Posted by Rohit Kanwara on 23 October 2020
With the publication of the 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms, much has been made of the relative movements — up, down, left to right — of individual BI vendors. “Tableau and Microsoft continue to dominate,” reports Solutions Review, while Qlik has a “strong pursuit of market supremacy.”
Most important to us — and, I feel, all IT managers working with and rolling out the systems Gartner examines — is the data management layer: the fundamental bedrock that sits alongside, and ensures you get the most efficient and accurate analysis out of, your BI system.
It’s this data management layer — the provision of best-in-class data unification, integration, preparation and governance — that ZAP has tackled with the recent launch of ZAP Data Hub. Our product would not appear in the Magic Quadrant in its own right, instead it’s an important, complementary solution to each of the BI tools Gartner covers…
(You might want to check out the infographic "Automating Data Management with pre-packaged software")
…And we’re excited to see how our product development for ZAP Data Hub matches, almost feature by feature, objective by objective, Garter’s understanding of the key aspects of data management.
Under “The 15 Critical Capabilities of an Analytics and BI Platform,” capabilities 4 through 7 all fall under the banner of data management. Let’s take a quick tour through each one to see how ZAP Data Hub measures up:
“4. Metadata Management. Tools for enabling users to leverage a common semantic model and metadata.”
Using a caption-based metadata approach, ZAP’s semantic layer features cross-ledger querying, hierarchies, aggregations and materialized calculations (allowing you to deploy logical measures into the model).
“5. Self-Contained Extraction, Transformation and Loading (ETL) and Data Storage. Platform capabilities for accessing, integrating, transforming and loading data into a self-contained performance engine…”
ZAP Data Hub automates all aspects of data collection and data integration for BI tools and users.
“6. Self-Service Data Preparation. “Drag and drop” user-driven data combination of different sources, and the creation of analytic models such as user-defined measures, sets, groups and hierarchies.”
It would be easy to think that a technical process such as data preparation would be best carried out by trained, technical consultants and IT department staff. But research shows that this causes more problems than it solves. So ZAP Data Hub automates all the steps of data preparation required for accurate and productive Business Intelligence analysis. A software-based system, it not only reduces the time and expense of a manual labor-based approach, it also vastly reduces the chance of human error.
“7. Scalability and Data Model Complexity. The degree to which the in-memory engine or in-database architecture handles high volumes of data, complex data models, performance optimization and large user deployments.”
Taking just one aspect here, high volumes of data, and one BI tool as an example, Power BI’s DirectQuery function. In a recent blog, Microsoft set out some Important considerations when using DirectQuery.
Again, this is where ZAP comes in. Using ZAP Data Hub for data preparation allows users to perform complex analysis within Power BI (or Tableau or Qlik) without impacting performance, operational timescales or the integrity of underlying databases. It removes the need to manually prepare or load data, and it removes any limitations there may be of accessing underlying databases directly. As a result, users are free to explore and analyze multiple, integrated data sources and uncover previously-hidden insight.
(We also recommend reading "Do Tableau and Power BI replace the need for a Data Warehouse?")
It’s reassuring to see that ZAP Data Hub ticks all the boxes in Gartner’s definition of data management, so is perfectly placed to be deployed alongside — and significantly enhance the outputs and efficiencies of — the BI systems dotted across this latest Gartner Magic Quadrant diagram.
Click here for a copy of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms.
Rohit is the EMEA Regional Manager for ZAP with over 10 years of B2B software sales experience in selling ERP products like Sage X3 and SAP Business One. Rohit is passionate about helping businesses improve through technology and innovation by understanding their challenges and offering tangible solutions.
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