Data Integration & Connectors
While many laics think that report design is the most important part of Business Intelligence, we know that what really counts lays hidden down, underneath fancy charts, in Data Management and Integration. Here BIRST, instead of GoodData, offers a well tuned workflow cycle composed of everything. That means the entire functionality from primary loads (text files, ODBC driven databases and Salesforce connector), and data management till Quick Dashboards allowing rapid definition of default visualizations is covered under one user friendly graphical user interface without the need to even touch any report designer. On the other hand, GoodData breaks the same initial process into few steps. Firstly you need to download special command line tool in order to connect to rich list of third party services or ODBC driven storages, however after some initial pain you are rewarded with one of the most comprehensive and comfortable interface allowing lot of changes. We especially emphasize the way how the whole data model is treated and presented, transforming tedious work into true BI experience.
To sum up, for companies (mainly SMB’s) with less skilled IT crew, we would go for an easier BIRST, albeit we are sure that bigger and more experience developers would be pleased with GoodData’s slightly more difficult, but preferences-rich tool in their hands.
In this section we would go for: BIRST
Report and Dashboard Management Capabilities
We must admit that GoodData is much less difficult to navigate through for the first time than Flash-based BIRST. Despite BIRST possesses huge palette of functionality, including very rarely seen conditional formatting and rich column properties, it takes you a while to find them and start feeling comfortable. From the technical point of view, both applications include almost the same functionality and features you are able to exploit while composing reports and creating additional calculations. In our opinion, GoodData possess only slightly better equipped Metrics Editor and column management features, so this is why we choose it as a winner in this category.
In this section I would go for: GoodData
Mysterious BIRST does not disclosure it’s pricing strategy and tactically forces you to contact their sales rep in order to get individual pricing offer. On the other hand, GoodData proudly exposes variety of its packages, starting with $1000 per month. Unfortunately, this package is not very well set up when focusing on the needs of SMB companies. It will limit you to one datamart with half a million row only, while simultaneously offering as many as 25 user accounts. When your data exceed these boundaries, you are forced to upgrade to a three times more expensive version, though this one will be a sufficient one for SMB requirements. If you have a huge developer’s team and bulky budget, you can go for GoodData right now. However, if you do not regret to spend some time with price and conditions negotiation, give a try to BIRST.
In this section I would go for: for SMB’s BIRST
If you place huge importance to visual style of your outputs, BIRST will delight you with possibility to export not only to PDF, but also directly to PPT with many additional properties included. GoodData allows only plain report output in PDF, JPG and XLS formats.
In this section I would go for: BIRST
Security, Participants Management
GoodData limits your security settings only to three predefined groups, with no ability to limit access to specific cells, or even to a desired reports. Its competitor BIRST, on the other hand, despite some initial obstacles allows you to easily and comfortably manage your participants’ accounts and restrict their options to particular elements within the dimension. This is a very strong feature, mostly when you develop applications for richer organizational structures and many departments.
In this section I would go for: BIRST
Despite initial anxiety about its hidden pricing strategy, we recommend to definitely give a try to BIRST, when you operate within the walls of SMB company. It will certainly require some time to get to use to all the hidden features you have in disposal, but well prepared BIRST wiki will be there for you to help. On the other hand, if you don’t mind spending $1000 - $3000 per month, you can avoid all initial unpleasing negotiations and just go for very solid GoodData.