Sisense and Microsoft Power BI are two of the top business intelligence and data analytics platforms available. Both of these data analytics applications are in heavy demand as organizations seek to harness the vast troves of data at their disposal.
And that data is growing. Whether from relational databases, enterprise applications, unstructured data, and social media, there is a large repository of data subjected to analysis. Instead of a small team of data scientists slicing and dicing data, now teams from management, marketing, sales, and IT are utilizing analytics in their day-to-day activities.
As two highly regarded analytics platforms, users often are forced to choose between Power BI and Sisense. There are arguments for and against each. It is hard to say that you could go wrong with either solution. But which data analytics platform is best for your business?
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Sisense vs. Power BI: Key Features Comparison
Microsoft encompasses a massive number of associated IT platforms and applications. Power BI, therefore, offers a diverse set of features that range far beyond BI and analytics. Integration with the likes of Microsoft Office, Office 365, Teams, Azure, and SharePoint is a major selling point. Specific to analytics, Power BI encompasses data preparation, data discovery, dashboards, and visualization.
Sisense is a leader in extracting 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 where users can customize the way they want to explore data sets.
How about the latest features and updates? Microsoft releases weekly updates to its cloud-based Power BI service. Recent feature additions include AI-infused experiences, smart narratives (NLG), and anomaly detection capabilities. A Power BI Premium version enables multi-geography capabilities and the ability to deploy capacity to one of 42 data centers around the world.
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.
Which data platform wins on features? It depends on user needs. Microsoft is stronger on general cloud and mobility features while Sisense is better for situations where extraction needs increase along with the complexity of data sets.
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Sisense vs. Power BI: Comparing Ease of Use
Newer users appear to find Power BI relatively easy to use. But as the complexity rises the platform grows more difficult to navigate.
Sisense, on the other hand, is generally graded by users a little ahead of Power BI in the overall ease of use category. Users comment upon the intuitive nature of its various functions. As such, it wins in this category.
Sisense vs. Power BI: Analytics Capabilities Comparison
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.
Power BI, similarly, offers plenty of visualization features. It is also good at crunching and analyzing real-time data. There is not much to choose between Sisense and Power BI in this category.
Sisense vs. Power BI: Comparing Cloud and On-Premise
Sisense has very much of a cloud focus. Its strength lies there, not on-prem, although it offers a decent range of data connectors to simplify the task of analyzing on-premises data.
Power BI, too, is more focused on the cloud. There is a fully functional SaaS version running in the Azure cloud. But Microsoft also offers an on-premises version resident in Power BI Report Server. And there is Power BI Desktop that is also offered for free as a stand-alone personal analysis tool.
When power users are engaged in complex analysis of multiple on-premises data sources, they need to download Power BI Desktop. These on-premises Power BI offerings, however, are not as rich as the cloud version with regard to dashboards, streaming analytics, natural language, and alerting.
Which data analytics platform is the winner? Sisense is perhaps slightly ahead in the cloud, but there is not much between them. Microsoft wins on the desktop but only barely. Neither are on-prem BI and analytics specialists.
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Sisense vs. Power BI: CRM Comparison
CRM and BI often go together. Power BI integrates relatively well with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Users can quickly download one or the other and be confident that they will integrate well, share data, and be able to smoothly link CRM and BI functions. Thus, it becomes easily possible to analyze CRM data and vice versa to feed the results of analysis back into the CRM platform as part of campaign planning and lead generation.
Sisense doesn’t delve much into CRM. But Sisense Infusion Apps offer 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, Salesforce, and other tools.
Microsoft Power BI wins when a business wants a unified BI/CRM package. But if the organization is not a Microsoft CRM user, Sisense offers more flexibility in terms of the CRM and marketing related platforms it can be used with for analysis purposes.
Sisense vs. Power BI: Comparing Integration
Microsoft has an extensive array of integration options, APIs, and partnerships. Power BI is tightly embedded into much of the Microsoft and Windows ecosystems. The company, though, is addressing some integration challenges. Gartner noted that Power BI’s handling of content promotion and publication can generate administrative overhead. This isn’t an easy fix, which will add manual labor between Power BI apps and its collaborative development environment known as Workspaces.
Sisense, too, integrates with a wide range of platforms, applications, and data sources. But overall, Microsoft our performs it on integration due to the depth of its partnership relationships that it has established over the decades.
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Sisense vs. Power BI: Price Comparison
Microsoft is very good at keeping prices low as a tactic in growing market share. It offers a lot of features at a relatively low price. Power BI Pro, for example, costs approximately $10 per month per user. The premium version is $20 per month. The bottom line for any rival is that it is hard to compete with Microsoft Power BI on price when it comes to automated ML capabilities and AI-powered services.
Sisense prices at about $83 per employee/month and up. Although this is expensive, user reviews score it well on value for money. But on raw price and the amount of features you obtain per dollar, there is no beating Power BI in this category.
Sisense vs. Power BI: Conclusion
Microsoft is committed to investing in Power BI and enhancing its integration across other Microsoft platforms. Any organization that is a heavy user of Office 365, Teams, Dynamics, and/or Azure will find it hard to resist the advantages of deploying Power BI. And those advantages are only going to increase.
On the AI front, for example, the company boasts around 100,000 customers using Power BI’s AI services. The company is also putting effort into integrating with other applications and in making it easy to autotune query performance. Those with an eye on budget that still want a rich BI platform will probably favor Power BI. Consider, too, the existing sales teams and distribution channels for Microsoft products. With such a huge user base and so many tentacles across the world, Power BI may only be a click away for many organizations.
Sisense will find it hard to compete head-to-head against Microsoft. Within the larger Microsoft ecosystem, it has an uphill battle to make progress and gain market share. But outside of that ecosystem, it gives Power BI a run for its money. It may be more expensive, but it is also more specialized. For those wanting to build apps with built-in analytics or embed analytics in other apps, Sisense is ahead of Power BI, certainly when you venture beyond the Microsoft world.
Overall, Microsoft offers the largest range of features and integrations. Gartner’s latest “Magic Quadrant (MQ) for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms,” graded it ahead of Sisense. As such, Power BI is a Leader whereas Sisense is a Visionary. That indicates that Gartner believes Sisense is a top contender in the BI and analytics space. But for now, Power BI wins overall.
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