Phocas and IBM Planning Analytics went head-to-head in the world's largest business intelligence user survey, BARC'sThe BI Survey 19. Customers of both products respond to detailed questions across criteria such as business value, ease of use and functionality. The findings are a great way to compare business intelligence tools because they come from real people who use the software. In the ad-hoc reporting peer group, Phocas outperformed IBM in 27 different categories.

This blog compares the performance of Phocas vs. IBM Planning Analytics in the ad-hoc reporting peer group in four of the 27 measures; adoption rate, business benefits, ease of use and vendor support.

More people use Phocas across a business than IBM Planning Analytics

The fundamental difference between the two products is Phocas is designed for all business people interested in data, whereas IBM Planning Analytics is for tech-savvy and trained power users. According to BARC, "Tasks such as integrating data for analysis typically requires IT support. As a consequence, IBM Planning Analytics is not used in a self-service manner in business departments to the same extent as Phocas."

BARC says:"Phocas offers pre-built solutions and an easy-to-use, self-service tool that enables non-technical users to view and build dashboards. The product provides flexible analysis for business users who can administer the tool themselves. Phocas penetration rate is quite high: an average of 28 percent of employees use the product, comfortably above the survey average of 18 percent. High usage is a positive reflection on the tool’s versatility, ease of use and applicability to multiple job functions."

BARC describes the set-up and use of IBM Planning Analytics as:"Depending on the complexity, IBM Planning Analytics solutions are often implemented and built with the support of external consultants who apply their own best practices. Once these applications are created, tech-savvy and trained power users typically take over the tasks of administration and further development. IBM Planning Analytics customers achieve an average of 4 percent usage penetration among all employees (compared to the survey average of 18 percent). This indicates that the product is focused more on trained power users than the majority of employees."

See a more comprehensive analysis of the two products below:

 

Phocas delivers more business benefits than IBM Planning Analytics

BARC asks users to rate whether the BI tool contributes to a range of business improvements expected after deploying this type of software. In 2019, the business benefits measured include: reducing costs (IT or non-IT), saving time, improving data quality, making better decisions, stronger analysis, improving operational efficiency and reducing headcount. 

In the 2019 survey, Phocas received a score of 9.8. And according to the survey results, IBM Planning Analytics scored a 4.4.

Phocas customers stated in particular that the software helps them make better decisions and has taken their reporting to a more accurate and timely level. 

BARC says about Phocas:"Its popular with customers primarily because of its professional expertise in the industries it focuses on, and ability to fulfil customer requirements with innovative features."

BARC about IBM:"Business benefits are achieved less frequently by IBM Planning Analytics users compared to other products."

Phocas is easier to use than IBM Planning Analytics

We think ease of use is a great measure because users are the ones who understand and know whether the product is living up to expectations. BARC compares how often users choose a BI solution for its ease of use with the number of complaints about ease of use after implementation. 

According to BARC,"All BI vendors strive to make their tools as simple and easy to use as possible. Phocas has steadily improved its ranking in the BARC survey in ease of use over the past few years. This year Phocas is top-ranked in ease of use across all three peer groups for the second time in a row.

In this category, Phocas scored a 9.6  while IBM Planning Analytics scored 3.7.

"Phocas worked immediately right out of the box, and we did nothing but provide access to our systems" — director of IT, timber wholesaler, US

"Brilliant product. Very simple and easy for people to understand. Good documentation and support.” — CIO, healthcare, UK

BARC says about IBM:"Ease of use seems to be a problem for several customers. With its Excel-based user interface, IBM Planning Analytics is focused on tech-savvy and trained power users. Untrained business users may find its sheer flexibility and feature-richness somewhat overwhelming."

Customers rate Phocas' vendor support much higher than IBM Planning Analytics

In this KPI, users were asked to rate how satisfied they were with the customer support they received from the vendor. Phocas offers a free customer support line across the US, APAC and Europe and all customers have a dedicated customer success consultant assigned to them.

For this KPI, Phocas outperforms IBM Planning  Analytics by another significant margin, scoring a 9.3 compared to IBM’s 3.9.

"The folks at Phocas are fantastic. In short order, we exchanged the necessary information, had a 2 hour WebEx training, and we were off and running. Their pre and post-sale support levels are second to none” — vice-president, electrical distributor, US

BARC says about IBM: "Customers seem unhappy with the support IBM provides. However, as a large vendor with a worldwide customer base and support requirements, it is by no means easy to satisfy all customers’ needs in a timely manner."

In summary, BARC wrote "As one of the top performers in this year‘s BI Survey, Phocas is the first-ranked vendor for many KPIs across all of its peer groups. Outstanding results in the ‘Business value‘, ‘Ease of use‘ and ‘Product satisfaction' KPIs are certainly key reasons why customers have felt comfortable recommending the product for several years."
 

For more information about BARC The BI Survey 19 click to download the full report here.

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Tags: IBM Cognos, Reviews and Recognition

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