November 28, 2023

Business intelligence tools are a multi-billion-dollar market. In 2022, Gartner predicted that the BI tools market would double by 2025, reaching a global valuation of $13 billion, per its report titled Software Market Insights: Business Intelligence (BI) and Data Analytics. The following are ten BI solutions you should consider:

1. IBM Cognos

Overview: IBM’s web-based business intelligence suite is IBM Cognos Business Intelligence. It offers a suite of tools for event and metric reporting, analysis, scorecarding, and tracking. The suite consists of over a dozen distinct products designed on open architecture to allow communication with a wide range of third-party technologies.

Key features: The features of this leading BI tool include:

  • Advanced analytics: Cognos applies AI to accelerate data preparation and automate data exploration.
  • Dashboards: It has a wide range of dashboards powered by the AI-based Cognos Assistant.
  • Self-service: Conversational analytics and the Cognos Slack integration make it easier for users to glean insights.
  • Data ingestion and integration: Cognos can integrate with hundreds of cloud or on-premises data sources, CSV files, and spreadsheets.
  • Reporting: It features interactive dashboards and reports, with up to five users in each real-time report.

USP: The science behind Watson AI is also used in IBM Cognos. Companies benefit from a fast and reliable decision-making engine.

Pricing: Cognos starts at $10 per user per month on the cloud.

Editorial comments: IBM Cognos offers a full-suite business intelligence solution well-suited to hybrid cloud environments. However, users should anticipate a complex and layered learning curve due to the software’s inherent resilience and extensive feature set.

2. Looker (owned by Google)

Overview: In 2019, Google acquired the U.S.-based computer software Looker Data Sciences. Looker delivers tools for BI, data use cases, and embedded analytics as a component of the Google Cloud Platform.

Key features: The features of this leading BI tool include:

  • Advanced analytics: Looker uses its proprietary modeling language, LookML, to analyze data and create custom business rules.
  • Dashboards: Companies can use the Looker Studio to create and share custom dashboards, either from scratch or templates, just like Google Docs.
  • Self-service: Looker is available within the Google Cloud console, making it easy for any Google business user to access.
  • Data ingestion and integration: Looker is platform-independent and can connect to BigQuery and other public clouds.
  • Reporting: Looker Modeler simplifies how you configure metrics at the back end.

USP: For advanced users, Looker offers pre-built code that can be used to expedite your analytics. This includes optimized SQL patterns, fully constructed data models, and customized visualizations.

Pricing: Pricing starts at $30 per user per month for only viewing and exploration rights.

Editorial comments: For existing Google Cloud or Google Workspace users, Looker is the natural choice when it comes to BI tools. However, Looker does not offer online analytical processing (OLAP).

3. Oracle BI

Overview: Oracle Business Intelligence (BI) is a collection of data products referred to by the company as an “integrated and end-to-end Enterprise Performance Management System.” It offers data search, analysis, reporting, notifications, and mobile analytics solutions. Oracle BI prioritizes apps for financial performance management.

Key features: The features of this leading BI tool include:

  • Advanced analytics: A feature called Answers helps blackbox the analytics so that users can interact with a logical view of the information while hidden from its complexity.
  • Dashboards: Oracle’s dashboards provide personalized and role-based access, complete with live reports, pivot tables, graphics, and more.
  • Self-service: Oracle Data Visualization is the self-service component of this BI tool, which any user can download.
  • Data ingestion and integration: Oracle BI’s web architecture supports integration with nearly any source, including other web service-based apps.
  • Reporting: The Oracle BI Delivers module makes it easy to schedule reports and alerts and delivers personalized content to every user.

USP: The solution has a real-time decision engine that combines fixed rules and predictive analytics. A dedicated server automatically generates decisions within a real-time business process.

Pricing: Pricing for Oracle BI is undisclosed.

Editorial comments: Oracle is a good option for companies who want to quit and choose the modules of their BI solution. However, it has a complex solution architecture and requires much IT intervention.

4. Microsoft Power BI

Overview: Microsoft’s Power BI is among the best business intelligence products. It enables analytics to be carried out in the cloud or on a reporting server. You may link with Facebook, Oracle, and other sources to create dashboards and reports in minutes. Power BI incorporates AI, Excel integration, and comprehensive encryption of data.

Key features: The features of this leading BI tool include:

  • Advanced analytics: Power BI brings together Microsoft’s cloud-based analytics service, Azure Synapse Analytics, with its very own data lake storage system.
  • Dashboards: Power BI Desktop is the tool’s dashboarding system that enables custom visualizations of heterogeneous data.
  • Self-service: The tool offers a familiar analytics experience, like Office, augmented by artificial intelligence.
  • Data ingestion and integration: The tool can integrate with hundreds of cloud-based and on-premise sources, with native support for Microsoft’s services.
  • Reporting: The tool simplifies report generation from any data source and enables shareability through Microsoft 365.

USP: Copilot, Microsoft’s latest generative AI innovation, improves the self-service experience through natural language responses and suggestions.

Pricing: Pricing starts at $10 per user per month.

Editorial comments: Power BI is a good choice for large enterprises, especially as Power BI Report Server lets you install it on-premise and later migrate to the cloud. However, those new to the Microsoft ecosystem might initially find the interface difficult to master.

5. Qlik

Overview: Qlik is a business intelligence (BI) application that values self-service. It supports a range of analytics use cases, like guided apps and dashboards, customized analytics, and embedded analytics. This tool also features a touchscreen-optimized user interface, advanced AI, and powerful cloud platforms.

Key features: The features of this leading BI tool include:

  • Advanced analytics: Qlik uses AI-driven data models for analytics and insight generation.
  • Dashboards: The company offers over a hundred dashboarding templates to simplify insight sharing and visualization.
  • Self-service: Qlik is easy to use and recommends the most relevant insights through AI and machine learning.
  • Data ingestion and integration: The BI tool simplifies integration through the Connector Factory, a marketplace of 150+ connectors.
  • Reporting: Companies can choose Qlik Sense to generate scheduled and ad-hoc reports delivered via email, shared folders, or a centralized platform.

USP: It enables associative exploration using a conversational interface. BI tool newcomers can increase their data literacy through queries and discovering insights.

Pricing: Qlik starts at $30 per user per month.

Editorial comments: Besides its popular BI tool, Qlik offers extensive solutions for data integration, data transformation, and end-to-end Data Ops. However, it offers limited self-service data exploration.

See More: How Affordable Supercomputers Fast-Track Data Analytics & AI Modeling

6. Sisense

Overview: Sisense is an easy-to-use business intelligence (BI) app that focuses on integrating analytics into business operations. This tool allows you to export data from Google Analytics, Salesforce, and numerous other sources. It provides white-label analytics, allowing businesses to fully customize and trademark the services per their specifications.

Key features: The features of this leading BI tool include:

  • Advanced analytics: Sisense Fusion lets you bring analytics insights to any workflow that uses data.
  • Dashboards: It lets you build dashboards from scratch or using industry templates, complete with interactive features.
  • Self-service: Sisense can be embedded in any workflow to promote easy data access, along with self-service dashboarding capabilities.
  • Data ingestion and integration: Sisense is a highly programmable BI tool, which makes integration easier, along with support for most clouds and SQL databases.
  • Reporting: The Sisense Report Manager is a user-facing based report scheduler that simplifies reporting with zero scripting.

USP: The chip’s unique in-chip technology facilitates rapid data processing. In-chip analytics is a revolutionary way to use the central processing unit (CPU), random access memory (RAM), and disk storage to address the intricacy and magnitude of large datasets.

Pricing: Pricing for this BI tool is undisclosed.

Editorial comments: Sisense is an end-to-end BI tool for embedded analytics and data-driven app development. However, users have noted shortcomings in the mobile experience.

7. SAS Viya

Overview: SAS’s Viya is a potent and versatile BI app. It is built with a modern microservices architecture to accommodate the complex nature of big data and advanced analytics. The company’s data models are compatible with artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning.

Key features: The features of this leading BI tool include:

  • Advanced analytics: SAS Viya leverages AI to process high-volume data faster and offers reliable analytics insights.
  • Dashboards: It embeds dashboards within the BI tool, without any blackboxing, to give detailed insights and rich exploration capabilities.
  • Self-service: SAS Viya supports self-service data preparation and analytics, provided you have some training.
  • Data ingestion and integration: The BI tool relies on open-source technology so that you can integrate the widest variety of third-party apps.
  • Reporting: A singular data analytics app is used to generate highly visual reports with filtering capabilities.

USP: SAS Viya gives users complete control over data preparation and analysis. It also has smart algorithms to reduce efforts and deliver predictive insights.

Pricing: Pricing information is undisclosed, but you can start using the solution on Microsoft Azure at a convenient per-hour price point.

Editorial comments: SAS Viya is an excellent BI tool for data-literate teams and companies with in-house data science capabilities. However, it is ideal if you have an existing SAS environment. It also involves a learning curve.

8. Tableau

Overview: Tableau is an industry-leading data visualization and business intelligence app. The application supports a variety of data sources, including Microsoft Excel, Box, PDF files, and Google Analytics. It can communicate with various databases, further expanding its versatility. You can use Tableau to create simple charts or drill deep down into raw data to uncover insights, depending on your expertise.

Key features: The features of this leading BI tool include:

  • Advanced analytics: Tableau follows the philosophy of visual analytics through its patented technology, VizQL.
  • Dashboards: The company offers a wide range of pre-built dashboards for different industries and lets you create your own through a drag-and-drop model.
  • Self-service: Tableau drives self-service through customizable dashboards, where users can select their own data sources and filters.
  • Data ingestion and integration: Tableau includes the Data Cloud, simplifying integration with any cloud-based source.
  • Reporting: Reporting in Tableau lets you extract raw information and stitch it into a worksheet per your requirements.

USP: The offering consists of live visual analytics, a distinctive interface enabling users to drag and input data quickly and recognize trends.

Pricing: Pricing for Tableau starts at $15 per user per month.

Editorial comments: Since its acquisition by Salesforce, Tableau has the added advantage of being powered by the company’s Einstein AI engine. Customers have, however, reported an intense and steep learning curve for non-tech executives.

9. TIBCO Spotfire

Overview: TIBCO Spotfire® is an enterprise-level BI platform with immersive data manipulation features. It also provides visual analytics driven by AI. Spotfire is a decision platform featuring forecasting, geolocation analysis, and streaming analytics. It also allows users to write and administer apps using the native Python and R engines.

Key features: The features of this leading BI tool include:

  • Advanced analytics: TIBCO uses artificial intelligence to analyze data, which can be embedded in any application.
  • Dashboards: Spotfire lets you create detailed dashboards with point-and-click insights that users can explore in real time.
  • Self-service: Users can build quick, simple dashboards without coding knowledge, along with one-click predictive insights.
  • Data ingestion and integration: The solution uses the TIBCO Application Programming Interface (API) Exchange Gateway to build integrations with various applications.
  • Reporting: You can combine data from any location, including big data sources, to create reports and distribute them at scale.

USP: The Spotfire Mods architecture enables the integration of Spotfire software into analytics applications. Also, the TIBCO® ModelOps service automates data science tasks through pre-trained models.

Pricing: Pricing for this BI tool is undisclosed, but you can buy TIBCO Spotfire for Amazon Web Services (AWS) Opens a new window for $1.388 per hour on average.

Editorial comments: The company’s hyper-converged analytics approach enables a more immersive data experience. However, the platform is extremely feature-rich, and figuring out all the BI tools and functionalities can be difficult.

10. Yellowfin

Overview: Yellowfin is an analytics software tool that provides BI, reports, dashboards, data transformation, analytical applications, and cooperation. Yellowfin can be embedded into the service or product you provide to expedite the launch of your analytics offering. Its dashboards enabled by AI are easier to customize.

Key features: The features of this leading BI tool include:

  • Advanced analytics: Yellowfin takes an automated approach to data analysis and storytelling, reducing user effort.
  • Dashboards: The tool has a free-form dashboard that you can use as a canvas for dragging and dropping dashboard elements, complete with graphics.
  • Self-service: Users can create self-service dashboards with buttons, toggles, and other end-user tools, thanks to guided Natural Language Query (NLQ).
  • Data ingestion and integration: You can integrate content using the JavaScript API or fetch data through pre-built connectors.
  • Reporting: Yellowfin reports are geared toward business users, and you can interact with them through two tools — Stories and Present.

USP: Yellowfin has a unique capability called Signals. It helps identify missing dashboard components through automated analysis.

Pricing: Pricing for Yellowfin is undisclosed.

Editorial comments: Yellowfin strikes a good balance between technical capabilities like ETL (extract, transform, load) and management-focused features. However, users find it less robust than other BI tools on this list.

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