Top 8 BI Solutions 2017

Which BI tools did IT professionals love in 2017?

IT Central Station’s crowdsourced user review platform helps technology decision makers around the world to better connect with peers and other independent experts who provide advice without vendor bias.

In the reviews quoted below, real users compare and share feedback on their BI tool of choice from 2017 — based on product reviews, ratings, and comparisons.


#1 Tableau

Tableau is ranked by our users as the number one solution of 2017, but what do users really think of the solution?

 Sai Krishna J, Data Scientist at a consultancy firm with 51-200 employees, writes: 

“I would consider the ‘Create Calculated Field’ feature as the most valuable feature for me. It’s one that I’ve used quite extensively.

Most of the time, the data we work with will not have all the necessary features that enable us to tell a good, convincing story out of it. Therefore, it becomes imperative that we create them and extract the maximum amount of information possible from the data.” 

Milena Manfredini, Delivery Planning & Implementation at a tech vendor with 1,001-5,000 employees, suggests: 

There is still room to improve visualization when more than two dimensions are synchronized. Sometimes when you need to use more than one measurement from 2 different data sources, you won't be able to show the values.

Also, it would be nice if it was possible to have more than one type of masks used on a single sheet, e.g. use traffic light together with text.”

#2 QlikView

IT Central Station users rank QlikView as the number two solution of 2017, but what do users really think of QlikView?

Shabaz Shaikh, Software Developer at a construction company with 10,001+ employees, discusses QlikView’s data extraction capabilities

Extraction from almost all data sources provides a lot of value to me. Ease of operation, data modeling and creating dashboards with simple objects and the abundance of visualizations are also valuable.

We extract our data from SAP BW as well as Update 7 data source. Extracting and associating these data to form Main Data Model is quite simple. The objects that QlikView provides can be used to make complex KPIs for visualization.”

Ayodele Makun, a Qlik Technical Consultant at a tech services company with 11-50 employees, suggests improvements be made to QlikView’s user interface:

“The user interface and ease of use take a bit of a learning curve to pick up. There is no drag and drop functionality at the development stage unlike its other contemporaries though. Maybe QlikSense could handle that area.”

#3 Oracle OBIEE

Oracle OBIEE is ranked by our users as the number three solution of 2017, but what do users really think about the solution?

A Manager Of Capital Improvement Program at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees writes about the tool’s portfolio managers and schedulers:

“I like the ability of the portfolio managers and schedulers to pull data in very easily and report out. This is the critical feature that we needed. This was the reason why we purchased it. You can configure what you need and make it look the way you want it to. The screens are set up in an excellent way. This solution has had a huge impact agency-wide.”

Peter Cseh, Senior BI/DWH Developer at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees, writes about the need to improve Oracle OBIEE’s hierarchical column capabilities

“When I use a hierarchical column in an analysis and expand the levels and click on a measure on the second level, for example, the BI does not know the appropriate level using navigation and it will result in wrong amounts.

This is a known issue, according to the BI documentation, and there are other solutions, alternative ways to use navigation. Nonetheless, for hierarchical columns, it could be smarter.


#4 Microsoft BI

IT Central Station users rank Microsoft BI as the number four solution of 2017, but what do users really think of Microsoft BI? 

Tener Kocakafa, Customer Data Analytics at Allianz Turkey, points to Power Query and Power Pivot as Microsoft BI’s most valuable features:

“Power Query and Power Pivot are the most valuable features. You can easily manage your data on Excel. İf you have a professional version, you can do it.

However, if you don't use Power Query and Power Pivot, then your raw number is limited. The Unpivot specialty is useful because you can't do it in the front-side of Excel.”

Alper Sinav, Head of Information Systems Department at a government agency, suggests the need to add “some stream data processing methodologies”

“The Automatic Identification System is a great source of data regarding the ships from around the world... 

However, this data is real-time data which means that the process should be done in seconds for thousands of ships. We are forcing the boundaries of the Microsoft BI product right now and wish to see some stream data processing methodologies in the future.”


#5 IBM Cognos

IBM Cognos is ranked by our users as the number five solution of 2017, but what do users really think about IBM Cognos? 

A Team Lead, BI and Analytics at a university with 1,000-5,000 employees shares how IBM Cognos has improved his organization

“We have been able to provide managed data sources and packages to end users. They can use this content to do their own reporting without IT assistance.

It is similar to a competency center, in which IT will help resolve or work on complex requirements or projects.” 

Suraj Neupane, Cognos Developer at a university with 1,001-5,000 employees, finds that IBM Cognos’s “performance and visualizations need to be improved”:

Cognos doesn't have all the charts that are available in the other tools such as Tableau, Spotfire etc. Cognos is trying to keep up with the others and Cognos version 11 has a lot of new charts but still it has a lot of room for improvement.”

#6 MicroStrategy 

IT Central Station users rank MicroStrategy as the number six solution of 2017, but what do users really think of the solution? 

Anthony Cornacchia, Systems Analyst at a transportation company with 1,001-5,000 employees, describes MicroStrategy’s data blending features’ added value to his organization, particularly their end users:

Cornacchia describes that end users “can use other data that is not yet part of our managed/governed data. It is seamlessly included it into some of the dashboard/reports that they have created. This allows users to get the reports they require without having to wait for your data team to provide the data in the data warehouse or MicroStrategy schema. It also provides you with requirements for expanding your governed data.”

Juan Carlos Lozano Cervantes, Data Architect at a tech services company with 11-50 employees, finds that MicroStrategy’s “metadata management could be improved”:

Cervantes elaborates that “When you delete an object, if there is any object directly linked to the metadata, this may become corrupted and break the software. The only way to restore it is to delete the linked objects, whether or not you know which of them have this issue.”


#7 SAP Business Objects

SAP Business Objects is ranked by our users as the number seven solution of 2017, but what do users really think about SAP Business Objects?

Don Meldrum, Business Intelligence Applications Team Leader at an energy/utilities company with 5,001-10,000 employees, explains how SAP Business Objects improves his company’s decision-making and analysis capabilities:

“It allows the analysis of business data and enables decisions based on the analysis. I found the SAP suite of products powerful. They scale well for enterprise use, i.e., thousands of recipients of the output of the products as dashboards and/or reports.”

Shahid Latif, Business Intelligence Analyst at an engineering company with 1,001-5,000 employees, suggests that “SAP should work on performing the deployment and-post implementation support.”

Latif then explains how “that would be a solid enough ground for this product to gain more pieces in the pie (market share).  Also, they need to have more "Step-By-Step" documentation available for consultants, similar to what others have, e.g. IBM.”


#8 Pentaho 

IT Central Station users rank Pentaho as the number eight solution of 2017, but what do users really think of the solution?

Saravanan Ramaraj, Solution Architect at MIMOS Berhad, considers Pentaho's valuable features to be “Ad-hoc reporting (available only in Enterprise Edition), GEO-referencing using Google Maps ETL (Pentaho Data Integration), Support for both JasperReport, BIRT.” 

Ramaraj also suggests improvements to Pentaho which would solve the lack of “QueryByExample Portal support for Liferay” as well as the lack of “collaborative BI Auditing/User-Profiling”, which is currently only available in Enterprise edition.


Read more business intelligence software reviews by IT Central Station users.

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author avatarSr Performance Engineer at a tech vendor with 10,001+ employees

Working with Qlikview gives me detailed information how the user load is distributed across the application and identify the highly used business scenario by the customers. This is one of the main source for the performance testing design and planning.

author avatarLíder de Projetos at a tech services company with 51-200 employees

Great analysis, If i would to suggest a client of what solution to use it will be only QlikView and Tableau, but QlikView in first place.

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