Top 10 Business Intelligence (BI) Tools for 2024

Published on
12/12/2023 09:51 AM
top businesss intelligence (BI) tools

Making sense of enterprise data can be hard. Not only do organisations process too much data that they can handle, but they also struggle to extract the value from the data they store. 

This leads to the majority of data going unused. According to a study by Seagate, only a third of data is ever used before it is created, leaving up to 75 per cent of data unleveraged in a world where data is crucial to business success. 

So how can organisations unlock this hidden data?

That’s where business intelligence (BI) tools can help. 

What is a business intelligence (BI) tool?

A business intelligence (BI) tool is a software application that helps organisations collect, store, analyze, and visualize data to unlock value and improve decision-making. 

BI tools track key performance indicators (KPIs), identify trends, and uncover patterns in data. This information can then be used to make better decisions about resource allocation, marketing campaigns, and product development.

At the heart of BI tools is their ability to extract meaningful patterns, trends, and insights from vast amounts of data. This data can originate from various sources, including internal databases, external websites, social media platforms, and even Internet of Things (IoT) devices. 

BI tools effectively aggregate, clean, and integrate this diverse data into a unified and accessible repository. Once the data is organized and structured, BI tools use a range of analytical techniques to uncover hidden patterns, correlations, and trends. These techniques include data mining, statistical analysis, machine learning, and predictive modelling. 

This reveals previously unseen relationships within the data, shedding light on customer behaviour, market dynamics, and operational efficiency.

Features of business intelligence tools

features of business intelligence (BI) tools

Business intelligence (BI) tools offer a wide range of features that enable users to extract meaningful insights from data and gain a deeper understanding of their business. 

Here are some of the key features of BI tools:

  • Data Collection: BI tools can connect to a variety of data sources, including internal databases, external websites, and social media platforms. They can also import data from various file formats, such as CSV, Excel, and XML.
  • Data Storage and Management: BI tools provide a secure and centralized repository for storing and managing data from various sources. They ensure data integrity, consistency, and accessibility for analysis.
  • Data Cleaning and Transformation: BI tools offer data cleaning capabilities to identify and correct errors, inconsistencies, and missing values in the data. They also provide data transformation tools to prepare the data for analysis, such as aggregating, filtering, and normalizing data.
  • Data Visualization: BI tools offer a wide range of data visualization techniques to transform raw data into visually compelling representations. These visualizations, such as charts, graphs, maps, and dashboards, make it easier to understand complex data, identify trends, and communicate insights effectively.
  • Data Analysis and Reporting: BI tools provide advanced analytics capabilities to uncover hidden patterns, correlations, and trends in the data. They employ techniques like data mining, statistical analysis, and predictive modeling to generate actionable insights.
  • Integration with Other Systems: BI tools can integrate with other enterprise systems, such as CRM, ERP, and marketing automation platforms, to provide a holistic view of business data and enable seamless collaboration across departments.
  • Predictive Analytics: Advanced BI tools incorporate predictive analytics capabilities to forecast future trends and outcomes based on historical data and machine learning algorithms. This helps organizations make proactive decisions and prepare for future scenarios.
  • Real-Time Analytics: Some BI tools offer real-time analytics capabilities, enabling users to monitor and analyze data as it streams in. This provides immediate insights into business activities and allows for real-time decision-making.

These features make BI tools essential for organisations that want to harness the power of data to make informed decisions, improve operational efficiency, and gain a competitive advantage.

Choosing the best BI tool for your business

Choosing the right business intelligence (BI) tool is crucial for organizations seeking to transform raw data into actionable insights and drive better decision-making. 

The process of choosing the best BI tool for your business involves careful consideration of various factors, including your organization's specific needs, data landscape, budget, and technical expertise. 

Here are some steps to help you choose the right BI tool for your business:

  1. Understand Your Business Needs. Begin by clearly defining your business objectives and the specific challenges you aim to address with BI. Identify the types of data you need to analyze, the insights you want to extract, and the decision-makers who will utilize the BI tool.
  2. Establish User Requirements.  Determine the skill level and technical expertise of your users. Consider whether you need self-service capabilities or require dedicated data analysts to operate the tool.
  3. Gather Feedback and Reviews. Seek feedback from colleagues, industry peers, and online reviews to gain insights into the strengths and weaknesses of different BI tools.
  4. Request Demos and Trials. Take advantage of free trials or demos to experience the BI tools firsthand. Evaluate their user interface, ease of use, and compatibility with your existing systems.
  5. Plan for Implementation and Support. Consider the implementation process, training requirements, and ongoing support provided by the BI tool vendor. Assess their availability, responsiveness, and expertise.
  6. Align with your Budget. Evaluate the total cost of ownership, including software licenses, implementation costs, training expenses, and ongoing maintenance fees. Ensure the BI tool aligns with your budgetary constraints.

Top Business Intelligence (BI) Tools 

There is a range of powerful BI tools on the market today, each with its own benefits, limitations and price points. But of course, not all of these tools are made the same. 

In this list, we’re counting down ten of the best business intelligence (BI) tools for 2024, exploring the features and capabilities that make them so popular. 

Oracle BI

Oracle BI is a suite of tools and technologies that helps organizations collect, store, analyze, and visualize data to improve decision-making. The platform enables business users, data engineers and citizen data scientists to connect, prepare and enrich all relevant data, evaluate predictions and make quick, accurate decisions. It uses code-free machine learning to discover unseen signals in data that are embedded throughout the analytics platform. Users can also instantly visualise data, jump-starting the analytics process to create compelling data stories from all sorts of data sources, including internal databases, external websites, and social media platforms. 

With Oracle BI, you no longer need to resort to spreadsheets to prepare your data for analytics. Auditable data preparation and enrichment are built-in out of the box so you can complete the last mile of data processing securely. You can also import and integrate data from various file formats, such as CSV, Excel, and XML.

Zoho Analytics

With an impressive portfolio of over 16 thousand customers, Zoho Analytics’ easy-to-use, powerful BI suite stands out for all the right reasons. The platform allows you to connect to multiple data sources, including business applications, files and feeds, and seamlessly create dashboards and insightful reports using AI and ML technologies. It also provides you with actionable insights on real-time data, allowing you to keep an eye on key metrics and get instant updates on your KPIs. 

Available both on-premises and in the cloud, Zoho Analytics BI has a wide range of APIs that allow it to be readily expanded to suit all your analytics needs. Its mobile app is available on both iOS and Android platforms, and it has self-service data preparation and management capabilities, as well as an intuitive drag-and-drop interface and over 500 third-party integrations.

Sisense 

Sisense’s Fusion Analytics platform is a popular BI tool that lets you make more intelligent business decisions by creating more workable plans and strategies. The platform uses AI analytics with pro-code, low-code and no-code capabilities to turn data into revenue and bring intelligence into all of your products and services. Whether you’re using our no/low code application or our flexible, developer-first tools with SDKs and APIs, Sisense’s analytics blend seamlessly into the product UI and the CI/CD pipeline. You can also easily visualize analytics data with charts and graphs, or explore the data through NLQ-interpreted questions and answers tailored using generative AI. 

Sisense makes it easy to build a customised BI solution for your business too. With Sisense Compose SDK, the company’s flexible developer toolkit, You can Embed analytics in a code-first, scalable, modular format that all of your users can understand. This enables your data teams to build analytics and insight-driven experiences into your products faster, reducing maintenance burden, and saving development time over coding from scratch.

SAS Business Intelligence

While SAS may be best known for its advanced AI analytics platform, it also provides a powerful business intelligence platform that’s great for industries where data security and compliance are crucial. With its fully integrated, open-source cloud native AI and analytics platform, the SAS allows you to make sense of your data and progress faster. Its intuitive and easy-to-use interface also means it can be used by everyone in your organisation, no matter their skill level. Everyone in your organisation can access analytics with ease through drag-and-drop interfaces that facilitate a visual process for finding insights.

A leader in the Forrester Wave: AI Decisioning Platforms for Q2 of 2023, SAS provides robust data governance features and is highly scaleable through its integration of AI, allowing it to handle lagrange datasets and complex analytics tasks. Its single, self-service interface also lets you visually explore data as well as create and share smart visualizations and interactive reports, while its host Augmented analytics and advanced capabilities accelerate insights and help you find valuable insights hidden in your data.

Looker

Now part of Google Cloud, Looker is one of the world’s leading self-service, governed and embedded business intelligence solutions. Designed with the user experience in mind, the platform unlocks the power of your data by making it easy to create interactive dashboards and compelling reports from over 800 data sources. Your data team can create meaningful, shareable, customizable, charts and graphs in just a few clicks, allowing them to visualise data and share actionable insights across your organisation. Looker’s Embedding feature also allows you to include your visualise dara in any web page or intranet, enabling you to tell your data story to your team or the world.

What makes Looker so great is that it’s more than just a business intelligent platform. You can turn to Looker for self-service or governed BI, build your custom applications with trusted metrics, or even bring Looker modelling to your existing BI environment. The Looker Studio API also allows Google Workspace or Cloud Identity organizations to automate the management and migration of Looker Studio assets and configure an application to use the Looker Studio API quickly and easily.

Qilk Sense

Qlik Sense is a powerful data analytics solution that sets the benchmark for a new generation of analytics by democratising business intelligence across the organisation. With its one-of-a-kind analytics engine, sophisticated AI, and high-performance cloud platform, it enables everyone in your organization to make better decisions and take action – creating a truly data-driven enterprise. 

With Qilk Sense, anyone can visualise and explore your data no matter its size or complexity. Every chart, table, and object is interactive and instantly updates to the current context with each action. You can also create, share and distribute powerful dashboards to support executives, business leaders, and anyone else who needs to stay on the pulse of the organisation. Predictive analytics is available to everyone too. Qlik AutoML enables your analytics teams to create ML models and predictions with full explainability in a simple, code-free user experience, and All your users can interactively explore advanced analytics with real-time calculations, allowing them to ask unique questions and get instant answers.

Pentaho

Acquired by Hitachi Data Systems in 2015, Pentaho software is fast to deploy, easy to use, and purpose-built for the future of business intelligence. By pairing data integration with business analytics, the platform brings together IT and business users to ingest, prepare, blend and analyze all data that impacts business objectives. Its intuitive data integration and preparation techniques drastically reduce the hand-coding required to bring data together for insight. Meanwhile, its analytics capabilities provide a spectrum of analytics for all user roles, from visual data analysis for business analysts to tailored dashboards for all audiences. 

With Pentaho, managing the enormous volume and variety of data is simplified. The platform allows data preparation from any source and automates your data pipeline, allowing you to curate data better for your business user. It also provides a host of data profiling and quality tools, such as row counts, string manipulators, mapping functions and filtering and sorting. This gives you complete control over your data and seamlessly rules out data that doesn’t meet your unique business standards and objectives.

Tableau

One of the better-known analytics and business intelligence tools on this list, Tableau is an analytics and data visualisation platform with a suite of tools designed to help you bring data to life. Trusted by more than a million active users, Tableau uses AI, ML and other statistical tools to lower the barrier to data. It doesn’t require any knowledge of coding to use, allowing users to seamlessly create reports and share them across multiple platforms of their choice without spending hours analysing complicated datasets. It can also be run on the cloud or on-premise, making it readily available for businesses of all shapes and sizes. 

Tableau recently launched Tableau GPT, which automates data analysis, preparation, and governance, while also providing users with helpful guidance and contextual instructions so that users can understand how prediction and insights are surfaced. It continues to invest big in AI analytical capabilities, to empower users to get answers and uncover unanticipated insights in seconds through AI and machine learning.

Microsoft Power BI 

Microsoft Power BI is an industry-leading data visualisation tool with a host of features that allow you to explore and visualise your data effectively The platform makes it easy to create rich, interaction data visualisations from multiple data sources so that everyone in your business can make data-driven decisions. You can also easily create and modify data reports and dashboards and share them securely across applications, providing views for deeper insights that drive success across your business. 

Built on the back of Azure, the key focus of Power BI is data mining, exploring and reporting. The platform offers near-limitless data mining capabilities and can extract insights from traditional databases as easily as it can extract data from newer SaaS architectures like GitHub and Zendesk. Power BI also supports third-party custom visuals, allowing you to build the best reports for your business once the right data sources have been mined and relevant insights extracted.

Microstrategy ONE

Ranked by Gartner as the number one Analytics Developer use case for 6 years running, Microstrategy ONE is a compelling choice for all of your business intelligence needs. Whether you’re looking for in-depth data analytics, visualization or, exploration tools, the platform offers best-in-class solutions to help your organisation gain actionable insights for making data-driven decisions. You don’t have to do much to gain these insights either. MicroStrategy’s Auto AI assistant – powered by the company’s very own Large Language Model (LLM) – automates complex BI tasks so that you can drive insights faster. And with Auto Dashboard, you can ask for specific data points, summaries, or what-if scenarios in real time and watch your answer appear on the screen in seconds. 

Microstrategy ONE is designed to accelerate data discovery and make it easy to scale to your vision. It allows you to select between multiple hyperscalers including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud that best fit your product strategy. You can also take advantage of the latest in microservices and cloud containers for continuous iterations, fast development, higher fault tolerance, and lower costs. And once you’re up and running, MicroStrategy’s RESTful APIs and a set of rich SDKs enable you to connect to a diverse set of data sources and systems such as Snowflake or Databricks, and blend data sources or embed custom functionalities to adapt to the evolving data landscape.