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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 most valuable feature is that it's easy to use. It's very useful for non-engineers and it is the ultimate solution for providing information and insights. Power BI is the best visualization tool I have ever worked with.
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    Since Tableau is on the cloud, we haven't faced any challenges around scalability. The geospatial maps representation and the visualizations are nice.
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  4. They were reasonable in terms of price.Provides good data visualization features, and provides a lot of visualization reports from various data sources.
  5. I like the connectivity the solution provides with other products.There is a really nice insight feature that I enjoy using.
  6. The most valuable feature we have found to be the SAP BW, which is a warehouse tool. Additionally, it is an easy tool to use.The planning and dashboarding features have been useful. Additionally, the fixed-format reports are good.
  7. MicroStrategy has what they call the Semantic Graph — an enterprise-grade semantic graph — and I think the technology is fantastic. MicroStrategy's solution for mobile is very good.
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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. I have worked on the features like dashboards and stories, and I do like them a lot. The comprehensiveness or broadness of the software functions or business intelligence functions that it provides is valuable. It is also quite easy to use and user-friendly.

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.

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: October 2021.
552,027 professionals have used our research since 2012.