All of the topics discussed here in this blog comes from my real life encounters. They serve as references for future research. All of the data, contents and information presented in my entries have been altered and edited to protect the confidentiality and privacy of the clients.

Friday, August 1, 2014

OBIEE vs Tableau Report

Having used both technologies quite extensively, I can't help but to make some comparisons between the 2 tools.

For those that are not quite familiar with Tableau, it is a pretty cool technology that also provides very good look and feels of the reports. It is a pretty popular technology in a lot of companies.

Here are some of the cool things that tableau has to offer:
Tableau allows developers to bypass the metadata design and go directly into the report building phases. In other words, there is no equivalence of Admin Tool in Tableau. You develop your SQL or PL/SQL, you then create reports and views based on this SQL. This allows the development to be very flexible because there is no needs for dimensional modeling. You can join as many tables, create as many self-joins, making as many snowflake or normalizations of dimensions as you want, as long as your query is giving you the right data, you can put it in tableau and it becomes the report you want. The same thing in OBIEE would probably have to be done through custom views or materialized views, which will still need to be migrated across the 3 layers in Admin tool.

Tableau makes mapview much easier to build. All you need is spatial data in your table: latitude and Longitude and city. Once these fields are in your query, it will show up in tableau with different Icons letting you know they are available. You can then putting in the mapview and the map will be generated with every city in your table on the map. This process is much simpler than doing the same in OBIEE.

The latest versions of Tableau provides your calender for any date filters (I am surprised it took this long for such important feature to come up ). The date filter has some pretty cool features that it allows users to not only filter based on dates, but also provides other filtering options such as 'last 2 weeks', 'last 2 months', 'between each Monday' with all just a click away. This can also be done in OBIEE but will require the use of variables, which will table some engineering.

Tableau report allows users to pick their own filters while viewing the report. In OBIEE, the user will normally have to contact the report developers if they want to change filters and prompts.

5. The common features that OBIEE has, such as agents and navigation among reports and views can also be found in tableau.

6 Tableau is less complicated in its server architecture compared with OBIEE and weblogic.

On the other hand, there are some downside of tableau as well compared with OBIEE:

1.One of the main thing about Tableau is that it doesn't seem to have a query engine. This means it will try to query the entire DB first before applying any filters. This will cause a lot of overheads and oftenly at a enterprise level of reporting, the Tableau server is less stable than OBIEE because of the size of the Data they are dealing with.

2.For enterprise reporting, there might be reports that has to go through auditing to meet certain compliance based on the formatting and other things. OBIEE reporting has been tested for this purpose while Tableau will still have to be trialed and tested. What's the use of having all of the fancy reports that don't pass the auditing?

3.Another disadvantage of Tableau, which can be major for some companies, is that it doesn't allow writebacks. We all know that OBIEE has a writeback feature, which allows report users to update records on the dashboard without having to go to DB. This can be important in a lot of the financial reporting that the users typically would want to update certain records during their month-end closing. This feature is absent in Tableau.

Overall, Tableau is more of a point solution rather than enterprise-wise solution like OBIEE. But Tableau is way less costly than OBIEE and much more flexible in it's design, which also means that the level of SQL Programming for Tableau is much higher than in OBIEE.

I hope this helps



Christian Berg said...

Your #1 point for Tableau is precisely what kills organizations: anarchic growth of uncontrolled SQL-based reports in their hundreds or thousands.

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