Power BI vs OBIEE – A Quick Comparison

BI Connector Team |

power bi vs obiee comparison

Introduction

In this blog post, we’ll compare Power BI and OBIEE, and evaluate them both in 4 critical aspects of a Business Intelligence tool.

Let’s begin with a short introduction to Power BI and OBIEE!

OBIEE

Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE) is a traditional BI platform from Oracle. Oracle OBIEE is used by large enterprises for over decades. 

OBIEE serves as a single source of truth for many organizations, and they have already invested years of time and effort into creating this asset. However, OBIEE lacks the simplicity desired by the end-users.

In recent years, Oracle introduced the Oracle Analytics Cloud or OAC (with enhanced data visualization capabilities in the cloud) and Oracle Analytics Server or OAS (the on-premise version of OAC), to help its BI users experience seamless data visualization and self-service.

Power BI

Power BI is Microsoft’s self-service data visualization tool. Power BI equips the end-users to visualize data with simple drag-and-drop actions.

With Power BI, it is easy to connect to a number of data sources using the native connectors. As Power BI comes in both Desktop and Server editions, report sharing and collaboration is also a lot simplified.

With Power BI, the users can connect to a vast list of complex data sources and file types through R and Python languages as well.

OBIEE vs Power BI

Now let’s do a quick comparison of Power BI and OBIEE based on the following 4 critical aspects of a Business Intelligence and Analytics tool:

  1. Data Management
  2. Data source connectivity
  3. Self-service features
  4. Data visualization

Here’s a table comparing OBIEE and Power BI in each of the above aspects.

AspectOBIEEPower BI
Data ManagementEasy, many organizations use OBIEE as a single source of truth as wellProvides options for basic ETL functions, and easy to create data relationships in few clicks
Data source connectivityProvides native connectors for fewer, widely used data sourcesProvides native connectors for a relatively more number of data sources. Has a strong partner ecosystem for building custom connectors
Self-service featuresEnd-users find it difficult to useEnd-users find it intuitive and easy to use
Data visualizationEven simple visualizations demand technical know-howAdvanced visualizations, including maps are easy to create with simple drag-and-drop actions

Now let’s take a look at each of the aspect in detail.

Data Management

data management

Power BI provides an inbuilt ETL module for combining data and mashing-up data from different data sources. The users can build relationships among the fact and dimension tables themselves in a few clicks. 

However, data management in Power BI is quite difficult and it doesn’t offer as much flexibility and scalability as OBIEE, for building a single source of truth in it.

On the other hand, OBIEE is comparatively strong in the data management aspect. Unlike Power BI, OBIEE equips organizations manage data in a hassle-free way with the Physical, Business model and mapping layers and the presentation layer.

In fact, OBIEE’s data management features makes it a desired Business Intelligence tool for the IT teams, even if not for the end-users.

Data source connectivity

data source connectivity

In the connectivity aspect, Power BI offers a wide range of native connectors for a number of data sources, including data virtualization tools like Denodo. 

Further, it also provides users with the flexibility to run their own R and Python scripts for connecting to certain types of data sources.

OBIEE also provides adapters for different data sources like denormalized datasets, multidimensional data, XML files etc. It is easy to set up connectivity to different data sources by configuring a few settings in the connection pools.

OBIEE also has the upper-hand when it comes to building complex schemas or creating complicated joins and aggregations.

Self-service features

self service feature

Power BI is strong in self-service capabilities. Even advanced visualizations like maps can be created with simple point-and-click or drag-and-drop actions!

Power BI’s self-service features make it one of the most desired data visualization tools among the end-users.

On the other hand, OBIEE faces a huge drawback in this aspect. The end-users must rely a lot on the IT teams to perform their analysis, as OBIEE demands a tonne of technical know-how.

Though the IT teams usually like OBIEE, it is not a favorite among the end-users due to the absence of self-service friendliness.

Data visualization

data visualization

Power BI equips end-users with a set of readily available data visualizations for widely used datasets. The end-users will have to choose their desired visualization and select the data points in the fields pane for visualizing data.

Power BI also provides additional customization options for formatting and labeling the visualized data.

OBIEE, on the other hand, is not data visualization friendly. The end-users rely on the IT teams even to create simple data visualizations for performing their analysis.

Conclusion

When comparing Power BI with OBIEE, it is evident that OBIEE emerges as the winner in the data management aspect, while Power BI scores drastically above OBIEE in the self-service and data visualization aspects.

However, data analytics is all about self-service data visualization, with data management at its core. One without the other defeats the purpose of Data Analytics!

Power BI and OBIEE make a strong pair in the Analytics landscape by complementing the weaknesses of one with the strengths of the other!

Therefore, it is good to leverage the best of both OBIEE and Power BI, by connecting them seamlessly and securely through BI Connector.