Top 8 Business Intelligence (BI) Tools

Microsoft BITableauOracle OBIEESAP Analytics CloudSAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence PlatformDomoMicroStrategyIBM Cognos
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    It is quite easy to use and it helps me to achieve the projects that I've been assigned.The solution is easy to use and flexible.
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    The best thing I like about Tableau is that you don't have to go for creating; it is calculated free.Easy to create graphs and visualizations.
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  4. I like that Oracle OBIEE comes with more options. For example, more options with data security, user security, and other security. It's more complicated than Microsoft, but it gives you more options. They also added the part for machine learning, which is good.
  5. The ability to collaborate and plan together is great. Its user-friendliness is valuable. It is a product for end-users and not for IT, which is an advantage.
  6. The reporting features the solution offers are excellent.The platform uses a lot of Java technologies so the performance and system-level management are tricky because it needs a lot of resources.
  7. 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.
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  9. The solution is ideal for enterprise-level companies or corporations. It is easy to use and visually very appealing. One thing that sets it apart is that it has got a great ETL tool. As compared to some of the other solutions, it is much easier to process data from other applications in MicroStrategy. That's why we prefer using it.
  10. In terms of stability, I think that Cognos is more stable than Tableau and Power Bi because of its framework manager concept that allows us to import metadata and store it in the framework manager.

Advice From The Community

Read answers to top Business Intelligence (BI) Tools questions. 523,742 professionals have gotten help from our community of experts.
Evgeny Belenky
Hi community, Here are the rankings reflected in this MQ: 3 Leaders: Microsoft Tableau Qlik 7 Visionaries: ThoughtSpot Tibco Software Oracle Sisense SAS SAP Yellowfin 3 Challengers: Google (Locker) Domo MicroStrategy 7 Niche Players: Amazon Web Services IBM Alibaba Cloud Pyramid Analytics Board Infor Information Builders What are your thoughts on this set of vendors in this category? What would be your choice? Thanks
author avatarClaudine Beron
User

Gartner is pay to play. In other words, if you don't pay Gartner a fee, they won't include your product in the MQ.  


There are many companies in this space, and the larger are represented, spending their marketing dollars for branding using the MQ. 


We use PowerBI, SAS, Matlab, SAP, Tableau, Informatica, which are determined by our customers for best fit. No tool will provide you everything you need, so kick the tires before you buy.

author avatarPaul Kellett
Real User

In my experience, I've found Gartner to be of little value in the BI sphere. I believe this is partly due to the very fractured nature of BI offerings and trends with a surprisingly wide range of functionality. It's hard to come up with groups of products/vendors to compare. I would struggle to compare Qlik with SAP, for instance. They satisfy very different but partially overlapping needs in very different ways.


I've been reading Gartner reports in this general area since the mid-90s and often disagreed with their evaluations and found their implied predictions to be frequently incorrect. Again, partly because there are an awful lot of dead BI products covering different elements out there and crystal ball gazing in this space is very difficult.


The BARC offerings are based on surveys of what actually is occurring and tend to offer more value IMO.

author avatarDjalma Gomes, Pmp, Mba
Vendor

Not everybody understands Gartner's Magic Quadrant.  The X axis represents completude of vision and the Y axis represents the ability to deliver what is supposed to.


Choices should be made upon your business needs and not Gartner´s opinion.

author avatarRob Thorpe
MSP

As Claudine said, to be included in the MQ you have to pay with a lot of the ranking based on the volume of software sold. 


Not one single tool will cover all use cases within an enterprise (even Gartner say that) and I have customers using various tools. However, ThoughtSpot and its self-service search capability is extremely popular especially via our managed service platform because you can start small and grow. 


IBM Cognos is still popular however it is being challenged by Power BI and ThoughtSpot with Qlik and Tableau still seen as pixel-perfect visual tools. I didn't really come across the others on the list.

Zhan Geng
Hello, I'm looking for a Business Intelligence solution that's not so heavy - mostly reporting with drill up/down/across functions, dashboard, chat...  Can anyone suggest a good option?
author avatarDjalma Gomes, Pmp, Mba
Vendor

My suggestion is for those who don´t require much coding such as Tableau, Power BI, Cliqsense or Domo. Most of those tools are hosted in the cloud with the exception of Tableau which you may also use on-premises.

Power BI and Tableau are the 2 top-rated according to Gartner Group. Power BI is a good choice if your datasource is in Azure. 


Otherwise, Tableau is more flexible and more powerful regarding visualization features, actions and graphic design. Not to mention the amazing amount of native connectors they provide as you can see here:  Tableau Connectors


I have shallow knowledge of Power BI but I am a specialist in Tableau platform. Feel free to contact me for any help you need.

author avatarRob Thorpe
MSP

It depends on the use case and we provide customers with Cognos Analytics, Power BI and ThoughtSpot. 


If you don't want to employ analysts I suggest ThoughtSpot as it is more of a search-based solution. At Assimil8 we can provide ThoughtSpot as a managed service starting at 25 users so making it cost-effective  

author avatarMuhammad-Zubair
Consultant

There are multiple great tools available in the market (SAP BI, Oracle OBIEE, Tableau, IBM Cognos, Power BI, Qlik or Pentaho BI, etc.) to perform reporting with drill up/down, across different functions, displaying charts. 


You can also go with cloud-based tools. It all depends on your data architecture and the team's proficiency to choose that best suits your requirements. 

author avatarSusheel A
Real User

It depends on the Data architecture and the complexity of your requirement.


Some great tools in the market are Qlik Sense, Power BI, OBIEE, Tableau, etc. I have recently started using Cognos Enterprise and some of the features that come with this version and the ease to create Dashboards/Explorations/Story Boards are really great. 


One thing to watch out for is the Cost for Cognos Enterprise and if cost is not an issue. I feel Cognos Enterprise is worth trying.

author avatarSubrata Maity
Real User

There are many...It would rather depend what System BI architecture or Enterprise legacy you have at your end...I would recommend as follows: 


1) If you have legacies of SAP, Oracle  - look for SAP BI (including Excelcius) and OBIEE respectively. Both of them have their own flavour of Dashboard, Information Semantics, Macro Intelligence Universes - with all the features of data drill, user created function developments etc...in built. Pros - Robust, Cons - You need a good practice team to configure your requirements.

2) If you are on MS platform, you can try Power BI. The desktop version is good, rich in features and much at ease with native SQL Server ecosystem 


3) If you have licenses for Tableau, Qlik or Pentaho BI, all of them are equally competitive for the requirements that you have mentioned. Your decision would depend on the licensing investment that you would consider.


4) Self Sustained BI tool - MicroStrategy comes with great features and I have used MicroStrategy for some time.


There are multiple options in Cloud as well...in AWS , I have used Quicksight and been able to drive few reporting requirements that you have mentioned.

author avatarreviewer1091745 (OBIEE Developer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees)
Real User

I've worked on Power BI and OBIEE. I mostly prefer OBIEE, as it has an overall solution to most of the problems addressed or seen in developing reports.

author avatarRajesh Sirsikar
User

The best and open source (No cost involved) solution for all BI requirements is Jaspersoft Open Studio.


Refer to rajeshsirsikar.com for more information.

author avatarCarlos Patino
User

I advise you to try OneStream. This is a very good platform focused on reporting, consolidation and budgeting & forecasting.

Rony_Sklar
What types of insights do businesses gain from BAM as opposed to BI?
author avatarDjalma Gomes, Pmp, Mba
Vendor

In theory, BAM is meant for transactional and operational management in a daily basis. Like instruments that collect temperature and pressure to adjust control valves. BAM manages processes within a smaller scope and usually analyses data from one business area


And BI is meant to manage the company and not only processes with a more holistic view.  You may cross data from different business areas to reach broad KPIs for your company

Both are part of what is called CPM (Corporate Performance Management).  Both therms (BAM and CPM) were created by Gartner Group.

In real life however, there´s not much difference since you could have dashboards that has both aspcts (operational and managerial) depending on the client and his objectives. Tools may also be the same (like Tableau, Power BI, etc....). 

According to design best practices of dashboards, you should have a clear audience in dashboards and not mix operational and managerial views in the same dashboard, but rarely this is observed.   I have seen very detailed dashboards on process management (just as a BAM) being used by top executives in large companies.   I guess it all comes down to culture and habbit hard to change.

author avatarKim Nachazel
User

One of the key difference is that BAM is designed to monitor performance measure in real time to see progression of processes as they happen. BAM does not monitor old statistic or historical data/information, which BI does. The intent is to be proactive in identifying issues and fix them before they become unmanageable. 

author avatarSubrata Maity
Real User

BAM is more on Performance Management of the system - Transactional, parameterized across the functions of organizations. The monitoring happens at more microscopic metrics suitable for regular, operational processes monitoring, on a near real-time/real-time basis.


BI - As the name suggests, this is more an aggregated view of business functions or a group of functions together. This is derivative of a summarization and aggregation of pool of data (or pool of BA parameters ) over a period to define the meaningful insight for business CXOs and disseminating a better predictability for future. There are various level of BI maturity which start from simple descriptive intelligence to predictive intelligence.

author avatarJorge Barroso
Consultant

The difference between BAM and BI mainly recides in the way that the information is use, for example in many cases the information collected for BI is historical to the bussiness and for support to set goals in short, médium and logn term could be use to establish the estrategic decition most convenient. On other hand BAM, mainly use the information on a day to day basis about the results of bussiness processes and to act proactively to reach the operational bussiness goals of the processes with the information that could be part of the dashboard.

author avatarDavid Piech
User

Business Application Monitoring usually involves measurement and monitoring of up time of key systems, whether that be ERP, CRM, HR, etc. System uptime, downtime and performance response time are some of metrics usually associated with BAM. BI analytics are much more granular and business specific such as gross profit, inventory costs, AR days outstanding and are accessed via dashboards and reports.

author avatarreviewer1208820 (IT Consultant at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees)
Consultant

BAM is a great way to look at daily production of your business in real time, using solutions such as DMI (direct machine interface). BI is taking all of the data that you have accumulated and using that data to lead your business into the future with help of tools such as Microsoft BI, Minitab, Microstrategy and so on.

author avatarJorge Barroso
Consultant

BAM offers real-time monitoring versus historical BI information. So in situations where's urgent to decide can work better and to compare the results of those desitions with the BI information.

author avatarMushtaq Hussain
Real User

Business Activity Monitoring is the monitoring of the various processes (activities) in the business. It provides an insight into the processes in a business and how they interact with internal and external entities.


Business intelligence is the "Intelligence" derived from the data generated during the business activities/processes and their interaction with the variety of entities.



At the end of the day they both give information only their focus is different.

M_V
Currently, I am using SAP BO Enterprise and running on Oracle. I'm looking for a much less expensive solution. It's not enough to use MS SQL instead of Oracle.  I'm still profiling the SAP BOE implementation, but would like to head towards a DWH implementation that users can report off. Various users have mentioned in passing: PowerBI, Qlik, Tableau.  At this point, the only solid knowledge I have is that management want to get rid of SAP and Oracle. Any recommendations?
author avatarPaul Grill
Real User

There is no easy way to convert or replace BusinessObjects which is why most BusinessObjects customers today are in a state of co-existence (BO-Tableau being the most popular followed by BO-PowerBI). Since neither Tableau nor PowerBI are great at BI reporting, customers keep BO for the reporting and use Tableau/PowerBI for data discovery and visualization. You should look at right-sizing your BO deployment to save on costs. For the DWH, if you are looking at Cloud then Snowflake or Azure are the most popular with BO customers

author avatarGene Hammons, MBA
MSP

So, operating with a segment of our client base, mostly commercial stage startups where the staff comes from larger, national firms, we often get a directive: We want new infrastructure software and it can be anything as long as it's not Tier One (SAP/Oracle and similar). I guess the $5m upgrades were getting old at their previous companies. 


Also, with the Covid issue last year, many companies had to pivot very quickly to stay alive. Looking at a SAP 18-24 month rollout was looking company death in the eye, so again, please perform the impossible with the unlikely were the marching orders. 


Fortunately, around 2014 we'd started what we called 'component software' which relied on made for cloud backends (NetSuite/Acumatica/Intaact). Mostly because these were recent (in relative terms) developments but more because of being built to integrate with other external systems, along with an open development toolsets  - what we couldn't find to integrate, we could develop ('we'- being the developers we could find to handle the job). 


That approach has helped a lot of the early stage startups through the IPO process and launched into initial 5 year growth stages. We've also implemented NetSuite sub systems so we could launch eCommerce or other pivot options quickly and they're feeding financials to backend SAP/Oracle. 


In any case, we have some relatively large clients who've had substantial success with this approach, and if your management is serious about parachuting out of Tier One, perhaps you could set up your backend data in a more easily reportable structure (just a wild stab - not knowing the real issues). 


I'd also point you toward the FP&A side instead of BI if it's truly reporting that's needed. Anaplan/Host/Hyperion - (I think Hyperion has undergone rewrites, the verision we mostly use is the NetSuite Planning Budgeting and Analytics - which the users say, "Oh look, it's Hyperion").


Hope some of that is relevant to what you're looking for. 

author avatarRaviLagu
Real User

Hi,


You cannot build a DWH by using PowerBI, Qlik or Tableau as they are mainly data visualization platforms. Qlik does have its own tool but it creates proprietary datasets that cannot be accessed from outside Qlik. It seems you want a data mart tool instead of a DWH as you want users to be able to create reports. Please look into my review of SAS Data Integration studio for a better idea.

author avatarJhornber
Real User

I'd second looking into Snowflake, Big Query or Redshift for your DW (and would lean toward Snowflake). I'd also recommend doing some research on Looker. For us, and likely for some others, it has been a viable alternative to Business Objects (and Data Cubes). Tableau, while arguably the strongest data viz tool, doesn't lend itself well to business user, drag and drop report authoring and/or report scheduling and distribution. I believe Qlik was a little stronger here with their acquisition of nPrinting a ways back, but it's been a long time since I've worked with Qlik in any capacity.   

author avatarGabriel Marafon
User

Hello, 



It would be great to know a little more about your architecture and problems to be more helpful.


But as a general guide, something like BigQuery (Redshift/Snowflake) would work as your "DWH" and Qlik/Tableau/Looker/PowerBI/Datastudio would work as your visualization tools.

author avatarStephan Schaumburg-Lippe
Consultant

If I understand your question correctly, then you are looking for a replacement for SAP and Oracle, since both are too expensive. 


You can look at the issue of costs from different perspectives. The easiest way would be to look at the license costs, then the implementation and operating costs of your solution. I would not overestimate the construction costs, because they are one-time, it is much more expensive to keep a solution alive. 


An unsuitable architecture causes the highest costs. For me, architecture has nothing to do with a software product. So when you know what you are going to deliver to your users (your product), then you can design your architecture, and only then do you look for the right software. When you try to solve problems with software, in the end, it is like having just a hammer: every problem becomes a nail. 


In summary, I mean, first, describe your problem, then think about your architecture, and at the very end, the question of the tools for implementation arises.

author avatarH.Emre Arıkan
Real User

Managements want to get rid of a lot of things but at the end of the day some other guys are responsible for the seamless replacement and migration of those things :)..


BO lets you set your reporting layer(Universe in BO World) on ANY data model with any complexity, literally on ANY! You don't have this option in Tableau. So how complex is your environment?


DWH: you want to replace Oracle with SQL Server. SQL Server may not perform so well compared to Oracle. Ok Oracle ist costly, but once it has the data in memory, it is lightning fast for any selects.


So if you stick to BO-Oracle the only thing left is the need of replicating the data to DWH/Oracle. And there are some replication solutions in the markt..


As last since you hardware is fast, you can virtualize(DB Views) your modelling/cleansing needs.


So it means you can survive without ETL's in your old solution! against additional costs for BO/Oracle. (virtualize(DB Views) your modelling/cleansing needs if you don't need to historize the data)


 I would look at two things in your place: How complex is my reporting layer, what are some complex queries hitting the db's? to ease answering the question: Can Tableau/SQL Server pair can master the tasks I have?


2. I would look at the most complex use case(universe) I have : copy the relevant data to Sql Server and try to implement the reports in Tableau what you originally had at BO on Oracle. It is a costly effort but just look at the future: you migrated to Tableau/SQL Server and things are not going as you dreamed of! ;)

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Business Intelligence (BI) Tools Articles

Data Sleek
Owner at a consultancy with 1-10 employees
May 20 2021

Over the past week, I had an opportunity to study Metabase quite extensively. I am pretty confident about my opinions. As a use case, I tried to recreate daily reports, that have already been published through Tableau .

Here are some advantages of Metabase:
1) It is fairly simple to use, and learn, compared to Tableau
2) It has unique features:
 a) you can mail reports or dashboards daily / monthly/ or after any specified time period directly to an email list.
 b) It is very easy to join tables on keys.
 c) It is EASIER to drag and drop tables/ visualizations onto dashboards compared to Tableau.
 d) It is quite easy for a beginner with no experience in building dashboards- to create visualizations. The tool provides certain suggestions such as aggregates on which visualizations can be developed. For example, it gives suggestions for calculating mean of a particular column, say, order amount by customer, and the tool does it directly for you.
 e) If the data is fed correctly through database, visualizations can be created simply by drag and drop.

Here are some disadvantages:
1) The tool is quite inflexible: I wanted to create one filter that can filter data based on orders in last x days. I cannot do that here. I have to create separate visualizations for each of: yesterday, last 90 days, last 60 days, last 30 days. Creating filters is not great with this tool.
2) The tool has a lot less tutorials and community support.
3) Highly reliant on SQL. I can see that there are a lot of duplicates in the dashboard that I have created. It is impossible for me to filter the duplicates through metabase. I am sure that I have joined the tables in a similar manner as I did in Tableau.
4) No formatting flexibility. I cannot add custom labels, I cannot change colors.
5) There is no way to share dashboards other than through an email. I have added you to the email list, and therefore, you should be receiving the daily report everyday at 8 pm PST.

Overall, if I were to create visualisations through Metabase, I will be bound by the limits of the tool. I would better prefer Microsoft Excel over Metabase since Excel also has the ability to integrate with live data for daily reports.

Ariful MondalThis is very helpful. Thank you for sharing you views on Metabase. 
Ariful Mondal@Data Sleek you are most welcome. Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, Qliksense are… more »
Find out what your peers are saying about Microsoft, Tableau, Oracle and others in Business Intelligence (BI) Tools. Updated: July 2021.
523,742 professionals have used our research since 2012.