Review: Amazon QuickSight covers the BI basics

A promising data analysis tool in the cloud, QuickSight is easy to use but limited in terms of visualization types

Review: Amazon QuickSight covers the BI basics
At a Glance

When I reviewed self-service exploratory business intelligence (BI) products in 2015, I covered the strengths and weaknesses of Tableau 9.0, Qlik Sense 2.0, and Microsoft Power BI. As I pointed out at the time, these three products offer a range of data access, discovery, and visualization capabilities at a range of prices, with Tableau the most capable and expensive, Qlik Sense in the middle, and Power BI the least capable but a very good value.

A new entry, Amazon QuickSight, runs entirely in the AWS cloud, has good access to Amazon data sources and fair access to other data sources, and offers basic analysis and data manipulation at a basic price. Of the three products I reviewed in 2015, QuickSight most closely resembles Power BI, only without the dependence on a desktop product to create data sets—or the level of analysis power provided by the Power BI Desktop/Service combination.

Like Power BI, Qlik Sense, and Tableau, QuickSight connects to myriad data sources and lets you prepare data sets. Once you have data sets, you can create analyses with one or more visualizations, which you can organize into dashboards and stories. You can share data sets, dashboards, and stories within your organization. As we’ll see, QuickSight makes this process quite easy and straightforward, but it lacks some useful visualization capabilities found in competing tools.

Account creation

To create a QuickSight account without already having an AWS account, browse to, click the Try It Free button in the upper-right corner, and sign up for AWS and then QuickSight. If you already have an AWS account, sign in and browse to the signup page. You’ll see the QuickSight signup form shown in the figure below.

amazon quicksight create account InfoWorld

The QuickSight account creation form includes the pricing. SPICE is the storage and analysis engine for non-SQL data sources.

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