A comparison of leading complete business intelligence suites

Effective use of Business Intelligence (BI) tools for data analysis can significantly enhance decision-making and efficiency in businesses.

Collecting data, transforming it into information, and knowing how to use it may bring your company great benefits

As we grow older, we realise that running a company is nowhere near as easy as we once thought it would be. The success we all desire seems hard to achieve, especially nowadays when the technology running the world is continuously evolving, forcing us constantly to adapt and change our processes. That is why people often come up with unexpected solutions.

One of those solutions is one of the most talked-about technology topics these days: Business Intelligence (BI). This refers to the tools and systems responsible for analysing the data that have a significant impact on our company and the way it functions.

Collecting data, transforming it into information, and knowing how to use it may bring your company great benefits. BI software was first designed to provide your company with answers and help it make faster and more accurate decisions. It is not surprising that a company needs to know its potential customer profiles, its competitors, and the market itself, but searching the Internet and all the documents you have been gathering throughout the years to do so can be pretty daunting. It would take you an eternity, but with the right software – it should only take a few minutes. Another way you can benefit from using BI tools is by saving money because once you get to know the statistics, you will know exactly what you need to do and don’t need to do as a company.

We give you examples of three BI suites that are, in our opinion, essential in business.

1. Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools

The first of the three free BI tools that can be incorporated into bespoke solutions is called BIRT (Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools). This platform is part of the open-source Eclipse project and consists of several components, all of which can be applied to any Java and Java EE environments. With two of its most popular tools, BIRT Report Designer and BIRT Runtime, you can easily create and run reports ranging from simplistic to very complex. We find extracting and processing data very easy to use; however, BIRT lacks one essential addition: a report server. If you need user or report management and other notifications, you should probably start looking for a different suite, as BIRT does not provide these functionalities.

2. Penthalo

Report server capabilities may be necessary to you and your company, so we present you with another Business Intelligence suite from our list, Pentaho. Created by Pentaho Corporation, this system helps you to centralise and enrich data easily and quickly. Just like BIRT, Pentaho consists of several components, with Pentaho Reporting being the most popular. What surprised us was its simple yet functional user interface. Even if you are at the very beginning of your business journey, understanding how Pentaho works is trouble-free. Whilst being a perfect solution for small businesses, Pentaho may have difficulties creating very complex reports. Therefore, if you run a big company, you will probably need to look for a different open-source solution.

3. SpagoBi

Which brings us to the last of our three choices. We believe that SpagoBi may be the best free software available on the market. Being founded and supported by Engineering Group, it offers an extensive range of analytical functions and advanced data visualisation features. What differentiates SpagoBI is the fact that this system goes beyond the traditional notion of Business Intelligence, providing broad and advanced capabilities that attracted companies such as Fiat and Gamebay. It may not look very easy initially, but it is worth persevering.

There is a large spectrum of both free and paid Business Intelligence suites offering both simple and advanced features. No matter which one you choose, it is essential as a means to run your business smoothly and effectively. Make sure you decide to make use of your data as soon as possible.

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