Business intelligence blog

    Phocas vs. Tableau: BARC Business Intelligence Tool Comparison

    In August Salesforce purchased Tableau for $15.3 billion in one of the most significant software acquisitions in recent years. Salesforce, known for its cloud-based CRM software, is treading into turbulent waters as more than two-thirds of Tableau’s customers are on-premise. The acquisition might create some challenges with customers as they wonder if Salesforce will expand its on-premise capabilities or move everything, including Tableau, to the cloud. Tableau has thrived because of its ease of use, dashboarding and visualization. Still, it has struggled with customer satisfaction and product performance as evidenced by customer feedback received in BARC’s The BI Survey 2019.

    The annual survey of business intelligence software users is the largest of its kind in the world, polling more than 3,000 users about their experience with 36 BI products across 34 Key Performance indicators (KPIs). Despite Tableau’s popularity and brand recognition, Phocas has outperformed Tableau head-to-head across a number of these KPIs over the last several years, including Product Satisfaction, which Phocas scored 9.5 and 10.0 in 2018 and 2019 respectively, compared with Tableau’s 2.3 and 2.6. The results beg the question, what happens if the Salesforce acquisition requires Tableau’s customers to change how they are using the data analytics software? How much worse could it get for customer satisfaction?

    In this blog post we will dive a bit further into three KPIs to review how well Phocas performed against Tableau. In 2018, Phocas received higher scores in every KPI. Phocas repeated that again in 2019.

    To review how Phocas and Tableau compare across 24 different metrics in this year's BARC's The BI Survey 2019 click below.


    Business benefits BI tool comparison : Phocas vs. Tableau

    The business benefit KPI is based on the achievement level of a variety of business benefits., from reducing costs and saving time, to improving data quality, making better decisions, and improving operational efficiency. In 2019, Phocas was the top-ranked BI software across all three peer groups (Americas-focused vendors, data discovery-focused products, and Ad hoc reporting-focused products).

    As part of the BARC analysis, it reported, “Clients stated that, in particular, Phocas has helped them make better business decisions and take reporting and analysis to a more accurate and timely level,” adding “Targeting the business user and simplifying work with data visa its easy-to-use interface, Phocas is a comprehensive solution that offers interesting navigation and analysis capabilities based on prepared data sets, especially for casual users from business departments.”

    Phocas allows Luceco, an international manufacturer and distributor of high quality and innovative LED lighting products and wiring accessories, to analyze the product sales, identify complementary products and suggest cross-sell opportunities that grow the business and strengthen customer loyalty. The ability to learn more about the customer’s buying habits and needs, and then build a plan of action led to a sales order with one customer that paid for Luceco’s investment in Phocas many times over.

    “When we first started using Phocas, we pulled data from our system to show a customer where they were increasing and decreasing orders,” said Richard Gardner. IT Manager for Luceco. “From that interaction with the customer, we captured an additional £250,000 per year worth of business. The customer was impressed with the Phocas system and the ability to quickly analyze sales data to make purchasing decisions.”

    In The BI Survey 2019 Phocas users gave their software a score of 9.8 while Tableau’s customers gave their software a 5.3. Some of Tableau’s customers touted the software’s visualization and filtering, but ultimately, poor customer services and online performance, as well as difficulty in managing large amounts of data put Tableau the peer group averages in the data discovery-focused products and ad hoc reporting-focused products.

    Price to value BI tool comparison: Phocas vs. Tableau

    Tableau is an expensive software application, and there is some concern that the acquisition by Salesforce may result in even more financial strain on customers. For this KPI, BI software users were asked to rate their BI solution in terms of the value they receive from their software for the amount they pay to use it. Phocas users gave Phocas an 8.2 while Tableau customers gave their software a 5.0. This score placed Tableau last in the two peer groups and below the peer group averages.

    Regarding Tableau, BARC wrote, “While Tableau is on most evaluation shortlists, customers appear hesitant to select it. Major reasons for this could be its below average ‘price performance ratio’ or low scores in the ‘Price-to-value’ KPI, especially in its functional peer groups.”

    Phocas on the other hand is available as a subscription that can better adapt to customer needs. “Due to its well-tailored range of functions and flexibility licensing structure, customers consider the price-performance ratio of Phocas to be quite attractive,” said BARC.  

    Performance satisfaction BI tool comparison: Phocas vs. Tableau

    Tableau’s product strategy is to bring analytics to the masses. While the number of Tableau users continue to grow, the number of complaints and unhappy customers has positioned the software at the bottom of its peer groups. The Performance Satisfaction KPI measure the number of complaints about the software performance. In 2019, Phocas finished with a 9.8, taking the top ranking in the ad hoc reporting-focused products peer group and as a leader among data discovery-focused products. Tableau received a score of 4.8, which placed the company last in the data discovery-focused products peer group.

    Tableau’s customers report a variety of performance challenges, and as the company performs larger deployments, the performance satisfaction goes down. In general, customers are not satisfied with Tableau as they reported significant problems more frequently, which suggests that “Tableau’s transition from a visual analysis tool for departments to larger and more consumer-centric enterprise solutions is not running smoothly…”

    Regarding Phocas, BARC wrote, “Phocas’ outstanding query performance is a major factor in its high ‘Performance Satisfaction’ KPI rating. Only three percent of Phocas users responding to this survey stated that slow query performance is an issue with the software.”

    Eric Tordjman, one of the owners of Mercury Lighting, Canada’s largest independent lighting solutions provider, chose Phocas from the endorsements of respected peers. He quickly recognized simplicity and intuitiveness of the software, stating, “Our expectations for Phocas were set pretty high by the people that recommended the software, and from the beginning, Phocas has exceeded all of them.”

    To download your full report of how Phocas compares to Tableau and 35 other vendors , click here or on the button below.

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