By Cindi Howson
Hi, all! I know—you are hoping I will reveal the ultimate winner of last week’s BI bake off from the Gartner BI Summit. But I can’t. Any more than I could declare that chocolate cake is better than chocolate chip cookies (they are both great)!
The purpose of the BI bake off is to allow for a side-by-side comparison of leading modern BI tools, via scripted demos. Customers must decide which requirements are more important: governance or agility? Visual data discovery or scheduled reports? Maybe it is all of the above.
Last year, we used public data sets based on homelessness and shelters. This year, we used a new data set released, the College Scorecard. It is a fascinating dataset, culled from multiple reporting institutions. We asked vendors to answer key business questions:
- Which schools offer a good education that considers test scores, cost to attend, size of school, and salary?
- Are there certain schools or states where student debt and loan default rates are high compared to earnings?
Four vendors were selected to participate in the main event based on customer interest for data discovery disruptors and two traditional BI providers who have newly added data discovery capabilities: Qlik, Tableau, Microsoft, and MicroStrategy. Exhibiting vendors were offered the same data set and demo script to show case during exhibit hours, which have been recorded below. It is a tough, tough session to demonstrate in front of hundreds of people, against your competitors, but our panelists rose to the challenge (thank you Jen Underwood, Chris McNabney, Josh Good, and Francois Ajenstat – so calm and smiling before the session!)
Some highlights from the bake off (disclaimer, data is presented as is and I do not guarantee its reliability):
- Microsoft used its mashup capabilities to bring some March Madness to the academic data, allowing dashboard users to select by top winning teams and SAT scores.
- MicroStrategy showed its mapping capabilities to highlight SAT scores by state, but also a scatter plot that shows how higher cost to attend universities do not necessarily relate to higher income; instead there is a stronger correlation to SAT scores.
- Qlik found that default rates are highest for lower-income households, but also for certain states such as Kentucky and Hawaii.
- Tableau showed how enrollment and student debt has changed overtime at three prestigious universities. Rice University in Texas has gotten more selective overtime, but student debt has stayed mainly the same. Tuition rates have steadily increased for Rice and Stanford, but stayed fairly flat for Princeton.
As attendees rated vendors on each demo, indeed we clearly saw the strengths and weaknesses. This is why Gartner advocates considering your use case and mapping the requirements to the use case. Our just published Critical Capabilities for BI and Analytics Platforms lets you do that. It provides a side-by-side scoring table for 24 vendors, with insights on strengths, weaknesses, and ideal use cases. Let me know what you think of this new research note – either by rating it, or comments below.
I continue to strive to help you figure out which is the best BI tool for you!
Scripted demos from participating vendors (listed alphabetically):
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