Mai Hussein
30 April 2019
3 minutes

The 5 Best Data Visualization Tools in 2019

The ultimate comparison guide to the best data visualization tools available this year.

If you want to understand the benefits of data visualization tools including:

1. Tableau

2. Microsoft's Power BI

3. QlikView

4. FusionCharts

5. SalesForce Einstein Analytics Platform

Then you’ll love this detailed guide.

Let’s dive right in.

 Data visualization tool high-level comparison

It feels like we’re all suffering from data overload.

Organizations have become more and more focused on data that can be obtained from their customers and services. Almost everything ranging from analyzing target audiences to progress of each sale is tracked.

And If you don’t have a PhD in data science, how and why to use raw data can remain unclear. That’s where data visualization comes into play. Data visualization is the process of taking raw data and transforming it into graphs, charts, images and even videos that explain numbers and allow us to gain valuable insight to impact future decision-making. Data visualization evolves the way we make sense of information to extract value from it, discover new patterns and spot trends for optimised customer interaction.

There are so many data visualization tools out there that it can be mindbending to find the best one for the job. They all do slightly different things, with a range of free and paid plans. While MeasureMatch has expert data visualization consultants to support you, we have also put together a list of what we believe to be the best visualization tools out there today.

1. Tableau

Among the multiple data visualization products in the market, there’s one solution that stands out; Tableau software. It’s one of the earliest players in the self-service business intelligence (BI) space and launched in January 2003.

Tableau is a PLC which helps businesses build bespoke data visualization and analysis. It has three main products: Tableau Desktop, Tableau Online and Tableau Server. And these products work perfectly together to serve an organization’s data visualization needs.

The main thing that sets Tableau apart from its competitors is that it has a special feature of data blending and collaboration in real-time that makes it a valuable investment for almost any organization. It also offers a broad variety of visualization capabilities with distinct features, enabling smart ways of data discovery and deep insight.

"I've used dozens of different analytics and data visualization tools throughout my career and Tableau is the clear winner. Yes, there is a learning curve but the power this tool provides is worth the initial frustration. It's a tool that all companies, which are serious about data, should consider." - Justin, MeasureMatch network expert and data visualization expert

Pros:

  • Excellent mobile support. The touch-optimized controls make accessing and viewing data trouble-free, and visualizations are automatically streamlined for mobile devices. It also automatically recognizes you’re on a mobile device and it makes adjustments accordingly
  • Impressive integration: Tableau integrates with most data types and offers out of the box integration with a variety of big data platforms, including Hadoop.
  • Large customer base and resources: its community is notoriously enthusiastic and engaging: if you need a question answered, you’ll have a plethora of resources to help you
  • Reliable customer support


Cons:

  • Tableau isn’t the most expensive data viz tool if we compare to other tools. However, the license is quite costly
  • It's quite complex to use and does require some training upfront to harness its true power
  • There are some restricting features

2. Microsoft PowerBI

PowerBI, launched in 2003, is a software developed by Microsoft for business intelligence and analytics needs. Its a tool that allows non-technical business users to aggregate, visualize and share data across their organization. Power BI’s user interface is fairly intuitive for users familiar with Microsoft Excel and its deep integration with other Microsoft products makes it a very versatile self-service tool that requires little upfront training.


Pros:

  • It’s very affordable: there’s a free basic version that users can access via desktops and a fee of $9.99 per month for the Pro
  • It's part of the Microsoft suite of business products: there's seamless integration with other Microsoft tools such as Office 365 and Excel so you can get up to speed quickly
  • Artificial intelligence: users can access image recognition and text analytics inside the application


Cons:

  • It doesn’t handle large data sources well: when trying to connect and import large datasets, users may experience a lot of time-outs
  • Microsoft products can be complex and PowerBI is no exception beyond the basics

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3. QlikView

QlikView launched in September 2014, as an in-memory business discovery tool that’s very different from traditional BI software. It provides businesses with an extremely fast integration of data collected from various sources into a single powerful application. With just a few clicks, Qlik lets you consolidate, search, visualize and analyze all your data sources for unprecedented business insight.


Pros

  • It’s extremely cheap at a basic level and is easy to use for data pros : you simply have to type in any keyword on the dashboard and you get immediate results
  • It has robust mobile apps: you can access all the information you need through the QlikView app on your smartphone
  • It provides solid integration: you can directly connect to a number of business applications and data sources, including Salesforce, SAP NetWeaver, Hadoop and Google BigQuery


Cons

  • Outdated interface: mostly tab based and lacking intuitive drag and drop features
  • Reporting on email:  When it comes to sharing and reporting on emails, the entire functionality is challenging
  • QlikView is highly sophisticated so it can’t be easily used by an ordinary user. It requires high level coding skills, good working knowledge of SQL and a formal training for using QlikView’s proprietary query language

4. FusionCharts

FusionCharts launched in 2003 as a Javascript-based option for creating web and mobile dashboards. It has over 150 chart types and over 1,000 map types, you’ll find everything that you need right out of the box. It is one of the leaders in the paid-for market (as well as offering an unrestricted free trial). This JavaScript-based platform integrates with a wide range of devices, frameworks and platforms, making it a good choice for those seeking flexibility, but especially for web and mobile developers.


Pros

  • A lot of options: it has more features than most other visualisation tools
  • Great integration: it can integrate with a different framework and programming language
  • Excellent dashboards: can showcase numerous data sets side by side
  • FusionCharts gives a ready-to-use code for all of the chart and map variations, making it easier to embed in websites even for those designers with limited programming knowledge


Cons

  • It’s expensive: starts at almost $500 for one developer license
  • Definitely not for the less technical savvy individual

5. SalesForce Einstein Analytics Platform

SalesForce analytics is a newcomer to the self-service business intelligence space. It’s a suite of several products launched in September 2016, which enables users to accelerate sales to improve customer service and optimize their marketing campaigns. Einstein Analytics brings the power of algorithms in minutes, something that data scientists took days or even weeks to perfect. Overall, - claims Salesforce - the insights offered by Einstein allow executives to make decisions 38% faster.


Pros

  • It gives in-depth information via dashboards and regularly delivered reports to have a detailed view of what is going on
  • It gives managers a task list of things to follow up on to make sure their team members are getting all the detailed tasks done and on time
  • You can import other CRM data
  • Almost anyone can use it, no special degree or advanced courses are needed to get the information to calculate correctly

Cons

  • Just for users of the Salesforce CRM platform
  • Uploading large data can take a while
  • There can be difficulty getting data into the Cloud
  • Requires any developer to learn a new database language

Conclusion

All of these tools are excellent to use, it simply depends on your specific needs as to which one will work best for you. Here's a quick overview table for you to scan:

Comparison table of 5 data visualization tools


For further help with choosing the right data visualization tool look no further than MeasureMatch’s data visualization experts. Our consultants can support you and your team(s) throughout your data visualization project lifecycle; offering invaluable, expert skills and insights that maximise the potential of any of these products in delivering data insight.

Mai Hussein

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