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Tableau vs OBIEE: A Quick Comparison

1 Tableau vs OBIEE

Tableau is a modern data visualization tool with strong self-service capabilities. Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE), on the other hand is a traditional BI tool used by enterprises for over a decade.

The organizations using OBIEE are now evaluating modern BI tools such as Tableau to meet user demands. In this blog post, we’ll do a short comparison between OBIEE and Tableau to help these organizations understand the strengths and weaknesses of Tableau and OBIEE.

We’ll now evaluate Tableau and OBIEE on the following 4 factors:

  1. 1. Data source connectivity
  2. 2. Data management
  3. 3. Data visualization
  4. 4. Self-service capabilities

1.1. Data source connectivity

Data source connectivity

Tableau offers inbuilt connectors to many data sources and also provides the users with the flexibility to build custom connectors like web data connectors, and through ODBC drivers.

The Tableau ecosystem is steadily improving with Tableau opening the doors for partners to build and sell custom connectors for different data sources by providing SDKs.

OBIEE, on the other hand, makes connectivity to data sources much easier with readily available adapters for different sources like XML files, denormalized datasets, multi-dimensional data etc.

In OBIEE, it is easy to set up connections with data sources by simply configuring a few settings in the connection pools.

1.2. Data management

Data management

Data Management with Tableau is quite complicated. Building complex data relationships and schemas are difficult. The star schema is most suitable for Tableau.

In recent years, Tableau has introduced Tableau Prep to help users reduce the hassle in managing data. However, it is yet to up its game in the Data Management aspect.

In OBIEE, Data Management is a lot simpler than in Tableau. It is easy to build complex logics and data relationships in the business logic layer. Moreover, the Subject Areas can be organized with user permissions in the presentation layer without any hassle.

OBIEE is also a single source of truth for many organizations as the IT teams have spent over a decade of time building complex schemas, joins and aggregations. This single source of truth is in fact an organizational asset, and hence the IT teams are often reluctant to retire OBIEE, though it is a traditional BI tool.

1.3. Data visualization

Data visualization

Tableau is far better than OBIEE in the data visualization game. Tableau is filled with plenty of visualizations readily available for different datasets.

The Tableau visualizations are intuitive, and interactive, making it easy for the users to visualize the data from multiple perspectives, in a single screen!

Though OBIEE is strong in the data management aspect, its data visualization limitations have let it down among the end users.

The users care a little about how OBIEE simplified data management in the backstage. All they want to do is to visualize data for uncovering the hidden insights and simplifying the decision-making process.

1.4. Self-service capabilities

Self service data visualization

Tableau has the upper hand in terms of self-service capabilities. The users can simply click a measure or dimension, and the appropriate visualization automatically shows up in the reporting canvas.

In Tableau, the users can also add or remove filters, or sort the data in the visualization with a few clicks.

OBIEE is not self-service friendly. The users require complex technical knowledge and hours of time to create a simple visualization in OBIEE. OBIEE’s lack of self-service capabilities is another important reason why users prefer Tableau over OBIEE.

2 Quick verdict

what's learnt

Data Analytics is composed of data visualizations and self-service capabilities, backed by excellent data management and data source connectivity.

OBIEE is strong in data source connectivity and data management aspects, whereas Tableau is strong in data visualization and self-service capabilities.

Therefore, Tableau and OBIEE form a strong pair by complementing the limitations of one with the strength of the other. Hence, it is good to connect Tableau to OBIEE with connectors like BI Connector for leveraging the best of both OBIEE and Tableau!

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