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The Landscape of Big Data Analytics and Visualization

Are you considering which of the big data analytics and visualization tools will work best for you? For our money, Tableau is leading the pack. However, there are several competitors who offer some interesting options. Here is a look at a few of those.

Please keep in mind this is a high-level sampling of capabilities mostly pulled from company websites and customer feedback where we can find it. This is not meant to be an in-depth study of features or a recommendation as to which tool would best meet your needs.

To get that, you’ve got to invest in a disciplined software selection process, something that we highly recommend prior to investing in a new tool that will play an important role in your business.


When thinking about big data analytics and visualization tools, one of the first that comes to my mind is from Sisense. Sisense boasts an in-chip technology that is best in its class as an analytics engine and is 10 to 100 times faster than in-memory technology. It goes through terabytes easily and eliminates the need for data prep work. You simply access your info through any data source, drag and drop the data you want to see, and clean up the data you no longer need after you’re done. The Sisense tool allows you to turn data into usable data that can be instantly managed, allowing you to change or add data sources. Some of the things you can do with Sisense include:

  • Instantly blending large amounts of data.
  • Analyze data without the need for hard coding, aggregating, or remodeling.
  • Unlock analytics with instant response time and smarter shortcuts.
  • Receive automatic alerts for your most important KPIs.
  • Choose a deployment strategy that works for you, including on-premises, cloud, or hybrid. Sisense provides managed service, as well.
  • Secure your data with comprehensive controls.

Sisense users are pleased with the way they’re able to take millions of lines of data, even from multiple social networks, and put it all together into one comprehensive information package. Additionally, users have commented that they like how Sisense’s software allows anyone to collect and manage data, even if they’re not a technology expert.


With its Associative Difference tool, Qlik offers a way to explore your data without limiting you to query-based, linear exploration like other modern BI tools do. According to the Qlik website, QlikView’s Associative Difference enables you to:

  • Search and explore data analytics in any direction.
  • Gain quick insights with interactive selections.
  • Combine all your data insights, regardless of their size.
  • Calculate and aggregate with a single click.
  • Index all data relationships to find insights you wouldn’t catch on your own.
  • Rapidly build and deploy analytic apps.
  • Control analytic apps, permissions, and data with strong security.
  • Customize the exact tools you need for your organization.
  • Use global search to accelerate discovery.
  • Create consistent reports and templates.

Qlik has been providing its technology for a while, but remains in the pack of possibilities for the up-to-date data analytics and visualization tool you need. The company states that its mission is to provide people, businesses, organizations, and government with the ability to explore and share all of the data that is available to them in a single platform.

Dundas BI

The Dundas BI platform looks a lot like Tableau to me. It has some cool features, including a data pipeline that allows various types of users to start their exploration of the data in accordance with their preferences. In addition, any content that a user creates may be shared and used across the entire organization. Some of the other features that Dundas BI offers include:

  • The use of modern HTML5 and fully open APIs to customize and meet your users’ design requirements.
  • The ability to connect, interact, and analyze data from any device, even mobile devices.
  • A wide range of visualizations and layout options.
  • Highly customizable visualizations, including interactive charts, gauges, scorecards, and maps.
  • The ability to run ad-hoc queries and quickly create reports and dashboards.
  • Drag-and-drop functionality to add your own data files.
  • Automatic data preparation and smart defaults to make quick work of your collection.
  • One-click setup of a wide range of statistical formulas and period-over-period comparisons that is done directly on your visualizations in order to provide you with instant results.

Users of Dundas BI say that the product is flexible, dynamic, and easy to use.

Offerings From Companies You Already Know

Team of business people discussing digital marketing metrics report and return on investment strategy for advertisement campaign, data analytics dashboard on computer screen in office.
A team of business people discussing digital marketing metrics report and return on investment strategy for an advertisement campaign, data analytics dashboard on a computer screen in the office.

In addition to the three alternatives discussed above, a number of companies you already know and have experience with also offer an array of BI tools that may be what you need. Here are some suggestions to look at:

  • SAP: SAP Analytics Cloud provides simple cloud deployment, collaborative enterprise planning, advanced predictive analytics and machine learning, response to natural language queries, and the ability to easily model complex queries. Intuitive self-service features allow users to easily explore information from across the organization.
  • IBM Cognos: IBM Cognos allows for smart exploration that uses machine learning and pattern detection to analyze data. Additionally, it provides automated visualizations, storytelling capabilities that can be enhanced with media, web pages, images, shapes, and text. Content can be re-used from existing dashboards and reports. Predictive analytics provide users with the ability to identify key patterns and variables and natural language insights.
  • Oracle Analytics: Oracle states that its Analytics offering provides faster insights without the need for help from IT. Additionally, it offers collaboration features for analytics that are both shareable and traceable. In its fourth year since becoming available to the general public, Oracle recently refreshed its data visualization tool with autonomous analytics to help users find and compile compelling stories that are powered by machine learning.
  • Microsoft Power BI: Microsoft states that its Power BI allows you to connect to hundreds of data sources, prep the data, and create beautiful reports all in a matter of minutes. Millions of users worldwide are familiar with the Power Query based experience for data preparation, and the platform provides users with the ability to re-use their data preparation logic across multiple reports and dashboards. Users find the Power BI dataflows’ ability to handle large datasets to be an exciting new feature.

Learn More About Data Analytics and Visualization Tools

Your ultimate decision about which product you choose for your big data analytics and visualization needs depends on ease of deployments and use. Ultimately, it depends on which features are most important to you. Be sure during your research to check out the demos that these companies offer for a helpful glimpse as to how the product works. When you pick one, drop us a line and let us know which one you chose and why!

Carol Donnelly
Director of Consulting @ Entrance
Carol has close to a decade of experience leveraging software technologies to create enterprise content management, bi & analytics, collaboration, and need-specific software solutions that help businesses transform into a modern digital enterprise. She has helped clients address challenges related to contract and records management, contract and AFE approval workflow, lease digitization, and offshore extranets.

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