Data is the heart of any business, without it, there would be no business intelligence, and hence no BI tools would be there. In the past, businesses had to rely on gut instinct to make decisions. With the advent of technology, businesses now have access to data that can be used to make informed decisions. Business intelligence is the process of turning this data into actionable insights. The business intelligence process helps companies to make better decisions by providing insights into trends, customer behavior, and other essential information.
What is Business Intelligence?
Business intelligence is a process of recasting data to get insights from it that deciphers an organization's strategic and tactical business decisions. BI generally refers to a set of techniques and technologies used to help organizations make better decisions by incorporating data warehousing, predictive analytics, and business performance management.
The goal of BI is to turn data into actionable insights that can be used to improve business performance. BI tools are used to collect and store data from a variety of sources. Once the data is collected, it is cleansed and transformed into a format that can be analyzed. Data mining and visualization techniques are then used to identify patterns and trends. Finally, reports and dashboards are created that can be used to track KPIs and make decisions concerning business performance improvements.
What are BI tools?
Business intelligence tools or BI tools are a type of software that helps organizations to better understand their data and make better decisions. These tools can provide organizations with insights into their customers, their business processes, and their overall performance. In today's world data has become an essential commodity so to use that data to our advantage we must make use of BI tools to perform accurate analysis.
Why Business need a Business Intelligence (BI) Reporting Tool
In today's business environment, the need for accurate and timely information is critical to gain success. Business intelligence tools provide the means to collect, store, and analyze data to support decision-making. By providing up-to-date, accurate information, businesses can make informed decisions that can lead to increased profits and improved efficiency. In today's data-driven world it is tough to process data manually so to analyze data with utmost ease and to save time BI tools should be preferred.
BI reporting can dramatically improve business performance when utilized properly. Here are some of the ways it can help:
1. Workflow pace improves
Business Intelligence (BI) provides easy access to data from multiple sources and compiles it into an actionable report.
2. Simplified data
BI reporting allows users to access data and understand it quickly, even if they don't have a technical background.
3. Incorporation of historical data
Business Intelligence (BI) reporting leverages real-time and historical data to generate useful insights. Machine-learning algorithms detect patterns and trends that identify how the business is performing.
4. Operational forecasting
The aforementioned trends, based on tracking, predictive analytics, and artificial intelligence, will assist businesses in making informed decisions about future operations.
5. Improved data quality
High-quality data yields more accurate business decisions. BI software reporting combines data from various sources to create a more reliable business representation.
Challenges in BI:
There can be many challenges faced during a BI process, varying from data collection to analysis and accurate interpretation. Some of the common challenges encountered during the BI process are mentioned below:
- Data Quality: If the data is faulty or incomplete, it can lead to wrong conclusions and decision-making. In order to ensure data quality, businesses need to establish and maintain strong data governance processes and procedures.
- Finding the right tool: There is a wide variety of BI tools available in the space, and choosing the right one can be difficult and confusing.
- Process: The process of designing and implementing a BI system can be complex and time-consuming.
- Data Integration: Another challenge encountered in the Business intelligence process is data integration. In order to get an entire and precise picture of the business, data needs to be collected from varied sources and then integrated into a single system. This can be a complex and time-consuming process, but it is essential for generating accurate insights.
- Proper chart types: The chart types supported in the tool should be able to cater to the business needs
Criteria for choosing the right BI tool
There are a variety of factors to consider when choosing Business intelligence tools for your business.
- Cost: You should always want to consider the cost of the tool and whether it fits within your budget or not.
- Implementation time: This is one of the most important features of any BI tool as the tool's ability to integrate with existing systems is of paramount importance.
- Training: The level of support and training offered by the vendor is also a key consideration while selecting an appropriate BI tool
- Features: A tool with multiple features should be considered to cater to all business needs.
- Scalability: As your business may grow and need to expand its data collection and analysis capabilities so scalability should be kept in mind.
- Maintenance: A tool that requires minimal maintenance should be preferred to save time and manual effort.
- Monitoring Capabilities: In case of any job failure proper email alerts should be provided to the user with the reason for the error
These are some of the key features that a BI tool should have in order to make the BI process easy. In this article let us read about the best 15 BI tools that are available in the market today.
Top 17 BI tools:
1. Sprinkle Data
Sprinkle Data is a cloud-based data analysis solution that enables users to collect, clean, and share data. This is a unified platform that provides a central location for users to access and manage their data, as well as tools for data cleansing and transformation. Sprinkle Data also offers a number of data sources and connections to pull in your data in the most efficient way.
- Dashboards can efficiently process large data easily ensuring optimal performance.
- A free trial period of 14 days is provided to new users to get well acquainted with the platform.
- The permissions functionality helps to keep track of users' activity and their access to different modules.
- Dashboard and report monitoring capabilities have been automated that help to keep a track of failed jobs through emails.
- The dashboards and reports are highly interactive and help to drill down or drill up on any data point in just a click.
- Sprinkle has a user-friendly drag-and-drop dashboard interface that makes the process of dashboarding simpler.
- Dashboards can be made more attractive by incorporating different themes according to the user's needs.
- Advanced chart types can be introduced for in-depth analysis.
2. SAP BusinessObjects
SAP BusinessObjects is a business intelligence platform that enables organizations to access, visualize, and analyze data and also offers a number of features for data Management, including data cleansing, data enrichment, and data governance. It is a robust and comprehensive platform that can help organizations of all sizes to make better use of their data.
- The BI tool has connectivity with multiple data sources giving users the flexibility to choose from a variety of data sources.
- The scheduling facility of reports and dashboards at a specified frequency is available in this BI tool ensuring timely delivery of the reports.
- Once the reports are created less time is required to maintain them because of their good monitoring capabilities.
- It has seamless integration with Office helping to analyze large volumes of data by using Microsoft excel with SAP.
- Adding complex calculations to any report tends to slow down the performance of the report.
- The installation time taken to install the product is very high and is time-consuming
- The pricing plan is not flexible as the cost for any individual module is high.
- The BI tool does not have support for apple machines, the tool is only compatible with Windows and Linux.
3. Oracle BI
Oracle Business Intelligence (BI) is a comprehensive, standards-based software platform that provides a full range of integrated tools to support all aspects of business intelligence. Oracle BI includes a rich set of BI applications, tools, and technologies that are built on an open, scalable architecture and provide customers with the flexibility to adopt any BI deployment option. It incorporates solid tools facilitating data management, integration, and reporting in the easiest way possible.
- This tool is really helpful to create ad-hoc reports for visualization purposes.
- Easy collaboration of different users on the dashboard is facilitated.
- It allows easy customization of PL/SQL functions to attain logic by writing complex queries.
- The integration with Oracle-based sources is excellent as compared to other BI tools.
- To enhance the format of charts various format tools are available hence helping in the customization of dashboards.
- The performance of the platform drops as large datasets take time to process.
- When multiple joins are incorporated in the query lack of relationship explanation is a huddle in this BI tool
- The layout of the interface can be more intuitive and user-friendly.
- This BI tool has a limited number of easy visualization options as compared with other BI tools in the market.
4. Clear Analytics
Clear Analytics is a business intelligence (BI) solution that enables users to converge, visualize and interact with data using knowledge of Excel. The solution offers a range of features, including dynamic data refresh, reporting, dashboards, and data visualization. Clear Analytics is designed to be user-friendly, especially for people with less technical acumen, and is often termed a self-service BI platform.
- Ad-hoc reporting is possible in clear analytics with much more flexibility.
- Customer support of clear analytics is active and addresses user queries and provides a reliable solution in no time.
- The integration with Microsoft Power BI and Microsoft Excel is seamless and fast.
- The pricing plans provided by Clear analytics are reasonable and cost-effective.
- Scheduling reports functionality is not provided by the tool as available in other BI tools in the market.
- Dashboards for complex reporting with multiple advanced-level visualization charts are not present.
- The documentation for clear analytics is not beginner-friendly, thus providing guides and tutorials for new users would be of great help.
- Advanced level knowledge of Excel is required prior to using the software.
5. Yellowfin BI
Yellowfin BI is a business intelligence solution that helps organizations make better decisions by providing access to accurate, timely, and actionable data. With Yellowfin BI, organizations can easily connect to data sources, create and share reports and dashboards, and collaborate with others to make better decisions.
- The tool facilitates multiple analysis techniques like trend analysis, real-time analysis, and predictive analysis to uncover the trends and patterns in data.
- It provides mobile access also which is really convenient for viewing data from anywhere.
- The tool provides connectivity to multiple data sources hence providing flexibility to end users.
- It has some really robust features for collaboration and sharing of dashboards
- Data extraction is very slow and can be very time-consuming in Yellowfin BI.
- Tutorials to get familiar with the software should be there especially for new users to get well acquainted with the software.
- Fewer customization options are available in charts as compared to other BI tools
- The pricing plan is not very scalable and is termed as expensive as compared to other BI tools in the sector.
Pentaho is a business intelligence (BI) software that provides data integration, OLAP services, reporting, information dashboards, and data mining. The core server provides a platform for data access, transformation, and analysis. Pentaho provides a complete, end-to-end solution for data warehousing, business intelligence, and data mining.
- The platform is able to handle large volumes of data and can efficiently process it saving time.
- It is capable of importing data from various sources and databases.
- Pentaho helps in the easy migration of data from one system to another seamlessly.
- The community is highly active and can solve user queries effectively.
- The data visualization options are fewer and are not customizable.
- The errors encountered during performing the ETL process are not very clear, taking more time to spot and debug it further.
- Sharing and collaboration of dashboards with the end users is a tedious task and can be made simpler.
- If the data is in JSON format then the processing time of loading JSON-type data can be high.
- Though the product has an easy-to-use interface still there is a steep learning curve for new users.
7. Dundas BI
Dundas BI is a business intelligence tool that helps organizations visualize and analyze data. It provides users with a self-service environment where they can create their own reports and dashboards. Dundas BI also includes features for data governance, collaboration, and security.
- It is easy to create reports and dashboards on the platform because of its easy-to-use interface.
- There are many online resources related to the product which makes it easy for new users to solve their queries.
- The customer support team of Dundas BI is supportive and helps in solving critical issues.
- Migration between different environments is manual and time-consuming.
- The pagination of reports is very cluttered and can be made more clear and intuitive.
- Limited chart options are available in the BI tool as compared with other BI tools in the market.
ClicData is a cloud-based business intelligence platform that enables users to collect, connect, and visualize data from multiple sources. It offers a drag-and-drop interface for creating custom dashboards and reports and provides real-time data updates. Businesses of all sizes in various industries, including retail, manufacturing, healthcare, and technology use ClicData.
- It supports ad-hoc reporting to attain quick reporting solutions.
- The list of connectors in ClicData is very big and new connectors are still adding on.
- The dashboards are easily customizable and hence provide flexibility to users in reporting as compared to other BI tools in the space.
- The live link facility available in the dashboard helps to share dashboards easily with end users.
- The absence of documentation for some of the advanced features is not present.
- More widgets in the dashboard can be included in ClicData to give users more flexibility.
- Refresh time for some dashboards having large data is very high.
9. SAS Business Intelligence
SAS BI is a comprehensive business intelligence platform that enables organizations to make better decisions. With SAS BI, organizations can collect, store, and analyze data from a variety of sources to gain insights that can help them improve operations, better understand customers, and make more informed decisions. With multiple features, this BI platform is one of the most preferred among other BI tools in the space.
- There are multiple built-in algorithms to perform some predictive analysis for some use cases.
- The steps to set up SAS Business Intelligence is very easy and users can easily automate the tasks as well.
- The number of features keeps on adding according to the user's needs.
- Integration with Microsoft Office is very efficient and seamless.
- There is a steep learning curve when it comes to SAS Business Intelligence.
- The drill-down capabilities in the charts and dashboards are not as good as those provided by other BI tools in the space.
- The price for the tool is on the expensive side which can be a problem for SMEs
10. Microsoft Power BI
Power BI is a cloud-based business intelligence and analytics service provided by Microsoft. It enables users to connect to, visualize and analyze data with greater speed, efficiency, and understanding. Power BI provides a library of built-in connectors that make it easy to connect to data sources, shape and transform data, and build visually stunning reports and dashboards.
- There are many chart options available in Power BI, which gives flexibility to users working on it.
- The charts are very interactive in Power BI which gives it an upper edge over the other BI tools in the space.
- It supports multiple data connectors and integrating data with Microsoft applications is very fast and efficient.
- There is a lack of formatting capabilities in dashboards as compared with other BI tools in the market.
- Power BI Desktop is not supported for Apple machines.
- The desktop version of Power BI tends to lag the system when data with more rows is ingested.
- There is a steep learning curve when it comes to working with Power BI.
The BrightGauge BI software is a cloud-based business intelligence solution that enables users to collect, track, and visualize data from their business operations. The software provides users with dashboards and reports that can be customized to their specific needs, allowing them to gain insights into their business and make better-informed decisions. BrightGauge BI is a flexible and powerful solution that can be used by businesses of all sizes to improve their decision-making processes and gain a competitive edge.
- Dashboards can be created easily and the sharing the dashboard with end users can be done easily.
- The customer support team is very supportive and solves complex user problems efficiently.
- The dashboard supports real-time data, which is one of its most powerful features.
- Automated scheduling of reports helps to reduce manual efforts
- Integration with various data sets should be incorporated into the BI tool.
- The formatting and customization capabilities can be improved by providing multiple functionalities as available in other BI tools in the market.
- Creating gauges is tricky in the tool and proper documentation regarding that is also absent.
- Customization of datasets at the ingestion is a problem in the tool.
12. Tableau Desktop
Tableau is a powerful business intelligence tool that enables organizations to easily visualize and analyze their data. Tableau BI provides users with the ability to create stunning visualizations and reports and to easily share them with others. It is a highly flexible and user-friendly tool that can be used to support a wide variety of business intelligence needs. With the ability to connect with on-premise or on-cloud data sources, it is one of the most flexible BI options available.
- Tableau has AI capabilities like time series forecasting that help to predict future trends and patterns.
- There are multiple types of charts present in the tool and along with that a description of the charts is also provided that helps users to find the appropriate chart type according to their needs.
- The charts are very interactive as they can give insights into data with just a single click.
- There are many connectors available in the product that will help to connect to all the data sources effectively.
- Downloading large datasets is very time-consuming and can even lag the system.
- The learning curve is steep and proper training is required to use and to get familiar with the product.
- The pricing plan is not affordable for SMEs and is on the costlier side as compared to other BI tools in the market.
- The online version of tableau does not support advanced features as supported in desktop version.
DOMO business cloud is a powerful no-code business intelligence tool that enables users to easily access and analyze data from multiple sources. With Domo, users can create custom reports and dashboards to visualize data and gain insights. It provides a self-service analytics platform that helps businesses to derive actionable insights from data and convey it in the form of embedded dashboards with the end users.
- The platform has an easy-to-use and intuitive interface with which users can easily navigate between different entities.
- The BI tool has its own mobile app that gives flexibility to users.
- It has exceptional monitoring capabilities that help with little or no maintenance of dashboards.
- The BI solution is expensive as compared to other platforms.
- Proper training is required for new users to get acquainted with the platform which is very time-consuming.
- The summarization of data via a pivot table has very limited functionalities as provided by other BI tools.
14. Rational BI
Rational BI is a type of business intelligence tool that facilitates the creation of embeddable custom reports. It provides a complete set of tools for data discovery, warehousing, and reporting, as well as a robust set of features for data visualization and analysis. Rational BI also offers a strong set of tools for data governance and security, making it a complete solution for enterprise business intelligence.
- The dashboards are easy to create and also support predictive analytics capabilities.
- Analytics on large volumes of data can be done seamlessly.
- Dashboards and reports are easily embeddable and can be shared among users in no time.
- The pricing model is on the expensive side as compared to other BI tools.
- Third-party app support is slightly inefficient and can be improved as compared with other BI platforms in the sector.
- The absence of detailed documentation for new users is a problem to get familiar with the platform.
15. Infor Birst
Infor Birst is a cloud-based BI and analytics AI-powered platform that helps organizations make better data-driven decisions. It offers a comprehensive set of features and capabilities, including data warehousing, data visualization, and data mining. Infor Birst is easy to use and helps organizations save time and money by reducing the need for expensive data warehouses and BI tools. Its key capabilities include industry analytics, modern data architecture, and many more features.
- The scheduled report feature in infor birst is convenient and helps to reduce manual efforts hence proving to be time efficient.
- Highly skilled users are not required to implement complex data analytics use cases.
- Data preparation in infor birst is fast and robust as it provides deep and comprehensive ETL performing capabilities.
- The data integration capabilities are not scalable, it could create a problem for small or medium-sized organizations.
- The dashboard speed tends to slow down when there is a huge load on the cloud server.
- The maintenance of the product is quite difficult as some errors that occur are difficult to debug.
- It takes quite a long time for users to learn how to use the tool so the learning curve is very steep.
16. Entrinsik Informer
Entrinsik Informer is a powerful data discovery and business intelligence tool that helps organizations make better decisions by unlocking the value in their data. Entrinsik Informer provides users with self-service access to data from multiple data sources, including relational databases, flat files, and web services. Its intuitive interface allows users to easily create beautiful reports and dashboards to visualize data.
- The tool supports live data analysis in the dashboard with monitoring and scheduling capabilities.
- The pricing plans are affordable and flexible, hence can cater to the needs of all sized organizations.
- Its easy-to-use interface is a boon to non-technical people as the creation of reports can be done in just a few clicks without much prior coding knowledge.
- There is a limited number of reports that can be scheduled at the same time.
- Completing the reports undergoes many completion steps which can be tiresome and time-consuming.
- Training sessions to understand the tool should be provided to users.
- Limiting the number of columns irrelevant to analysis in a report is impossible.
17. Panorama Necto
Panorama Necto is the market-leading business intelligence (BI) solution that enables companies of all sizes to make better, faster decisions by automatically uncovering hidden patterns, correlations, and trends in data. Necto offers a unique, unified view of all your data – structured and unstructured – so you can see the big picture and the details that matter most to your business.
- The tool supports excellent collaborative and sharing capabilities with the end users.
- The product is easy to understand and is user-centric thus helps in reducing training costs.
- There are numerous types of charts available in this BI platform with customization features.
- There are limited data connectors in the product as compared with other BI tools in the market.
- The tool does not have support for Linux systems.
- The performance of the product drops while working with large datasets.
There is no one answer when it comes to the best business intelligence tools in the market. However, some of the most popular and widely used business intelligence tools are mentioned above and each of these tools has its own unique features and benefits that can help organizations gain insights into their data and make better decisions.
It totally depends on the users and the business needs what type of BI tool should be used. If your business generates a vast amount of data daily from different sources and if you want to unify your data in a single place and perform analytics on it with multiple charts option then Sprinkle data is one of the best options among all. With 100+ connectors and multiple data sources sprinkle data is one of the most reliable data pipeline and analytics tool.