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Databox Alternative – a Detailed Analysis

Many businesses find Databox to be their lifesaver in terms of data visualization. They appreciate it for the smooth setup, the multitude of available integrations, and the ability to put up a good-looking dashboard within minutes. It won’t work for everyone, though. Many users stumble upon its limitations and, sooner or later, end up looking for Databox alternatives.

And there are plenty of them – dashboard builders, BI tools, spreadsheets, data integration services, and more. Ultimately, it comes down to your specific needs, the resources you already have, and the outcome you’re aiming for. Let’s look then at some viable alternatives to Databox.

Why do users search for alternatives to Databox?

Although Databox generally receives rather good reviews, there are several recurring complaints you’ll often come across:

  • Limited visualization options – Databox offers a limited amount of visualization options, most of which are basic charts, graphs, tables, and scorecards. If you want to build more advanced visualizations – for example, detailed map charts or histograms – you’ll need to do it elsewhere.
  • Restricting pricing – Although Databox offers several pricing tiers, many users complain that to get the most value out of the product, they would need to upgrade to its highest tier (currently, $289 when paid monthly, $231/month on annual billing).
  • Subpar support – According to many reviews online, the support Databox offers leaves much to be desired, and the same-day response isn’t often an option. If your issue is simple, such as fixing a chart on a dashboard, you may be able to resolve it rather quickly. If it’s more complex, you may have to figure it out on your own or look for an answer on the forums.

Coupler.io as a Databox alternative

Coupler.io is a data integration product that also provides a service addressing many of the drawbacks of Databox. In fact, talking to our users, we’ve found quite a few who have used Databox in the past, and it did not quite meet their requirements. For various reasons – more flexibility, custom data solution, more extensive range of services – they chose to go with Coupler.io instead.

Coupler.io is a data integration platform that enables automated data transfers from your business apps and into a spreadsheet or data warehouse. On top of that, Coupler.io offers a data analytics consulting service which can make for an excellent alternative to Databox. Here’s why:

  • Our team of data analysts can help you solve any challenges you have with data. It can be visualizing it but also refining your data infrastructure, automating business processes, cleaning and transforming your data to make it suitable for analysis, and more. The sky’s the limit.
  • Our service is platform-agnostic. We can build dashboards for you in Tableau, Power BI, Data Studio, and virtually any other BI tool. This way, you take advantage of advanced visualization capabilities offered by these platforms and virtually unlimited customization options.
  • We support you throughout the process, first learning about your vision, then developing the data solution you need, and working with you to align it with your business goals. We then give you a ready solution you can use without our help but will support you should any issues or questions arise. If you wish to build on top of the finished solution, we’re ready to jump on again.
  • We build meaningful dashboards and help you with our expertise. We don’t just deliver X number of charts you requested. We learn about your problem and figure out the best way to solve it with data. See the examples of our dashboard and get in touch to see how we can help.

Databox vs. Coupler.io – when to pick each?

There’s no denying that Databox and Coupler.io are quite different services, albeit used for very similar purposes – solving problems with data. Neither solution will work for every scenario, so the choice comes down to your individual circumstances.

Comparing Databox and Coupler.io as a Databox alternative, we look at the particular situations when either service may be more suitable.

When you want to harness the power of BI tools

Choose: Coupler.io

One of the places where Databox falls short of the competition is the visualization options. The available charts are good enough for basic needs, such as calculating metrics, aggregating sales, expenses, etc. Databox may add more in the future, but they’ll probably never catch up with Databox alternatives, such as Tableau or PowerBI.

What if you, for example, want to develop an interactive map of where your clients are, with an ability to drill down on specific regions, types of products, stages of the pipeline, and more? Such and many other types of visualizations are available by default in many BI tools, but you won’t find them in Databox.

Another argument behind using BI tools for analysis is their forecasting capabilities. Tools like Tableau or Power BI can use machine learning algorithms to analyze your past performance and draw conclusions about what the future may hold. It can be predicting your future sales or expenses, forecasting the demand for products, optimizing the allocation of resources, etc. Databox is more for analyzing the past, while BI tools tend to also look into the future.

When you need a quick solution and know what you need

Choose: Databox

There’s no denying that Databox is an excellent option when you need to build a dashboard quickly, largely due to the existing set of templates for each supported app. They may not show precisely what you were hoping for from the get-go, but it’s easy to drop new metrics onto the dashboard from the dozens available and adjust them to your needs.

So, if:

  • Speed is your priority,
  • Your app(s) are natively supported by Databox, and
  • The available templates visualize, more or less, the metrics you wanted to show

Then, we would recommend that you don’t look for a Databox alternative. Chances are you won’t find any better options on the market.

However, if the existing templates in Databox don’t work for your needs, you’ll need to build a dashboard from scratch. The more custom elements you add, the higher the complexity of a task. This directly translates into a longer development time that often grows exponentially as you add more and more elements.

At some point, you may find yourself spending more time on a dashboard built with Databox than you would have had choosing an alternative solution from the start.

When you need a custom solution

Choose: Coupler.io

Databox offers excellent dashboard templates and a drag & drop builder. They also offer to help you finish up a dashboard of your choice. It can involve, for example, adding a new metric or looking at the data from a different perspective. However, if you need more customization, you’re probably on your own.

Suppose, for example, that you need a custom product dashboard harnessing the data from a database and a multitude of services you use. It can be done to some extent in Databox if you bring data engineers on board, but you’ll encounter platform limitations at some point.

Data projects we pick up at Coupler.io often encompass other areas, too, such as data automation. It’s common for businesses to set up automations between apps they use. For example, marketing, support, and accounting apps can be feeding data into a CRM so that its users know everything there is to know about their clients. 

For any custom projects that involve much more than a dashboard for a specific app, we recommend looking for Databox alternatives. It will be faster to build them and may also prove more cost-effective. 

When you have a limited budget, prefer to start slow

Choose: Databox (or look for another alternative to Databox).

Coupler.io hires best-in-class data analysts and engineers. As each solution is custom-built, it requires a certain amount of time to build and comes with a higher price tag, at least up front. We don’t have fixed pricing as every solution differs, but please feel free to schedule a free consultation, and we’ll try to find a cost-effective way to solve your problem.

Databox isn’t cheap by any means, and, as some users point out, you may need to be on the most expensive plan to get the most value out of the product. So, in the long run, you may end up spending more than you would have on a custom solution.

However, if the price is your main reason for searching for Databox alternatives, consider, for example, Google Data Studio. It’s not as intuitive as Databox, and you may need some hours to conjure a proper dashboard, but it’s among the easiest to grasp data visualization tools. Moreover, it’s free to use and integrates seamlessly with many apps, mostly from Google’s ecosystem. See, for example, our guide on integrating Shopify with Data Studio.

When you need to organize your data before visualizing it

Choose: Coupler.io

Databox deals very well with demonstrating data fetched from a single app. It’s also capable of blending data, as in mixing data coming from different apps to produce better insights. That is, as long as your data is fit for such blending.

Quite often, data coming from different apps isn’t all that straightforward to mix. It can be using different date formats, it can contain lots of typos, missing values, ambiguous column names, etc. Such datasets must be cleaned before uploading them to Databox, making the process much more technical and time-consuming.

It’s also not uncommon for different apps to use different identifiers for the same users. For example, a marketing tool gives a user an ID 4214 while the same user is referred to with the ID of 0001234 on the sales platform. Merging such data is possible, but it needs to be done by an experienced analyst.

If you suspect your data may be a problem, using an end-to-end service like Coupler.io is a far better approach.

Alternative to Databox – recap

Like we said earlier, not one product fits all scenarios. Choosing between Databox and a Databox alternative comes down to your specific expectations. 

Here’s when we would recommend sticking with Databox after all:

  • If you need to build a dashboard quickly.
  • If you’re building dashboards for specific apps, rather than blending all your data together.
  • If you have some analytical skills and can handle dashboard building and customization yourself (and with the help of the Databox team).
  • If you don’t need any sophisticated charts but simply want to monitor the progress of your project or business.

Go with Coupler.io as a Databox alternative if:

  • You want to build a custom project that Databox can’t handle.
  • You don’t have the expertise to build that project yourself and won’t be able to acquire that knowledge quickly.
  • You want to do more than just a dashboard – organize your data flows, automate business processes, etc.
  • You want to get more out of your data using the power of the best BI tools on the market.

Many thanks for reading.

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