Business dashboards can help your organization gain valuable insights, improve processes and save money. But knowing which one is best for your business can be a bit confusing. In fact, business leaders often ask members of the 5000fish team, “What’s the best dashboard software?” The answer isn’t cut and dry.
To help clear the air about the “best” dashboard software, we’ve put together this quick read that outlines what features a small to midsize organization might look for in dashboard software, and identifies a handful of vendors that meet those qualifications.
But first, let’s define what we mean by small to medium sized business (SMB). For the purpose of this article we aren’t defining SMBs strictly by revenue or employee count. That’s because many large organizations (with strong revenue and thousands of employees) work in business units and teams that can be considered “small to medium” in size. Generally speaking, when we refer to SMBs, we’re talking about a group of users that ranges from about 5 to 150 people.
After years of experience we’ve found the SMBs that enjoy the most success with their BI strategy have a well-defined use case and choose a solution that not only offers strong dashboard capabilities but also the attributes listed below.
As you review out list of the top four companies SMBs should consider when selecting dashboard software, keep in mind that we’re giving you a high-level overview of what each company has to offer. We encourage you to do your due diligence and learn as much as you can about the companies and products we’ve listed below. Also, it’s important to understand that while there are some companies out there that meet a few, or even most of the criteria we’ve outlined above, we’re only featuring BI vendors that meet all of the criteria essential to SMBs. Note: We are not covering Cloud only solutions- we cover Cloud only solutions in this article.
When compared to the other solutions we’re spotlighting, Microsoft Power BI is the most affordable, and if you already use Excel or other Microsoft products it’s a good choice- but it also requires a bit more technical expertise than the other solutions and that can increase the overall cost of Power BI. Gartner’s Magic Quadrant notes that of the “megavendors” of BI, Microsoft has made the greatest advancement toward delivering a product that combines business user capabilities with an enterprise level platform1.
SiSense doesn’t publish its pricing, but from the feedback we’ve received from prospective customers, its price point is around $21,000 for 5 users which means it may be priced too high for the smaller segment of SMBs. SiSense just closed a $50 million round of VC funding in Jan 2016 and earned a spot on the Gartner Magic Quadrant for BI and Analytic Platforms (Feb 2016) so we suspect their pricing and minimum deal sizes will be going up, not lower.
Both BI solutions have a price point that starts to reach the boundary of what most SMBs can afford. Tableau will be the more affordable option of the 2 for smaller organizations, starting at $10,000 for a 10-user server edition. Additionally, both solutions are desktop solutions, and if you want to put them on the web or have a mobile interface you have to purchase server components- which further increase cost and complexity. Tableau does offer a cloud solution which is priced attractively to the small business market.
If you want to your business users to be able to create effective dashboards that they can leverage whether they’re at the office or on the go, we suggest you familiarize yourself with the solutions we’ve highlighted above. As you explore your options, you should be aware of the challenges (and benefits) of business dashboards as well as the common mistakes of business dashboards. If you’d like to learn more about dashboards, read this article that explains what a dashboard is, and can also help you determine whether your business needs dashboard software.
Above all, be sure to keep your use case and budget at the forefront of your mind when comparing dashboard software solutions. And don’t overlook your customer support needs. Are you okay with being a little fish in a big pond, or do you want to be a big fish in a little pond and receive concierge level support without exorbitant fees?