Most businesses generate data. Tons of data. Oceans of data! One of the biggest challenges confronting business today is consuming that data. How can you examine and combine the data? How do you make sense of the data? Where to begin?
There are two challenges to analyzing your data:
- Where do you store the data?
- How do you interpret the data?
In the old days, answering this challenge required large investments. Large investments in hardware to power it all. Hiring large numbers of developers to make it all work. Huge amounts of time and patience. However, in the age of cloud computing, focused companies offer expertise in these areas. They (or a cloud provider) will host your data, and they build all the plumbing to deliver the data.
Periscope Data is one of these companies, and can help address data management woes. But is it the best solution to solve YOUR problems? Other options exist, and may better fit your overall needs. SqlBot is one such option.
This article will contrast both providers. We will first provide a short overview of Data Warehousing and Reporting. Next, we'll take a quick look at both solutions. Finally, we'll dig into some point by point comparisons. We'll look for strengths and weaknesses. Once finished, you should be better informed about these solutions. From there, you can pick the provider that best meets your needs.
Data Warehousing is a generic term for accumulating all your data in one common location. Data Warehouses offer a powerful mechanism for storing large data sets from a variety of sources. A Data Warehouse can take many forms (SQL, NoSQL, etc). Many providers exist offering solutions. These days, many organizations opt to keep their data in the cloud. This moves the burden of storage over to one of the main cloud providers, such as AWS, Azure, or Google.
But what do you do with all the data once you've stored it?
Data Reporting and Visualization
Data reports and visualizations can take your business understanding to the next level. With proper tools, you no longer have to guess about what's going on under the surface. Instant reports inform you of the latest trends. Visualizations offer recognition of trends and happenings in your business. Reporting and visualization also takes the data out of the hands of the tech folks. Regular people can access the data. Get it into the hands of those who better understand the business. Knowledge is power, and keeping a finger on the pulse of your business is crucial!
Periscope Data provides one option for reporting and visualizing your data. Founded in 2012, Periscope Data offers powerful tools for slicing and dicing the data you need.
Some features they offer include:
- Interactive and dynamic Dashboards allow for detailed customization of views.
- Support for R and Python languages enable deeper customization of data manipulation.
- Limited performance monitoring measures CPU and memory usage of clusters.
- Integration with email and Slack communicates information to outside parties.
SQL Bot presents another option for gaining insight into your data. It connects to a variety of data sources, with custom SQL reports pulling the data. SQLBot lacks some of the high-end visualization capabilities offered by Periscope Data. It DOES offer fast integration with Slack and Email for communicating data results. You can schedule reports, and act on the results.
Which of these solutions is best for your data reporting needs? The 800-pound gorilla and it's flashy pie charts? Or the scrappy lightweight providing a simple integration solution for most basic needs? Let's break down some things to consider when making this decision...
Every business cares about the bottom line, especially small and medium-sized businesses. If data brings you profitable insights, it makes sense to invest in uncovering as much as possible. But you can overpay, and if fancy graphics don't boost profits, they aren't worth the price.
Periscope Data doesn't list their pricing on their website, and instead offers a 7 day free trial. Odd. This inspires a feeling of "if you have to ask the price, you can't afford it". Searching around on the web uncovers a post from their CEO indicating it starts at $1000 a month. From there, it scales up.
SQLBot provides their pricing in simple terms.
- Free for basic usage (without any sort of "trial" period).
- Professional - $99 a month for their most popular plan (30 day free trial)
- Premium - $299 a month for a supercharged version of their offering (also with a 30 day free trial)
If you are working with an unlimited budget, Periscope Data offers no drawbacks. However, those watching every dime may balk at such a steep entry price.
SQLBot wins when it comes to price.
Data Warehouse reporting solutions typically offer two main features:
- Reporting results to external sources
- Visualizing results.
Let's see how our contenders stack up in this regard:
Both Periscope Data and SQLBot offer integration with Email and Slack. Run queries, send the results to interested parties using common communication mechanisms. In this regard, they appear to be a draw.
When it comes to visualizations, it is no contest - SQLBot doesn't provide them. Periscope touts them as one of it's strongest features, with myriad options for rendering your data. All these visualization options can be overwhelming, however. One reviewer states "The multiple dashboards that start being created within the company can sometimes become difficult to manage and I think some improvements on the UX of that part could come in handy a long way.".
If integration with communication platforms is your goal, we have a draw - both SQLBot and Periscope seem comparable. If complex Data Visualization is your thing, Periscope takes this round.
A business investing in a platform like SQLBot or Periscope craves simplicity. Ideally, they avoid:
- Complicated data warehouse architectures
- Different programming languages
- Multiple User interfaces to juggle
That list is the realm of the software developer. Often, people running the business just want the results. What works, what doesn't. What is selling!
When choosing your solution, keep that in mind. Would you trade power for simplicity?
Periscope Data features great power, but it comes with complexity. Their marketing page offers some of the following claims:
- "SQL Editor Built By Experts, For Experts"
- "Go Deeper On Your Data With Python And R" ("R" is a programming language used by data science experts)
- "Predictive Analytics"
Formidable stuff! While some may crave such power, others just want to know the latest numbers.
SQLBot offers a more simple solution, and comes out and says it on their main page:
- SQL reports in Slack & email
- No coding required
- Write SQL reports, get them in Slack & email.
- Schedule them daily, weekly or monthly.
- Simple SQL Slackbot & Email reporting.
No muss, no fuss. Give me the numbers.
If you need complicated things, and have the tech staff to support those needs, Periscope Data might be worth exploring. If you want SQL results in Slack as soon as possible, SQLBot seems to be the way to go.
Hopefully this post has provided enough detail to guide your choice. If you need a simple way to report data to the business (without a programmer in the middle), SQLBot sounds like a safe first choice. It will quickly and cheaply allow you to test ideas, run reports, and decide whether that's enough (here is their easy to understand Pricing page their available plans). With this simple reporting in place, you might then consider whether you need intense visualizations of your data. If you have the budget, staff, and time to invest, then Periscope Data will bring your data to life.
Either way, the days of data laying beneath impenetrable layers are no more!