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Top 8 Business Intelligence (BI) Tools

Microsoft BITableauOracle OBIEESAP Analytics CloudSAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence PlatformMicroStrategyDomoIBM Cognos
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    The solution is not that difficult to install, although this will vary with the experience of the person responsible for its installation. It's a very easy-to-use solution.
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    From my perspective, it enables clients to better understand our data and make better decisions based on that information.The best use case for us is the solution's integration with Salesforce because we are also partners of Salesforce.
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  4. The dashboard and analysis are the most valuable features of this solution.The security is good. For example, we can implement column-level security.
  5. It offers good backup capabilities. We mainly use Analytics Cloud because it integrates with other SAP solutions. Our ERP is an SAP product, and our back-end is SAP Business Warehouse, so integration is an essential factor.
  6. The most important feature of BusinessObjects is its integration with the SAP ERP system. If an organization is using SAP as its ERP system, and they want to do business intelligence, reporting, or analysis, SAP BusinessObjects is the only tool that I see doing that quite efficiently. That's because of the fact it is tightly integrated, and it gives a good user experience in terms of faster reporting. Its integration is the feature that I have found most valuable, but there are also other factors.
  7. The hyperintelligence is the most valuable feature.The simplicity of MicroStrategy is what I like the most.
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  9. One feature which I have found to be very interesting is the Beast manager, where you can create calculated fields. They are shared in one common repository so someone else can use the same calculated fields; they don't have to rewrite or reinvent the APIs.
  10. If they want dashboarding, storytelling, and analyzing why KPIs are met or not, then Cognos is a better candidate than Qlik Sense.The correlation analysis is excellent. It's one of the best that I have used to date.
What are business intelligence tools?

Business Intelligence tools are tools that gather all the business intelligence data together into easy-to-understand reports and summaries. They can be found in dashboards, charts, visualizations, maps, and more. These insightful, valuable tools can be found in a significant offering of software solutions available on the market today. The software tools will break down all of the historical performance data of your business and create logical, user-friendly reports, analyses, and summaries to better facilitate decision-making to course-correct problem performance or to better invest in successful profitable business trends. These software solutions can deliver all of this information instantly through easy, user-directed selections available through dashboard choices or visualization. The ability to gather all of this critical user data instantly and create informational reports to enable the best possible business decisions creates improved business processes throughout your entire organization.

When choosing a business intelligence tool you will want to consider the nature of your business, the industry, and how you want that information delivered back to you - either via dashboard, visualizations, reports summaries, etc. You will also want to consider your current organization’s ecosystem and ensure the business intelligence tool you select will successfully integrate with all your operating systems, and also decide whether an on-premises, hybrid, or cloud solution is best for you.

Finally, the last tool to consider is employing a business intelligence analyst team. This team would be directly accountable for getting all of the information accessed by the business intelligence tools to the appropriate departments, highlighting the areas for improvement and celebrating the areas of success so that the organization can maintain the highest levels of profitability. This business intelligence team will also maintain that the data being gathered for the reports are accurate and correct and ensure that the tool is performing appropriately.

IT Central Station (soon to be Peerspot) reviewers want to know how little training is required for a BI tool to get non-IT end users going. They want BI to be easy to implement. Users want tools to enable easy report building and administration as well.

The desire for BI tools to be easy to use flows from a trend in the technology over the least few years. BI has gone from being complex discipline reserved for highly-skilled people to being something the general knowledge worker can use every day. It’s not an either/or scenario. An organization might have some BI workloads that are reserved for data scientists, with others available to everyone. Regardless of where BI is deployed, however, continued support of end users and technical training for the support team are critical for success.

In addition to security, performance, scalability and stability, users emphasize the importance of BI’s ability to integrate with other systems. BI is not a standalone technology. It works in concert with database management and business applications. For example, BI must integrate with OLTP databases with minimal footprint. BI also needs to integrate easily with graphical tools and reporting software. A business intelligence toolset ought to integrate with visualization tools - with ability to produce visually appealing, value added dashboards, charts, and standard reports. Mobility also counts, with workers wanting to be able to do analytics on mobile form factors such as tablets.

Given that the “B” in BI stands for business, the business use case is considered highly relevant in choosing the right business intelligence toolset. BI should meet business needs. The total cost of ownership (TCO) should be well thought-out. And, any initiative to undertake BI should have clear executive management approval and a business plan for success. A thorough business needs analysis is essential.

According to IT Central Station members, the best BI tools support multiple file output options and publication options. For instance, can the tool produce interactive files (e.g. Xcelsius output) that are shared externally via .pdf, Excel, etc.? A business analytics solution should easily access multiple types of data sources, with data blending capabilities.

What are the types of business intelligence tools?

There are numerous types of business intelligence tools. Listed below are just a few to help you gain a better understanding of business intelligence.

  • Data gathering - The ability to gather data from various locations within your ecosystem and correlate that data into logical reporting and data analysis.
  • Find inefficiencies - The data gathered will highlight areas that are not meeting productivity and profitability goals and show the areas where the business process is weakest.
  • Compliance awareness - The tool can be used to track compliance and report any compliance anomalies to ensure all standards are being met in accordance with local, state, and federal guidelines.
  • Customizable - Reporting can be created to satisfy customer and changing business needs as desired. Business trends and various areas of focus can be broadened or intensified based on changes in season or market.
  • Security - Business intelligence can also perceive areas of potential risk, threat, or fraud within your organization.
Benefits of Business Intelligence Tools

The benefits of using business intelligence tools include:

  • Speed of service - Gathering critical data and correlating the data quickly into viable, easy-to-understand, actionable information.
  • Improved data standards - Consistent reporting will create trends of better reporting compliance and improved standards of data-gathering to ensure productive, efficient results.
  • Increased satisfaction - Better reporting means better results and increased satisfaction with clients and consumers. Accurate reporting allows for real-time adjustments to best capture the highest-performance capabilities and ensure the greatest return on investment (ROI).
  • Increased profitability - The appropriate use of business intelligence will give you the ability to transform every business process within your organization to ensure the highest level of productivity and profitability. The ability to discover loss or ineffective processes quickly and course-correct immediately will help ensure your organization can continually meet or exceed your profitability goals.
Features of Business Intelligence Tools

Features to look for when choosing BI tools include:

  • Personalized dashboards - This has been ranked as the number one most desirable feature. The ability to have you or your clients design a dashboard with the data most relevant to the business’s needs is critical in choosing a business intelligence software solution. This information should be correlated in easy-to-understand reporting, mapping, or summary. Users can choose the most relevant information to track and receive real-time reporting on a chosen designated basis to make decisions quickly and clearly and to keep the business functioning at the highest levels of productivity and profitability.
  • Ranking reports - Ranking reports can be specific to any and all areas of the organization: productivity, sales, employee performance, department, compliance, etc. The ability to view the top 10 best (or worst) performers in a specific area of your business can provide a quick snapshot of the areas of the business to follow more closely.
  • What-if scenarios - After gathering your data, you may want to consider all the possibilities of how a new decision or change might affect your organization. Using historical data, your business intelligence tool can run what-if scenarios to logically predict the impact of what those changes can represent on the trajectory of your organization and to ensure the organization stays on target to achieve your business goals and achieve maximum ROI.
  • Tailored security - The BI tool should give users the ability to set security parameters based on specific business needs. You should have the ability to limit who has access to which applications and how information is displayed to users based on department, group, or individual status.
Find out what your peers are saying about Microsoft, Tableau, Oracle and others in Business Intelligence (BI) Tools. Updated: January 2022.
564,143 professionals have used our research since 2012.