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Poll: Best tool for Data Visualization?

Sat, March 12, 2011

On New Year Eve of 2011 I started on LinkedIn the Poll “What tool is better for Data Visualization?” and 1340 people voted there

(which is unusually high return for LinkedIn polls, most of Linkedin Polls getting less then 1000 votes), in average one vote per hour during 8 weeks, which is statistically significant as a reflection of the fact that the Data Visualization market has 3 clear leaders (probably at least a generation ahead of all other competitors: Spotfire, Tableau and Qlikview. Spotfire is a top vote getter: Spotfire got 450 votes (34%), Tableau 308 (23%), Qlikview 305 (23% ; Qlikview result improved during last 3 weeks of this poll), PowerPivot 146 (11%, more votes then all “Other” DV Tools) and all Others DV tools got just 131 votes (10%).

Poll got 89 comments (more then 6% of voters commented on poll!) and it ended on 28 Feb 2011. Its results were consistent during last 5 weeks of polling, so statistically it represents the user preferences of the LinkedIn population. See some demographic info (in somewhat ugly visualization by … LinkedIn) about poll voters below:

Interesting that Tableau voters are younger then for other DV tools and more then 82% voters in poll are men. Summary of some comments:

  • answer on poll’s question partially depends on what you are trying to visualize;
  • poll is limited by LinkedIn restrictions, which allows no more than 5 possible/optional answers on Poll’s question;
  • poll’s results may correlate with number of Qlikview/Tableau/Spotfire groups (and the size of their membership) on LinkedIn and also ability of employees of vendors of respective tools to vote in favor of the tool, produced by their company (I don’t see this happened). LinkedIn has 85 groups, related to Qlikview (with almost 5000 members), 34 groups related to Tableau (with 2000+ members total) and 7 groups related to Spotfire (with about 400 members total).
  • Poll shows that IBM, SAP, SAS and Oracle are very far behind (of Qlikview, Spotfire and Tableau)
  • Microsoft, while has excellent technologies (like PowerPivot, SSAS with Multidimensional and Tabular Data Engines) are behind too, because Microsoft does not have a visualization product, only technologies (“BI Stack”) for it. That is one of reasons why Spotfire, Tableau and Qlikview in leading positions and why Microsft’s BI stack is recommended as a backend  solution for best Data Visualization systems.
  • Spotfire fans from Facebook had some “advise” from Spotfire’s Facebook page. I think that the poll is statistically significant anyway and voters from Facebook may be added just a couple of dozens of votes for … their favorite tool which is not in contradiction with Poll’s goal.
  • Among Other Data Visualization tools, 22+ mentioned in 89 comments and among them some I can recommend too for some specific needs: R Library, Omniscope (from Visokio), SpreadsheetWEB,  etc.
Andrei Pandre, Ph.D., VP of Data Visualization, Practical Computer Applications, Inc.

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