Tableau and Sisense are two well respected business intelligence and data analytics platforms. Both were scored well by Gartner in its latest “Magic Quadrant (MQ) for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms.” Gartner graded Tableau as a leader and Sisense as a Visionary.
BI and analytics applications continue to be a hot item in the world of IT. In fact, data analytics applications have been in that category for twenty years and there is no sign of their popularity waning any time soon. Why? More than ever, organizations demand to harness the vast troves of data at their disposal.
Whether from relational databases, enterprise applications, unstructured data, social media, or other sources, there is more information than ever that is being data mined. Instead of a small team of data scientists slicing and dicing data, what we are seeing today is that teams from management, marketing, sales, and IT are utilizing analytics in their day-to-day activities.
As two popular analytics platforms, users often are forced to choose between Sisense and Tableau. Both have major strong points. It is hard to say that you could go wrong with either data analytics selection. But which is best for your business?
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Tableau vs. Sisense: Key Features Comparison
Tableau is very much focused on delivering analytics with artificial intelligence, data management, and collaboration. At the heart 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, choose a subset of the data to present, organize that data into a table, and then create a chart from that table. VizQL skips those steps and creates a visual representation right away, providing visual feedback as you analyze.
Sisense enables users to extract insight from complex data sets. Its set of analytic tools and dashboards include a great deal of customization for industries such as healthcare, retail, human resources, customer service, manufacturing, technology, financial services, pharmaceuticals, life sciences, and marketing. The company can extend that customization down to the departmental level, where Sisense offers a range of different visualizations. This includes interactive visualizations that users can customize the way they want to explore data sets.
How about the latest features and updates? Tableau, of late, has been adding features like Ask Data in Slack (ask questions using natural language and automatically get data visualizations); Einstein Discovery in Slack (predictions in the flow of work); and Model Builder (collaboratively build and consume predictive models using Einstein).
The latest major addition from Sisense is Sisense Fusion. It is a customizable, AI-driven analytics cloud platform that can be applied to workflows and apps. Users can analyze, explore, and collaborate with or without code and create self-service dashboards and apps with analytics built in.
Both offer plenty of features, but Tableau is slightly ahead.
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Tableau vs. Sisense: Comparing Ease of Use
Users of Tableau should be well-versed in working with the R programming language, which is used heavily in statistical programming and data analysis. But Tableau has been working to become easier to use. Its AI-powered analytics features lower the barrier to data science techniques. Tableau works really well when Excel and statistical data is being used as the raw material. For other formats, ease of use can suffer.
Sisense scored slightly ahead of Tableau in terms of ease of use. Users typically 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 tries to differentiate itself with what it describes as an intuitive analytics experience with richer capabilities, based on its patented VizQL engine. It can connect to data live (performing queries in-database and returning results in real-time) or in-memory (ingesting data from source systems into Tableau). This allows users to control performance, cost, and data freshness. Tableau also scores very well on live query capabilities and extracts, helping analysts to query faster. Its use of the R language makes it the winner on statistical capabilities.
Like Tableau, Sisense offers a good range of visualization options to showcase the results from analyses, as well as the ability to embed analytics into different applications, and plenty of data governance features. It can also deal with very large and distributed data sets.
There is little to choose between Sisense and Tableau in this category.
Tableau vs. Sisense: Cloud and On-Premises Comparison
Tableau originated in the on-premises world and has steadily added more and more cloud features. It offers cloud-hosted solutions such as Tableau Online and Tableau CRM, but its strength lies in on-premises deployments and this is where much of its massive installed base resides. Thus, it can be challenging to scale out Tableau workloads in the cloud.
Sisense, on the other hand, retains a cloud focus and its strength lies there. But it offers a wide range of data connectors to simplify the task of analyzing on-premises 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 together. Since Tableau is owned by Salesforce, it offers excellent marketing and enterprise product capabilities. It is in the process of being integrating with Salesforce Einstein Analytics (known as Tableau CRM). An Einstein Discovery dashboard extension, for example, brings predictive modeling capabilities from Einstein to Tableau.
With Sisense, you need to implement Sisense Infusion Apps. This offers users the ability to ask questions with natural language queries, to analyze and share information, and make informed decisions in other tools. These features can be embedded in Slack, Google Slides, Google Sheets, Microsoft Teams, and Salesforce and other tools.
Overall, in this category, Tableau wins as it can provide CRM in one package.
Tableau vs. Sisense: Comparing Integration
Tableau has its hands full in integrating with Salesforce. This creates a somewhat fragmented experience between Einstein Analytics and Tableau but steady progress is being made in bringing both together. It won’t be long until those issues are resolved. As a result, Salesforce customers will be upsold to Tableau and vice versa.
Sisense integrates with a wide range of platforms, applications, and data sources. But overall, Tableau is slightly ahead on integration.
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Tableau vs. Sisense: Price Comparison
Tableau has a reputation for being expensive. By some estimates, it works out to 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. That said, the addition of Tableau CRM for a list price of up to $150 per user per month means newer functionality and Salesforce integration doesn’t come cheap.
Sisense is in a similar price range as Tableau, at $83 per employee/month and up. Yet user reviews score it higher in value for money than Tableau. This could be related to Sisense’s simpler overall pricing model.
This one is tight. No clear winner.
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Tableau vs. Sisense: Conclusion
Tableau boasts a fanatical user base and a very loyal user community. Its user conferences attract large crowds. Its popularity is growing, too, partially through the distribution of a free platform known as Tableau Public. This is where people can share and explore data visualizations online. It contains over 3 million interactive visualizations. But it is in the data scientist, analytics specialist, and power user markets where its feature set wins the most plaudits.
That said, Tableau appears to also be more suitable for SMBs. For the mid-market and the large enterprise space, there is little to choose between the two. Tableau lacks the mobile application capabilities of Sisense so mobile-heavy applications are better on Sisense.
For those wanting to build apps with built-in analytics or embed analytics in other apps, Sisense is probably ahead of Tableau. But for general BI and analytics, Tableau is rated higher than Sisense by Gartner.