Tableau and Sisense are two well-respected business intelligence and data analytics platforms. Both were rated well by Gartner in its latest Magic Quadrant (MQ) for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms. Gartner ranks Tableau as a Leader and Sisense as a Visionary.
BI and analytics applications continue to be a hot topic in the IT world. In fact, data analytics applications have been in this category for twenty years, and there are no signs of their popularity diminishing anytime soon. Why? More than ever, organizations are demanding that they make use of the vast amounts of data at their disposal.
Whether from relational databases, enterprise applications, unstructured data, social media or other sources, there is more information than ever being mined. Instead of a small team of data scientists slicing and dicing data, what we see today is management, marketing, sales and IT teams using analytics in their day-to-day activities.
As two popular analytics platforms, users are often forced to choose between Sisense and Tableau. Both have fundamental strengths. It’s hard to say you can go wrong with choosing data analytics. But which is best for your business?
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Tableau vs. Sisense: Key Features Comparison
Tableau is very focused on providing AI analytics, data management and collaboration. At the core of Tableau is a proprietary technology called VizQL that makes interactive data visualization an integral part of understanding data. It differs sharply from traditional tools that require the user to analyze data in rows and columns, select a subset of data to represent, organize that data into a table, and then create a chart from that table. VizQL skips these steps and creates a visual representation immediately, providing visual feedback as you analyze.
Sisense enables users to extract information from complex data sets. Its suite of analytical tools and dashboards includes many customization options for industries such as healthcare, retail, human resources, customer service, manufacturing, technology, financial services, pharmaceuticals, life sciences and marketing. The company can extend this customization to the department level, where Sisense offers a range of different visualizations. This includes interactive visualizations that users can customize the way they want to explore datasets.
How about the latest features and updates? Tableau recently added features like Ask Data in Slack (ask questions using natural language and automatically get data visualizations); Einstein Discovery in Slack (workflow predictions); and Model Builder (collaboratively building and using predictive models using Einstein).
The latest big addition from Sisense is the Sisense Fusion. It is a customizable, AI-driven analytics cloud platform that can be applied to workflows and applications. Users can analyze, explore, and collaborate with or without code, and create self-service dashboards and applications with built-in analytics.
Both offer a lot of features, but Tableau is slightly ahead.
See also: Top Business Intelligence Software
Tableau vs. Sisense: Comparing Ease of Use
Tableau users should be familiar with working with R programming language, which is heavily used in statistical programming and data analysis. But Tableau is working to make it easier to use. Its AI-powered analytics features lower the barrier to data science techniques. Tableau works really well when Excel and statistics are used as raw material. For other formats, ease of use may suffer.
Sisense scored slightly ahead of Tableau in terms of ease of use. Users generally note the intuitive nature of the various functions. As such, it wins in this category.
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Tableau vs. Sisense: Comparing Analytics Capabilities
Tableau is trying to differentiate itself with what it describes as an intuitive, more feature-rich analytics experience based on its proprietary VizQL engine. It can connect to live data (querying the database and returning results in real-time) or in-memory (ingesting data from source systems into Tableau). This allows users to control the performance, cost and timeliness of data. Tableau also scores very well in terms of live query and extract capabilities, helping analysts query faster. The use of the R language makes it a winner in terms of statistical capabilities.
Like Tableau, Sisense offers a good range of visualization options for demonstrating the results of analytics, as well as the ability to embed analytics into various applications and many data management features. It can also work with very large and distributed datasets.
There is little choice between Sisense and Tableau in this category.
Tableau vs. Sisense: Cloud vs. On-Premises Comparison
Tableau originated in the on-premises world and is constantly adding more and more cloud features. It offers cloud-hosted solutions such as Tableau Online and Tableau CRM, but its strength is in on-premises deployments, and that’s where much of its massive installed base resides. Thus, it can be challenging to scale Tableau workloads in the cloud.
Sisense, on the other hand, maintains a cloud focus, and that’s where its strength lies. But it offers a wide range of data connectors to simplify the task of analyzing local data. For on-premises systems and data, Tableau wins. In the cloud, Sisense leads.
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Tableau vs. Sisense: CRM comparison
CRM and BI often go hand in hand. Since Tableau is owned by Salesforce, it offers excellent capabilities for marketing and enterprise products. It is in the process of integrating with Salesforce Einstein Analytics (aka Tableau CRM). The Einstein Discovery dashboard extension, for example, brings predictive modeling capabilities from Einstein to Tableau.
With Sisense, you must deploy Sisense Infusion Apps. This offers users the ability to ask questions with natural language queries, analyze and share information, and make informed decisions in other tools. These features can be built into Slack, Google Slides, Google Sheets, Microsoft Teams and Salesforce and other tools.
Overall, in this category, Tableau wins because it can provide CRM in one package.
Tableau vs. Sisense: Comparing the Integration
Tableau has its hands full integrating with Salesforce. This creates a somewhat fragmented experience between Einstein Analytics and Tableau, but steady progress is being made in bringing the two together. It won’t be long until these issues are resolved. As a result, Salesforce customers will be sold to Tableau and vice versa.
Sisense integrates with a wide range of platforms, applications and data sources. But overall, Tableau is a bit ahead in terms of integration.
See also: Trends in real-time data management
Tableau vs. Sisense: Price Comparison
Tableau has a reputation for being expensive. Some estimates put this at about $75 per month per user for decent analytics functionality. But those who only want to interact with some basic dashboards can get it much cheaper. However, adding Tableau CRM for a list price of up to $150 per user per month means newer functionality and the Salesforce integration doesn’t come cheap.
Sisense is in a similar price range to Tableau, at $83 per employee/month and up. Still, user reviews rate it higher value for money than Tableau. This may be related to Sisense’s simpler overall pricing model.
This one is narrow. There is no clear winner.
See also: Top Business Intelligence Software
Tableau vs. Sisense: Conclusion
Tableau boasts a fanatical user base and a very loyal user community. Its user conferences draw large crowds. Its popularity is also growing, in part through the proliferation of a free platform known as Tableau Public. This is where people can share and explore data visualizations online. Contains over 3 million interactive visuals. But it’s in the data scientist, analytics and power user markets that its feature set wins the most praise.
However, Tableau seems to be better suited for SMBs. For the mid-market and large enterprise space, there is little choice between the two. Tableau lacks Sisense’s mobile app capabilities, so mobile-heavy apps are better on Sisense.
For those looking to build apps with built-in analytics or embed analytics into other apps, Sisense is probably ahead of Tableau. But for general BI and analytics, Tableau is rated higher than Sisense by Gartner.