Choosing InetSoft Style Intelligence Over Tableau


ENTERPRISE DATA MASHUP – InetSoft is built upon a patented enterprise data mash-up platform (since inception in 1996). Enterprise data mashup refers to the ability to pull practically any type of data from any location and mash it up on the fly to create a virtual source of data that consists of reusable data blocks that can be queried in real-time from dashboards, reports and 3rd-party applications. In contrast, Tableau uses a data blending service feature (introduced in 2011, Tableau’s data blending service is a crude and over-simplistic attempt at data mashup with simple joins no customization, control or reusability.)

SELF-SERVICE – InetSoft's self service capabilities are completely zero client and web based, no installation or download of any software from InetSoft on the client side is required. Tableau only provides a thick desktop developer tool with transfer of data from the web server onto the desktop.

DATA CACHING – InetSoft's data caching architecture delivers massive query performance boosts by caching data viewed by end users. Tableau also provides such a caching feature. InetSoft utilizes columnar database, Hadoop and Map Reduce technologies to store and query the cache in parallel across one or more servers.  InetSoft also provides advanced cache management and configurations options like rolling time window, incremental updates. Tableau utilizes only columnar database technology to store and query the cache on a single Tableau server, and provides a simple increment all update functionality.

OPEN STANDARDS – InetSoft utilizes open industry standards across its entire architecture and it is 64 Bit and 100% J2EE compliant. In contrast, Tableau is only 32 Bit compliant and it is dependent on many native Microsoft Windows and Visual C++ libraries.

FULL SPECTRUM ANALYTICS & REPORTING – Like Tableau, InetSoft features visualization technologies as the foundation for interactive exploration and discovery. But unlike Tableau, InetSoft doesn’t stop at interactive visualization but includes very sophisticated reporting capabilities. Information publishing and dissemination often require reports with codified, sophisticated business logic and/or pixel perfect formatting. Advanced features include scheduling, archiving, versioning and auditing. InetSoft integrates visualization into all modes of information delivery which unifies analysis, reporting and dashboards into one seamless environment.

InetSoft BI Architecture Diagram
Read how InetSoft saves money and resources with deployment flexibility.

SCHEDULING AND ALERTING – InetSoft features a state-of-the-art scheduling and alerting framework that goes beyond traditional business intelligence in order to provide common scheduled actions and light-out alerting to end users via dashboards, SMS, e-mail or any other alerting mechanism when configured thresholds are breached. Tableau has no in-built scheduling or alerting features.

DESIGN – InetSoft design takes place in a zero-client web browser environment allowing for both business users and IT to define rich dashboards, reports, and data mashups on any terminal. In contrast, Tableau requires a Windows desktop application to be installed on the machine of every user who wishes to design a dashboard or report or make modification to their data model. InetSoft’s free form design allows for users to have the freedom to build any component any way they choose with full customization. Tableau implements strict rules on every component and additionally where each component is allowed to be placed.

SERVER FUNCTIONS – Since InetSoft operates in a zero-client web browser environment InetSoft’s server assumes the server-side responsibility for all InetSoft features including data-mashup design, dashboard/report design and dashboard/report usage. It can also be clustered as required. Tableau’s server is designed solely for dashboard usage, and all other functions need to be performed via a Windows desktop tool.

SECURITY AUTHORIZATION & AUTHENTICATION – InetSoft seamlessly integrates with all security authorization and authentication products including IBM TAM. Tableau only integrates with Microsoft Active Directory.

DATABASE WRITEBACK – InetSoft supports data input and database write-back capabilities - also known as full-lifecycle BI – enabling end-users to interact with dashboards/reports - by entering quotes, approving requests, adjusting forecasts, adding comments, uploading photos, scanning products, and more. Tableau has no data input and database write-back capabilities.

USAGE – InetSoft has very sophisticated dashboard/report customization features including tabular data support, brushing of data, intelligent filtering with automated wiring between widgets and selective embedding, making the end-user experience either very simple (e.g. for business users) and very customizable (e.g. for analysts). In contrast, Tableau does not support tabular data, its filtering capabilities are basic, and it does not support selective embedding, making it more of a tool for very simple users only.

top ranked BI
Read how InetSoft was rated as a top BI vendor in G2 Crowd's user survey-based index.
bar charts for dashboard software designs

ENTERPRISE SCALABLITY – Thanks to its framework-based architecture, InetSoft is massively scalable and is powerful in environments from very small (5 users) to very large (1000’s of users), where data is stored in many different formats and/or locations and new data sources are likely to be added. Tableau is powerful in small siloed environments where the data is nicely structured in one location.

DATA MODELLING, QUERYING and MANIPULATION – InetSoft is built on the solid foundation of a robust data layer, and its features include:

Business Data Model: A simplified business mapping of your database schema hiding all the complexity from the developer / power user; facilitating adhoc query building.

Data Work Sheet: A dedicated tool for data manipulations, complex querying via a drag and drop building block like interface. It facilitates complex data manipulations like aggregations, joins, set operations, pivoting, un-pivoting, JavaScript expressions etc.

Tableau has no business encapsulation of data. No dedicated data manipulation and querying tool. Many forms of data manipulations just cannot be performed in Tableau without manual crafting e.g. double aggregations, split aggregate and join, etc. As a result, relatively common user requirements would require custom work to craft e.g. average monthly clearance fees by year by client, loose correlations, hourly correlation between the website visits and websites registrations.

VISUALIZATION – InetSoft provides many visualization features:

User Driven View Customization - business users can play with different dimensions and measures and change the visual bindings of charts and cross tabs on the spot and on the fly. 

Intelligent Filtering – with elements which are informative and interdependent to help a user zero in on what they are looking for, in addition to a hierarchical tree node filter element. 

Business Defined Hierarchies - and drilling operations on the same.  

Brushing – macro based data filtering, distribution of one dimension with the global view of another.

Chart Script API – for custom chart visualizations

Visual Elements – gauges, thermometers, text etc.

Tableau does not offer any of the above.

FUTURES – InetSoft product futures include:

  • An integrated complex event processing engine (i.e. for combining real-time messages and events into the BI platform)
  • A data cleansing engine (for periodically cleaning data stored at source e.g. insert zip code based on physical address using web lookup)
  • And an unstructured data analysis engine (for reading unstructured data such as from PDFs and sentiment data from social websites). We cannot confirm Tableau’s product futures at the time of writing

About InetSoft

InetSoft is a pioneer in delivering easy, agile, and robust business intelligence software that makes it possible for organizations and solution providers of all sizes to deploy or embed full-featured business intelligence solutions. InetSoft solutions have been deployed at over 5,000 organizations worldwide, including 25% of Fortune 500 companies, spanning all types of industries. InetSoft was ranked among the top 5 BI vendors in Gleanster's customer survey report.

Related Information