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SAP Analytics Cloud vs. Microsoft Power BI Comparison 2021

by Arthur Zuckerman

Once the province of spreadsheets, business intelligence tools have fully come on their own. Their use of robust data analytic engines, often aided by AI, has thrown guesswork out the window for all types of organizations, whether for-profit or nonprofits.

In many respects, not all business intelligence solutions are equal, however. A few of them, for example, could still be sporting clunky interfaces. While users harking back from previous generations may tolerate them, new-generation users may not exhibit the same patience.

Coming up with a user-friendly software interface is one of the holy grails of application vendors. Now there’s hardly any software that can ignore this area of software development. Beyond accessible interfaces, however, developers have to address a growing wishlist of features coming from their customers.

The developers of SAP Analytics Cloud and Microsoft Power BI make it a point to meet this market demand of features. Which specific industries they choose to serve better, how they go about the deployment option, and the quality of support they provide could make all the difference. Aside from these, there is also the matter of pricing as well as the quality of security they provide.

In this SAP Analytics Cloud vs. Microsoft Power BI Comparison, we will present how these two leading business intelligence solutions compare and differ from each other. We will use the parameters indicated above, as well as other areas to help you decide which one would suit your business needs better.

Overview of SAP Analytics Cloud and Microsoft Power BI

SAP Analytics Cloud Overview

Launched eight years ago, SAP Analytics Cloud is a business intelligence platform that runs entirely on the SaaS model. It provides analysts and businesses with the tools to analyze existing data and extract useful information from them. The ensuing information allows users to make timely decisions to improve processes, workflows, and the overall performance of the organization.

SAP Analytics Cloud relies on easy-to-digest visuals to convey any useful information to businesses. To do this, SAP spared no resources to make their dashboards pleasantly appealing to users.

It’s no secret that business intelligence tools can discover relationships previously hidden to their users. In this respect, SAP Analytics Cloud will not disappoint users. Indeed, many use this platform for crucial predictive analysis, giving organizations key foundations to navigate their actions.

SAP Analytics Cloud dashboard

SAP Analytics Cloud provides deep insights into order values.

Microsoft Power BI Overview

Almost around the time that SAP launched Analytics Cloud, Microsoft released Power BI. Unlike SAP Analytics Cloud, Microsoft Power BI resides and runs on users’ desktops. Like SAP Analytics Cloud, it will grab their data, probe all its information content, and reveal relationships that the business can use for any purpose.

As with SAP Cloud Analytics, Microsoft Power BI relies on stunning visual delivery to help even non-technical users understand what they see on the screen.

Microsoft Power BI dashboard

Sales information insight provided by Microsoft Power BI

SAP Analytics Cloud Benefits, Pricing, and Features

SAP Analytics Cloud Benefits

SAP Analytics Cloud is the choice of many businesses worldwide for various reasons. It offers a more effective use of analytics, allowing you to make intelligent and sound business decisions at all times. By providing accurate, relevant, and actionable insights, it helps you to evaluate and predict business outcomes accurately.

The platform’s strong suit lies in generating dynamic visual stories based on reliable IT data. It deploys machine learning technology to provide a smart visualization of your data. This brings you the full picture of your business, allowing you to make better, data-driven decisions.

One particularly useful feature is the Smart Insights, which enables a more in-depth look into the variance in your visualization or the acquired data in a chart. It gives you valuable sales insights, like the top province, customer segment, and region contributors. With these insights, you can easily determine key influencers and variances that drive your business performance. In case you also want to compare the features of sales software, you can learn more about them in our guide.

To eliminate the guesswork out of your business analytics, SAP Analytics Cloud uses its BI and augmented analytics capabilities. Powered by AI and machine learning, the system drills down the key influencers of past results to predict outcomes and future scenarios. Subsequently, turning these data insights into action gives you a chance to accelerate business growth.

SAP Analytics Cloud is also handy in planning and analysis. It offers a single source of truth, allowing you to analyze, plan, and predict outcomes in one application. By doing so, the platform helps increase your organizational agility. Moreover, it will enable you to leverage collaborative enterprise planning processes to create data-backed strategies for your business.

SAP Analytics Cloud Pricing and Features

SAP Analytics Cloud offers three pricing plans that you can choose from Business Intelligence, Planning, or custom-made subscription.

The Business Intelligence plan is available for $22/user/month. This includes SAP Analytics Cloud for Business Intelligence and a view-only version of SAP Analytics Cloud for Planning.

Meanwhile, the Planning plan will set you back $148/user/month, which is also inclusive of SAP Analytics Cloud for Business intelligence and a standard or professional version of SAP Analytics Cloud for Planning.

If you need an analytics solution for every aspect of your business, you can reach out to the vendor and request a quote that includes tailor-made features, including SAP Digital Boardroom and SAP Analytics Hub.

Microsoft Power BI Benefits, Pricing, and Features

Microsoft Power BI Benefits

The next software we’ll look at is Microsoft Power BI, a data visualization that enables businesses and organizations to make confident decisions at every level. It has smart tools and enterprise-grade self-service analytics, which are important features in business management software.

The crowning feature of Microsoft Power BI is its information dashboards, which you can easily embed in your applications for a unified experience. These dashboards can also be customized according to your specific needs, helping you transform enterprise data into rich and easy-to-understand visuals.

Using a drag-and-drop canvas, you can create stunning and interactive reports and data visualizations. You can use Microsoft’s modern data visuals, or you can create your own using the platform’s open-source visuals framework. This way, you get total control of the theme, format, and layout of your reports.

Unlike most business intelligence tools, Microsoft Power BI can quickly retrieve and analyze data without you experiencing any memory or speed constraints. It deploys an in-memory analysis technology and DAX scripting language to balance simplicity and performance, giving you a powerful self-service analytics tool.

There are three processes that the platform helps you accomplish: connecting, modeling, and exploring data. The Power Query feature allows you to connect, transform, and enrich data with ease. The platform also provides access to hundreds of cloud-based or on-premise sources to ensure that you have the most valuable data right at your fingertips.

Moreover, Microsoft Power BI helps you create and publish visual reports and dashboards. It also allows you to share real-time content that is easily accessible to your team in the office or on the go.

Microsoft Power BI Pricing and Features

To avail of Microsoft Power BI, you can choose from two pricing plans: Power BI Pro and Power BI Premium.

If you only need self-service BI, then the more practical option is Power BI Pro. It is available for $9.99/user/month, fully managed by Microsoft, and includes self-service and modern BI in the cloud, as well as sharing, collaboration, publishing, and ad-hoc analysis.

On the other hand, Power BI Premium is more ideal for advanced analytics, on-premises and cloud reporting, and big data support. It is a dedicated cloud compute and storage resource available via an annual subscription. At the cost of $4,995, you’ll get big data analytics, enterprise business intelligence, and advanced administration and deployment controls, among others.

Comparison of SAP Analytics Cloud and Microsoft Power BI

SAP Analytics Cloud and Microsoft Power BI are both great performers when it comes to data visualization and business intelligence. However, no two platforms are alike, and it takes a detailed SAP Analytics Cloud vs. Microsoft Power BI comparison to spot key differences.

The first obvious distinction between the two lies in their deployment types. SAP Analytics Cloud is entirely cloud-based, which means all operations of the system—be it creating, modifying, or sharing data insights—are all done on the web. In contrast, Microsoft Power BI has a desktop version that allows you to share and publish to the cloud or on-premises.

While both solutions offer connections to a wide range of data sources, Microsoft Power BI takes the higher ground as it enables out-of-the-box connections for more extensive sources. SAP Analytics Cloud connections, however, are limited to SAP-specific source systems.

The good thing about SAP Analytics Cloud, though, is that it inherits a number of attributes from its source applications. This brings you many benefits from existing investments in SAP Business Warehouse, SAP Hana, and more.

Hierarchies are also supported by SAP Analytics Cloud, unlike in Microsoft Power BI, where all hierarchies are needed to be built again in the platform. By setting parent-child relationships within your data, this hierarchy and drill down feature of SAP Analytics Cloud can give you more useful insights.

Which Is Better: SAP Analytics Cloud Advantages or Microsoft Power BI

To sum it up, both prove to be great options for business intelligence software by offering users rich and powerful analytics and highly-effective BI infrastructures. However, our SAP Analytics Cloud vs. Microsoft Power BI comparison analysis reveals that the former overtakes the latter by a slight point.

SAP Analytics Cloud is more simple and easy-to-use, not to mention how it’s also highly accessible even to mobile users. It also has a broader user community, allowing new users to easily learn how to use the software via forums and online support. Moreover, it offers more affordable pricing plans geared to empower informed decisions for all business types.

Nonetheless, Microsoft BI also offers excellent data visualization tools perfect for businesses that want to build a data-driven culture across their entire organization.

You may also want to check out more Microsoft Power BI vs Oracle BI comparison if you’re looking for more options.

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