers, TV monitors and mobile devices. She supports hybrid data sources with direct connections to over 439 cloud services and applications such as Facebook, Twitter, Moz, Salesforce, Marketo, Google Analytics, Google Adwords, and HubSpot. To fast-track solution time to value, she offers 300 pre-built metrics and visualizations. She also automates analytics workflows with her good pal, Zapier.
The next vendor is slow to step out. Our Buyer looks around a little confused and unsure of what he should do. Finally we see mature embedded vendor Logi Analytics pop out with a shy smile. She introduces herself and says she is selfless. She lives to make you him look good. He will get the credit with little effort required. She goes on to say he doesn’t have to go out of his way or change his habits — he can simply be himself. Our Buyer comments on her natural beauty and thanks her for her candor. He then asks, “what makes you unique?” With a bit more confidence, she shares that she fits seamlessly with products and applications. Her strength is in embedding in existing security frameworks and easily customizing UI/UX and branding. They share a tender hug and then she walks in to join the other vendors in the mansion.
Stepping out of the limo, we now see older, more mature MicroStrategy. She confidently walks over to meet our Buyer. She shares that she is built to enable organizations to quickly and securely deploy sophisticated analytics at scale. When asked what makes her special, MicroStrategy boasts she has best-in-class mobile BI. She also comes with out-of-the-box access to over 300 analytical functions including statistical calculations, forecasting metrics, and predictive models. She seamlessly integrates with third-party programs like R, enterprise directories, cloud applications, physical access control systems, and mobile device management (MDM) systems. MicroStrategy is especially proud of her metadata repository that stores and catalogs logical business definitions of enterprise data as reusable building blocks for every report, dashboard, and application across an analytics deployment.
Our next vendor shines more brightly than ever this year. Her poise and confidence have been elevated by high achievement in multiple recent analyst reports. She meets our Buyer with a graceful entrance. Taken by her aura, our Buyer welcomes her and then asks her to tell him about herself. Pyramid Analytics shares that she is a positive forward thinker. She is goal oriented and uses predictive capabilities to plan her future. With a smile, she says that she is a social butterfly. Her collaboration/social BI capabilities allow her to engage will all her friends and always be in-synch, enriching the Buyer’s life.
Most importantly – she emphasizes – she is honest, secure and reliable. She brings best-in-class, governed self-service security, shared logic, and reuse, and lineage. You’ll always know where you stand without any doubt. With BI Office, all aspects of analytics are there…from analytics, storyboarding, data modeling, and narrative reports. The Buyer can’t help but fall in love. His eyes light up once more. He turns and whispers to the cameras…Pyramid Analytics is the complete package. Could she be my future wife?
Now Qlik exits the limo in a shimmering green gown. As she introduces herself to our Buyer, she opens by saying that with Qlik, he is not constrained by preconceived notions of how data should be related. He can finally understand how it truly is related. With Qlik, he can easily create flexible, interactive visualizations and make meaningful decisions. She prides herself on doing the more complex analysis that finds the hidden insights. “Nice to meet you” replies our Buyer. “That sounds great and all but what makes you truly special?”
Qlik goes on to say that “Qlik Indexing Engine (QIX) — is the world’s most powerful associative data indexing engine.” Our Buyer shakes his head in agreement and continues to listen. She passionately explains, this is important…to understand the unique power of green and gray. “The QIX engine ingests data from multiple sources, maps it, and automatically maintains associations in the data. Sometimes the most interesting insight is the data that isn’t related to your current analysis. The QIX engine automatically highlights this data in gray to aid discovery.” Our Buyer replies, “power of green and gray you say? Now that is a first.” Qlik coyly smiles and then talks about responsive design. best-in-class storytelling, mobile BI, open and standard APIs.
In a lovely Hawaiian dress, we now meet cloud born Salesforce Wave Analytics. As she greets the Buyer, she opens with the importance of her culture and Saleforce Ohana values. She goes on to say that she offers our Buyer amazing Einstein and BeyondCore capabilities natively integrated into Salesforce offerings. Not only can she discover hidden patterns in data, she can predict future trends, recommend the most productive actions, automate and prioritize the next questions he should ask.
Her inner beauty is driven by providing unbiased answers, explanations, and recommendations. Not not only will he understand what happened — but why it happened — and what he should do next. Pre-built dashboards enable him to get started quickly with weekly pipeline call, quarterly business review, and performance metrics. Actionable analytics is delivered via Wave Actions that create and update records and objects. Much like our previous vendor, Salesforce Wave Analytics also is a social butterfly providing collaborate analytics context through a Chatter app on any device. Our Buyer is impressed and asks for her to find him later at the welcome reception.
Our Buyer tells us he can’t believe it how many incredible vendors have already arrived and yet one more limo is on the way. Any one of these vendors could be his future wife.
Another returning vendor, SAP Lumira arrives. This year she appears to be more mature and better accessorized. She nervously greets our Buyer and tells him that she is a breeze to learn and will bring his data to life. She offers easy to build beautiful charts, interactive maps, and creative infographics that are extendable and can be embedded into apps. He can connect or import data from Excel, relational or even big data sources with on-premise to cloud interoperability. She can securely share insights and data stories.
Although she feels ready for love, she fears moving away from her family. She is extremely close to her sister-in-law, SAP Business Objects Cloud, who prides herself as being a know it all; adding additional analytics capabilities to plan, predict, model, and design what-if scenarios. She prefers living near her mother, SAP Digital Boardroom, who loves to make special analytical baked goods by line of business and industry, and her father, SAP ERP. Our Buyer reassures her to enjoy the experience.
SAS Visual Analytics
When the last limo arrives, we see an attractive, athletic vendor step out. She is strong, agile and flexible. As she chats with our buyer, we see she is personable. She tells him she is adaptable. She’s just as at home shooting the breeze about baseball stats as she is discussing quantum physics. SAS Visual Analytics gets along nicely with everyone. She then tells him that he can take her anywhere. She is intelligent and adventurous. She’s curious about everything and likes to explore, always looking for something new to see and learn about.
What makes her special? She will be able to predict his needs. She is exceptionally intelligent. Her SAS smart data discovery genetics brings a wealth of experience and a plethora of advanced visual analytics capabilities for on-premised and cloud. She can see the bigger picture. She can help him visually explore all relevant data – smartly, quickly, and easily. He can learn why something happened, identify critical drivers all while automatically seeing highlighted key relationships, outliers, clusters, trends and more guiding him to critical insights that inspire action. Found insights can be shared via collaboration and storytelling or via integration with SAS Office Analytics.
Sensing our Buyer is a bit fatigued from meeting so many vendors, she enthusiastically greets him by sharing if you only remember one thing, her In-Chip performance is truly unique. She boasts she is a track and field champion. No one is faster than her. She lets you run any ad-hoc query and receive answers on the spot, without the need to prepare data in advance for each new question like old-school OLAP.
Then she giggles a bit and goes on to confess that she is also chatty. Her relationship with Alexa, APIs and new Bots allow him to talk to his data to get instant analysis. Advanced machine learning lets him know when a metric he cares about changes so he can take action swiftly or connect to automate workflows and processes. Best of all, she doesn’t need hours to get dressed and ready to go out. He can create a dashboard in minutes. Our Buyer says indeed Sisense is memorable. He gives her a hug and tells her to enjoy the evening.
Finally The Buyer past show fan favorite arrives…Tableau. WOW! She does not disappoint. Unlike any other visual analytics vendor, she is wearing an incredibly beautiful and creative infographic designed by Jonni Walker. Often known for her kind, simple, rapid-fire, drag-and-drop gorgeous interactive dashboards, Tableau’s stellar design capabilities are unrivaled. Could it be love at first sight? Our Buyer is smitten and he wants to learn more about her.
Tableau explains that she is always innovating. She offers choice of on-premises or cloud. She can responsibly empower him with the freedom to explore any data in a trusted environment—without limiting him to pre-defined questions, wizards, or chart types. She will bring him peace of mind with governed and secure, best-in-class, visual analytics without compromise. Tableau is genuine, sincere, flexible, powerful and works well with R, Python, and all the top vendors in the analytics ecosystem. She says she is here for the right reasons. She cares about what is best for him and will bring the very best analytics life has to offer. Our Buyer is speechless… his heart pounding. It sounds too good to be true. Could this be his future wife?
The next vendor to arrive is Tellius. She is a bit mysterious in a good way. She tells our Buyer that he is going to experience a new era of intelligent analytics. She is the only search-powered BI solution with automatic insights, recommendations and seamlessly integrates the full CRISP-DM advanced analytics modeling process with visualization analytics. Instead of manually exploring and finding insights, Tellius uses machine learning algorithms and finds insights automatically. She will let our buyer explore insights using simple Google-like search interface for both big data and traditional data sources. Her pre-built connectors can virtually connect to any internal or external data source. Automatic data cleansing and discovery for real-time business intelligence sets her apart as data quality is our Buyer’s top pain point.
Tellius is ready for the next evolution in big data. She modestly tells our Buyer that she can bring him joy with operational intelligence through advanced machine learning and data exploration technologies all on a single, unified platform. She is responsive to his needs and easy to get along with. She intelligently understands database schema and relationships without requiring time consuming data model development. Taken back both by her intelligence and elegance, our Buyer tells her to find him at the reception. He wants to know more.
With only two more vendors left, Thoughtspot jumps out! Hello, finally we meet. She is an energetic, vibrant and playful spirit. Without hesitation she shouts out …ThoughtSpot is the world’s first relational search engine for data analytics. Our Buyer pushes back and says, “Oh really…is that so?”. Enthusiastically she chimes back at him and says “I am also a 2016 Gartner Cool Vendor, you can read all about it.” She pauses…”All the analysts write about me.” Our Buyer banters back at her one more time… “Oh really…is that so? Then how come Jen Underwood has not covered your solution?” Awkward silence… She banters back. “Have you seen my search? It is simply the best, better than all the rest.” Then she starts singing Tina Turner’s melody.
Our Buyer shakes his head and guides Thoughtspot into the mansion while she is still jamming to join the rest of the vendors. There are always a few unique characters in the mix.
Next to last, we meet shy, quiet TIBCO Spotfire. She comes across very practical, nicely accessorized, professional, mature and stylish. Although she has a lot of offer…she does not say much to our Buyer. He doesn’t let her get away that easy. After questioning her, he finds out she is a mature data visualization and analytics vendor. She can access and combine all types of data to provide a holistic view of Buyers world. He can analyze historical and real-time data, structured and unstructured, internal, external, and cloud-based sources.
She is also smart. TIBCO Spotfire has a full spectrum of analytics capabilities to empower him. She provides interactive data visualization, descriptive, diagnostic, predictive and rarely found prescriptive analytics, content, real-time, and location analytics. She also can help him with recommendations and guided analytics on-premises or in the cloud. Our Buyer tells her she is brilliant and beautiful…once she opens up. “Don’t hold back in this process. We only have a short time to get to know one another.”
Last but not least, we meet Australian, cloud born Yellowfin. She introduces herself as a modern platform that can connect our Buyer with his data. Unlike most vendors she can deliver all the functionality he needs via a single-integrated platform. She is the everything he ever wanted and more. Our Buyer smiles and thinks to himself, “where else have I heard this before?” He is a true gentleman and continues to listen.
Now she gets sassy. “I you’re busy. You won’t always have time to spend with me. No worries. With proactive alerts, embedded BI, broadcasts and subscriptions, I can keep you up-to-date with the data and analysis that matters most to you.” Yellowfin is not the result of some academic pursuit; experienced BI professionals designed it. “I understand you better than you know yourself” she claims. With raised brows, our Buyer smiles at her and says “Alrighty then…let’s join the rest of the vendors and get this party started.”
Highlights from Our Next Show
In our next episode, our Buyer mingles with our visual analytics vendors to learn more about what makes each of them unique. DOMO picks on Tableau and starts to make a scene. Salesforce Wave, IBM Watson, Tellius, TIBCO Spotfire and SAS Visual Analytics predict who might win and why. Cloud BI vendors get a little light headed from the champagne – who knows what they will do. Drama ensues as an upset Excel crashes the party and confronts our Buyer. A past love affair with Excel gets revealed. Can our Buyer turn Excel away? Can she stay? Will she stay? All that and more next time…