AutoQuery vs. Tableau: Fight!

AutoQuery and Tableau are competing software products within the rather paradoxically named field of “Business Intelligence” (or “BI”, for us lazy typists).  BI programs are designed for the purpose of making data analysis and presentation easier.  So, for instance, let’s say I’ve got a bunch of data sitting in a database and I want to put some of that data into a neat-looking graph, but I don’t want to actually look at the database—in fact, I’d rather not even think about the database because it has 3 million rows of data and that’s frankly terrifying.  So, I get some BI software and tell it what data I want to put in the chart based on which columns the data is in.  Not only do I not have to look at the database to do this, but if the data changes somehow (like, I dunno, our customers buy more of our products or something?) that change will be updated in the graph, because it’s pulling data from a live database.  Then, if I look at my beautiful chart and see something weird—like, say, one of my stores seems to be losing revenue every time employee Ian M. Athief is working the register—a BI program will let me filter out the data I don’t want to look at and “drill-down” to a tighter level of detail. Continue reading