Advice From The Community

Read answers to top Business Intelligence (BI) Tools questions. 398,259 professionals have gotten help from our community of experts.
Pierre-Paul Haineault
I am researching BI tools in the Oracle world. Which would you recommend and why? Thanks! I appreciate the help. Pierre-Paul
author avatar
Real User

That is no right answer for this. It actually depends on the needs, user capability, available infra and tools, and management's requirement. You can use Pentaho, Power BI or Superset if you are looking for free or cheap solutions. Else, you can go with Alteryx and Tableau, Enterprise Power BI, Qlik Sense, etc.

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Real User

It all depends on couple of points, example: Targeted Users, Tool Usage, Budget for the tool,infrastructure etc.. Based on these factors you can decide about the tool. More or less all tools provide similar set of features. If you wanted to stay in Oracle area, you may use Oracle BI. Personally I like Power BI /Qlik Sense. Power BI is a very powerful tool for data analysis. However, along with Attunity and integration with snowflake makes Qlik sense a very good tool to be used on cloud.Also the insights from Qlik makes this tool great.

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Real User

Currently, there are a number of different BI tools in a market that allows you to work with different data sources. In the Oracle world, there is an Oracle BI itself that is rather sophisticated and not as intuitive. Cognos requires a pretty complicated modelling and programming in order to use all its flexibility together with a limited performance when many big dimensions used together and a security that I had to rework and automate in order to avoid a time-costly administration (not talking about other inconveniences), some other products are not cost-effective and not self-serve.

I would prefer (and now switched to) a Microsoft Power BI that has a wide range of sources to connect to (if no driver issues), cost-effective, simple to use, highly graphical, cloud-ready, allows a self-serve in most cases, nice performance, continuously improving software and providing new capabilities and objects, simple security system, though based on a cloud may have some refresh delays. I would stay now with MS Power BI.

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Real User

Restricting this to the Oracle products world, the standard choice would be OBIEE or the Oracle Data Visualization tool. Otherwise, there are plenty of other tools: Tableau, Qlik, PowerBI.

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Real User

There are now good BI tools in the Oracle world. Go for an independent BI supplier like QLIK tech.

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User

Depend of your use case, we are currently in an evaluation process for embedded analytics, the short list is: Looker, YellowFin, Domo, Sisense

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Consultant

I would definitely recommend IBM Cognos. I have worked with many BI solutions that were based on IBM Cognos and Oracle.

If budget is an issue then PowerBI is a very good solution too. I have also worked with some open source big data solutions - for reporting and visualizations Apache Superset and for OLAP Apache Kylin.

author avatar
User

Power BI..Cost Effective, Self Service BI, Highly Graphical, Cloud Ready, Operational Report, Data connectivity.

Menachem Pritzker 🚀
Which BI tools are the best out of the box for basic calculations that all SaaS businesses need to track to survive? Are some tools better for startups vs enterprise?
author avatar
Real User

Looker, Domo, Sisense, Tableau, and Power BI are tools are good for enterprise. If you are looking for SMB (Small Medium Business), where you have 5-10 users who use BI for portfolio, then you should look at small Startup (ConverSight.ai, ToughtSpot etc.) for a per-user license, which is comparatively low in the market.

author avatar
Real User

This is a common question for many businesses that have gone down the SaaS route. SaaS Applications provide a critical application in the cloud based on a subscription model, which is great for companies looking to add software or shift capital expenses to operational expenses. However, the problem is that most of these applications are getting your data out of the SaaS and into a reporting data warehouse or another third party application.

The most common means of accessing your data is normally via an ODBC/OLE connection that is purchased at an additional monthly cost from the SaaS. This is normally a read-only connection but does provide a limited degree of access to your data. Don’t expect the SaaS Company to provide you with ER diagrams or table structures, nor should you assume the data model or schemas will follow any of the best practices or common design methods. They won’t. You must remember that SaaS-based applications try to fit everyone’s needs into a standardized set of tables. So expect odd columns and table joins throughout the application.

Once you figure out where your data is, you need to decide if you're just going to query the data from the SaaS database when the reports are run or if you're going to extract your data into a data warehouse nightly and then run your reports. This also means you now have to have a database server either on-premise or in the cloud.

I prefer the latter of the two options however it does introduce a gap in the data since the extracted data won’t be real-time. The benefit is that you can query the data as often as you want without impacting the live application. The most common tools normally used for this are MS SSIS and SAP Data Services. Both applications perform similar functions however there are many other ETL tools on the market.

Once you have the data extracted, your reporting software can run it reports. Gartner provides in-depth studies on the various applications however it really comes down to the following tools:
Microsoft Power BI
SAP Business Intelligence
Qlikview/Qliksense

These are the top reporting applications. Each has their pros and cons when compared however each can do basically the same thing as the others.

Here’s what makes them stand out from each other:

Microsoft Power Bi - Easy for end-users to create Adhoc reports from almost any dataset out there.
SAP Business Intelligence- Global standard for reporting, established tools and community
Qlikview/Qliksense- Top-rated dashboard and visualization tool.

author avatar
Jayesh Bohara (Capgemini)
Consultant

Oracle EPM is more robust and provides comprehensive coverage for calculating KPIs. The products follow a global standardized pattern which has ease of adoption and implementation.

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Agus Kurdiyanto (Ericsson)
Real User

Power BI, Tableau, and Qlik have the capability to do calculations for KPIs, are easy to create visualizations, and also have the capability to get the source from any data sources. Qlik and Tableau have more advantage than Power BI. Qlik and Power BI provide the desktop for personal use. Tableau only provides trials. For the Enterprise version, it has a feature to share and collaborate with the team. Now, only Tableau can deploy the tools on Linux environments (Qlik and Power BI only for windows).

author avatar
Patrick Myreholt (TIBCO Jaspersoft)
Vendor

TIBCO Jaspersoft

author avatar
Real User

I think Qlik is strong at data processing and has a high performance within a large scale of data with its unique in-memory database.

author avatar
Real User

I have been doing data science by Python, now looking for a tools that can easily scale up the projects at low cost. KNIME seems to be a good one so I had tried it for a few months, but find difficult to copy my concepts in Python to KNIME.

Take 07_Customer_prediction_with_H2O as an example, I can code it in Python and well understand the concepts and codes, but when it comes to "nodes" in KNIME, I can't easily understand the relationship between nodes. I copied the sample process and modify a bit according to my data and understand the propose and concept, but I still don't understand why "Parameter Optimization Loop Start --> H2O Cross Validation Loop Start --> ......" in the Random Forest Metanode for instance, now I just copy to make it work but don't understand what reasons to put the nodes in that way.

Having said that I like the concept to make data science in nodes, as I am quite experience in playing around with Node-Red.

author avatar
Consultant

Domo or Pentaho and the differences between the startup version and enterprise version are the tools that you can use to pull out or get in the data and it is important to have the flexibility to get the information in different ways.

See more Business Intelligence (BI) Tools questions »

What is Business Intelligence (BI) Tools?

Assessing business intelligence tools means first answering the question, “What is business intelligence?” Business Intelligence, usually referred to as “BI” for short, refers to software designed to analyze data with the goal of discovering useful business insights. For example, a multi-site retailer might use BI tools to reveal a previously unknown pattern of revenue changes correlated to time of day.

BI is related to data analytics and business analytics, though the connotation of BI is that it’s accessible to a bigger group of end users. As some reviewers on IT Central Station note, everyone, not just IT people or data specialists, should be able to use business intelligence software in their daily jobs. As a result, ease of use figures prominently into many user reviews on the site.

IT Central Station reviewers want to know how little training is required for a BI tool to get non-IT end users going. They want BI to be easy to implement. Users want tools to enable easy report building and administration as well.

The desire for BI tools to be easy to use flows from a trend in the technology over the least few years. BI has gone from being complex discipline reserved for highly-skilled people to being something the general knowledge worker can use every day. It’s not an either/or scenario. An organization might have some BI workloads that are reserved for data scientists, with others available to everyone. Regardless of where BI is deployed, however, continued support of end users and technical training for the support team are critical for success.

In addition to security, performance, scalability and stability, users emphasize the importance of BI’s ability to integrate with other systems. BI is not a standalone technology. It works in concert with database management and business applications. For example, BI must integrate with OLTP databases with minimal footprint. BI also needs to integrate easily with graphical tools and reporting software. A business intelligence toolset ought to integrate with visualization tools - with ability to produce visually appealing, value added dashboards, charts, and standard reports. Mobility also counts, with workers wanting to be able to do analytics on mobile form factors such as tablets.

Given that the “B” in BI stands for business, the business use case is considered highly relevant in choosing the right business intelligence toolset. BI should meet business needs. The total cost of ownership (TCO) should be well thought-out. And, any initiative to undertake BI should have clear executive management approval and a business plan for success. A thorough business needs analysis is essential.

According to IT Central Station members, the best BI tools support multiple file output options and publication options. For instance, can the tool produce interactive files (e.g. Xcelsius output) that are shared externally via .pdf, Excel, etc.? A business analytics solution should easily access multiple types of data sources, with data blending capabilities.

Find out what your peers are saying about Tableau, Microsoft, Qlik and others in Business Intelligence (BI) Tools. Updated: February 2020.
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