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Business Intelligence (BI) Tools: Practical Introduction and Examples

Dawid Pacholczyk 3622ceab56

09/06/2022 |

8 min read

Dawid Pacholczyk

With the increasing volume and complexity of business data, companies are becoming more challenging to manage data and extract value from it. The market responded to this growing need with a brand-new type of software solution called Business Intelligence (BI).

Business Intelligence software enables organizations to monitor, analyze, and make predictions about future business scenarios. A Business Intelligence tool deliver various features such as self-service analytics, visualization capabilities, and professional dashboards that help teams identify trends, understand their customers better, forecast future demand, and improve their decision-making processes.

The market for Business Intelligence tools is expected to reach a smashing $33.3 billion by 2025. You can only imagine how broad the product offering is in this space. So how do you pick the right Business Intelligence tool for your business? 

Take a look at this lineup of the best Business Intelligence tools in use today and explore the market to find the best fit for your team.


Table of contents:

  1. Quick recap: Why does your business need Business Intelligence?
  2. What is a BI tool?
  3. Benefits of Business Intelligence tools
  4. Business Intelligence tools – a list for 2022
  5. Wrap up

Quick recap: Why does your business need Business Intelligence?

Organizations of all sizes are challenged to control business processes when the massive volumes of data become difficult to manage. By utilizing powerful and modern Business Intelligence tools, they can address each challenge promptly by allowing any user to collect, analyze, monitor, and predict future business scenarios without relying on extensive IT involvement for tasks like data mining or data discovery. 

Powerful data visualizations and professional dashboards are becoming standard in identifying trends, enabling self-service analytics, and ultimately increasing revenues through smarter decision-making.

Business Intelligence software streamlines the data analysis process to give businesses access to a wide range of data. Teams can use BI software to analyze their data better and become more efficient. 

The strength of BI solutions is that they allow for the analysis of a company's data without requiring specialized skills or training. These tools offer broad accessibility, making them well-suited for businesses of any size and scope. 

What is a BI tool?

Business Intelligence tools are types of software used to gather, process, analyze, and visualize large volumes of data – past, current, and future. The goal? Generating actionable business insights, creating interactive reports, and simplifying the decision-making processes. 

These platforms include features such as data integration, data visualization, visual data analytics, interactive dashboarding, and KPI scorecards. Moreover, they enable users to take advantage of automated reporting and predictive analytics in a single solution based on self-service. 

But what are the benefits of these BI platforms?

Benefits of Business Intelligence tools

Whether you work in a small startup or large enterprise, you probably collect data from multiple data sources such as customer portals, ERPs, CRMs, databases, APIs, and much more. 

You need to get high-level information to be able to manage these sources and develop a better understanding of the collected data. Modern data connectors help to centralize disparate sources and provide you with a single point of view on all your business processes. 

  • Self-service analytics approaches unlock data access for employees because they can explore data on their own, no longer depending on reports requested from the IT department. This self-service approach gives organizations a competitive advantage because each employee is equipped with the right amount of analytics skills that save time and resources while unburdening the IT department.
  • Business users (of any expertise level) can easily generate insights for future scenarios that help to adjust current strategies to deliver the best results. And if a business condition changes, intelligent solutions discover new trends and patterns that enable teams to react immediately.
  • This technology allows you to reduce the manual work and automate processes to have enough time to perform other tasks. Manual spreadsheets and static reports are no longer necessary when you have modern Business Intelligence (BI) platforms, which automate the reporting process with specified time intervals and real-time data.
  • BI platforms also eliminate the need for long and tedious financial modeling by using software to create KPIs automatically and then tracking relationship trends in your company's data.

To provide you with an overview of the most prominent benefits that companies can enjoy by using BI solutions, we have compiled a list of the top BI solutions based on user reviews and ratings from recognized sources.

Business Intelligence tools – a list for 2022

SAS Business Intelligence

SAS Business Intelligence tool is a data analytics platform suite developed by SAS, a software company founded in the 1970s that provides tools for statistical data analysis, predictive modeling, and data management. 

The SAS BI suite offers numerous tools and technologies for data scientists, text analysts, data engineers, forecasting analysts, and optimization modelers, among others.

SAS BI offers:

  • visual data exploration (for example, interactive graphs and maps),
  • easy business analytics (dashboards with rich graphics),
  • collaboration (through social media and SAS' own messaging service)
  • and mobile apps for business users.

In addition to visualization capabilities that offer automated analysis supported by machine learning, SAS BI also offers interactive management dashboards for tasks like consolidation of financial results or information about customer behavior. 

Another interesting part is the text analytics capability that offers features like text mining that transforms textual information into useful insights and unstructured text mining that allows users to explore their organization's email archives to unearth hidden patterns in conversations and discover new correlations. 

SAP BusinessObjects

SAP offers Business Intelligence software for comprehensive reporting, data analysis, and data visualization, allowing teams to create live presentations in PowerPoint and hybrid analytics that connects to on-premises and cloud SAP systems. 

The company focuses on business categories such as CRM and customer experience, ERP, HR, digital supply chain, and more. The solution was designed to help customers leverage the entire SAP offering for business, so it's a good pick for companies already using this software. 

SAP's enterprise reporting system allows you to do reporting and data analysis with ad hoc queries. The advanced BI enterprise reporting system guides your overall company strategy, delivering self-service capabilities that allow your business analytics applications and data visualization to build role-based dashboards or applications to assess risks.

Oracle Business Intelligence

Oracle offers a suite of technology and applications, both cloud-based and software as a service (SaaS), to help companies optimize their business performance and enable them to make faster and more informed decision-making. 

These solutions provide an array of features for data management, such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, integrated querying, reporting, and mobile data analytics, among others. Users can easily create charts and visualize their data efficiently with no room for complex processes that can lead to runaway queries. 

Oracle's Business Intelligence tool offers personalized dashboards that interactively provide access to information based on an individual's roles and identity. Users can work with live reports, charts, graphics, and pivot tables in pure web architecture. Oracle BI also delivers a personalized alarm system that provides businesses with activity monitoring and can alert users via dashboards, emails, or even mobile devices.

Zoho Analytics

While Zoho offers many different business apps, in this article, we focus on their analytics and Business Intelligence software. With over 500 integrations for business apps, Zoho Analytics is one impressive piece of software. 

Like other tools on our list, Zoho Analytics is a Business Intelligence platform that combines data from multiple data sources and visualizes them through reports and dashboards. This is where users can benefit from a handy drag-and-drop designer. 

They also have an online storage service called Zoho Docs. If you're looking for AI-powered analytics, there's ZIA (Zoho Intelligence Assistant), an intelligent assistant that you can ask questions in natural language and receive the answer in the form of reports and KPI widgets immediately. If you choose a shared view of your reports, you can enable commenting in real-time on elements such as charts, pivot views, tabular views, tables, or dashboards.

Dundas BI

Dundas BI was designed to make the business analytics process easier and more flexible. In 2015, after getting recognized in the visualization industry, the tool was transformed into Dundas BI, an end-to-end analytics platform that empowers users to visualize and analyze data with features such as report generation, ad hoc queries, and data discovery. 

This feature allows you to share, view, and create dashboards via mobile, thanks to HTML5. The mobile version looks exactly like the desktop and requires no app downloads. 

The Business Intelligence tool allows you to generate dashboards with drag-and-drop capabilities. Next, you can customize these dashboards with a wide range of charts, styles, and themes with a responsive design. 

Dundas BI is a fully programmable platform that can be customized by regular end-users as well as advanced users with CSS styling and full scripting. The system can be embedded into your applications through an API.

Wrap up

Big data surrounds us, and it is steadily increasing. Business intelligence tools can help businesses manage their data more effectively, providing an opportunity to reap great rewards. The idea here is to make data more cohesive, stable, agile, and predictable with these tools' numerous features. 

We hope that this article guides you through the Business Intelligence tools market and shows you the broad range of functionalities you can expect from a Business Intelligence solution. 

Do you know any other tools that should be included in this list? Please give us a shoutout in the comments section; we look forward to expanding the article with other helpful Business Intelligence platforms.

Rated: 5.0 / 1 opinions
Dawid Pacholczyk 3622ceab56

Dawid Pacholczyk

Consulting Manager at Codete with over 15 years of experience in the IT sector and a strong technical background. Seasoned in working with multinational companies. Ph.D. student and lecturer at Polish-Japanese Academy of IT, focused on software architecture, software development and management.

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