Tableau has become the industry standard for graphical representation of insights by combining analytics and visualisation capabilities under one roof. Tableau allows importation of data from hundreds of file types, including CSV and pdf, and allows multiple sources such as MySQL Server, Oracle, MongoDB and Salesforce. The software offers a library of templates and visualisations for its users to take advantage of but where Tableau really shines is in its mapping capability. Even though the user interface is very interactive in the form of a drag-and-drop tool, mastering Tableau is a steep task. The developer offers hundreds of hours of tutorials, and most online learning platforms have dedicated Tableau courses. The software comes in both paid and limited free versions. Tableau users range from experienced analysts to reporters and data hobbyists.
The Microsoft developed software comes with features including data warehousing, preparation, discovery and interactive dashboards. Power BI has a simple user interface making it very easy to learn and master. Anyone using the Microsoft ecosystem will feel right at home as the software runs smoothly with other programs from the Seattle based company such as Microsoft Excel. In addition to its standard template library, custom visualisations can be downloaded for free from the Office store. Individuals can get started with the free Power BI Desktop, while paid plans start at $9.99 per month.
Google Data Studio is a free cloud-based tool designed by the company to be used seamlessly with Google Analytics, Google Ads and Google BigQuery. Interactive dashboards can be built on Data Studio with direct integration from Google Analytics, allowing CXOs to monitor technical metrics in a manageable way. Data sources for Data Studio are not limited to Google products; third-party sources such as Supermetrics can also be used. Data Studio is easy to use and thus has a very flat learning curve. Google also offers training videos on its website. However, the platform only offers basic visualisation features, and customisation is limited.
Datawrapper was built with one target audience in mind – journalists. The web-based software is straightforward to use and requires no prior training or technical skills. Anyone can create charts or maps and tell stories with a few clicks of a button. The software works with incredible speed and is suitable for tight deadlines. Visualisations can be downloaded or directly embedded into websites and articles. The free version of the platform is capped at 10,000 monthly chart views. The developer's website has an 'Academy' section to help users learn how to use the product.
QlikView is a compelling software that is part of the end-to-end business analytics platform known as Qlik. QlikView is used by over 24,000 organisations worldwide and is particularly popular in the healthcare industry. It has a steep learning curve, but it's the product of choice for experienced data scientists and data analysts. QlikView is not for the novice and requires hours spent reading the reference manual and watching videos to master it. The user interface has an old school look, but QlikView makes up for it in advanced features such as in-memory data processing. There is no free version of the product, but the developer offers a trial period.