We all know the benefits of leveraging corporate data: better decisions, better KPIs, and better companies. But every CTO knows you can’t just point a BI tool at your database and expect company-wide impact.
PowerBI, Google Data Studio, and Trevor are three market-leading BI tools, but they all offer different levels of sophistication, firepower, and user-friendliness – and different results.
With the right BI tool, you won’t have to choose between powerful data analytics and ease of use. You’ll need to do your homework, though – there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, so it’s important that you focus on which tool will suit your business best.
This article helps you to cut through the hype and find a solution that truly fits your company’s needs. We’ll introduce you to PowerBI, Google Data Studio, and Trevor, show you what to look for in each tool, and take a deep dive into how they work in real business contexts.
Owned by Microsoft, Power BI is a data analytics platform geared towards Windows users seeking comprehensive self-service business intelligence.
PowerBI plus points
- Power Query tools offer robust business analytics through its proprietary DAX language and full semantic layer.
- Intuitive drag-and-drop interface for non-tech users.
- Broad range of data visualizations and real-time collaborative dashboards.
- Several data connectors make it easy to plug in data sources like Salesforce, Google Analytics, and Excel.
- Power Automate and Power Apps functions let you automate your workflow and share data insights across Microsoft Office and other software.
PowerBI pain points
- Complex tool that requires a data team for setup and debugging – and they’ll need to learn its specific DAX language.
- Not the best choice for non-Windows users – it’s difficult to set up on a Mac, for example, and the UX is really geared towards a Microsoft ecosystem.
- You need to invest time in cleaning and transforming your data for a smooth data flow.
- Tricky to share dashboards and Power BI reports with people who don’t have a Power BI account, especially if you want developers and end users to have different access and editing permissions.
Large enterprises committed to Microsoft products, that are looking for a top-right quadrant tool for big data and willing to invest engineering resources in ongoing data transformation and troubleshooting.
If you think Power BI could be the tool for you, check out our article on Power BI alternatives before pulling the trigger.
Google Data Studio offers cloud-based data analytics through interactive dashboards and no-code exploration of Google Analytics data.
Google Data Studio plus points
- Designed for ease of use and rapid setup, though some features require tech expertise.
- Easy to share content with clients and colleagues using a link anyone can access.
- Data visualization tools and analytics tools allow for some data exploration through real-time filters and drill downs.
- Fits seamlessly into the ecosystem of Google products.
- Free for anyone with a Google account.
Google Data Studio pain points
- Limited querying capacities – it’s really a data visualization tool rather than a full-scale BI service.
- You have to rely on the cloud as there’s no desktop tool available.
- Weak on customizability.
- No direct customer support.
Google Data Studio FAQ:
How good is Google Data Studio?
It depends on what you’re using it for. It’s a good tool for companies seeking a free option for basic data visualizations. It’s not so good for companies that want powerful data querying and customizable business intelligence.
Is Google Data Studio a BI tool?
Yes, Google Data Studio is a tool that offers data analytics for business intelligence. However, it’s more focused on data visualizations than business intelligence per se, and it lacks the customization and ad-hoc querying features some companies may want from a BI tool.
Which is better: Google Data Studio or Power BI?
It depends on your needs. Power BI is a more powerful, comprehensive business intelligence tool, but Google Data Studio can be a good option for smaller companies who want to create basic data visualizations of their online metrics.
Trevor is a self-service business intelligence tool that empowers non-tech people to understand data analytics without sacrificing querying sophistication.
Trevor plus points
- Intuitive no-code query builder with a streamlined interface that offers a great UX for non-techies.
- Versatile, powerful querying capabilities allow business users to ask complex questions on the fly.
- Strong data exploration features with drill downs, filters, pivots, and joins.
- Trevor is a cinch to set up – point it at a database or multiple databases and you’ll get answers to your data questions in just a few clicks.
- Low pricing for unlimited users.
- Fast, responsive customer service.
Trevor pain points
- Range of data source connectors could be greater.
- Not a data modelling or data cleaning tool.
- Companies who just want pre-set templates for data visualization may want to look elsewhere as it’s really designed for flexible querying and customizable analytics.
Data-hungry companies of all sizes that are looking to give their business team the power to go deep on data analytics. It’s especially popular with growing SaaS and marketplace companies as it’s designed to scale with them.
No-code query builder for business users
Power BI’s drag-and-drop query builder lets users run complex queries with ease and – depending on your plan – incorporates AI in querying.
Google Data Studio offers user-friendly analytics, but its querying capabilities are fairly basic.
Trevor stacks up well with an intuitive no-code querying interface that is powerful and versatile, with custom columns and no limits to the kinds of complex, ad-hoc queries users can run.
Business intelligence and data exploration
Power BI is a data analytics powerhouse that lets users dive deep into their data. Users can run advanced queries on the fly, create joins across multiple data sources, and filter, drill down, merge, and pivot to explore.
Google Data Studio is really more of a charting and visualization tool than a holistic business intelligence platform. There are some basic filters and customizations, but it lacks the firepower of PowerBI or Trevor.
Trevor is an extremely versatile, robust BI tool that empowers business users to run complex, real-time queries and then slice and dice the data with advanced drill downs, filters, joins, and pivots. It’s especially good for exploring data relationships.
Power BI is strong on interactive, dynamic data visualization features that are interactive and dynamic. However, some users find the range of customizable graphs and tables somewhat limited.
Google Data Studio includes a wide range of attractive charting and visualization options that are customizable but less interactive. Its time comparison features make it easy to visually compare current and previous data.
Trevor’s data visualization capacities are more interactive, with a decent range of real-time, customizable dashboards, charts, and auto-updating database maps.
Integrations and automations
Power BI APIs can be used to embed data visualizations in websites and third-party applications. Power Automate offers hundreds of out-of-the-box connectors to all Microsoft software as well as Adobe, Slack, Salesforce, and Calendly – but you may need to pay extra.
Google Data Studio integrates seamlessly with Google products to automate your workflow. There are also partner and user-developed API connectors with Adobe, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and more, though it lacks native connectors for programs like Slack and Hubspot.
Trevor connects to over 3,000 different apps, allowing users to trigger automated actions based on data points in all the programs in their workflow, including Gmail, Slack, Salesforce, Trello, and Mailchimp.
Power BI offers strong data protection features, with end-to-end encryption, granular access permissions, real-time access monitoring, and limits on what’s accessible through the public internet.
Google Data Studio works with Google’s wider data security and authentication protocol by email. Google uses an Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) algorithm and recently added the capacity to filter permissions at the row level. For organizations with strict data governance and security needs, it may not be the best choice, as the lack of an on-premises desktop option means all data has to be stored and retrieved on the cloud.
Trevor offers strong data security and data governance with 128-bit AES data encryption, two-step verification protocols, granular user access permissions at the column or row level, and a detailed audit trail. Trevor doesn’t write to your database or store a copy of your data.
Feature comparison table
|Power BI||Google Data Studio||Trevor.io|
|Query builder||Intuitive, powerful.||Intuitive but limited.||Intuitive, powerful.|
|Deployment||Cloud (Power BI Service), on-premises (Power BI Desktop), and mobile apps (Power BI Mobile Apps).||Cloud only.||Cloud and on-premises.|
|Business intelligence & data exploration||Strong.||Limited.||Strong.|
|Data visualization||Highly interactive, medium range.||Less interactive, decent range.||Highly interactive, decent range.|
|Integrations and automations||Broad range, may cost extra.||Strong on Google tools, medium for others.||Huge range, all included.|
PowerBI is an enterprise-level tool with enterprise-level pricing – per-user accounts add up as the company grows, while per capacity pricing starts at $4,995. You’ll also need to factor in training costs.
Google Data Studio is currently free to anyone with a Google account.
Trevor has all-inclusive pricing for unlimited users with unlimited database size ($299-$499 per month) with discounts for new customers and startups, so it’s an affordable option.
|Power BI||Google Data Studio||Trevor.io|
|Data sources||SQL data warehouses, CSVs and online programs.||Primarily online data sources – Google Workspace, Google Analytics and partner connectors.||SQL warehouses or databases, CSVs, JSON data.|
|Setup and data transfer process|
Complex process, significant data prep (modelling and cleaning) required.
|Simple process for online data sources.||Rapid, intuitive process sped up by automated join detection that quickly connects multiple databases.|
Ease of use
PowerBI is a complex tool with a lengthy setup process and technical expertise required for day-to-day running. However, it offers a relatively intuitive query interface for non-business users.
Google Data Studio is a simpler tool that’s easier to get started with but lacks querying firepower.
Trevor is a highly user-friendly platform. Its streamlined interface, out-of-the-box functionality, and low learning curve allow business users to get the most out of the tool.
|Power BI||Google Data Studio||Trevor.io|
|No live chat – you submit a support ticket, with low to moderate wait times. |
Community forum available.
|No direct customer support. |
Help community and tutorials available.
|Live chat support and rapid reply times. |
Responsive, friendly team.
Live onboarding and training options.
Power BI vs. Google Data Studio vs. Trevor: Which is the best match?
Very different BI solutions will give you very different results. Before making a decision, it’s key to consider how each tool would work in the specific context of your company.
- Is it accessible enough to entice your business users?
- Will they be able to answer all of their specific business questions with this tool?
- Will it work with the tech resources you already have available?
If you need free software and mainly want basic visualizations of Google web data, Google Data Studio might be the right choice.
For medium-to-large companies with data engineering teams and a sizable budget, Power BI could be an option, especially if you want complex data cleaning and modelling features.
Data-hungry companies looking for a versatile, powerful, and user-friendly solution that frees up engineers and empowers business users should think about Trevor.
With an agile platform that combines querying power with ease of use, you can take your business intelligence to the next level – across the entire company.