Business intelligence has been a growing profession, and its importance is only increasing every day. Organizations and businesses, both small and large, realized how important the concept is for their progress and development. In case you don’t know what business intelligence is, visit ExistBi and read everything about it, including the components of business intelligence, why it is essential for small businesses, and much more.
As technical as it is, specific tools can make it simpler for professionals. For companies that need help with organization and growth, here are the top 12 top business intelligence tools.
Benefits of BI tools
Before moving on to the actual tools, let’s talk a little more about what they do and how they’re helpful. Why do you even need a business intelligence tool? What does it do to help a business grow?
Centralization Of Data
An efficient business intelligence tool helps bring all different kinds of relevant data together. All enterprises and companies collect their data from various portals, databases, and flat files, etc. Using all this data and making sense of it can be challenging since it comes from different directions in various languages and formats. So, modern business intelligence tools can help you centralize these sources. They give you one single point of view on all the different processes going on. This way, They help you identify the various issues, recognize patterns, and make critical decisions based on data and evidence.
Wherever there is technology involved, the IT department is always under stress. Professionals and personnel from different departments report their issues to IT. Since access is also limited to IT personnel, everyone has to request entry to the data to use it. Efficient business intelligent software can enable selective people to explore data by themselves. Every personnel on the selected list is equipped with enough skills to find their way about the data. This way, the IT department’s stress significantly reduces, allowing them to focus on their important jobs and tasks. Plus, people don’t have to wait for approvals, so their jobs become much faster and smoother.
Business intelligence tools give you specific data that you can help to make meaningful predictions. Basically, they make the jobs of data analysts and scientists much more manageable. Also, if the tool is user-friendly enough, it is easily interpretable by a non-professional. You can recognize patterns and routines in the data to make plans and decisions. You can make or change strategies for the best results and efficiently avoid a hazard.
Elimination Of Manual Tasks
Since the tool is doing most of the job for you, you can take a break. For example, such tools can make reports and presentations. You can automate processes and do a lot more work, which typically requires manual assistance. Since it reduces the workload on you and your staff, you can focus on more critical aspects of your job.
When you are eliminating manual work, you don’t need as many employers anymore. This reduction in staff reduces your labor costs. Plus, these tools allow you to collect, analyze, and interpret data faster. As a result, you make faster decisions, implement strategies more efficiently, and your revenues increase by several folds.
Unlike manual labor, business intelligence tools are always available at your service. They continuously collect data and store it somewhere you can have direct access to. It might be a cloud or hardware, where everything is kept until you decide to delete it. This way, you can explore the analytics at any time and choose who you give access to.
12 Top Business Intelligence Tools in 2021
Finally, let’s talk about the actual tools you should consider. The following is a list of 12 Top Business Intelligence Tools in 2021 and their reviews. Based on their features and characteristics, you can select the one that suits you best.
1. Microsoft Power BI
Isn’t it obvious that Microsoft would have something for business intelligence? Microsoft Power BI is entirely web-based, and it features downloadable software. Thanks to this feature, you can access your analytics through your reporting server or a cloud. You can get a 60-day trial if you want to explore the software first. This trial includes connectivity to Microsoft applications, Oracle, Sybase, Facebook, and many other sources. Since you can connect all these platforms, you can centralize the data and make reports in minutes!
The good thing about the software is it’s relatively affordable even if you decide to buy it after the trial. Plus, it features a mobile app which enables touch-screen annotation of your reports. The only con of the software so far is that it requires downloading, requiring time, money, and space on your computer.
This business intelligence tool is a three-in-one. It is a combination of performance management, predictive analytics, and business intelligence. It’s a Spanish company, but you can get it in different languages, including Italian, German, French, Japanese, Chinese, and English, of course. Even though its target audience is finance-oriented business intelligence, it still has something for everyone. It’s got modules like:
- Social media analysis
- Retention monitoring
- Up-selling and cross-selling analysis
- Supply chain
- Supplier management
- Delivery optimization
- Finance planning
- Workforce planning
- Skills mapping
- Service levels
The good thing about the Board software is that it’s straightforward to use and is inclusive in terms of language. However, the drawback is that prices can vary according to the role of the user. There’s no fixed license fee, which can be troubling for some people.
This one is a self-service artificial intelligence-powered platform for data visualization. It handles workload, data preparation, interactive visualization, and dashboards. Tibco Spotfire features data preparation capabilities based on machine learning and supports the development of complicated data models. Tibco is exceptionally versatile and user-friendly. You can use it in different departments, including life sciences, healthcare, travel and logistics, government, consumer packaged goods, manufacturing, energy, financial services, and whatnot. Tibco’s latest version also supports Python. The software is strategically targeted towards citizen data scientists and analysts to make their jobs easier.
The great thing about Tibco is that it can use different data science techniques, real-time streaming data, and geo-analytics. It does everything using natural language generation and natural language query. The prices, however, are a little too expensive for small businesses and startups. Stability, integrations, and management issues are sometimes a problem with Tibco.
4. Oracle Analytics Cloud
Oracle recently added Cloud HCM to its catalog in 2020. This feature promotes self-service workforce analytics for business leaders, analysts, and HR executives. This time, Oracle has primarily focused on it creating user-friendly and intuitive clouds. They have used popular machine learning features and robust reporting characteristics to create a masterpiece. The Oracle analytics cloud features options like embedded analytics support, a mobile app, predictive analytics, visualizations, data connectors, data preparation, and much more. They’ve basically targeted all kinds of users in large and midsize enterprises.
Oracle analytics cloud as advantageous features, like natural language queries, to support conversational analytics. Plus, it can generate explanations in natural language automatically. This way, it helps explain trends and visualizations to non-professionals. The catch is that the prices aren’t ideal for small businesses. So, only a selective population of enterprises can use the software.
SAS offers tools for business intelligence through microservices based on their SAS Viya platform or its cloud. Its purpose is to highlight the critical relationships in data and do it automatically without manual effort. Its latest edition now comes with automated suggestions to highlight relevant factors. Other important characteristics include insights that are expressed through natural language and visualizations, making them easily interpretable. Other than that, you can also get self-service data preparation, mapping, chart generation, and data extraction from social media and other platforms. Moreover, most of these features are automated, so there are significantly less stress and effort on your side. You can deploy software within the premises, on private clouds, in public, or through their Cloud Foundry platform.
Indeed, the automated functions are a pro with this software. But since it targets large enterprises only, some of the features and prices might not be suitable for small businesses and startups.
This business intelligence software enables you to connect different sources and analyze the data using advanced analytics features. These features are also predictive, by the way, which can help you make important decisions based on evidence. Using these analysis results, you can develop powerful business dashboards and generate reports, both standard and customized. You can even incorporate alerts and get notified whenever a target is achieved, or there is an anomaly. Moreover, it can manage all data sizes, and you can implement its features in various industries and platforms. Overall, it is a powerful solution for small, midsize, and large businesses.
The highlight of this software is that it features tools for both advanced and average analysts and business users. Its SQL mode allows data analysts to develop their queries. The interface is drag-and-drop, so businesses can use this intuitive feature as well. It makes sure that you create powerful dashboards and charts that make an impact. The only drawback is that the mobile platform does not allow access to the dashboard unless you download the app. Then, you must customize the dashboards to make them mobile view-friendly.
7. Clear Analytics
This tool centralizes data, collecting it from internal systems, CRM, accounting, and the cloud. It enables the user to drag and drop all this data and put it into Excel. It can use Power Query to collaborate with Microsoft Power BI and use PowerPivot to model and clean the various data sets. The self-service platform enables non-professionals to explore the databases, dynamic query designers, and drag and drop interfaces.
The best thing about Clear Analytics is that you can use various features, like Pivot and Desktop and Power Maps, to share all of your insights to your gadgets. These devices included smartphones and your iWatch as well. However, there is still a shortcoming of the software. Since Excel spreadsheets are the ground of this software, it is not a sustainable option in the long run.
8. YellowFin Bi
YellowFin is a complete catalog of smart products. It includes YellowFin data preparation, data discovery, stories, signals, and dashboards. This business intelligence analytics tool enables usage through mobile applications available for both iOS and Android devices. The software is specialized in three primary areas of analytical solutions and business intelligence. They are analytical application builders, embedded analytics, and enterprise analytics.
Automatic trigger-based tasks are a highlight feature of YellowFin. The software sends the tasks to the person responsible if a particular KPI doesn’t reach the set standard. This specific feature enables all the business employees to be alert, and the right person can take the right action whenever needed. The catch, however, is that some people complain about missing features. They say that the features mentioned above aren’t always available in the tool, which can be frustrating and misleading.
This one is a business intelligence application that focuses on fast development and analytics applications and dashboards. The software has been built on the Associative Engine, enabling data discovery without using different tools based on queries. This way, it eliminates the risk of inaccurate results and loss of data. Other features include visually-highlighted dashboards, associated exploration, dual-use strategy, and much more.
What’s more, developers can also use several resources and tools like the Qlik Branch Community, the Qlik Branch Playground, the Qlik Core Documentation, and the Qlik Knowledge Hub. The only drawback of QlikView is that it has a very professional interface. Usability can be a problem if you’re not an expert. You need to be willing to learn to use this one!
10. IBM Cognos Analytics
Another one from Microsoft, this one is a cloud-based tool for business intelligence. It uses artificial intelligence to create reports and dashboards. It uses its geospatial abilities to display your data physically. IBM allows you to ask it questions in everyday English language to obtain answers in interpretable forms. Other key features involved in search mechanisms that allow users to access and discover data inside the software and save it. Plus, it joins different sources of data and centralizes it into a single module. This way, it allows multiple users to generate insights and work with this information by themselves.
The good thing about IBM Cognos analytics is that it has a very vast knowledge center. They have customer support and a community that aids users in understanding their product and learn how to use it. But as beneficial as that is, it’s a major con for some people. Most users don’t want to refer to professional support every time they need to do something. Instead, they want an interface that is easy to navigate on their own.
This mobility platform and enterprise analytics software is a crowd-favorite. It focuses on cloud solutions, federated analytics, and hyper-intelligence. With their mobile dossiers, you can generate your interactive analytical books, and they work on both Android and iOS devices. You can even download an app called Microstrategy Mobile, so you can deploy your analytics wherever you are.
Voice-technology integration is probably the most notable feature of this platform. It works on processing natural language as well as machine learning. Chatbots and voice integrations, like Google Home and Alexa, can also be integrated. This feature adds to the overall usability of the software. However, there’s a catch: the software’s initial setup is quite complicated for some people.
12. Good Data
This software provides various tools for application integration, visualizations, analytic queries, storage, and data ingestion. The user can easily embed the Good Data analytics into their mobile applications, desktops, and websites. Pls, you can create reports and dashboards every day without any professional knowledge whatsoever. A modular data pipeline and a suitable platform for all developers are vital features of the software. Plus, Good Data comprises four separate data centers: Canada, the EU, Dallas, and Chicago.
Additional support and services provide a complete life cycle of data analytics. It includes maintenance, launch, testing, and development. However, despite the training sessions and higher costs, some users still find it challenging to navigate.
Business Intelligence Consulting
Even if you have the top business intelligence tools, sometimes, you need extra help. You need information, support, and professional guidance. ExistBi can do that for you! Business intelligence consultants offer advice to people who are struggling with issues like:
- Do I need business intelligence?
- What kind of tools would work best for me?
- Why isn’t my tool or strategy working the way I want it to?
- How long should a business owner or strategist wait before changing the tool and try another one?
Basically, they look inside the business analytics and figure out what’s wrong and what should be done to fix it. Business intelligence consultants collect, organize, and use computerized data to help you solve your problems. You can contact ExistBi to learn more about these services and how to book one for yourself.
Business Intelligence Training
If you want to become a business intelligence analyst or consultant yourself, you need training for that. ExistBi can help you with that as well. We offer five-star business intelligence training at ExistBi. If you want to see some recent testimonials and what you get in the training, you can check out the website for more information.
Above are only some of the top business intelligence tools. There are many others on the market as well. So, if you are confused as to which one to choose and how to make a decision, here’s a small criterion you can use. The software you choose should:
- Be easy to use and navigate
- Be budget-friendly according to your separate financial status
- Enable easy access to data
- Allow you to deploy data and use it easily
Now, considering your professional knowledge, your staff, your budget, you can choose one that fits this criterion the best!