Self Service BI state of the market November 2015

Trying to get actual usage figures of any self service BI tool is pretty difficult – none of the big vendors will willingly release figures – and if they did they’d probably be suspect.

But in analytics sometimes there are useful proxies which, while not as accurate as hard numbers, can give a useful perspective. In this case, we will use our friend, google trends:

A quick note on methodology – i’m only looking for Qlikview, Tableau and Power BI. Unfortunately IBM Watson and its variants throw up too much noise because it’s part of a broader platform. Also I restricted the search to the US because Tableau is also french for “Table” so a worldwide search gets noise from that as well.

Self Service BI State of the Market

What you can see is that Tableau are the clear leaders in the self service field, with Qlik and Power BI trailing quite far behind. But from this data we can get a bit more insight. First of all in the last two years the market has gone from about 262 searches per month to around 468 (rolling 3m avg) implying a year on year market growth of around 40%.

Next up if we look at market share rather than sheer numbers, we see something interesting. Tableau has consistently held about 80% of the market. Naturally at the start of 2014, when Power BI was in its infancy, Qlik held the balance. However post the public release of Power BI that share has been declining rapidly – Qlik now holds about 11% of the market and Power BI about 7% and growing fast. This seems to be a result of Qlik having fairly static volumes and Power BI consuming a greater proportion of the growth.

What does the future hold?

Based on trends to date I would make the following headline predictions for self service BI in 2016:

  • The Self Service market is set for continued high growth, with Tableau taking the lions share
  • Power BI will experience strong growth and will consume more market share
  • Qlikview may well be looking at a decline in not just market share but also volume

If you would like to know more, why not attend one of our Self Service BI workshops where we compare the tools. Check here for upcoming events:


The Question of the day: Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, Qlik View or IBM Watson – Which one is the easiest program to make presentations for my marketing and sales team?

We from Agile BI hold lots of events and workshops during the year. We love to teach and inspire our attendees. But we also love the fact that we get at every workshop something back – feedback, contacts or inspiring questions. After every workshop our team comes together again and reflects the workshop. At this point we choose the most inspiring question from one of our attendees that we answer here again with some additional material. Either our attendees from our last workshop can read it again or our community gets new information.


The question of the day was at our Self-Service Data Analytics sessions where we informed attendees about the capabilities of Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, Qlik View and IBM Watson. We had four speakers who are very experienced with these four products and gave a good overview and insights.

One of our attendees described the following company situation and asked the following question after the presentations at our Q&A session:


“My organisation wants to get hands on data very quickly. Especially my sales and marketing team who have already had some training with programs and came back to get help from the IT guys in saying they have no time to learn too technical things – they want something easy to use. If I want to have a program that is pretty straight forward, where our employees can drag and drop and create some presentations very quickly which would be the easiest program for that?”

The answers of our presenters was that for Power BI and IBM Watson there are no technical skills needed. In terms of modelling Power BI is recommended as it is easy to use. It is possible to customize dashboards. If you want to see a certain info in the program it is possible to resize and change it very easily and you can ask questions in the program to give you the answer you are looking for.

Regarding learning curve, all the tools were very agreed to be quick to get started with, but they all ramped up in complexity once users want to do more advanced visualisations or data modelling. Power BI and Watson were the easiest to get started with, and for more advanced Data Modelling Power BI (though PowerPivot) was considered to be the easiest for inexperienced users. For advanced visualisations Tableau delivered the best results, but that came at a cost of time invested to make those visualisations.

If you have additonal questions contact us or come to our second Self-Service BI session on the 22nd Of October.



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