Dec 15, 2016

24 Exceptional Business Intelligence Tools


Business intelligence tools  

Business intelligence tools allow the right information to be conveyed to the right people in a way that supports better decision-making. There is a wide variety of business intelligence tools that cater to the needs of multiple decision makers in any organization. They’ve each been crafted to help take data sets and help companies make better decisions.

People in all functions and levels of an organization are now using BI tools to understand data. This creates a need for different types of business intelligence tools because a C-level executive will require different information than an analyst or a manager in the same company. As a result, there are hundreds of BI tools to choose from based on your needs. We have selected an exceptional few to share with you and categorized them based on your organization’s end goal with your business data. Many of them are sold in SaaS format instead of as on-premise software, which will allow you to experiment with as many as you’d like rapidly.

The right BI tool, after all, can help you share insights effectively across the entire organization, even with large data sets of internal data. Powerful business intelligence can provide your company with a lasting competitive advantage that ensures you triumph in your industry: it can offer exponential return on investment. This list of exceptional business intelligence tools is our attempted contribution to that success.

Reporting and dashboards

Business Intelligence Tools with Springboard

Success starts with understanding and insight. Data reporting is all about understanding the “what” of data. What are we looking at? What is going on with the data? Reporting tools are generally high-level tools for graphical representation of data that can be easily understood by everyone in the organization. They show key metrics that provide an overview of the business and its key performance indicators. They are business intelligence solutions that help with better decision making. This bird’s eye view of data means that these tools are heavily used by management and C-level executives for a quick glance. Reporting tools comprise of ad-hoc queries, dashboards and reports and they are an important part of the BI market.

  1. Sisense: SiSense is a business intelligence tool for data preparation, analysis and visualization. It allows you to manage complex data models with a simple user interface making it easy for anyone and everyone to get onboard with the software fast. SiSense caters to a number of different industries and data types including finance (with many use cases with financial data) and government and offers annual licensing for scalability.
  2. Zoho Reports: Zoho Reports is specifically geared towards online reporting. This tool helps businesses connect to any data source in the cloud or in-house and visually analyzes the data to build reports and view dashboards. Their pricing model is pay as you go which allows for low commitment month-to-month or year-to-year payments. Since Zoho owns a number of business apps, you can easily add-on any extra features you may need.
  3. Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT): BIRT is an open-source platform in the Eclipse Foundation powered by OpenText, Innovent Solutions and IBM. With this popular tool, you can create data visualizations and reports which can then be embedded into the rich client platform (RCP) and web applications.
  4. QlikView: QlikView is part of the Qlik portfolio of business intelligence apps. It provides guided analysis paths which allow you to discover trends in the data and make more meaningful decisions. You can develop customized apps with the tool and easily integrate with other business applications as well.
  5. Domo: Domo is a customizable platform for data visualization, dashboards and reporting. It is easy to comprehend, making it a tool that can be used by employees in all business functions. Domo also has a number of industry-specific solutions including solutions for education, healthcare and professional services.
  6. Style Intelligence: InetSoft’s Style Intelligence platform combines data modelling with data visualization to provide analytical dashboards and reporting solutions. Based on your goals and usage, you can pick from the following three products: dashboards and analytics, reports or the full package with complete data intelligence.
  7. Clearify QQube: Clearify wants to make it easier for you to get information that will help you run your business. Their reporting and dashboards platform, Clearify QQube, makes it simple for you to access important business information. It’s specifically geared towards small businesses in a variety of industries. It’s a powerful tool that can be integrated with Microsoft Excel, Power BI, SAP Crystal Reports and Tableau.
  8. Panorama Necto: Panorama Necto is a business intelligence tool used by a number of Fortune 500 companies. It focuses on product design, making it easy to visualize your data and extract key insights.

Analysis and data visualization

Business Intelligence Tools with Springboard

Analyzing data is no easy task. For this reason, there are plenty of tools that can help you understand your data and find insights within it. The purpose of analysis tools is to help you find more meaning to your data. These tools are targeted to both business analysts and data analysts and vary in complexity. They maximally empower BI users

  1. BOARD: BOARD is a business intelligence, performance management and advanced analytics platform. It offers a wide array of features including data connectivity and data compliance. With BOARD, you can conduct multi-dimensional analysis, view dashboards and reports, run ad-hoc queries and build apps without technical expertise.
  2. IBM Cognos Analytics: IBM Cognos is a tool that provides “intent driven guidance” which essentially means that the tool is able to interpret your intent and guide you in the right direction. With an emphasis on self-service reporting and dashboarding, you can easily make your own informed decisions, no matter your level of technical expertise. It also offers data modelling features such as combining data sources and automatically generating data models.
  3. JasperSoft: JasperSoft, powered by TIBCO Software is an open source business intelligence tool. This all in one tool allows you to access dashboards and build reports as well as visualize and analyze your data with its self-service BI suite.
  4. Looker: Looker is a tool that wants to make data culture part of your organization. Looker has its own data modelling language, LookML, which data analysts can use to determine how data will be created, displayed and stored. Business users or anyone who wants to understand the data can then use Looker to visualize and analyze the results. Looker is a powerful tool for data exploration that allow non-technical users to discover new insights about their data in real time.
  5. SAP BusinessObjects: SAP is a powerhouse when it comes to data. Their BI software supports scalability whether you have 10 or 10,000 users. It allows for ad-hoc reporting so you can combine data from different sources and share important information with stakeholders. You can also perform multidimensional analysis with this BI tool which will help you dive deeper into data analytics and find insights.
  6. WebFOCUS: WebFOCUS is specifically designed for enterprises looking for a business intelligence and analytics platform. It includes self-service capabilities such as dashboards making it simple enough to be used by employees in all functions. Analytical features include data discovery, performance management and location analytics.
  7. Yellowfin BI: Yellowfin BI is a software created by BI professionals with the goal to create a simple and affordable solution. The platform is made up of interactive dashboards, advanced data discovering functionality, tailored reports and a collaborative BI feature that allows you to share reports and dashboards with others in the organization.
  8. Tableau: Tableau is a leader in the business intelligence and analytics space. Tableau has a large list of features that allow you to do the most complex of tasks yet it is simple to use. It’s for everyone who wants to understand data and use it to make key business decisions. The company’s mission is to empower everyone in your organization with data and they are able to do this with an excellent user interface, simple drag and drop commands and accessibility across desktop, tablet and mobile.Tableau works well with multiple data sources and a wide range of applications. Tableau online can be accessed with Tableau Public, a version that acts as a powerful free trial of sorts for enterprise Tableau software and Tableau Desktop. Tableau is compatible with Mac, Linux and more.  

Data mining and predictive analysis

Business Intelligence Tools with Springboard

Data mining and predictive analysis tools are largely more complex business intelligence tools made for data analysts and data scientists. Many of them may require you to have technical knowledge. However, most BI vendors offer plenty of resources to understand and learn their respective tools and many BI specialists will be able to take full advantage of the powerful BI capabilities on offer. These powerful BI platforms allow you to dive deeper into the data and analyze data to the smallest detail so you can make sound predictions and business decisions.

  1. Rapid Insight: Rapid Insight is a predictive analysis tool that automates data modelling for you. This software makes it easy for anyone to comprehend the data, analyze it and make reliable predictions based on the statistical models generated.
  2. SAP BusinessObjects Predictive Analytics: As a leader in the business intelligence arena, SAP has created this tool specifically for predictive analysis. It’s geared towards both business analysts and data scientists. SAP BusinessObjects Predictive Analytics tool offers a comprehensive set of features including end-to-end model management, predictive scoring and advanced visualization.
  3. Oracle Data Mining (ODM): Oracle Data Mining software is a powerful tool designed to find relationships in the data and make predictions based on the insight. It’s geared towards data analysts and data scientists with a complex set of technical features.
  4. Tanagra: Tanagra is a free open-source tool designed for research purposes. It acts as an experimental platform for data mining. This tool is great to educate yourself and explore data analysis and statistical learning if you are new to analytics tools.
  5. RapidMiner Radoop: RapidMiner Radoop is the predictive analysis tool by RapidMiner which owns a set of business intelligence tools created to empower organizations with data. This tool is slightly more complex than others in the market and may require technical knowledge. However, there are plenty of resources on their website for those getting started with predictive analysis. It uses Hadoop which is an open-source Java-based programming framework to translate intelligence into workflows and enabling the user to sift through big data.
  6. EmcienPredict: EmcienPredict is an enterprise-level tool which allows you to apply rules to make predictions with extreme accuracy. This tool completes automatic data discovery and finds patterns in your data making it easy for you to work with relevant data and find the right answers.
  7. Salford Systems Predictive Modeler: This is an all encompassing data mining and predictive analytics tool. It has the capacity to build predictive, descriptive and analytical models from any database and is specifically built for use by data analysts.
  8. MicroStrategy: MicroStrategy is a key player in business intelligence tools, specifically targeting enterprises. It offers a wide array of capabilities from data discovery to advanced analytics. It is one of the most powerful tools on the market with a structured pricing strategy to fit your needs.

Think we’re missing any exceptional business intelligence tools? Feel free to start the discussion in the comments below 🙂

  • Roseanne Winn

    I would love to see one addition to this otherwise great article on current BI offerings: a category for Embedded BI; that is, BI & analytics products integrated into existing software platforms. It is a growing market, expected to reach $46B by 2021.