What's new in Polymer: Mar 29, 2023
Secondary axes, Google Ads connector improvements, & more
Power BI is a fantastic business intelligence tool, however, it’s not suitable for everybody. Some people may find that it’s difficult to use, too expensive, incompatible with their OS, or are just looking for an open source alternative. Here are some Power BI alternatives that might suit your needs better:
Different jobs will require different tools. Here’s a list of things you need to consider when choosing a tool:
With that in mind, here are the best Power BI alternatives:
Polymer Search is a web-based BI tool with AI capabilities and will soon have ChatGPT implementation. Dashboards can created and accessed entirely through the web browser.
It’s extremely beginner-friendly and is one of the best BI tool for marketers and non-technical professions such as salespeople, as well as data scientists looking to create customized, self-service dashboards.
To utilize Polymer, simply connect to a data source or upload a dataset onto the web tool. Utilizing machine learning technology, the tool can quickly transform your dataset into an interactive dashboard in seconds, saving you significant amounts of time.
Example apps created with Polymer:
Since Polymer is a web tool, it is compatible with all operating systems including Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Additionally, the dashboards can be shared via a URL, which can be password-protected or restricted to specific accounts.
Polymer's unique advantage lies in its interactive and data analytics features, which allow for easy filtering and searching using "tags," as well as a variety of data visualization and analytics tools.
If your team requires rapid insights from your dashboard, they can easily access the Polymer app via a shared URL, allowing them to extract insights on their own.
Polymer offers a free plan, with paid plans starting at $9/month for one user, compared to Power BI's $25 per user per month. Due to the low pricing, Polymer Search is one of the best and cheapest alternative to PowerBI.
Tableau is a better Power BI alternative. While it comes at a higher cost of approximately $70/month, Tableau offers significant advantages.
Firstly, it is notably faster than Power BI and offers a wider range of data visualization customizations that are both quicker and easier to set up. Additionally, Tableau provides better analytics capabilities for those looking to explore their data.
On top of that, it offers almost everything that Power BI does: Over 60 data connectors, ETL, integration to R/Python for data scientists, predictive analytics and data modelling.
Tableau is the closest alternative to Power BI and also works for Macs, making it a solid alternative for Mac users.
Example: Tableau Dashboard
Google Data Studio is the best free alternative to Power BI, offering a straightforward and cost-effective way to create interactive reports and dashboards.
The advantages of Data Studio are: It offers seamless integration with other Google services: Users can easily import data from Google Sheets, Google Ads, Google Analytics, BigQuery, Dv360, campaign managerand other services.
Google Data Studio offers an easy-to-learn interface with drag and drop features where you can customize and style your charts. It only takes a few clicks to get a dashboard started.
Something to note: Data Studio doesn't work well with data sources outside of Google. These will require ETL and programming work to automate.
Example: Google Data Studio Dashboard
Metabase is the best open source alternative to Power BI. It’s free and allows you to host the dashboard on your own server, which is ideal for handling sensitive data (e.g. customer data).
The advantages of Metabase are it provides extensive support for databases. Metabase supports a wide range of databases, including PostgreSQL, MySQL, and SQLite.
It also has a user-friendly interface and requires no code to operate.
However, the downsides of Metabase are it comes with limited customization and data connectors. Compared to PowerBI, it has fewer options for advanced data analytics and modelling.
The community is also much smaller and may impact support and availability of resources/documentation.
Metabase offers a free plan and paid plans starting at $85/month.
If Tableau is the gold standard for business intelligence, DOMO is the platinum standard.
Domo is a comprehensive BI tool that integrates with multiple data sources, allowing businesses to consolidate their data into a single, easy-to-use platform.
It has great data manipulation and ETL features that can be easily learnt without coding in SQL. However, for those who are technical, DOMO provides a MySQL workspace where you can perform more complex data joining and cleaning.
What sets DOMO apart from its competitors is the amount of data connectors it offers: There are over 1000+ data connectors! Whatever data source you require, DOMO supports it.
DOMO also connects directly to R, allowing data scientists to perform complex tasks like data mining and prediction. It’s a very seamless experience to perform data analytics using R, and sending data back to a DOMO dashboard for presentation.
DOMO is also more beginner friendly than both Power BI and Tableau. All these tools require a bit of training to learn, but I found DOMO to be the easiest to learn.
There’s a catch to all this though: the pricing. DOMO’s pricing isn’t shown to the public, however, their product is targeted towards enterprise and not small to medium sized businesses.
Sisense is a great alternative to Power BI that supports Linux based operating systems like Ubuntu, CentOS, Amazon Linux and Redhat OpenShift.
The major advantage of Sisense over other BI platforms like Power BI is the “ElastiCube Manager.”
ElastiCube lets data scientists quickly and easily compile lots of data together if they are comfortable with SQL. ElastiCube also means you won’t need any data warehouse or supporting infrastructure on the data side.
Another advantage of Sisense is that it also offers “in-chip processing” which can process data 100 times faster than in-memory tools. Sisense is also one of the few tools that offers AI to analyze data.
The drawbacks of Sisense is that it’s complex to use. It’s significantly more complicated than Power BI and will require extra training time to master the tool. It also lacks the ability to do advanced/scheduled reports and comes with limited dashboards.
Example: Sisense Dashboard
QlikView is a guided data analysis tool built for technical teams of data scientists or developers in order to tackle large, complicated datasets, and build business applications which can store different reports, dashboards and calculations.
Unlike other BI tools like Tableau, both QlikView and Qlik Sense use the same engine called “Qlik associative engine” to help with the data discovery process. Qlik allows you to quickly explore relationships in the dataset to find patterns and trends without having to write SQL queries.
QlikView allows you to create pixel-perfect graphs for jobs that require them.
The disadvantage of QlikView is that it’s more complicated to learn and non-developers won’t be able to create their own visualizations.
Example: QlikView Dashboard
If you’ve never used a Qlik product or have a less technical team, Qlik Sense is usually the tool to choose over QlikView.
Qlik Sense is a web-based, self-service data discovery SaaS tool with a more modern UI than QlikView. Qlik Sense focuses more on ease-of-use with its drag and drop functionality which allows for fast and easy development of visualizations, dashboards and stories.
Using its associative data model: Qlik Sense makes it easy to find relationships between different data sets with its unique data model. Qlik Sense can also handle large data sets and scale with your business needs.
Unlike QlikView, you don’t need to be a data scientist or developer to use Qlik Sense. This allows every team member to be an analyst.
The main downside of Qlik Sense is the pricing: Qlik Sense can be expensive, particularly for large organizations or those with complex data requirements.
Example: Qlik Sense Dashboard
Zoho Analytics is a budget-friendly, cloud-based BI platform. It is AI-powered, self-service and has data prep and analytics features.
It connects to over 500 data connectors and incorporates AI into its tool, allowing non-technical business users to hold a conversation with the AI and ask questions related to the data.
Example: Zoho Analytics Dashboard
Zoho Analytics is an affordable alternative to Power BI, priced at $25/month. The downside to Zoho Analytics is there is a bit of a learning curve to it, and it’s not user-friendly towards those who don’t have a data background.
MicroStrategy is a business intelligence tool used by many large companies like Disney and ABC. It’s designed for all levels of experience, allowing you to build interactive dashboards with no code, low-code or full code.
The drag and drop interface allows you to quickly create a dashboard, but it’s limited to the small library of visuals (10 built-in and a few custom ones). In order to get the most out of MicroStrategy, you’ll need to take the full-code approach which requires a great deal of expertise, time and money.
MicroStrategy is no. 10 on this list because it used to be a top BI tool, but has become more of a legacy system after all these years. Still, with the developments they made in the past 2 years, the tool seems to be headed in a positive direction.
Looker is a cloud-based BI platform that provides businesses with real-time data analytics and visualization. It's particularly well-suited for those of us who rely on SQL databases.
The advantages of Looker are it offers great flexibility when it comes to building custom data models and visualizations. It also provides real-time data insights to help make informed decisions quickly.
The downsides of Looker are it has a steep learning curve and has limited non-SQL database support.
Furthermore, it is an enterprise level tool and isn't affordable to most businesses.
Overall, Looker is a tool designed for large businesses who are looking for a cloud-native architecture, SQL-centric approach and lots of flexibility/customization.
Secondary axes, Google Ads connector improvements, & more
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