Power BI vs. Zoho Analytics: BI tool comparison

Are you considering different types of business intelligence software? Here is a comparison of two popular options to help you choose what’s right for your organization.

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When it comes to data analytics tools that make beautiful visualizations, two top contenders emerge: Microsoft Power BI and Zoho Analytics. How do you know which one is right for your business? To help you make a decision, we’ll compare Power BI vs. Zoho Analytics in five key categories: user friendliness, data analysis, data visualization, security and integrations.

Power BI vs. Zoho Analytics: User friendliness

Since Power BI was originally developed as an add-on to other Microsoft products, it makes sense that the software would have a relatively low learning curve for anyone already familiar with other Microsoft offerings. However, even users who aren’t primarily working in Microsoft products also praise the ease of use, saying Power BI offers a good amount of user-friendliness given its serious data analysis capabilities. Users will definitely need some training to be able to achieve the specific customization they want, but Microsoft provides those resources, and there is an active online community you can turn to for help if needed.

Zoho Analytics is designed with the beginner in mind, which makes it a great choice for employees or companies a bit newer to data analytics. It doesn’t require a lot of training to get started, and it offers functionality for more advanced users through the option to write custom SQL queries. The learning curve is a bit lower for Zoho Analytics when compared with Power BI, but both of them are reasonably beginner-friendly like the rest of the BI software market.

Power BI vs. Zoho Analytics: Data analysis capabilities

Power BI offers quite a lot of data analysis capabilities for beginners and power users, and offers functionality such as joining data sets and producing solution templates. Do note that Power BI has a bit of an unusual quirk in that you need to prep the data in the desktop tool and then actually publish it via the web tool. Users also say that using the desktop tool requires a computer with high RAM, and the system can still lag when working with large data sets.

Zoho Analytics takes a slightly different approach, with the system offering to auto-generate reports right out of the gate. The software also offers suggestions for what type of reports you might like to create based on the data you have input into the system, making it easy for beginners to get started with analytics. Advanced users can take advantage of the custom SQL queries mentioned above, and also use various filters to manipulate data, queries and output visualizations. It’s a little bit less advanced than Power BI when it comes down to it, but it still offers plenty of data analysis capabilities for the average user.

SEE: 5 powerful business intelligence tools that are reshaping PMOs (TechRepublic)

Power BI vs. Zoho Analytics: Data visualizations

If your experience with Microsoft software is mostly limited to Microsoft365, then you might be surprised to learn that Power BI is renowned for its best-in-class data visualizations. It offers plenty of beautiful stock visualizations as well as various options for customization. There’s even an entire gallery of pre-made data visualizations created by other users that you can take advantage of as long as you follow the community rules.

Zoho Analytics will auto-generate visualizations for you and also give you the options to edit the designs further via text boxes, drag-and-drop, and resizing. You can even present the same data in multiple different data visualizations if you want. You can also choose from a variety of “themes” to tweak the appearance of the dashboard as well (data visualizations can be published either as a report or a dashboard). It’s not quite up to the same level of Power BI, but it’s pretty close.

Power BI vs. Zoho Analytics: Security

Keeping your digital data protected is key in today’s modern business world. Microsoft touts Power BI’s data security capabilities, which include sensitivity labeling, end-to-end encryption and real-time access monitoring. Power BI offers a bunch of different permissions in order to facilitate collaboration on and distribution of reports with various levels of security. There is even an entire whitepaper explaining the security protocols for Power BI. Do keep in mind that the “publish to the web” option is 100% public and visible to everyone on the internet, so don’t hit that if you don’t want everyone to see your data!

Zoho Analytics offers two-factor authentication and other ​​enterprise-grade security features. Once you have generated the report, you can choose whether  a user needs various kinds of authorization to view it, and even allow the report to only be visible to restricted IP addresses. The options are simple to navigate and make it easier to distribute or restrict a report as needed. The security options aren’t as robust as Microsoft’s, but if you’re not working with very sensitive data sets, it will probably be enough for you.

Power BI vs. Zoho Analytics: Integrations

Both Power BI and Zoho Analytics can be used as standalone products or in concert with other software from Microsoft and Zoho, respectively. Power BI obviously works great with Microsoft products, but it also integrates with some non-Microsoft software, including SAP and Google Analytics. Zoho Analytics offers many more integrations thanks to Zapier; it boasts more than 500 out-of-the-box integrations.

If you are also using other software products from either Microsoft or Zoho, then you can rest assured knowing that their analytics offerings are going to connect seamlessly. However, if you are using other third-party systems that you need to integrate with the analytics, check with each software before making a decision to confirm that the particular integration is supported.

Power BI vs. Zoho Analytics: Which should you choose?

Both Microsoft Power BI and Zoho Analytics are worthy contenders. Power BI is fantastic for power users who need to work with big datasets and want endlessly customizable data visualizations, as well as anyone who already uses the Microsoft ecosystem. Zoho Analytics is great for beginners and average users who don’t need quite as much customizations and would benefit from the automation, plus anyone already using other Zoho software.

If cost is of concern for you, they actually aren’t all that different: Power BI starts at $9.99 per user per month for the basic plan and $20 per user per month for the premium plan. Meanwhile, Zoho Analytics starts at $24 for two users per month. Whichever one you choose, you won’t be paying a huge difference either way.

Power BI vs. Zoho Analytics: BI tool comparison

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