Modern analytics and BI platforms are now mainstream purchases for which key differentiators are augmented analytics and support for Mode 1 reporting in a single platform
Figure 1. Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms
Below vendor strengths and cautions for Tableau(Leaders) and Yellowfin (niche player) -
Tableau offers an intuitive, interactive, visual-based exploration experience that enables business users to access, prepare, analyze and present findings in their data without technical skills or coding. Tableau Online is the cloud-based SaaS offering.
In 2018, Tableau introduced a new, lower-priced Viewer role and now leads with named-user, subscription-based pricing.Tableau’s reference customers report that they use it primarily for decentralized analytics (70%) and agile, centralized BI provisioning (51%).
Tableau is a Leader, thanks to the popularity of its product, high customer satisfaction scores and strong roadmap.
Easy visual exploration and data manipulation: Tableau enables users to rapidly ingest data from a broad range of data sources, blend them, and visualize results using best practices in visual perception. Data can be manipulated while visualizing — such as when creating groups, bins and new hierarchies — all with a high degree of ease of use.
Customers as fans: Customers have a fanlike attitude toward Tableau, as evidenced by the record 17,000 users that attended its 2018 annual user conference. Reference customers placed Tableau in the top third of Magic Quadrant vendors for customer experience, and gave it high scores for achievement of business benefits. Tableau sets the industry standard for user enablement with Meetup groups, roadshows, online tutorials and availability of skills in the market.
Momentum: Tableau grew its total revenue to just over $800 million through 3Q18 — double-digit growth compared with 2017.
Product gaps: Support for querying multiple fact tables and complex schemas in a single data source is absent from Tableau’s product, which is used primarily for Mode 2 use cases. It does not support scheduled, bursted reports in a variety of output formats, or the promotion of content through development, testing and production processes. Support for bursted reports with output to PDF is on the short-term roadmap.
Support decline: The responses of surveyed reference customers, together with other Gartner research, indicate that the quality of Tableau’s product support declined in 2018. In this regard, reference customers’ responses put it in the bottom third of vendors in this Magic Quadrant, due partly to more difficult upgrades. Hyper was a major engine replacement to boost performance — one that has not gone as smoothly as previous releases. Further, 12% of Tableau’s reference customers say poor performance remains a problem, and 13% say the product cannot handle the required data volumes (both percentages are above the average).
Sales experience, contracting and cost: Tableau did well to introduce a new, lower-priced viewer license to compete better against Microsoft in particular, but this license is only available with a subscription license. Consequently, perpetual customers have to move to a new named-user and subscription model to be able to buy this new license. These conversions can be a point of friction, which may explain why Tableau’s reference customers place it in the bottom third of vendors in this Magic Quadrant for sales experience. Gartner Peer Insights reviewers place it in the bottom third for price and contract flexibility. Over one-third (35%) of Tableau’s reference customers identified cost as a limitation with regard to wider deployment (the second-highest figure among vendors in this Magic Quadrant).
Yellowfin began primarily as a vendor of a web-based modern analytics and BI platform, but quickly expanded to include data preparation and augmented analytics.
Yellowfin 8, released in October 2018, includes a new automatic insight generation product called Signals. In addition, a newly released Stories feature is one of the best examples of how to combine visual exploration with storytelling and infographics. Reference customers frequently use Yellowfin for agile, centralized BI provisioning (43%) and decentralized analytics (34%).
Yellowfin remains a Niche Player as it specializes in lower-priced analytics and BI, particularly in Asia/Pacific and for OEM use cases. Below-average scores for customer experience and operations contribute to its relatively low position on the Ability to Execute axis.
Easy to use for Mode 1 and Mode 2 (Bimodal): Yellowfin’s single platform includes one of the broadest ranges of capabilities, spanning data preparation, reporting with scheduled distributions, visual exploration and augmented analytics. Reports, dashboards and administration are all accessed via a browser-based interface, with no desktop components. Data is usually queried live from a relational data source, as caching into the columnar, in-memory engine is optional.
Innovation: Yellowfin was one of the first to bring augmented analytics capabilities to market in 2017, and it expanded them in 2018. Signals brings personalized alerting based on ML algorithms — a clear differentiator as only a few vendors support such a capability. While many vendors integrate NLG capabilities from third parties, Yellowfin provides them natively and in a range of languages. In recognition of the reality that many customers have multiple analytics and BI tools, Stories supports embedding of content from Tableau and Qlik Sense, with an interface inspired by social platforms. Beyond product innovation, Yellowfin has been active in the Data for Good movement and strives to increase workforce diversity in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Sales strategy: Yellowfin has one of the best sales strategies, with a strong partner network and clear, attractive pricing and packaging. Over one-fifth (21%) of Yellowfin’s reference customers identified low price as a key reason why they selected its product — a higher percentage than for any other vendor in this Magic Quadrant. Yellowfin sells on a subscription basis (named-user or number of processor cores). There are starter packages for small and midsize deployments, and flexible pricing models for OEMs.
Limited scalability and product gaps: Performance has been a perennial problem for Yellowfin, even though it has added caching and columnar storage as an option. Fourteen percent of its reference customers identified poor performance as a problem, with 9% considering it a barrier to wider deployment (a percentage in the top third for this complaint among vendors in this Magic Quadrant). The product does not readily support complex queries from multiple fact tables in the business views.
Weak momentum: Yellowfin, a privately owned company and one of the smaller vendors in this Magic Quadrant, has grown more slowly than key competitors. This may be partly due to Yellowfin’s lack of venture capital funding. Yellowfin rarely appears on vendor shortlists and is best known in Asia/Pacific. Its employee head count as of December 2018 was 183, a 6% year-over-year increase; this represents modest growth, compared with competitors with more momentum.
Operations and customer experience: Reference customers’ scores put Yellowfin in the bottom third of Magic Quadrant vendors for both customer experience and operations. Product quality has been a continual problem, and 9% of Yellowfin’s reference customers identified this as a limitation in relation to wider deployment.