Deciding on the best analytics platform is not easy. There are a lot of things to consider when comparing the different options. As you do your due diligence, be sure to calculate the total cost of ownership (TCO). TCO looks at not just the initial purchase price of the system, but the cost of ownership over its lifecycle.
When we developed Pyramid Analytics BI Office, we did so with TCO in mind. We wanted to create an analytics platform that would bring lasting value, long after the shiny object excitement wears off. We not only have advanced functions and graphical displays, we also have features that allow users to collaborate and share information. This provides your enterprise with increased utility and value, for less cost than other analytics platforms, like Tableau.
Content Reuse – Users, as part of their analysis, create content business logic, and calculated metrics. BI Office allows that work to be saved and shared. Be sure to check if the system you are considering allows this. In Tableau, that work cannot be reused. Each user ends up creating their own content, causing duplicate work and potential data quality issues as they try to determine a consistent definition across the enterprise.
Content Management – Most enterprise IT environments have development, test, and production environments to ensure the stability of the system. This should hold true for business intelligence and analytics platforms as well and they should come with the ability to do this. If this needs to be done manually, as it does in Tableau, hours can add up quickly.
Report Distribution – When analysts create reports to inform strategic decisions across the enterprise, it’s critically important to ensure information arrives as needed. That means the ability to distribute reports to a mass of decision makers in multiple teams or departments. Timing is even more critical. Reports need to arrive at the right cadence to align with the timeframe and preferences of executives and managers. Moreover, the platform needs the ability to communicate changes to underlying data in real-time. Tableau requires 3rd party applications for mass reporting – requiring enterprises to factor these needs and costs into their ROI calculation.
Advanced Analytics – Enterprises have discovered the power of advanced analytics to understand and predict the insights hidden in their data. Previously, organizations had to purchase expensive statistical analysis software. Fortunately, that is now a part of some of the more complete analytics platforms, like BI Office. While Tableau offers a myriad of visualizations, power users must manually script code for complex problems. That could add up to several hours of an expensive resource every month.
Security – Considering the average cost for a data breach in 2016 was $4 millioni , security should be on the top of everyone’s list. Research thoroughly how data is managed and what security measures exist on the platform. While it might seem beneficial to allow users to freely explore data, as they do in Tableau, it just takes one stolen laptop to create a financial and PR nightmare. Question where the data can be stored and how user access is managed. Depending on the situation, a breach could cost significantly more than the analytics platform itself.
Summing up these numbers, the difference between Pyramid Analytics BI Office and Tableau’s solution could be as much as $5.6 million, exclusive of the higher licensing costs with Tableau. Creating a TCO analysis will be different for everyone, depending on the situation; however, it’s a necessary step in proving out your business case.