“Data in the hands of a few data experts can be powerful, but data at the fingertips of many is what will be truly transformational” - Brent Dykes (Director of Data Strategy, Domo)
The above statement is a powerful declaration of the extent to which Data can be immensely powerful. It has emerged as the driving engine of modern society. Moreover, there is no scarcity of Data as we happen to generate unimaginable volumes of it on a daily basis, across the globe. However, the presence of this Data is not enough.
Data is indeed a priceless asset, but it needs to be exploited in ways by which they would be useful. This brings us to the notion of the different Business Intelligence Tools. In this blog we will look at the way in which some of these best Business Intelligence Software and Tools, act as important mediums for converting this Data into forms which could help in data-driven decision making.
There are numerous BI Tools – Open Source BI Tools, Business Intelligence Reporting Tools, Free Business Intelligence Tools and so on - present in current times. The choice of opting for the best one is likely to be driven by a number of factors.
In this blog, we will try to answer some common questions surrounding these tools as well as try to look at 10 of the Top BI Tools.
What is Business Intelligence?
Business Intelligence seeks to evaluate and convert raw data and information into actionable and meaningful insights with the help of Business Intelligence Tools. These insights have a positive impact on the different kinds of business decisions of the organization.
In simplest terms, Business Intelligence would refer to an umbrella which covers data tools, data visualization, data mining, infrastructure, data analysis and so on, in order to provide easy and understandable summaries which could help organizations to make decisions which are data-driven. Thus, it helps in boosting business performance.
The future of Business Intelligence is full of possibilities. Business intelligence software and Business Intelligence platform are becoming increasingly user-friendly, with intuitive interfaces that enable users to quickly gain insights from data. With advances in artificial intelligence, companies can now use sophisticated algorithms to detect trends and patterns in large amounts of data collected from diverse data sources. This will allow businesses to make more informed decisions and ultimately create a competitive advantage over their competitors.
Furthermore, businesses will be able to access real-time analytics from multiple sources, enabling them to respond quickly to market changes and customer needs. By utilizing the power of data analytics platform through business intelligence software, organizations will have faster access to key information for better decision making and improved business performance. It's clear that business intelligence capabilities is only set to get more refined in the future.
Check out our blog on “What is Business Intelligence?” to know more about this dynamic field.
What are Business Intelligence Tools?
A BI Tool can be regarded as application software which helps in gathering, processing and analyzing huge volumes of data from internal as well as external sources. These Business Intelligence Tools help data experts to prepare data, before they are subjected to data analysis so that it would be possible to generate interactive reports, develop data visualizations and dashboards.
The objective of these Web Based Business Intelligence Tools is to produce actionable insights and visual analytics which would help in simplifying the decision process, in conducting predictive analytics, would help in identifying opportunities for growth, would help in the interpretation of market trends as well as propel business efficiency.
Why is Business Intelligence Software & Tools Important?
- Summation of all Relevant Data: Organizations, in their day to day functioning, are involved in the collection of data from diverse sources. BI Tools help in the management of these sources in order to provide proper understanding of the information being collected. These tools help in the centralization of these disconnected sources which help in developing a singular understanding of the business processes.
- Self-service Business Intelligence: Some of these Open Source BI Tools as well as other Web Based Business Intelligence Tools are extremely easy to operate upon. They are user-friendly and provide every person in the organization the chance to explore the world of data on their own. This not only diminishes the need to continuously request reports from the IT Department, but the self-service BI approach helps in training the employees and business users in appropriate analytical skills which saves the resources and time of the company in the long run.
They simply make use of some of the best bi tools and collect data analysis reports which help in acquiring a clearer idea of the business conditions.
- Reduction in Manual Tasks: Business Intelligence Tools help in Data Visualization at the click of a button. Generation of reports and other presentation activities which otherwise can be really time consuming is efficiently automated with the help of a Business Intelligence Tool.
- Optimum Predictive Strategy: The scope of business operations have increased significantly over the years. It would be foolish to suggest that these activities can be conducted on the basis of guess work and mere speculation. It is important to have real time updates and accurate data which would help in developing appropriate strategies for the future. A BI Tool can be considered as your best companion in terms of helping you acquire those valuable data which can assist in predictive analysis.
How to Choose the Best Business Intelligence Tool?
While opting for the Best BI Tools, it would be important to think of choosing software and tools which would be beneficial for all (employees, clients and different departments alike). It would not only help in drawing the attention of the customers, but would also persuade employees to dig deeper and derive even more useful insights from the data.
Similarly, one can opt for BI Tools which are user-friendly, provide an interactive interface and are able to generate outcomes which are aesthetically pleasing.
10 of the Top Business Intelligence Tools
The BI Tool List is exhaustive. In this section, we will explore 10 of the Top Business Intelligence Tools which can be extremely useful.
It is one of the most widely used BI Tools which has continuously been in the Best Business Intelligence Tools List. As a platform, it lays emphasis on Data Visualization and the graphical representations offered by it are increasingly pleasing and interactive. It is extremely user-friendly and can be used by non-technical users for generating personalized dashboards and reports.
Features of Tableau:
- It provides a simple GUI with easy drag and drop options
- It can be used to share tools and dashboards which can facilitate group analysis
- It can easily be integrated with other applications like Microsoft Excel
- It comes with options of automatically updating data which helps in deriving insights from it in real-time
- It supports Data Visualization and Data Exploration through in-memory architecture
- Tableau Public is a free Business Intelligence Tool
If you wish to read about this useful tool; do check out our blog, "What is Tableau? Learn from the Basics"
Sisense can be considered as a multipurpose BI Tool which helps in the collection, analysis as well as Data Visualization. It is a user-friendly tool with a simple interface and other intuitive features which help in its operation by people even from non-technical backgrounds. As a Reporting Business Intelligence Tool, Sisense has primarily been concerned with simplifying the Data Analytics process. This has been achieved through the collection and storage of data in a singular database which can be accessed for reporting and visualization purposes.
Features of Sisense:
- Data centralization helps in faster data processing
- As one of the top Business Intelligence Tools, it offers custom pricing to its clients
- It provides for Ad hoc analysis, Ad hoc reports, Ad hoc queries and Data Visualization
- It can be used on all sizes of datasets and offer attractive visualizations
- It provides for SQL server integration as well as in-memory database tools which help in analysis of data, irrespective of its location
QlikView is one of the best Business Intelligence Reporting Tools which permits a user to visualize the entire story embedded within data. It has been considered as one of the top Business Intelligence Tools when it comes to Data Visualization. Not only does it provide interactive visualizations, but also services like complex analytics platforms, simple reports as well as tools which help in external data feed.
Features of QlikView:
- It has a simple GUI which comes with easy to use drag and drop features, helping to generate flexible and interactive data visualizations
- It provides a memory function which helps in displaying every action that is taking place during the course of analytics
- It provides instantaneous response to changes and interactions
- It not only supports multiple data sources but also provides for easy security for content and data
- It comes with a centralized hub feature which helps in sharing appropriate data analyses
It is one of the most popular Open Source Business Intelligence Tools which offers provisions for the collection, integration of data as well as data visualization. It can be used for performing Data Analytics for data acquired from cloud or local sources, followed by the publication of reports on the Power BI Platform. It offers services which include data preparation, interactive dashboards, visual-based discovery and augmented analytics.
Features of Power BI:
- It is user-friendly and can be used to share reports for free
- It has features like Power Maps, Desktop and Pivot, which can help to share insights even on mobile devices
- Its feature of Power Pivot helps in conducting analytical operations which is easy to operate even more than Excel
- Its feature of Power Query helps in deriving data even from old databases and generate reports
The debate between Power BI and Tableau is an age old one. If you wish to acquire a more detailed understanding on this topic, do read our blog on "Power BI vs. Tableau"
It is an Open Source Business Intelligence Tool which operates as a Data Warehousing and Business Analytics Platform. It is considered to be one of the best Business Intelligence Tools which assists business owners in gathering, discovering and merging different types and sizes of data.
Features of Pentaho:
- It offers interactive analytics and provides highly developed navigation features as well as data visualization
- It is considered as a platform for the acceleration of data pipeline
- It provides for Big Data integration without the need for coding
- It helps in Data Mining and Predictive Data Analytics
This tool is a product of the Zoho Office, which has commendable experience within the field of Web Based Business Intelligence Tools. It is considered to be an analytics and self-service Business Intelligence platform. It helps in the acquisition of data from multiple sources including applications, from Zoho and even outside their ecosystem; Microsoft Office Documents, from the cloud and so on.
Features of Zoho Analytics:
- It not only helps in acquiring data from multiple sources, but also in blending and visualizing them through dashboards and reports. Moreover, the user can also feed data from Zoho docs
- This tool comes with AI powered analytics in the form of Zia, an intelligent assistant, which can be invoked to ask questions and receive immediate answers
- It is available on both on-cloud and on-premise versions. It can be deployed on Google Cloud, AWS and Microsoft Azure
- Its geo visualization feature helps in analyzing geographical data with the help of interactive map charts
- Zoho’s spreadsheets offer much more features than those available on Excel
Dundas BI is a product of the Dundas Data Visualization and is a browser based Business Intelligence Tool. It can be considered as an all-in-one platform which provides for data transformation right through visual data analytics. It can be used to build scorecards, interactive dashboards, reports and much more; as well as perform ad hoc and standard reporting.
Features of Dundas BI:
- It provides an easy access through the browser and even the option of using Excel data
- It offers customizable data visualizations as well as can visualize data through maps
- The tool offer features which help it to adapt to the skills of the user
- The latest version comes with several advanced features in terms of natural language query capability, support for Linux, new in-memory engine as well as point-and-click trend analysis
- It provides for predictive as well as advanced data analytics
It serves as a widely opted Visual Analytics Tool of choice. It is offered through its microservices and cloud based SAS Viya Platform. It is believed to be one of the best Business Intelligence Tools which serves to provide the right information to the right people since it only helps in deriving simple responses from complex data, but also serves the need of a wide array of users including data engineers, data scientists, econometricians, text analysts and others.
Features of SAS:
- As a tool it has five main areas of concern – visual data exploration, collaboration, interactive reporting and mobile apps
- Its text analytics help users to derive insights from text data, while location analytics helps in looking at data against a geographical context
- Its data exploration feature provides for automated analytics, backed by machine learning
- SAS can be integrated with Microsoft Office Applications such as Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint or Word which helps users to view the results directly in Microsoft Office Suite
- It provides protection to business data through security issue resolution and identification
It is an innovative and an Open Source Business Intelligence Tool. It is known for providing cost effective and flexible BI solutions, which has helped people across the globe in making the right decisions. It helps to generate highly interactive web based dashboards, reports and analytics.
Features of Jaspersoft:
- It provides for reporting, data integration, data visualization and OLAP
- It supports integration with mobile apps which facilitate user access to data from across platforms
- With the help of key performance indicators and problem indicators, it helps in decision making
It is one of the best Business Intelligence Tools, used for end-to-end analytics, combining data visualization and machine learning. It is used in industries across sectors and provides for easy monitoring, understanding and evaluation of data, helping in data-driven decision making. It offers five main products: Yellowfin signals, dashboards, data prep, stories and data discovery.
Features of Yellowfin:
- It is a significant Business Intelligence Tool which specializes in three main areas of analytics solution: embedded analytics, analytical application solutions and enterprise analytics
- Yellowfin signals are based on powerful, AI algorithms which are beneficial in terms of automated identification of anomalies and trends in data
- Yellowfin stories enable users to present data in the form of written narrative, images and video
- It provides for smarter and faster collection of data as well as allows for access to dashboards from anywhere
I am sure that by the end of this blog, you must have acquired a good understanding of some of the most popular Business Intelligence Tools. Some of these are free and Open Source Business Intelligence Tools; while some are commercial paid ones. It is important to note that this list is by no means complete. This means that there are a number of Business Intelligence Tools beyond those covered here.
The purpose of this blog was to provide you with a fair understanding of the best ones among the many. Opting for the right one can be a real challenge, but with appropriate information and proper research, you can definitely arrive at the best choice for your organization.
The field of Business Intelligence has immense potential for the future. Utilizing the force of BI for propelling business efficiency and productivity is gradually becoming a norm. Consequently, Business Intelligence experts are in high demand.
We, at Syntax Technologies, provide you with the exciting opportunity of developing expertise in consonance with that of a Business Intelligence expert. Enrol today.