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COVID has hit home again. I’ll mention that my wife and son have it. Two of the kids do not have it. So we’re trying to keep them separated. I’m trying to work with kids.

The pandemic

In January 2020, we believe most of the family came down with COVID. Many people think they got it at some point, but we were at a party attended by a few hundred people in Park City, Utah, by everybody around the world, around the country. Nobody lived there. Also, everybody had flown in. So, I came down with symptoms afterward. I was in bed for several days. 

I had a fever coughing (and I never got a fever). I mean, I haven’t had a fever in decades. I was knocked out for a few days. It was so bad that I went to see a doctor, and they diagnosed me with pneumonia. They diagnosed my oldest daughter with influenza at the same time.

The strange thing about my “pneumonia” was that they said that it didn’t show up when they did the chest X-ray and looked like pneumonia. But I was presented with all the typical symptoms. Therefore, they would treat it as pneumonia even though it didn’t present on an X-ray like pneumonia.

Analytics tools

However, that’s more of a side note. That’s not the substance of what today’s about. Today is more about top analytics tools. I’m just letting you know what’s going on in my life. So if a kid comes running into my office, screaming in the background, that’s what’s happening. I’m trying to take care of the kids and keep them apart from my wife and son so that everybody doesn’t get COVID.

There are a lot of tools out there. There are SAS, SAP, Sisense, Tableau, Oracle, Power BI, Tibco, IBM, Amazon Web Services, etc. There are many products out there. There are too many to list. The question is, “What’s the best?”

There was something that recently came out from Gartner that rated these products. When they rated them, they put them on two axes.

Here comes a screaming child. Okay! Sorry, I’ve got a slight detraction. This is my life right now. I’m trying to put something on. Okay, there you go. I’m trying to put on ballet classes for the kids to have something to do while I try to work in my office. But, of course, that doesn’t always work. Something goes sideways. Still, it’s life during the pandemic.

The axis

There are two axes that they use to rate these things. They do it in a four-block quadrant. On one axis is the completeness of vision, and on the other axis is the ability to execute. Then, they put all these things onto these two axes. They plot them and put them in these four quadrants, where the bottom left is niche players, the bottom right is visionaries, the top left is the challengers, and the top right is the “leaders” that are high on the two axes combined. Whom does Gartner put in that top right quadrant of the leaders?

There are only three that make it in that quadrant. Also, those three are Tableau, Qlik, and Microsoft Power BI. Further, those are the three that make it in that quadrant. So they’re considered to be the top ones.

Top of the quadrant

When an article comes out and talks about these things, it drops it even lower to a top two: Tableau and Microsoft Power BI. It’s like a dogfight between these two: Who is better? In the end, they give the number one to Microsoft Power BI. They seem to do it by some significant margin, although I will tell you that there are many advantages that Tableau has over Power BI. In part, I think they’ve got better visualizations (it’s a little slicker). They have some cool features.

We ended up going with Power BI, not because of this. This was before this came out. It’s just coincidental. This is not, by the way, intended in any way like, “Hey, a good job, us!”

If you go with either of these things, they will be great. Tableau is great. Moreover, Power BI is great. Further, they’re both going to do a great job. We went with Power BI because it’s straightforward to implement; it’s easy to integrate with everything. Those things matter a lot for us because we’re doing many implementations and rolling this out to many different users and various organizations, not just internally but across many clients.

Licensing

Another factor that came into play (and this is a big one) is Microsoft Power BI charges per user per month. So it’s a seat license. It’s SaaS, obviously, and we’re a SaaS company. We have a product in beta testing – our denials management product. And we have many users that are using that denials management product. And we’re rolling out, and we’re adding a lot more to it.

In our denials management beta, we are not charging for that product. Therefore, having reasonable costs on a likely dollar per seat license per month makes a big difference when giving this away for free to many different people and various organizations. I would admit that that was a significant factor as well. It’s not just all these other things. If it didn’t work on all the other factors, then, of course, the cost wouldn’t have made any difference.

And then, there’s a ballerina.

In the end, that’s why we went with Power BI. It’s worked out quite well. It also has good name recognition. Everybody knows what it is. Everybody understands it. It’s easy to enter the marketplace and have people adopt it and use it. It’s easy for people to learn. However, it’s intuitive. It doesn’t take much training. Also, it’s easy to log in, all that stuff.

Key takeaway

That’s our opinion about some of the top systems. The reality is, if you go with Tableau or Microsoft or even any of these other products, they’re going to be great. We’ve used Sisense and Oracle BI, and many of these other products. We’ve used Tableau, and we like Tableau as well. We’ve developed reporting in Tableau for clients as well. So go with whatever works best for you guys, but Gartner says Microsoft Power BI is number one.