Are you considering implementing a business intelligence tool? Then you’ll happy to hear you have tons of different options on the market. Business intelligence tools (BI tools) are all about helping you understand trends and deriving insights from your data so that you can make tactical and strategic business decisions. They also help you idenitfy patterns in the mountains of data your business builds up. But the question is… how do you know which business intelligence tool is best for your business? And which tools will help you achieve your online goals?
Post Updated: April 2022
You’re not the only one out there in search of such a solution. Many SMB businesses are hopping on the BI bandwagon, especially as the prevalence of big data continues to rise. In fact, according to Mordor Intelligence, the business intelligence industry is so popular that it is predicted to reach a value of USD 40.50 billion by 2026.
Why use business intelligence tools?
For starters, data discovery, which used to be limited to the expertise of advanced analytics specialists, is now something everyone can do using these tools. And not only that, these tools give you the insights you need to achieve things like growth, resolve issues that are urgent, collect all your data in one place, forecast future outcomes and so much more.
In this article we will explain the top 15 Business Intelligence tools in 2021 and hopefully put you on the right path towards selecting your a tool fit for your business.
Keep in mind: these business intelligence tools all vary in robustness, integration capabilities, ease-of-use (from a technical perspective) and of course, pricing.
1. SAP Business Objects
SAP Business Objects is a business intelligence software which offers comprehensive reporting, analysis and interactive data visualisation. The platform focuses heavily on categories such as Customer Experience (CX) and CRM, digital supply chain, ERP and more. What’s really nice about this platform is the self-service, role-based dashboards its offers enabling users to build their own dashboards and applications. SAP is a robust software intended for all roles (IT, end uses and management) and offers tons of functionalities in one platform. The complexity of the product, however, does drive up the price so be prepared for that.
Datapine is an all-in-one business intelligence platform that facilitates the complex process of data analytics even for non-technical users. Thanks to a comprehensive self-service analytics approach, datapine’s solution enables data analysts and business users alike to easily integrate different data sources, perform advanced data analysis, build interactive business dashboards and generate actionable business insights.
MicroStrategy is an enterprise business intelligence tool that offers powerful (and high speed) dashboarding and data analytics, cloud solutions and hyperintelligence. With this solution, users can identify trends, recognise new opportunities, improve productivity and more. Users can also connect to one or various sources, whether the incoming data is from a spreadsheet, cloud-based or enterprise data software. It can be accessed from your desktop or via mobile. Setup, however can involve multiple parties and some rather extensive knowledge of the application in order to get started.
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4. SAS Business Intelligence
While SAS’ most popular offering is its advanced predictive analytics, it also provides a great business intelligence platform. This well-seasoned self-service tool, which was founded back in the 1970s, allows users to leverage data and metrics to make informed decisions about their business. Using their set of APIs, users are provided with lots of customisation options, and SAS ensures high-level data integration and advanced analytics & reporting. They also have a great text analytics feature to give you more contextual insights into your data.
5. Yellowfin BI
Yellowfin BI is a business intelligence tool and ‘end-to-end’ analytics platform that combines visualisation, machine learning, and collaboration. You can also easily filter through tons of data with intuitive filtering (e.g. checkboxes and radio buttons) as well open up dashboards just about anywhere (thanks to this tool’s flexibility in accessibility (mobile, webpage, etc.). The nice thing about this BI tool is that you can easily take dashboards and visualisations to the next level using a no code/low code development environment.
A product of Qlik, QlikSense is a complete data analytics platform and business intelligence tool. You can use QlikSense from any device at any time. The user interface of QlikSense is optimised for touchscreen, which makes it a very popular BI tool. It offers a one-of-a-kind associative analytics engine, sophisticated AI and high performance cloud platform, making it all the more attractive. An interesting feature within this platform is its Search & Conversational Analytics which enables a faster and easier way to ask questions and discover new insights by way of natural language.
7. Zoho Analytics
Zoho Analytics is great BI tool for in-depth reporting and data analysis. This business intelligence tool has automatic data syncing and can be scheduled periodically. You can easily build a connector by using the integration APIs. Blend and merge data from different sources and create meaningful reports. With an easy editor you create personalised reports and dashboards enabling you to zoom into the important details. It also offers a unique commenting section in the sharing options which is great for collaboration purposes.
Sisense is a user-friendly data analytics and business intelligence tool that allows anyone within your organisation to manage large and complex datasets as well as analyse and visualise this data without your IT department getting involved. It lets you bring together data from a wide variety of sources as well including Adwords, Google Analytics and Salesforce. Not to mention, because it uses in-chip technology, data is processed quite quickly compared to other tools. Thi splatform is even recognised as a leading cloud analytics platform by various industry experts such as Gartner, G2 and Dresner.
9. Microsoft Power BI
Microsoft Power BI is a web-based business analytics tool suite which excels in data visualisation. It allows users to identify trends in real-time and has brand new connectors that allow you to up your game in campaigns. Because it’s web-based, Microsoft Power BI can be accessed from pretty much anywhere. This software also allows users to integrate their apps and deliver reports and real-time dashboards.
Data discovery app, Looker is another business intelligence tool to look out for! Now part of Google Cloud, this unique platform integrates with any SQL database or warehouse and is great for startups, midsize-businesses or enterprise-grade businesses. Some benefits of this particular tool include ease-of-use, handy visualisations, powerful collaboration features (data and reports can be shared via email or USL as well as integrated with other applications), and reliable support (tech team).
11. Clear Analytics
This is for all of the Excel-lovers out there…This BI tool is an intuitive Excel-based software that can be used by employees with even the most basic knowledge of Excel. What you get is a self-service Business Intelligence system that offers several BI features such as creating, automating, analysing and visualisation your company’s data. This solution also works with the aforementioned Microsoft Power BI, using Power Query and Power Pivot to clean and model different datasets.
Tableau is a Business Intelligence tool specialised in data discovery and data visualisation. With the software you can easily analyse, visualise and share data, without IT having to intervene. Tableau supports multiple data sources such as MS Excel, Oracle, MS SQL, Google Analytics and SalesForce. Users will gain access to well-designed dashboards that are very easy to use. Additionally Tableau also offers several standalone products including Tableau Desktop (for anyone) and Tableau Server (analytics for organisations), which can be run locally, Tableau Online (hosted analytics for organisations) and many more.
13. Oracle BI
Oracle BI is an enterprise portfolio of technology and applications for business intelligence. This technology gives users pretty much all business intelligence capabilities, such as dashboards, proactive intelligence, ad hoc, and more. Oracle is also great for companies who need to analyse large data volumes (from Oracle and non-Oracle sources) as it is a very robust solution. Additional key features include data archiving, versioning, a self-service portal and alerts/notifications.
Domo is a completely cloud-based business intelligence platform that integrates multiple data sources, including spreadsheets, databases and social media. Domo is used by both small companies and large multinationals. The platform offers micro and macro level visibility and analyses (including predictive analysis powerd with Mr. Roboto, their AI engine). From cash balances and listings of your best selling products by region to calculations of the marketing return on investment (ROI) for each channel. The only setbacks with Domo are the difficulty in downloading analyses from the cloud for personal use and the steep learning curve.
15. IBM Cognos Analytics
Cognos Analytics is an AI-fueled business intelligence platform that supports the entire analytics cycle. From discovery to operationalisation, you can visualise, analyse and share actionable insights about your data with your colleagues. A great benefit of AI is that you are able to discover hidden patterns, because the data is being interpreted and presented to you in a visualized report. Keep in mind, however, that it can take a while to get familiar with all of the features within this solution.
Business intelligence tools is great, but is there something missing?
Business Intelligence Tools are very versatile and provide you with a lot of useful information regarding your business’ performance and where it’s headed. However, while great for collating / gathering data from various sources and helping you make sense of it, it does little in terms of collecting data directly from your customers. So why not take it a step further…
The Voice of Customer (VoC) is a critical factor in not only boosting your profits (as we mentioned before), but also creating a sense of loyalty among your customers and appreciation for your efforts to provide them with a meaningful online experience. That, my friends is the true source of success.
So how can you supplement your existing BI tool and gather this Voice of Customer data? Try collecting and analysing user feedback.
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