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Holistics vs Tableau

We decided to review Tableau features to understand the differences with Holistics.

Overall, Tableau is an amazing visualization tool that works well if you already have your datasets properly formatted and cleaned up. While Holistics provides a flexible and scalable BI platform by centralizing the whole data management pipeline and decentralizing data access to everyone in the organization with self-service analytics.

Holistics makes Tableau work better for your organization

People thought they need to choose between Holistics or Tableau, but in fact Holistics makes an excellent complement to Tableau.

Grab, a ridehailing unicorn startup in SEA with more than 2000 employees, has been using Holistics alongside with Tableau, with Tableau for data visualization, and Holistics for data opertions and data workflow.


Holistics featured at Grab Engineering’s presentation at AWS Summit Singapore 2017, deployed alongside with Tableau

Tableau is a great data visualization tool to help data teams provide senior executives with summarized data. However, there is typically lots of work that data teams need to work on outside Tableau for use-cases that Tableau is not designed for.

These are the 5 key areas that Holistics can help Tableau customers in:

  1. Holistics makes sharing tabular data easy: Free your business from the 16 column limitations of Tableau. With Holistics, you can build and share flexible large tabular reports with your business team which they may be forced to do outside of Tableau.
  2. Holistics helps improve Query Performance: Instead of spending time preparing materialized views, refreshed extracts, or to setup your own data warehouse to improve your Tableau query performance, Holistics optimizes your data infrastructure to support fast Tableau queries
  3. Build Complex Reports: Use Tableau for simple summarized dashboard, and Holistics to build reports that trace root-cause analysis, or more advanced adhoc analysis where the data is not prepared.
  4. More Sharing Options: Instead of being restricted to subscribed views in Tableau, Holistics provides you multiple ways and formats to share your insights via shareable links, schedule automated emails, setup alert thresholds, and automate file exports to SFTP and Google Sheets output.
  5. Data Governance: Managing data access control for companies with cross-functional teams across geographies, roles, and products may not be the easiest for Tableau customers. Holistics makes it easy to control data access without the need to create multiple backend database user credentials, and duplicate multiple dashboards and reports.

Tableau focus on the tip of the iceberg of data analytics, while Holistics focus on the underlying behind-the-scene work

While Tableau makes it easy for data explorers to view and explore dashboards prepared by their data teams, some of them may be overwhelmed by the multiple ways to filter and customize the data shared with them.

As a dashboarding tool, Tableau is easy to use, but there is a learning curve. There’s a lot of functionality to unlock, and, without a significant time investment, you’re just not going to get all the benefit.

This is a typical example of the iceberg issue that goes into preparing automated reports and dashboards. While most business team members only see the tip of the ice-berg (charts, metrics, automated refreshes), the reality is that data teams have to do a lot of work behind the scene to make these data available.

Holistics makes it intuitive for Tableau analysts to build advanced data analysis and reports

Holistics handles the heavy lifting of the data preparation work beneath the iceberg. Your Tableau reports can run off the data that Holistics has moved and transformed within your own database so your Tableau dashboard continues to show the most up-to-date data.

Holistics offers a dedicated data workspace for Tableau analysts to run adhoc queries

Tableau is not SQL-friendly, which makes it difficult for some Tableau analysts to run and test adhoc queries. Holistics provides an intuitive data workspace for analysts to run adhoc queries, and also to share it easily with other team members for quick one-off analysis. They can also visualize the results of the SQL queries into an existing dashboard.

Holistics offers options to share data beyond Tableau platform

Tableau confines you to the web viewing of Tableau platform, while Holistics offers a variety of options to deliver your data to.

Automated Email Reporting

If you want more flexibility beyond Tableau’s way of subscribing to dashboard report emails, Holistics allows you to schedule email reports to any recipients of your choice. This lets you sends automated email reports to non-Tableau users.

If you just need to send a temporary dashboard or chart to a third party who does not require full user access to your internal Tableau dashboards on an adhoc basis, you can create the dashboard in Holistics and send them shareable links. These shareable links allow your non-Tableau users to easily access data for the use-case that they need.

SFTP Exports

Holistics lets you automate and schedule the exports of CSV and Excels into any SFTP destination folder. You can then connect to these spreadsheets using Tableau to run your analysis.

Google Sheets Exports

If your team wants to works with live data on Google Sheets, it may not be that easy to do so from Tableau. Holistics can help to automate the export of your database data to a specific Google Sheet link that your team can use for further analysis.

Can I use Holistics without Tableau?

Yes you can choose to use Holistics independently if you do not have a strong need for complex visualizations and storytelling. Because Tableau has been around for so long, we also worked with customers who has already established some dashboard and basic processes around Tableau.

While they are happy with Tableau for the dashboards they have prepared, they see value in Holistics helping them be more productive in their data analytics operation activities, which typically exist outside of Tableau.

In doing so, data teams can free up time and inter-team communication overheads when preparing data for Tableau. The time freed up from insight delivery enables your analyst to now spend more time for business deep-dive, empowering your data teams to be 10x more effective in their daily roles.

If you do not have any obligation to work with an existing Tableau setup in your organization, you can consider using Holistics independently as a modern BI tool. You can always have Tableau to complement Holistics later on for more variety of visualizations that goes beyond what Holistics offers.

Detailed Comparisons Between Holistics and Tableau

Visualizations & Reporting

  • Holistics allows you to work with detailed and operational table data using tabular reports while Tableau focuses more on charts so their tabular reporting is quite limited.
  • In Holistics, you can fully control the access of your dashboards and each widget inside, while Tableau doesn’t permit this.

Scalability & Infrastructure

  • Holistics is designed to work directly with your database which gives you the full ability to control the security and scalability of your infrastructure, while Tableau only work wells on a well prepared datasets.
  • Holistics provides real-time connection to all of your data sources, while with Tableau, you need to pay extra for Tableau Online or Tableau server.
  • Holistics’s Data Models Layer is fully integrated with your data warehouse, which also gives you the ability to control your data transformation flow.

Agile Data Modeling Approach

  • Holistics’s data models layer is built upon your own data warehouse, so it’s more scalable and manageable, while Tableau is just mainly for visualizations. It’s a business logic layer which is the single source of truth contains all data definition and measures of your organization which will be updated continuously by your data team.
  • Holistics is 100% web-based which allows multiple data analysts to work on data modeling together, while with Tableau, your data analysts have to prepare dataset on other platforms and publish on Tableau later.
  • Holistics uses native SQL so that your data analysts have more power in doing adhoc analysis.
  • Holistics is 100% web-based, so everyone in your organization, from data analysts to business, is able to get the insights without installing anything. While with Tableau, your data analysts have to work with Tableau on desktop then publish on the cloud, which creates big friction in getting insights.

Communication & Data Delivery

  • Holistics also supports Email/Slack/Alert Schedule, so you can easily schedule to deliver your insights both internally and externally (partners, clients, investors…).
  • Both Embedded Features are amazing, however, Holistics Embedded Analytics starts at $300, while Tableau Embedded Analytics and Tableau Server cost is unpredictable.

Usage-based Pricing

  • Holistics gives you a clear and predictable pricing model based on your usage, while affordable and scalable pricing is not an advantage of Tableau.
Functionality Holistics Tableau
Beautiful, interactive visualization
Fully customizable dashboards
Embedding into your own application
Easy-to-use report builder for everyone
Direct connection to your database
API Access to the platform
Mobile Friendly
Reliable, trustworthy insights from centralized data platform
Interactive and Collaborative Data Model
No Limit on Data Volumes
Allow everyone to get ad-hoc insights easily from both SQL and Drag & Drop
Able to fully control the freshness of your data
100% browser-based, works perfectly on all OS (Mac, Linux, Windows)
Support SQL natively
Centralized data definition across organization (data catalogue)
Designed and architected to utilize scalable data warehouse (big data) infrastructure
Ability to prepare and transform data and integrate with your existing data warehouse
Your data lives directly in your database without the need to build extracts
Technical support available that responds within 24 hours
Email/Slack Schedule
Work with detailed, operational table data
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