Power BI and Zoho Analytics are business intelligence tools. Which software best suits your needs? Compare features and more now.
When it comes to data analysis tools that create beautiful visualizations, two top contenders stand out: Microsoft Power BI and Zoho Analytics. How do you know which one is right for your business? To help you make your decision, we compare Power BI to Zoho Analytics in five key categories: usability, data analytics, data visualization, security, and integrations.
Power BI vs Zoho Analytics: Ease of Use
Because Power BI was originally developed as an add-on to other Microsoft products, it makes sense that the software would have a relatively low learning curve for those already familiar with other Microsoft offerings. But users who do not primarily work with Microsoft products also praise the ease of use. Power BI offers a good level of usability given the serious data analysis capabilities. Users will definitely need training to achieve the specific customization they want, but Microsoft provides these resources and there is an active online community that you can turn to for help if you need it.
Zoho Analytics was designed with beginners in mind, making it a great choice for employees or businesses that are somewhat new to data analysis. It doesn’t require a lot of training to get started, and it offers features for advanced users with the option to write custom SQL queries. The learning curve is slightly lower with Zoho Analytics compared to Power BI, but both are reasonably beginner-friendly like the rest of the BI software market.
Power BI vs. Zoho Analytics: Data Analysis Capabilities
Power BI offers quite a lot of data analysis features for beginners and power users, offering features like merging datasets and creating solution templates. Note that Power BI has a somewhat unusual quirk in that you need to prepare the data in the desktop tool and then actually publish it through the web tool. Also, users say that using the desktop tool requires a computer with a lot of RAM, and the system can still lag when working with large datasets.
Zoho Analytics takes a slightly different approach as the system offers automatic report generation right from the start. The software also offers suggestions for the type of reports you want to generate based on the data you’ve entered into the system, making it easy for beginners to get started with analysis. Advanced users can take advantage of the custom SQL queries mentioned above and also use various filters to manipulate data, queries and output visualizations. It’s a bit less advanced than Power BI when it counts, but it still offers plenty of data analysis capabilities for the average user.
SEE: 5 Powerful Business Intelligence Tools Reshaping PMOs (TechRepublic)
Power BI vs Zoho Analytics: Data Visualizations
If your Microsoft software experience is primarily limited to Microsoft365, you might be surprised to learn that Power BI is known for its world-class data visualizations. It offers many beautiful stock visualizations as well as various customization options. There’s even a whole gallery of pre-built data visualizations created by other users that you can use as long as you follow the community rules.
Zoho Analytics automatically generates visualizations for you and also gives you the option to further edit the designs via text boxes, drag-and-drop, and resizing. You can even present the same data in multiple different data visualizations if you like. You can also choose from a variety of “themes” to tweak the look and feel of the dashboard (data visualizations can be published either as a report or as a dashboard). It’s not quite on the same level as Power BI, but it’s pretty close.
Power BI vs Zoho Analytics: Security
Protecting your digital data is key in today’s modern business world. Microsoft touts Power BI’s data security features, which include confidentiality labeling, end-to-end encryption, and real-time access monitoring. Power BI offers a number of different permissions to facilitate collaboration and report distribution with different levels of security. There’s even an entire whitepaper explaining the security protocols for Power BI. Remember that the Publish to Web option is 100% public and visible to anyone on the internet, so don’t click it if you don’t want everyone to see your data!
Zoho Analytics offers two-factor authentication and other enterprise security features. Once you’ve created the report, you can choose whether a user needs different types of permissions to view it and even allow the report to only be visible to restricted IP addresses. The options are easy to navigate, making it easy to distribute or restrict a report as needed. The security options aren’t as robust as Microsoft’s, but unless you’re dealing with very sensitive datasets, it will probably do for you.
Power BI vs Zoho Analytics: Integrations
Both Power BI and Zoho Analytics can be used as standalone products or together with other Microsoft or Zoho software. Power BI works great with Microsoft products, of course, but also integrates with some non-Microsoft software, including SAP and Google Analytics. Zoho Analytics offers many other integrations thanks to Zapier; It has 500+ integrations out of the box.
If you also use other software products from Microsoft or Zoho, rest assured that their analytics offerings will connect seamlessly. However, if you use other third-party systems that you need to integrate with the analysis, check with each software before making a decision whether the respective integration is supported.
Power BI vs Zoho Analytics: Which Should You Choose?
Both Microsoft Power BI and Zoho Analytics are worthy contenders. Power BI is fantastic for power users who need to work with large datasets and want endlessly customizable data visualizations, as well as anyone already using the Microsoft ecosystem. Zoho Analytics is great for beginners and average users who don’t need that much customization and would benefit from automation, as well as anyone who already uses other Zoho software.
If cost is a concern, they really aren’t all that different: Power BI starts at $9.99 per user per month for the basic plan and $20 per user per month for the premium plan. Meanwhile, Zoho Analytics starts at $24 for two users per month. Whichever you choose, you won’t pay much difference either way.