Traditional BI Vendors – they are behind in Data Visualization (DV) but trying hard to catch-up with DV Leaders:

  • SAP – they think that buying BI (e.g. Business Objects and Sybase) and DV vendors can make them DV leaders. HANA appliance is a good product and I like it…

  • IBM – bought 24 companies during 2006-10 for $14B. IBM does not understand that Java is the wrong bet.

  • SAS – mindshare leader, made the same Java mistake as IBM and Oracle. JMP is a good DV product…

  • Oracle is losing their BI share despite good financial results; mishandles many purchases, like IRI, Hyperion, Sun etc.

  • Microstrategy – pure BI player with good reputation but behind in DV market. Release of Visual Insight and Microstrategy Cloud in 2011 created new attractions for Microstrategy…

  • Microsoft – has the best BI stack (SQL Server 2012, SSAS, SSRS, BIDS, PowerPivot, Excel 2010, VS11 etc.) but has no DV product due corporate stupidity.

DV Leaders

  • Qlikview – fast growing, with best DV functionality, especially visual drilldown, multitude of clients (including major smartphone platforms) but has limited reach for large enterprises. Qlikview has an excellent in-memory (64-bit) columnar database and so called AQL (“Associative Query Language”). Qliktech had successful IPO in 2010. In 4th Quarter of 2011 its total revenue of $108M increases 33% compared to 4th quarter of 2010 and the full year 2011 total revenue of $320M million increases 42% compared to 2010 (with more then 1000 employees by the end of 2011). The company expects 2012 total revenue to be in the range of $405M to $415M (about 28% growth in 2012 is expected).

  • Spotfire – lost (in 2007-10) its DV focus due TIBCO’s product diversity, but still has the best web client, leading Visual Analytics (S-Plus, IronPython) and API; still the best option for large enterprises. Spotfire has excellent in-memory (64-bit) data engine and unlimited ability to scale-up to disk. Spotfire is on its way back to the top with release of Spotfire 4.0 and Spotfire Silver 2.0. Spotfire has excellent 4th Quarter 0f 2011 and probably had sales over $100M in 2011 (almost 50% YoY – Year-over-Year growth in 2011).

  • Tableau Software – the fastest growing DV Vendor (123% YoY as of November 2010 and almost 100% in 2011!), easiest for end users with minimal need for IT, has best access to OLAP cubes and best Pivot Control among DV vendors. Since Tableau 6.0 release has a very capable and fast in-memory (64-bit) data engine. Recent 7.0 release put Tableau in neck-to-neck race with Qlikview. Both Tableau and Spotfire had about 350 employees each and Tableau is planning to hire 300 more employees in 2012. Tableau has excellent and free Desktop Reader and has phenomenal success (15+ millions users) with free Tableau Public.

Other DV Vendors

  • VisokioOmniscope is one of the most advanced DV product, but implemented in Java (and it has own data engine similar to in-memory columnar DB), which limited its ability to handle large datasets.

  • Pagos – its SpreadsheetWEB and its Data Visualizer make it one of the most interesting BI and DV vendor, but it needs a breakthrough in marketing and sales

  • Panorama – MDX inventor, has Microsoft and Google as OEM partners, best integration with OLAP

  • Information Builders – One of the oldest BI vendors, has too much inertia from existing customers.

  • Information Builders partnered with Advizor Solutions and delivering Data Visualization to its customers with good Advizor product. David Raab has a very high opinion about Advizor.

  • Actuate – One of the few successful Open Source BI Vendors

  • Panopticon – very good DV vendor but using Java too much which is a sin in my church. However Panopticon has 2 (functionally similar) SDKs: .NET and Java. Both Panopticon EX Server and Panopticon EX Designer are .NET products (EX Server will get Java version soon due demand). Panopticon also will release HTML5 version of its web client

  • more competitors – Vizubi, Pentaho, DundasVisual Mining etc. list can be expanded…



14 Responses to “DV Competitors”

  1. Patrice Says:

    Very interesting content. it is very useful to have both a global and accurate picture of the DV market. i am not a software developer so it would be nice if you could explain (in a future post) why java is the wrong bet and compare the java option vs other options. thanks, patrice

  2. apandre Says:

    Hi Patrice:

    thanks for your kind words. Many people asking me about Java and I usually trying to delay the answer, because almost all discussions of this topic will eventually look like religious war where all infidels have to die.

    2+ reasons preventing Java-based DV tools to be competitive:

    1. Owners of Java destroyed Java’s future with own hands: Sun got $1.6B from Microsoft and Oracle recently sues Google over use of Java. In 1st case Java disappears from Visual Studio and in 2nd case Google can as well remove Java from Android. Guess what: most developers developing either for Microsoft or for Google environment. If you will add that Apple (today it had $290B market cap) does not endorsing Java for Apple’s environments (can you say Objective C?), than now we have 3 “leaders” of the software world are rejecting Java. I am just following the money here…

    2. Many vendors tried to use Java for Data Visualization, best of them is Visokio. Their wonderful product – Omniscope has more features then most DV competitors, but due limitations of Java they cannot handle large datasets and this making their appeal very limited. Java-based DV tools from other vendors are behind Visokio…

  3. Rob Says:

    Hi! Does Panopticon have the same problems as Visokio? Problems with large datasets? I’ve been trying to find pros and cons of their product and continue to search through your excellent blog for any relevant comments. If you happen to have a link to something, I’d love it!


    1. Andrei Pandre Says:


      Thanks for the excellent question and I think it deserved a detailed answer, because I am getting similar questions all the time and it means that answer on it has a very public value. Here you go:

      I like Panopticon, but I cannot recommend it because it’s UI and Data engine cannot compete with Qlikview, Tableau and Spotfire. I do not have enough time (busy with work, blog, family etc.) to cover everybody in huge and fast growing Data Visualization (DV) market and frankly most of small and not competitive players will eventually disappear or will be irrelevant.

      This is a list of DV vendors who will be around for a while:

      1. Qlikview (IPO made them even more relevant, but they have some growth and management problems – I hope they can solve it). Qlikview also has known problem with upcoming “big data” wave: their datastore has to be in RAM and it does not take advantage of cheap huge hard disks and SSD as virtual memory – so as of now Qlikview is not very scalable in terms of size of datasets (Spotfire can scale to disk and latest version of Tableau has some of that scalability too). Both Qlikview and Spotfire completely and mistakenly ignore Microsoft backend (SSAS and new Tabular mode from SQL Server 2011 and PowerPivot as the best in-memory columnar DB engine)

      2. Spotfire has an excellent feature set and a very good corporate parent (TIBCO), but their sales and partnership programs needs to be improved ASAP. Also I wish they will improve UI (they as Tableau have Wrong User Interface [compare with Qlikview UI] for Drill-down Functionality and No MDI support in Dashboards, all charts share the same window and paint area); Spotfire backend is too messy, for example they still use Tomcat (and Java, which slowing them down) as Application Server; I told them that many times but they (I guess somebody TIBCO headquarters) think they can live for a while with these problems. I completely disagree and I think it will bite them big in a long run,

      3. Tableau is growing faster then anybody but I still have some old problems with Tableau (it is possible that somebody will buy them soon, like Teradata or Microsoft):

      – No MDI support in Dashboards, all charts share the same window and paint area;
      – Wrong User Interface (compare with Qlikview UI) for Drill-down Functionality;
      – Tableau’s approach to Partners is from stone ages;
      – Tableau is 2 generations behind Spotfire in terms of API, Modeling and Analytics

      4. Other “me too” vendors have and will have impact on DV market:
      – Microsoft has the best backend (SQL Server 2011, PowerPivot) for DV applications;
      – Visual Insight from Microstrategy (9.2) is promising;
      – SAS, IBM, SAP and Oracle trying hard to be DV-relevant, spending huge money on it, but so far all of them failed to impress me.

      5. I already mentioned on this blog a while ago that Google has a lot of excellent DV components: Google Analytics, Google Maps, Google Earth, Motion (inherited from Hans Rosling), Timeline (recreation of some well-designed financial Charts), Sparkline and Scatter charts, Google Public Data Explorer, Google Fusion Tables etc. Unfortunately Google keeps ignoring DV market (by not producing DV tool [it can be part of Google Apps or separate product]) for similar reason to Microsoft reasoning: they think it does not fit their business model. I happened to completely disagree with both Google and Microsoft on this stupid reasoning, but they will not listen me anyway…

      In terms of Visokio: I love Visokio, but as I said before Visokio has a few problems:

      1) Omniscope from Visokio is written in Java and therefore it never will be competitive in terms of large datasets.

      2) Visokio is extremely small company, driven by their large and loyal customers and therefore has limited capacity to execute. For example it took year and half to build the next version (2.6) of Omniscope, but hopefully it will be finally released by the end of September of 2011.

      1. Rob Says:

        Thank you, Andrei!

  4. 3piecechickendinner Says:

    Hello Andrei…when you say that Microsoft does not have a DV tool…What do you make of PowerPivot?

    1. Andrei Pandre Says:


      PowerPivot is probably the best in-memory columnar database on market and with Release of SQL Server 2012 it will be available as a Server technology as well in form of Tabular Mode of SSAS 2012 (SQL Server 2012 Analysis Services) without any need of SharePoint. And of course PowerPivot is free if you have the Excel 2010.

      However, PowerPivot does not have own Data Visualization functionality and can be used only as a backend for Excel 2010, which is 2 generation (in terms of Data Visualization) behind of DV Leaders like Qlikview, Tableau, Spotfire and Omniscope. Microsoft has all needed BI stack to produce an excellent DV tool but choose not to do so in favor of supporting Office 2010 Sales.

      As a side note, SQL Server 2012 will have a new tool called PowerView (former “Project Crescent”) but it remains to be seen how it can be compared with real DV tools; for now PowerView designated as a reporting Silverlight-based tool. Please keep in mind that Microsoft stopped new development of Silverlight in favor of HTML5 (that is a correct decision).

      In short, Microsoft does not have a clear DV strategy and it has a history to confuse its users. For example Microsoft bought an excellent tool (ProClarity) a few years ago and then kill it (I guess due own internal politics).

  5. Elad Says:

    Hello Andrei, i really enjoy reading your blog and your posts are very informative and useful.
    I read the above post that is probably from 2010 and wonder if your opinion about DV market leaders and mis-leaders is still the same. I read your “Updated Comparison of Data Visualization tools” but i found the above post much more informative and comprehensive.

    Also, i saw in your responses to readers questions to the above post some very interesting data like your opinion on MS PowerPivot and Power View and Qlikview and Tableau strength and weakness. I wonder if you could relate to all the data you kindly shared above, in regarding the new Qlikview and Tableau versions (maybe in a new post) and also about Java potential if any, now that it is Oracle owned….


    1. Andrei Pandre Says:

      Hello Elad:

      thanks to your question I refreshed the page above, so today it is up-to-date. My latest opinion about DV market leaders is actually expressed in my recent blog post here:

      Many, many visitors of my blog keep asking my opinion about Java and my very subjective answer still the same: it is a dead horse. Like my father said “if you dead today you will be dead next year too“.

      About PowerPivot: I love it!

      About Power View: it is a toy but Microsoft has all means to make it (or something similar) a real DV tool and I hope it will happened and MS Office will have own DV functionality the same way as Microsoft integrated Visio with MS-Office.

      And about latest versions from DV Leaders: I commented many times on this blog about Qlikview 11, Tableau 7 and Spotfire 4 and they are the best DV tools on market and everybody else are far behind them (may be with exception of Omniscope 2.6 or soon to be 2.7).

      1. Elad Says:

        Hi Andrei,
        thank you for you insights on the subject.
        Only one small remark though… as far as I know, Panorama was not declared by MS as OEM Partner and Panorama had to look for new ways to remain relevant with its social BI “Necto”.

  6. SeCK Says:

    Hi Andrei, can you share your thoughts on Panorama Necto and it’s Social BI offering, and how it compares with say Tableau? Many thanks!

    1. Andrei Pandre Says:


      like I said above, Panorama has great products, it invented MDX, it has good relationship with Microsoft (I say too much of it) and Google. For multiple reasons they are losing market share. Since you asked me to compare it with Tableau, I had better experience with Tableau and recommend it over Panorama.

      However I know Panorama experts who can do wonders with it…

      1. Navi Says:

        Thank you team for discussing Panorama Necto, our newest product.
        My name is Navi and I am the CEO of
        First and foremost, thank you Andrei for this super interesting blog.
        There are some inaccuracies in some of the replies so I thought to provide some data:

        According to IDC “….Panorama Software and were other winners in a strong 2010 for business intelligence sales, growing faster than the overall market”, so it was actually funny to see anyone suggesting that we aren’t gaining market share. You can actually see that we are growing faster than most other vendors.

        Also, in the recent Garter Magic Quadrant report, Panorama enjoyed the biggest positive jump in both ‘ability to execute’ and ‘completeness of vision’. No other vendor had such a positive movement on the quadrant. Hence, you can see that we are gaining market share and our innovative products are growing more than ever.

        Moreover, some of you, haven’t seen our newest product line, hence, I do suggest you will watch this 2min video and also take Necto for a test drive.

        Ah, and about Microsoft… here you can read all about it:

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