The Leaders of BI Tools: An In-Depth Comparison

A good business makes use of its most important asset to the fullest, utilising it to achieve growth or even as a differentiator in a competitive landscape. However, organisations today are now dealing with the same digitalisation objectives whatever their industry, undergoing technological advancements to keep up with the changing times – and with that comes data that every company is subjected to.

This transformation in the business landscape highlights the need for companies to understand their data better, as it now becomes their most valuable asset in today’s environment. To be ahead of the game, businesses must realise the full benefits of their data, way beyond their data collection and storage capabilities.

Businesses must be able to gain insights and intelligence on their data – and they should do so now. They can do this with various solutions, such as BI (Business Intelligence) tool software that enables organisations to turn their overwhelming amount of data into actionable insights.

BI tools do this by collecting, storing and analysing data, in a way that everyone in the organisation understands. With BI tools, companies will see how their data is doing and what it means, whether historical or real-time, through a dashboard equipped with visualisation features.

Say you want to know the current performance of your product or service. Using BI tools, you can input a big amount of unstructured data from different sources, and it would be able to provide you with various statistics, like where your product is the most popular or the trend of your product sales in the past month. This comes in graphs, charts and other visual illustrations.

Equipped with BI tools, organisations can then use these findings for decision-making, improving products or services and identifying market trends and opportunities among many others – easily and efficiently.

As data becomes ubiquitous, companies are now using BI tools to accelerate their growth. Choosing a provider for your company may be a difficult task and we hope that this comparison of common BI tools can help you identify the right one for you.

  1. Microsoft

Tools Offered: The Microsoft Power BI is the tech giant’s suite of BI tools. It features basic analysis and visualisation tools but its key benefit is its integration with other software from Microsoft – suitable for companies already centred on Microsoft’s products. It can connect to Azure data lake, reducing the time it takes to get insights and increase collaboration between business analysts, data engineers and data scientists. In addition, it takes advantage of the latest advances in Microsoft AI to help non-data scientists prepare data, build machine-learning models and find insights quickly from both structured and unstructured data, including text and images. As for organisations using Office 365, Power BI also connects Excel queries, data models, and reports to its dashboards —helping to quickly gather, analyse, publish and share Excel business data in new ways.

Target Market Size: Power BI comes from a free version up to a Premium one, meaning, Microsoft aims to target everyone in the market from everyday business users to enterprises needing big-data analytics.

Focus: Microsoft Power BI focuses on embedded analytics, which allows users to embed dashboards, reports and data visualisations in custom applications and portals, including Microsoft’s wide range of products and services.

Recognition: Microsoft has been named as a Leader in the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms, for the 14th consecutive year.

  1. Tableau

Tools Offered: One of the features that makes Tableau different, according to them, is their intuitive tools. Meaning, the BI tools think along with the user, whatever their experience is. Tableau’s BI tools provide a seamless user experience, even for non-technical users to look at data. In addition, Tableau delivers a trusted environment where people can find insights in their data, share them with teammates and make critical decisions with the analysis.

Target Market Size: Tableau is popular among large enterprises, with their belief that a corporate BI solution needs to work seamlessly between users and departments. The BI platform should also provide a straightforward way to publish, distribute and share insights, even with outside clients – suitable for the environment of large organisations.

Focus:  With their intuitive tools, Tableau focuses on ad-hoc reporting – those data reports that anyone can do.  This allows any department to combine different data sources on the fly and create customisable dashboards.

Recognition: Tableau BI tools solution is recognised on PC Magazine’s list of The Best Self-Service BI Tools of 2020.

  1. SAS

Tools Offered: SAS is one of the oldest companies here on this list, being founded in 1976. They have prior experience in data management, Business Intelligence, data visualisation, advanced analytics and industry-specific analytic applications, which they are now using for their BI tools. Their market also centres in the finance industry, with BI tools featuring customer intelligence, fraud and security intelligence, and risk management, which are relevant to the market.

Target Market Size: Equipped with a wide range of BI uses such as enterprise reporting, SAS BI tools are used by large global organisations.

Focus: SAS primarily features its self-service analytics. It lets you import your own data, join tables, apply basic data quality functions and more with easy drag-and-drop capabilities. It also comes with an automated explanation in its dashboards, providing an analytical story to users for clearer insights.

Recognition: Fortune 100 companies in the areas of commercial banking, telco providers and computer services all rely on SAS BI tools.

  1. Qlik

Tools Offered: Qlik offers many solutions regarding Business Intelligence, and they feature a data path that goes from data integration to data analytics and data literacy – with their QlikView and Qlik Sense analytics platforms. What Qlik offers uniquely is the use of their associative analytics engine they call the Associative Difference. With this feature, you can search and explore across all your data in any direction with no pre-aggregated data or predefined queries to hold you back, easily combine all your data sources, no matter how many, how large or how imperfect they are and get powerful, on-the-fly calculation and aggregation that instantly updates all analytics with each click.

Target Market Size: Companies using Qlik Sense are most often found in the United States and in the computer software industry. Qlik Sense is most often used by companies with 50-200 employees and >USD $1000 million in revenue.

Focus: One of the main objectives of Qlik BI tools is increasing the data literacy of its user. Machine intelligence works with Qlik’s Associative technology to instantly surface in-context insights and suggestions users can easily explore to make new discoveries. This approach to augmented intelligence can increase the data literacy of your entire workforce.

Recognition: DBTA (Database Trends and Applications) recognized Qlik as the best CDC (Change Data Capture) Solution in 2020 based on its ability to support real-time analytics with fresh data at the speed of business.

  1. Pyramid

Tools Offered: Established in 2009 and with around 100 employees, Pyramid Analytics is the youngest and smallest software company on this list. However, they already have 750+ customers, including Volkswagen and Siemens. Pyramid offers what they call a true enterprise approach to business analytics, as they have uniquely combined the best of self-service analytics and legacy BI systems. The result is a modern enterprise analytics platform that enables everyone in your company to make better, faster decisions based on the same trusted information. For example, Pyramid is designed to run on any HTML5-compliant browser rather than a desktop client, making it faster, scalable, flexible and more secure than any other competing BI solution.

Target Market Size: Pyramid Analytics is most often used by large organisations with 1000-5000 employees and >USD $1000 million in revenue.

Focus: Pyramid features fast dashboarding capabilities for its users, even in just a minute. You can build dashboards quickly and easily across multiple datasets and use an intuitive drag-and-drop interface. You can access shared content elements (KPIs, charts, grids, infographics and more), place them on a canvas and design attractive layouts.

Recognition: Pyramid Analytics has received three 2020 Technology Innovation Awards from Dresner Advisory Services, an independent industry resource that provides perspective on information management, Business Intelligence, analytics, performance management and related markets.

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