Business Intelligence (BI) refers to the strategies and technologies that companies use to analyze business information data. Common BI strategies include reporting, online analytics, data mining, process mining, event processing, business performance management, benchmarking, text mining and analysis, and predictive or prescriptive analytics.
We're going to discuss the top business intelligence tools, but first, let's start at the beginning...
What is business intelligence?
Business intelligence is a data-driven approach that involves collecting, analyzing, and presenting information from various sources to aid business decision-making. It helps organizations gain valuable insights, understand market trends, and optimize performance, contributing to improved efficiency and competitive advantage.
Business intelligence can assist with business decision making because it allows for the speedy processing of large amounts of structured or unstructured data into useful information that managers can use. BI can also assist with group consolidation, budgeting and rolling forecasts for financial analysis.
Business Intelligence is nothing new –business stakeholders have always used information from the environment to increase profit and beat out competitors– but now, in this new digital age, the tools are much more exciting.
Most business intelligence tools are a combination of in-chip technology on the back end that allows non-technical users to analyze large amounts of data from multiple sources, together with a front-end tool that allows users to create visualizations such as reports and dashboard views of data that are accessible from any device.
So, various companies have come up with different products based on their market sector and clients’ needs. Here are some of the top Business Intelligence companies operating today.
Top Business Intelligence (BI) Tools
Sisense was founded in Tel Aviv in 2004 and has since won the New York City “Take the H.E.L.M.” competition, the Gartner Cool Vendor in Analytics award in 2014, it has placed on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 and won the Ventana Research 2015 Technology Innovation Award for Business Intelligence. The company was more recently named to the Forbes 2017 Cloud 100 list, the definitive list of the top 100 private cloud companies in the world.
Some of Sisense’s users include Wix, Airbus, the NASDAQ, The Salvation Army, and Hewlett Packard. The Company’s website provides some real life examples of how its product has enhanced a client’s experience.
One example is Wix, a leading cloud-based website development platform offers free and premium subscriptions to over 103 million users as of 2017, and its customer base is growing at about 25% per year. Wix needed a way to track conversions, monitor marketing campaign efficacy and analyze user behavior at an increasingly rapid rate. With Sisense, Wix developed a BI solution that enabled users to upload and connect any kind of data, and directly access Google AdWords and Google Analytics data with increased freedom and flexibility.
2. Microsoft Power BI
From leading computing company Microsoft we have Power BI, a business analytics service that provides cloud based services (Power BI Services) together with a desktop based interface (Power BI Desktop). Microsoft touts its product as being an “out-of-the-box” product that requires no setup, credit card or training to get started on. They work with companies like Salesforce, Google Analytics, and Dynamics already so your business data that is already being collected is easy to gather and put into one easy place.
Bismart is one of Microsoft's Power BI Partners and we use this powerful tool to create solutions using the best tech standards and capabilities.
We also have two specific solutions for companies that enhance data governance in the Power BI environment. The lack of data governance is one of Power BI's biggest weaknesses.
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3. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is one of the older BI service providers. Launched in November 2005 following the acquisition of Urchin by Google, Analytics allows users to review online ad campaigns and track their website performance by tracking landing page quality and conversions. Conversions can include sales, lead generation, specific page views, file downloads, etc. Casual users can see high level information on an intuitive dashboard that is free and easy to navigate. More in-depth data is available the further a user delves into the site. Google Analytics is the most widely used website statistics service available, and is used by circa 55% of the World Wide Web’s 10,000 most popular websites, according to TechCrunch.
Now, you can add Google Analytics' time filter to Power BI!
4. IBM Cognos Analytics
IBM Cognos Analytics is another BI tool that allows users to “find, explore, and share data-driven insights in a governed environment.” The latest version of this BI tool was released in December, 2015, and had everyone in the analytics industry talking. The new product is focused on usability, something that previous editions were lacking. Cognos allows for autonomous analytics in an intuitive, web-based interface. Cognos Analytics works in conjunction with IBM’s Watson Artificial Intelligence platform for business. One of the pros of working with Watson is that company data remains on the IBM Cloud. This allows for autonomous maintenance of all data, insights, training, and IP in a secure and private environment.
Domo, Inc. is an American BI company based out of Utah that specializes in business intelligence tools and data visualization. Another older company, it was founded in 2010 by Josh James, also the founder of web analytics software company Omniture. Domo delivers BI as a service to CEOs and executives. It's designed to provide direct, simple, real time access to business data with no IT involvement.
This new Software as a Service (SaaS) means that business owners can focus on their bottom line and decision making, without complicating their lives with Big Data. They can ask a question and know that Domo will aggregate the data. Then, it gives them a well-informed decision based on all relevant factors.
Board is a Business Intelligence and Corporate Performance Management software vendor that sells the BOARD toolkit. The company is headquartered in Lugano, Switzerland where it was founded in 1994. Board offers BI solutions for sales, marketing, supply chain decision making, human resources management and financial insights. Some of their customers include KPMG, Volkswagen, the United States Department of the Navy, Toyota, and PUMA. Board touts itself as the fastest way to build customized analytical and planning applications.
They also build completely customized tools for customers' needs. This “total cost of ownership” is unique to the field.
Qlik is a cloud business intelligence tool that includes data integration, data analysis and data literacy services. It is focused on the transformation of data into value by the creation of easy understable Power BI reports that anyone within a company could understand.
Which are the best BI tools?
If you are still wondering which are the best BI tools or which one should you go for after reading the list, be aware that we have listed the 7 best BI tools of the marketing: Power BI, Sisense, Google Analytics 4, IBM Cognos Analytics, Domo, Board and Qlik.
However, between the business intelligence tools listed here, choosing one or the other mostly depends on each business other tools ans systems. Since all the BI tools listed here are good enough tools, companies tend to go for the one that more adapts to their particular needs.
Is Power BI the best BI tool?
According to the latest Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Analytic and Business Intelligence (ABI) Platforms 2023, Power BI is currently the best business intelligence tool in the market. Gartner doesn't only value Power BI's wide range of analytic and data visualization capabilites, but also takes into consideration that Power BI is one of the most widely used BI tools, especially in the business world.
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If you are interested in Business Intelligence, don't miss our latest e-book: "The 15 Best Power BI Dashboards of 2023".