Sisense and Microsoft Power BI are two of the best business intelligence and data analytics platforms available. Both data analytics applications are in high demand as organizations seek to leverage the vast amount of data at their disposal.
And that data is growing. Be it relational databases, business applications, unstructured data, and social media, there is a large repository of data being analyzed. Instead of a small team of data scientists slicing and dicing data, teams from management, marketing, sales and IT now use analytics in their day-to-day operations.
As two highly regarded analytics platforms, users are often forced to choose between Power BI and Sisense. There are arguments for and against each. It’s hard to say you can 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 huge number of associated IT platforms and applications. Power BI therefore offers a diverse set of features that go well beyond BI and analytics. Integration with, for example, Microsoft Office, Office 365, Teams, Azure and SharePoint is an important selling point. Power BI is specific to analytics and includes data preparation, data discovery, dashboards, and visualization.
Sisense is a leader in extracting insights from complex data sets. The set of analytical tools and dashboards includes many customizations 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 datasets.
What about the latest features and updates? Microsoft releases weekly updates for its cloud-based Power BI service. Recent additions include AI-infused experiences, smart stories (NLG), and anomaly detection capabilities. A Power BI Premium version provides capabilities for multiple geographies and the ability to deploy capacity in any of 42 data centers around the world.
The latest big 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 built-in analytics.
Which data platform wins on features? It depends on the needs of the user. Microsoft is stronger in 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 user-friendly. But as complexity increases, it becomes more difficult to navigate the platform.
Sisense, on the other hand, is generally rated a bit ahead of Power BI by users in the general ease of use category. Users comment on the intuitive nature of the various functions. As such, it wins in this category.
Sisense vs. Power BI: Analysis Capabilities Comparison
Sisense offers a good range of visualization options to show the results of analyses, as well as the ability to embed analytics in different applications, and plenty of data management features. It can also handle very large and distributed data sets.
Power BI provides many visualization features in the same way. It is also good at cracking and analyzing real-time data. There isn’t much to choose between Sisense and Power BI in this category.
Sisense vs. Power BI: Comparing Cloud and On-Premises
Sisense has a strong focus on the cloud. Its strength is there, not on-premises, although it offers a decent array of data connectors to simplify the task of analyzing on-premises data.
Power BI is also more focused on the cloud. A fully functional SaaS version is running in the Azure cloud. But Microsoft also offers an on-premises version that resides in Power BI Report Server. And there’s Power BI Desktop, which is also offered for free as a standalone personal analytics tool.
When power users are engaged in complex analysis of multiple on-premises data sources, they should download Power BI Desktop. However, these on-premises Power BI offerings aren’t as rich as the cloud version in terms of dashboards, streaming analytics, natural language, and alerts.
Which data analytics platform is the winner? Sisense may be a bit ahead of the curve in the cloud, but there isn’t much in between. Microsoft wins on the desktop, but barely. Nor are they on-premises BI and analytics specialists.
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Sisense vs. Power BI: CRM Comparison
CRM and BI often go hand in hand. Power BI integrates relatively well with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Users can download one or the other quickly and be confident that they will integrate well, share data, and smoothly link CRM and BI functions. This makes it easy to analyze CRM data and vice versa to feed the analysis results back to the CRM platform as part of campaign planning and lead generation.
Sisense doesn’t delve much into CRM. But Sisense Infusion Apps allow users to ask questions with natural language questions, 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 company wants a unified BI/CRM package. But if the organization is not a Microsoft CRM user, Sisense offers more flexibility regarding the CRM and marketing-related platforms it can be used with for analytics purposes.
Sisense vs. Power BI: Comparing Integration
Microsoft has an extensive range of integration options, APIs and partnerships. Power BI is firmly embedded in much of the Microsoft and Windows ecosystems. However, the company is addressing some integration challenges. Gartner noted that Power BI’s handling of content promotion and publishing can cause administrative overhead. This is not an easy solution, which will add manual labor between Power BI apps and the collaborative development environment known as Workspaces.
Sisense also integrates with a wide range of platforms, applications and data sources. But overall, Microsoft is running it on the integration front because of the deep collaborative relationships it has built over the decades.
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Sisense vs. Power BI: Price Comparison
Microsoft is very good at keeping prices low as a tactic to increase market share. It offers a lot of features for a relatively low price. For example, Power BI Pro costs about $10 per month per user. The premium version costs $20 per month. The bottom line for any rival is that it’s 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. While this is expensive, user reviews rate it well on value for money. But based on the raw price and the number of features you get per dollar, there is no better Power BI in this category.
Sisense vs. Power BI: Conclusion
Microsoft is committed to investing in Power BI and improving its integration with other Microsoft platforms. Any organization that uses a lot of Office 365, Teams, Dynamics and/or Azure will struggle to resist the benefits of deploying Power BI. And those benefits will only increase.
In the field of AI, for example, the company has approximately 100,000 customers using Power BI’s AI services. The company is also making efforts to integrate with other applications and make it easy to automatically tune query performance. Those on a budget who still want a rich BI platform will probably prefer Power BI. Also consider existing sales teams and distribution channels for Microsoft products. With such a huge user base and so many tentacles around the world, Power BI may be just a click away for many organizations.
Sisense will find it difficult to take on Microsoft. Within the larger Microsoft ecosystem, it has an uphill battle to 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 looking to build apps with built-in analytics or embed analytics in other apps, Sisense is ahead of Power BI, especially when you venture outside of the Microsoft world.
Overall, Microsoft offers the widest range of features and integrations. Gartner’s latest “Magic Quadrant (MQ) for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms” rated it ahead of Sisense. As such, Power BI is a leader, while Sisense is a visionary. That indicates that Gartner believes Sisense is a top candidate in the field of BI and analytics. But for now, Power BI wins overall.
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