Business intelligence (BI) is no longer the realm of multinational companies. Thanks to BI solutions, even small businesses today can process volumes of data and visualize insights with them. These insights can give companies competitive advantages, including new customer leads, identifying resource leaks, and optimizing resources.
In this article we take a look at the top BI solutions available in the market today, with focus primarily on key elements that make BI software great. These include: ability to process data powerfully and generate them in clear visuals; ability to share insights via collaboration tools; and integration with other systems considering huge volumes of data will most likely come from different platforms in different formats.
Check out our list of top business intelligence software solutions below and find out the reasons why they may be worth interest for your company. We tried to pick a motley mix of open-source, proprietary, and freemium solutions to cater to a wide range of needs and budgets
All our top BI solutions have a comprehensive suite of communication, collaboration, smart visualization, integration, and data warehousing features, but Sisense stands out for its ability to process terabyte-scale analytics incredibly fast. Using a 64-bit computer, parallelization architecture, and multi-core CPUs, it can surface insights from the most disparate datasets in seconds. It is also a powerful BI system with a simple UI designed for non-technical users.
If you’re hosting terabytes of data, you will need an optimal system like Sisense to avoid computing crashes that, in turn, causes delays. The software uses an In-Chip engine and Crowd Accelerated BI technology that can prepare answers right after when a query is made. CPU power is consumed only when needed; thus, optimizing system performance. This also makes Sisense ideal for commodity servers, slashing down your capital costs significantly.
We found its drag-and-drop interface to be one of the key aspects to successful user adoption. Even non-technical analysts can tinker with this tools immediately. We were able to create clear charts plotting our data after playing with a myriad of available visualizations. Sisense can also run simultaneous tasks such as data modelling and calculating complex sets. After visualizing data, sharing it is likewise easy. The dashboards are web-based and accessible on any device. Anyone accessing the insights will be using the same source, which ensures data integrity and real-time information. You can also customize access via different user levels.
Sisense is also great at integrating with other services. We linked it up with Google Adwords and we were able to import our campaign metrics without any trouble. This BI solution also works well with other business apps like Excel, Zendesk, and Salesforce. This, in fact, allowed us to view data even in different systems.
Other notable benefits of Sisense include: ability to embed individual widgets in dashboards; eye-grabbing visualizations; and intuitive script-less user interface.
If your business often involves clients, suppliers, or key partners in assessing your company’s analytics, GoodData is a great option. Its architecture is focused on delivering data extrapolation not only across your organization but also to external teams. Companies with a number of subsidiaries will also benefit using this BI software to share data-driven reports throughout their business network. The vendor claims over 40,000 business in varied industries such as healthcare, e-commerce, retail, and tech are using this software successfully.
Once the tech team set up data sources, analysts from different departments can work their way through GoodData even with little or no technical help. Eventually, managers can manage the whole data pipeline, from integration to ETL, analytics, and visualization. Moreover, we find the Collective Learning a very useful tool. Managers can share their unique cases, while department heads can collate the best practices. As your leaders become proficient in unearthing insights, your company becomes more agile and you, as a C-level executive, can make better and faster decisions to allocate resources, align goals, and boost profitability.
We found Looker to be a BI software with great collaboration tools. It helps you deploy data apps across the organization so you can pull together data silos in different departments, such as, sales, support, logistics, and e-commerce. Looker is actually used best to help teams use organizational wide data to address their respective issues.
The interface and navigation is easy for non-tech users. A team leader in one department can quickly build a report and share it with a leader in another department without tech support. You can nurture a culture of, not only an exchange of information, but of insights among your teams. It’s easy as we discovered. Looker offers self-service tools, such as, filtering, pivoting, and visualizations, and its dashboards give analysts a quick, clear glance at insights.
Furthermore, Looker is compatible with any web browser and mobile device, allowing greater mobility in collaboration. Remote teams can also use XLS, TXT, CSV, and Google Docs files. For data warehousing, Looker integrates with SQL or other platforms like Greenplum and Amazon Redshift.
Domo is a general but comprehensive BI software with standard analytics, collaboration, and dashboard tools. It has two capabilities that are worth highlighting. First, it has a strong emphasis on social collaboration. Conversations, context, interests, and behaviors can be mashed with data to reveal insights. Second, like our other top BI solutions, Domo lets you visualize data in many ways–graphs, bars, charts, etc.–to look for trends, patterns, and gaps.
Another great feature of Domo is its open-source platform. It offers a set of developer tools and APIs that let you build your own apps within the ecosystem. Likewise, you can integrate with third-party apps using the Domo’s Appstore. If you have a tech team, this software will help you maximize their full potential.
Domo also has a great mobile web version and native apps for Android and iOS. Other great Domo benefits include: creating your dashboard UI; project management; and an integrated communication and messaging platform.
Rounding up our top five BI solutions, Tableau is another comprehensive software with powerful analytics. It is targeted at the largest enterprise, but its $500 per user per year price point may work well for medium companies, too.
It can handle as huge volumes of disparate data as Sisense, our top choice, from different sources within the company. Although the vendor claims it can be 100 times faster than other solutions, we take it with a grain of salt. Against our top performers in this list, we didn’t find a significant difference in terms of data mashup and generating reports. This claim, however, may be a significant advantage over the lower-end BI solutions.
With this software you can also publish a custom dashboard to prioritize the data you need. You can also overlap different data for comparison or contrast. Furthermore, you can set updates down to by-hour analytics. This is helpful for businesses dealing with real-time trends.
KISSmetrics is a BI solution focused on web analytics. It is ideal for marketing to identify which online channels give the best ROI. Its Power Report, for one, can help you compare marketing channels across your verticals or web referrals. With this BI software you can more effectively target repeat customers, their sources, and even rate them based on purchase so you can allocate more resources to your top customers.
KISSmetrics, however, is not a comprehensive BI software. It lacks the collaboration and customization capabilities of our top five solutions. Still, it is arguably one of the best options in web analytics, its core territory. It can greatly enhance lead generation campaigns. For instance, you can track web visitors and their activities, sort them out, and develop campaigns to funnel each visitor type down the conversion phase.
You also get a lot of unlimited options with KISSmetrics, including: funnel, cohort and retention reports; customer profiles; group contact lists; and A/B test reports.
Cyfe is also a good BI software for web analytics to help you monitor your different online assets and conduct campaign based on data intelligence. It supports your sales, marketing, finance, and customer service by giving you insights from data collated across your multiple websites, social pages, and other online points-of-contact. But similar to KISSmetrics, Cyfe lacks the comprehensive BI tools like collaboration, customization, and internal data mining. This makes Cyfe mainly ideal for ecommerce or companies with vested online interests.
The intelligence software is visually oriented; it uses clear, neat dashboards to present insights and reports. Likewise, it has great integration including pre-built widgets from popular apps like Google and Salesforce. You can expand its functionalities by mashing it with other analytics apps, such as Alexa, bitly, AWeber, and select accounting solutions. Other notable features include: API support; branding label; real-time report; and data exports of standard formats (CSV, PDF, JPEG, and PNG).
Similarweb Pro also has the same specific use as KISSmetrics and Cyfe: web analytics. It is also most ideal for businesses in ecommerce or online services. The software can pull insights from any website and app–including your competitors’. It is used by top-notch online companies like PayPal, Taboola, eBay, and Flipkart.com.
It can help you find the best keyword sets to expand your paid and organic reach, and also compare their performance. Likewise, it allows you to measure engagement metrics, web visits, geography, referrals, and traffic trends.
It is, in fact, closely similar to Google Analytics, but with a cleaner and more appealing visuals. If you lack the basic tech skills required to tinker with Google Analytics, Similarweb Pro is more user-friendly. However, it has a higher entry price point at $199, compared to GA’s $150 premium plan.
Woopra is another web-facing analytic platform in the league of KISSmetrics and Google Analytics. It is primarily a marketing intelligence software that can put sense in your lead generation and customer engagement.
Among others, it tracks data in your websites, apps, emails, and other online channels. The feature we like most about this software is its Customer Profile. Heaps of data related to a customer–from emails, support touchpoints, social posts, comments, etc.–are consolidated in a neat identity card and viewable in a dashboard. Although this feature isn’t unique to Woopra, it is not a standard part in even the top BI solutions. So, if your main concern is to get a quick lookup of your customers, Woopra has the tool. We also noted its other key feature, the ability to integrate via AppConnect to optimize data from your CRM, mobile, marketing automation, social, and support tools.
Salesforce Analytics Cloud deserves to be in our top ten BI solutions for its core value: it is built on the Salesforce infrastructure. Salesforce is one of the most widely used SaaS platforms, and we expect many of our readers are using at least of one of its myriad services. For these companies, using Salesforce Analytics Cloud means native integration, where you can surface data and insights faster and more secure.
Case in point, we found it easy to use its Wave Analytics to collate data from Sales Cloud. Right away, we spotted low and high peaks of web traffic for a given period. This is a simple test that can be useful in different and larger-scale ways. As part of the Salesforce ecosystem, Analytics Cloud is notable for its mobile access; self-service portal; and share options.
As always we’re including five more contenders in our top list. They have specific features that may match your unique scenario. Phocas, for instance, is targeted at large enterprises with complex data. We’re talking about finance and accounts or inventory and purchasing of industries, such as, wholesale distribution, manufacturing, automotive, building and industrial, to name a few.
The volume of data across these organizations is extremely difficult to consolidate with disparate business and productivity tools like spreadsheets and documents. Phocas can quickly surface deeply buried data in seconds. In our test, we were able to lock into how many pallets of a specific item were shipped for a certain period that we assigned. This ability has huge potential to play with data and identify seasonal peaks, for instance, or leaks in distribution. You can apply the same tactic across business processes including, profit margins, sales, and prices at a local, regional and global scale.
Phocas has all the standard tools of an enterprise BI software for collaboration, communication, document management, and visualization.
Two things we noted about QlikView are: it has enterprise scalability and native integration. Both benefits mean you can surface insights off consolidating the most complex data at a faster rate.
The BI solution actually consists of three platforms, self-service and guided analytics, unlimited app sharing, and custom and embedded data-driven applications. You get to generate advanced reporting also with your predefined variables, and, by creating templates, the process need not be repeated.
The software allows you to embed analytics in web and enterprise apps so you get to throw in external data into insights. We can see this is great in mashing, for instance, your online asset downloads with inventory supplies. In our scenario test, we can anticipate new orders by tracking peaks of asset downloads, assuming a 3% conversion within a target period. You, too, can play around external and internal data for myriad goal settings.
Lead411 is a lead-generation BI solution that’s most ideal for sales teams, marketers, and hands-on business owners. The software helps them to identify promising prospects instead of chasing false leads that waste time and effort.
The vendor claims its proprietary search technology can fine tune your contact lists better than standard contact management apps. We explored this and we were not surprised because, where contact management apps would only factor in direct prospect actions (ex. opening your email or downloading your offer), Lead411 shows you detailed data and trends that add context to qualifying leads. We could even document real-time feedback trends; this gave us an agile approach to changing elements of our campaign midway to maximize return. Lead411 also features email notifications, CRM reports, and list of exports and sales triggers.
Our last choice is worth your attention if it matches your specific need: developing results-driven compensation and incentive packages. Xactly Insights uses your sales and other relevant data to calculate compensation. You can use this solution to motivate sales teams with fair and transparent compensation based on performance.
Furthermore, the software is part of the Xactly productivity suite, including for sales performance management, employee engagement, and sales effectiveness. If you’re already using a Xactly app, this insight module fits perfectly into your business workflows. It can aggregate huge volumes of sales data and extract peaks and lows in the team’s performance to help you identify gaps. This include checking for leaks in budget allocation.
Other Xactly Insights features worth highlighting are: real-time analysis and reporting; quota and strategies; and homegrown internal control systems.
Insightech is a web analytics and insights platform designed to help users discover growth opportunities through customer experience insights.
The software records every instance a visitor comes to the user’s website and then lets the user replay entire web sessions to see how visitors use the website and determine barriers and other elements that impede conversion, even if the website has been modified or when the site is personalized.
All data is stored in an SQL database, enabling users to perform complex searches for analysis and reporting at scale. Simply put, Insightech helps users fully optimize the conversion process quickly and easily.
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