As the number of data skyrockets, businesses rely on software automation tools to help transform data into insights. With business intelligence tools, data analysis becomes a seamless process that provides you with precisely what you need to know to make informed decisions. BI tools make it possible for your business to function optimally without the need for expert IT teams as the software is designed to be deployed without hassle.
The biggest challenge you’ll face with BI tools is choosing the right software for your business. This guide is aimed to provide you with the pros and cons of 10 of the most popular business intelligence tools on the market.
Business intelligence is a category of software that’s designed to transform data into actionable insights. Business intelligence tools combine the ability to retrieve, analyse and visualise past, present and future data.
The automation tools come complete with a variety of functions like data visualisation, interactive dashboards, KPI monitoring and the like so that business leaders can leverage data in real-time to run their business. The BI tool can pull data from various sources, whether it be other software systems or warehouses into one centralised location.
There are a wide variety of BI tools with various capabilities, so when comparing them, it’s useful to know precisely what you want to achieve, so you’re able to select the right software.
There are a variety of reasons why businesses invest in business intelligence tools. These tools are designed to help you overcome small and big challenges alike that contribute to a massive positive impact. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits:
For example, an automation tool like SolveXia can provide you with all the above and more. The automation solution can be deployed quickly and used to help streamline processes. There’s no need for coding. Just run the system and transform data into valuable insights. With a robust platform to share reports, review real-time dashboards, and oversee business processes, you can maximise your team’s efficiency, reduce costly operations and make timely, informed decisions.
As you can see, business intelligence tools provide your organisation with must-have capabilities. How does one software do so much? The features of BI are extensive and tend to include:
Regardless of your business’ size, you’ve likely run into a situation where data took too long to analyse, was too disparate to pull together promptly, or wires were crossed between departments and bottlenecks occurred.
Full-stack business intelligence tools exist to resolve specific problems that are caused by data silos. Rather than storing data across systems like an ERP, a full-stack BI tool provides you with a data warehouse. The relational database is made for data mining and quick analytical results. For example, a finance team can store all their data in a “data mart,” where data can be extracted, transformed and loaded (ETL) before being written back into the warehouse’s database.
Automation tools can pull together data from various sources in minutes to transform it into valuable insights. With the speed of an automation tool, you will never have to wait to make decisions. You’ll have whatever you need at your fingertips in easy-to-read dashboards and reports.
While a business intelligence tool offers a robust way to manage and use your data, you may be able to rely solely on a data visualisation product. Data visualisation tools generally call for a lower cost and less support. However, their purpose isn’t as complete as a BI tool.
A BI tool helps analysts and executives make use of a massive amount of data to discover patterns. These analytics are transformed and presented in a visual representation so that they are easy to understand. BI tools can pull data from a computer’s RAM, so in essence, data doesn’t have to be stored to be analysed and viewed visually.
What to Look for in Your BI Tools
When comparing different BI tools, there are a few main features you’ll want to make sure are included. These aspects will help your team easily integrate and utilise the power of a BI tool.
1. SAP Business Intelligence: SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence platform offers on-premise or cloud solutions. Users enjoy features like data visualisation, strong reporting, ability to schedule report outputs and customisable reporting options. On the downside, the system is considered to be costly, complex to learn, and can be slow.
2. SolveXia: SolveXia is a data automation tool with the ability to integrate data from multiple sources, including legacy systems into a centralised solution. SolveXia can automate tasks, provide real-time dashboards and reports, and analyse data quickly to deliver deep insights. With bank-grade security, audit trails and advanced data analytics capabilities, the tool helps to tackle tasks so that your team can focus on high-level analytical work. Plus, your team won’t need any IT expertise as the system is easy-to-use and set up to deploy quickly in any environment. There are a free trial and demo option available to try out its full capabilities and benefits.
3. SAS Business Intelligence: SAS Business Intelligence software boasts an easy-to-use platform that does not require any IT knowledge to implement. Many proponents of the software rave about their strong customer support, advanced features and integrations with third-party applications. Small businesses tend to report that the system is too costly to meet their needs. Additionally, if your team does know how to code and wants to customise the way the system works, it could be a downside as it could lack flexibility.
4. Yellowfin BI: Yellowfin BI provides businesses with action-based dashboards, automated monitoring, and data reporting. On the upside, the reporting structure is easy to understand and deploy for clients. With just one license, access is granted via the web and also features mobile capabilities. On the downside, the tool lacks predictive analytics, compliance to the International Business Communication Standards (IBCS) and customisation capabilities for reporting graphs.
5. Zoho Analytics: Zoho analytics is a business intelligence and data software that provides users with easy ways to visualise data and access insights. Users like its fast queries, user interface and AI feature. However, there are reports that the system slows down with big queries, can require some extra IT support for specific needs and data can be lost if the subscription doesn’t get renewed promptly.
6. Clear Analytics: Clear Analytics provides businesses with a tool that integrates data from Excel spreadsheets to create custom dashboards, analyse data with drag-and-drop features and securely manage data. Commonly reported pros of the software had been its ease-of-use, value, customer support and functionality. Yet, on the cons list, some users have had to integrate the system with other BI tools to receive the mobile support they had hoped for. Additionally, users can begin with a free trial. Still, once they want to sign on for good, pricing only becomes apparent by registering or getting in contact with the vendor to discuss.
7. Tableau: A tableau is a tool designed to help users understand their data through analysis and smart dashboards. The software has excellent features, like the ability to choose from a variety of graphs for visualisation, the option for executive reviews, a single location to consolidate data, and a smooth user interface. However, the ability to pull data can pose a challenge for those who don’t know SQL. Additionally, it requires extensive training to understand the processes thoroughly.
9. Microsoft Power BI: Microsoft Power BI protects data and provides users with enterprise-scale analytics. On the upside, the software can organise data nicely and convert it easily. Most users tend to agree that the reporting is top-notch and easily customisable based on the audience. However, the pros of strong reporting may also be a con for some as it requires training to understand its full functionality. Furthermore, on-premise reporting can be expensive.
10. Qlik: Qlik brings real-time analytics and data integration to the world of business. The reports are easy to view and create. Overall, the system can manage a large amount of data quickly. On the downside, it requires that a user play close attention to how they filter and view their data, so there are consistency and understanding of what is being viewed. Additionally, users have to refresh data manually because it won’t push data updates (free version only). For some, the UI can be challenging to learn.
11. Microstrategy Analytics: Microstrategy is an open-source BI tool that works in the cloud and easily integrates with the Microsoft suite. Once the tool is set up (which could take some time to configure), it empowers teams with customisable widgets on their dashboards and drag-and-drop options to design reporting. Some downsides that have been reported is the amount of time it takes to prepare the correct data to be used, some lack of customisability, and less than optimal support from the team and the user forum.
One of the best ways you can choose the BI tool that is right for you is to outline your business goals, budget, and needs, and then compare the software in the above list. Every business has different requirements.
We can only speak for ourselves at SolveXia and say that if you’re ready to give SolveXia a try, we are here to help you get started with a free trial or demo!