Business Intelligence

Buying a Business Intelligence (BI) solution is a complex undertaking. The task is made more difficult by the complex terminology usually associated with BI solutions. Vendors and consultants will speak about visualization, clustering, data mining, predictive modeling, analytics and big data; clients will wonder how these terms relate to their own business goals. Read more.


Compare Business Intelligence Solution Providers

Birst

Achieve Instant Analytics in the Cloud

Self-service dashboards & analytics

Export to PDF, Excel, PowerPoint, CSV

2-Tier BI and Analytics

Average rating

3.9

NetSuite

The #1 Cloud Business Software Suite

Get a single version of the truth

Self-serve, personalized experience

On-the-go access via web and mobile

Average rating

3.6

Tableau

Answers as Fast as You Can Think

Free 30-day trial

Easy data visualization

Cloud-based Tableau Online

Average rating

4.2

Domo

All Your Data, Right at Your Fingertips

Build your dream dashboard

Data from any source in one platform

Seamless mobile experience

Average rating

3.6

Alteryx

Analytics Platform for Business Analysts

Unify data from all channels

Advanced analytics with no programming

Export to Excel, PDF, Tableau and Qlik

Average rating

4.5

SAP

Boost Your Organization's Collective IQ

Embed reports into business apps

Multi-dimensional analytics

Intuitive, self-service access

Average rating

3.5

InsightSquared

Simple, Powerful Sales Analytics

More than 400 off-the-shelf reports

Up and running in less than 48 hours

No data mapping, no IT required

Average rating

4.6

Epicor

Business Inspired

Over 20,000 customers in 150 countries

Industry-specific solutions

Tailored for your unique needs

Average rating

3.0

Actuate

Analytics That Scale Mountains of Data

Best practices analytical techniques

All your data in a single view

No coding required

Average rating

3.6

IBM Cognos

Big Data and Analytics in the IBM Cloud

Enterprise-class scalable databases

Mobile and web-scale applications

Non-stop data availability

Average rating

3.6

GoodData

BI That's Finally Living Up to It's Name

Fully-managed, cloud-based architecture

Flexible, intuitive dashboards

Powerful automation and collaboration

Average rating

4.3

Arcplan

It Simply Works

Design Once, Run Anywhere

All-in-One Self-Service BI

Excel Integration

Average rating

4.0

Chartio

Analytics for Everyone

Visual query language, no SQL required

Sophisticated calculations in one click

Instant Data Models

Average rating

4.2

DataHero

The Way Analytics Should Be.

Import Data From Any Cloud Service

Drag-and-Drop Chart Creation

Combine Datasets from Different Services

Not Yet Rated

DataSelf

No Longer Choose Between Price and Power

Easy, self-service BI and data discovery

5,000+ report templates

Tableau’s rapid-fire visual analysis

Not Yet Rated

High IQ BI

Make Big Data Analytics Accessible

Data Warehousing

Cube Generation

Custom Reporting System

Not Yet Rated

Microsoft Power BI

Bring Your Data to Life

Access Big Data. Small Data. All Data.

Insights for all through familiar tools

Enterprise-class security

Average rating

4.0

Sisense

Simplifying BI for Complex Data

Analyze complex and disparate datasets

All-in-one Single-Stack™ architecture

In-Chip™ engine for immediate answers

Average rating

4.4

Jaspersoft

Make Faster Decisions with Your Data

BI for less than $1 per hour

Cost-effective and web-scale platform

Easily embeded inside any application

Average rating

4.0

Looker

Building New Data Experiences

Deploy anywhere

Connect to any data source

Personalized setup and support

Average rating

4.6

MicroStrategy

#1 in Self-Service Business Intelligence

Best native, touch optimized mobile BI

Real-time operational dashboards

Sub-second response times for any query

Average rating

3.5

Yellowfin

#1 BI Choice for Businesses of All Sizes

Recommended by 100% of our customers

Beautiful mapping for brilliant insight

Location intelligence & dynamic maps

Average rating

5.0

Oracle

#1 Vendor in Business Analytics

Industry's best in class platform

Web-based service-oriented architecture

OLAP analysis

Average rating

3.9

Stytch

Game-Changing Analytics

Gain Insights, Faster

Dun & Bradstreet Data Inside

Handle Data Complexity with Ease

Not Yet Rated

Pentaho

Meet the Mavericks of Big Data

Blend any data from any source

Seamlessly embed into your applications

Integrated debugger for testing & tuning

Average rating

3.8

Qlik

Unleash Your Intuition

Self-service data visualization

Live data and analysis on mobile devices

Free downloads

Average rating

4.1

Board

Better Decisions. Better Business.

Analytics, BI & CPM All in One

Easier, More Powerful and Predictive

Programming-Free Toolkit for BI and CPM

Average rating

4.5

Datawatch

Self-Service Data Preparation

Better insights from any data variety

Faster from raw data to visual analysis

No scripting, 80+ pre-built functions

Average rating

4.0

Logi Analytics

Make Every Decision Data-Driven

Create analytic applications fast

Quickly deploy interactive dashboards

Fully customizable & easily embeddable

Average rating

3.8

Margin Minder

Sales Analytics Software for CPG & Retail

Built for Fast-Moving Consumer Goods

Track Effects of Product Portfolio Mix

Measure Market Penetration & Presence

Not Yet Rated

Panorama Necto

Smart, Collaborative & Visual BI

#1 for Business Benefits & Ease of Use

Data Source to Dashboard in 2 Clicks

Unique Geo-Analysis Capabilities

Average rating

4.2

Prognoz

Business Analytics... Made Simple

Comprehensive set of analytical tools

Self-service BI for fast data import

Easy export to popular formats

Average rating

4.0

Pyramid Analytics

BI at Scale for the Enterprise

Easy to self-serve to trusted insights

Architected for scale and governance

Best-in-class on Microsoft SQL & SSAS

Not Yet Rated

SAS

The Power To Know.

Create rich visuals and share insights

DYI self-service, ad hoc reporting

Secure, feature-rich mobile apps

Average rating

3.9

Targit Decision Suite

Courage to Act

One cohesive, easy to learn BI platform

From Observation to Action in no time

Natural language queries to search data

Average rating

3.8

WebFOCUS

Business Intelligence for Everyone

High-level view of critical metrics

Right-time data on any device, anywhere

Dynamic report distribution, on schedule

Average rating

4.8


Business Intelligence Buyer's Guide

When planning to buy a BI solution, it is important to focus on the capabilities that need to be acquired and the problems that need to be solved. At this stage there should be no consideration at all of what technology the solution uses, or whether the deployment should be in house or in the cloud, or any other technical details. The buyer’s concentration must be on the capability of the solution. One should begin to look at other issues only after solutions that meet the primary criteria have been found

Selecting a BI Solution

Understanding one’s requirements before making a selection is critical because different businesses have different needs. Here are some issues that must be understood clearly:

Different Types of BI Solutions

Research shows that BI solutions handle two completely different aspects of the business. These are:

Many solutions will focus on one or the other, but ideally a BI tool should have both. Vendor demos will tend to highlight the domain they are stronger in, so it is up to the buyer to ensure that both aspects are thoroughly explored before making a decision to buy.

Key BI Features

Industry surveys show that most buyers or people influencing the buying process are business users, not IT personnel. This is reflected in the key features demanded by users, which are:

Dashboards and scorecards are a critical user requirement. Users want highly customizable dashboards that can give them the information they want without needing to ask for IT help.

There are many other key features of a BI suite that are demanded by IT staff. While business users may not know much about them, they are important nevertheless. These are:

Assessment of these capabilities will have to be made by IT personnel.

BI Vendor Selection

Once some solutions have been short listed, vendor selection should follow a three step process. These steps focus on vendor capability, solution platform assessment and solution capability assessment. Broadly these steps encompass the following actions:

Vendor assessment:
- Quality of demonstration and trials
- Customer support
- Market reputation and user feedback

Platform assessment:
- Ease of decccccent
- Scalavvlity and reliability
- Ease of integration with existing enterprise class software
- Customization possibility
- Adaptability to changing business needs at minimal costs
- Ease of use
- Quality of reports

Solution capability:
- Quality of dashboards
- Ease of setting up exceptions and alerts
- Strong data security
- Data exploration and analysis capability
- Scheduling features
- Support for mobile devices

Short listed vendors must be given clear inputs to base their demonstrations on. Use actual business data (suitably altered to meet security needs) for all the demonstrations. Vendors must also be informed about the existing infrastructure held by the business so that it can be factored into their solutions.

BI Deployment: Cloud vs. On-Premise

While the debate on cloud vs. on-premise deployment is tilting towards the cloud in many domains of business software, in the BI domain the scales are still about even. Many users are worried about security issues and recent hacking events have not helped matters. If business needs are straightforward and a prospective solution meets them satisfactorily, a cloud based solution will be easier to implement and cost less compared to an on-premise one. Most mainstream BI solutions are available in both formats, with the on-line solution costing significantly less in the short term. Businesses can start small and can scale up as they gain more experience with the solution. This can reduce the initial risk and difficulty of deploying a solution.

Summary

While the BI solution may have many features to offer, remember that Business Intelligence is the result of all the features working together. Any business planning to acquire a BI solution needs to study its own needs and the feature set of the prospective solution to see if there is a close match.

It is critical to remember that most typical users will not have strong IT backgrounds and will not have the time or inclination to understand complex details about the system. It is these users who will determine the success of the BI solution. Those directing the selection process must keep this in mind.