Are you tired of manually analysing your company’s data? Do you want to make data-driven decisions but find yourself drowning in spreadsheets and reports? It’s time to switch to Business intelligence (BI) tools.

According to a survey by Finances Online, 46% of businesses use a BI tool which plays a key role in their business strategy. And why not? These tools can help your business gain insights into its operations, identify trends and opportunities, and make informed decisions that can drive growth.

From dashboarding tools that display data in visually appealing formats to predictive analytics tools that use machine learning algorithms to forecast future outcomes, there’s a lot that BI tools can help you accomplish. But which tools should you keep an eye on?

Read on as we explore the features, benefits, and potential use cases of some of the best BI tools in the market.

What are BI Tools & Why Do Businesses Use Them?

Imagine you’re running a business, and you need to make a decision. Do you go with your gut feeling or base your decision on solid data? The answer is obvious, but analysing data can be daunting, especially if you’re dealing with large amounts of data.

That’s where business intelligence comes into play. BI tools are software applications that collect, process, and analyze data, providing businesses with actionable insights to help them make better decisions.

These tools can gather data from various sources, such as customer databases, social media, and website analytics. They then transform this data into visual representations, such as graphs, charts, and dashboards, making it easier for businesses to interpret and understand the information.

Businesses use BI tools for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • identify trends and patterns
  • track key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • monitor the overall health of their organisation

For example, a sales team might use a BI tool to analyse customer data and identify which products sell the most. They can then use this information to decide which products to promote and which ones to phase out.

BI tools can also be used to identify opportunities for growth and optimization. For instance, a marketing team might use a BI tool to track the success of their advertising campaigns. If they notice that a particular campaign is performing well, they can allocate more resources to maximize its impact. On the other hand, if they see that a campaign is not delivering results, they can make adjustments or stop it altogether.

In addition to helping businesses make data-driven decisions, BI tools can also improve collaboration and communication. With BI tools, teams can share data and insights in real time, allowing everyone to stay on the same page and work towards common goals.

Our Recommended List of the Best BI Tools

Are you looking for the best business intelligence (BI) tools to take your data analysis game to the next level? We’ve compiled a list of the top BI tools offering a wide range of features and capabilities, allowing you to gather, process, and analyze data easily.

Power BI: Power BI is a powerful business intelligence (BI) tool that provides a range of features to help businesses gather, process, and analyze data.

With Power BI, you can create interactive dashboards and reports to visualize and share insights easily. Its intuitive drag-and-drop interface makes creating and customizing reports easy for users of all skill levels. Power BI also supports a wide range of data sources, including Microsoft Excel, SQL Server, and cloud-based data services like Azure.

 With features like natural language queries, Power BI makes it easy to find answers to your questions quickly. Power BI is a versatile and user-friendly tool that can help businesses make better decisions and gain a competitive edge.

Tableau: This data visualization and business intelligence tool helps users analyze and understand complex data sets. It allows users to create interactive dashboards, reports, and charts without extensive programming skills. Tableau’s features include drag-and-drop functionality, real-time data analysis, and connecting to multiple data sources.

The benefits of Tableau include its user-friendly interface, quick data visualization capabilities, and easy handling of large datasets. With Tableau, users can make data-driven decisions faster and more efficiently, leading to increased productivity and better business outcomes. It also enables users to collaborate and share insights with others in their organization.

Looker: Looker is a popular cloud-based business intelligence (BI) tool that helps companies make data-driven decisions by providing insights into their data. Looker’s features include customizable dashboards, data modeling, and the ability to connect to various data sources. It also offers data exploration and discovery, allowing users to gain insights into their data easily.

The benefits of Looker include its ability to provide real-time data insights, allowing businesses to make timely decisions. It also promotes collaboration and data-driven decision-making across different teams and departments. With Looker, users can easily create custom reports and dashboards that cater to their specific needs without the need for extensive coding or technical expertise.

QlikView: QlikView is a top choice for businesses looking for an all-rounder BI tool. Its best features include data visualization, interactive dashboards, and data exploration. QlikView’s in-memory technology enables quick data retrieval, analysis, and reporting, making it an efficient tool for handling large data sets.

The benefits of QlikView include its ability to provide real-time data insights, enabling businesses to make timely decisions. Its intuitive user interface requires minimal training, and the tool allows users to collaborate and share insights across different teams and departments easily. Additionally, QlikView has strong security features, which is great for businesses that value data privacy and compliance.

Domo: Domo is a good option for businesses looking for a cloud BI solution. Its features include data visualization, customizable dashboards, and data integration. Domo’s in-built data connectors enable easy data extraction from various sources, and its mobile app allows users to access insights on the go.

The benefits of Domo include its user-friendly interface, which requires minimal technical expertise, and its ability to handle large and complex data sets easily. Domo’s collaboration features enable team members to share insights and work together effectively. Its data integration capabilities allow businesses to connect easily to a wide range of data sources, including cloud-based services like Salesforce and Google Analytics.

The pros of Domo include its powerful data integration capabilities, which enable easy data extraction from various sources, and its real-time data analytics. However, the cons of Domo include its high pricing compared to other BI tools and limited customization options for visualizations.

IBM Cognos Analytics: IBM Cognos Analytics is a robust BI tool with advanced analytics capabilities, but it may not be the best fit for all businesses.

Its pros include its ability to handle large and complex data sets, advanced analytics capabilities, and customizable dashboards. Cognos Analytics also integrates with various data sources and supports multiple languages, making it a flexible tool for large multinational and multilingual teams.

However, the cons of Cognos Analytics include its steep learning curve and the need for technical expertise to fully utilize its features. Additionally, its licensing and pricing structure can be complex, making it challenging for small businesses to justify the investment.

MicroStrategy: MicroStrategy is a feature-rich and flexible BI tool that can be a great choice for businesses with complex data needs and a larger budget. However, it may not be the best fit for smaller organizations or those with limited technical expertise.

One of the biggest advantages of MicroStrategy is its comprehensive and powerful set of features, which allow you to perform a wide range of complex analytics tasks. Its reporting capabilities are also quite impressive, as it can generate highly detailed reports in a variety of formats. The platform’s ability to integrate with a wide range of data sources and to work well with big data is another major advantage, making it ideal for larger organizations with complex data needs.

On the downside, this tool can be quite complex and difficult to use, particularly for users new to BI or with limited technical skills. The platform also requires a significant amount of hardware and personnel resources to set up and maintain, which may be a challenge for smaller businesses with limited budgets.

SAP Analytics Cloud: SAP Analytics Cloud is a strong choice for businesses looking for an easy-to-use BI tool with strong integration capabilities. The platform’s user-friendly interface makes it easy to create and share reports and dashboards. It also provides a wide range of data visualization options, making it easy to interpret and communicate insights. Plus, this tool is great from the integration standpoint for businesses that use other SAP products, such as SAP Business Warehouse, as well as with other third-party data sources.

However, while the platform provides a good range of out-of-the-box features, it may not be as customizable as other BI tools. So, if your business requires advanced customization or has particularly complex data needs, you may want to consider other options. Additionally, businesses with a large number of users or a limited budget may find this tool expensive.

Yellowfin: Yellowfin is known for its strong data visualization capabilities, making it easy to interpret and communicate insights. The platform provides various chart types and customization options, allowing users to create visually appealing and informative reports and dashboards. Yellowfin also offers strong collaboration features, enabling users to share insights and collaborate on projects in real time. The platform is also user-friendly, with a straightforward interface that is easy to navigate and use.

However, the tool may not be as powerful or feature-rich as some other BI tools, particularly regarding data integration and manipulation. Additionally, some users have reported issues with performance and stability, particularly when working with large datasets or performing complex calculations.

In a nutshell, Yellowfin is a good choice for businesses looking for a user-friendly and competitively-priced BI tool with strong data visualization and collaboration capabilities. But if you need advanced data manipulation features, you may want to consider other options.

How to Select the Right BI Tool?

Whether you’re a small startup or a large enterprise, there’s a BI tool out there that can help you take your business to the next level.

From the powerful data modeling capabilities of MicroStrategy to the advanced analytics features of IBM Cognos Analytics, these tools offer a wide range of features and benefits that can help you make smarter, more informed decisions and drive growth and success.

But choosing the right BI tool isn’t always easy. It’s important to take the time to evaluate the unique features and capabilities of each tool before making a decision. But it’s equally important to pay attention to other factors.

Business needs: Identify your business needs and consider factors such as the size of your organization, the complexity of your data, and the skill level of your users.

Ease of use: Select a BI tool that is user-friendly and easy to use. Look for a platform with a clear and intuitive interface, as well as strong support and training resources.

Vendor reputation and support: Ensure that the vendor you choose has a strong reputation and offers reliable support and maintenance services. Consider factors such as the vendor’s track record, customer service, and training and support resources.

Cost and ROI: Consider the cost of the BI tool, as well as the potential return on investment (ROI) it can deliver. Look for a platform that offers a good balance of features, functionality, and cost, and consider the potential value it can deliver to your business.

Ultimately, the key to success with BI tools is not just choosing the right tool but also using it effectively and leveraging its full range of capabilities to gain meaningful insights into your operations and drive better business outcomes.

Should You Opt for Custom BI Tools?

Besides the tools we mentioned in this guide, there’s another option: Custom BI tools.

You may consider building a custom BI tool rather than buying an off-the-shelf tool if your business has unique or complex data needs that existing solutions cannot meet.

A custom BI tool can be tailored specifically to the needs of your business, allowing for greater flexibility and customization. Custom BI tools can provide greater data security by allowing you to control who has access to your data and how it is stored and managed. This can be particularly important for businesses that deal with sensitive or confidential data.

While building a custom BI tool can require a more upfront investment, it offers long-term cost savings by reducing the need for ongoing license fees and maintenance costs associated with off-the-shelf tools.

However, it’s important to note that building a custom BI tool requires a great deal of expertise. If you consider this option, work with a development company like Silwatech with long-term experience and reputation in creating custom BI solutions.

Interested in exploring our custom BI services? Get in touch with us today! 

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