Amazon Web Services said Thursday that it will offer QuickSight, its data analytics and visualization software, to companies and organizations on a per-session basis, seeking to appeal to smaller businesses and nonprofits who can’t afford expensive software subscriptions.
The market leaders, Microsoft’s Power BI and Seattle-based Tableau Software, have been battling each other for years in the data analytics and visualization market. Amazon said in a statement Thursday that its QuickInsight, first launched in 2015, is the only business intelligence software to offer per-session pricing.
Charging by the session makes it easier to get started with QuickSight, potentially giving Amazon an advantage in snatching smaller organizations away from Microsoft, Tableau and others.
Data analytics matters to Amazon because it “ultimately wants to be a full-service provider to enterprises,” said analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy.
Data analytics and visualization software taps large payloads of data and quickly crunches it so that it can be displayed and analyzed in a clear, visual formats often called “dashboards.” (You can see QuickSight in action here.) The market for these tools is expected to grow from $150.8 billion in 2017 to more than $210 billion in 2020, according to an IDC report.
The market segment is increasingly important as every facet of life — security cameras, cars, refrigerators and medical equipment and more — is connected to the web, creating deep stores of data. Artificial Intelligence applications are also making vast lakes of data more important and more prevalent. IDC predicts the greatest growth for big data analytics over the next several years will take place in banking, healthcare, insurance and securities and telecommunications.
Both Microsoft and Tableau use subscription models more common across the software-as-a-service industry. Amazon said in a statement those kinds subscription payment plans force companies to forecast — often inaccurately — how much and how often they need data analytics tools. “Smaller organizations with tens or hundreds of users” don’t have the cash or the resources to justify expensive subscriptions and upfront costs for data insight software, Amazon said in its statement.
Consumption-based pricing is a larger trend in cloud computing, including technologies such as serverless computing, in which companies are charged based on their volume of usage rather than the number of virtual machines on their accounts. Tableau, whose CEO is former AWS executive Adam Selipsky, has been shifting away from perpetual licenses and overhauled its subscription pricing structure in April in an effort to appeal more to big companies, a segment of the market that has traditionally been Microsoft’s domain.
By contrast, Amazon said its per-session pricing model will make “personalized business analytics available to everyone,” regardless of the organization’s size. Starting cost for QuickSight dashboards is 30 cents per session up to a maximum of $5 per user.