By William Elcock Feedback
Business intelligence (BI) tools give business owners and executives insight into the state of their business through data sets that are analyzed to tease out information that can help them to make more informed business decisions.
What to look for
There are many different tools out there that can make it difficult to choose a BI solution. Regardless of the tool that you choose, here are some features that you should look out for in any BI tool:
— Data collection
— Data analysis
— Data visualization
— Report generation
— Customizable dashboards
— Predictive analytics
— Integration with other tools
Best BI solutions for small business
We’ve reviewed six of the best BI solutions for small businesses below. Take a look to see which one fits your business best:
Microsoft Power BI
This offering by Microsoft is available in both cloud and on-premises variants. It lets you easily sync up with your own data sources, allowing you to reap the benefits of real-time analytics. Its key features are as follows:
— Above-average data visualization capabilities
— Ability to connect to any data source, including on-premise sources
— Web and mobile versions available
— Ability to share and collaborate on dashboards and reports
Microsoft Power BI offers a limited free package that doesn’t allow for the sharing. Paid packages start at $9.99 a month. While the free package limits sharing, this is a great way for a small business to start out with a BI package. Income may not allow for a paid package to start with, but the free package will offer important core functionality.
Sisense is designed to streamline the way your data is analyzed. This is possible thanks to its use of AI in the data analysis process. It can be implemented on-premises and in the cloud. In addition, it works with a variety of services, such as Salesforce and Adwords. Here are some of Sisense’s key features:
— Data transformation and modelling
— Interactive BI dashboard
— Ad hoc reporting
Sisense offers a free trial, and if you’re interested in continuing to use the tool, the Sisense team will create a customized pricing plan for you. This is dependent on the size of the data set that will be analyzed and the number of users. Overall, the AI functionality offered by this tool can help businesses manage their data more quickly and easily. It reduces the amount of manual intervention necessary. This is a great asset for small businesses, since it can be tough to dedicate enough staff to the management of BI.
Zoho’s BI tool supports data collection from multiple sources. In addition, its interactive and attractive data visualizations are hard to match. It can be integrated with a few applications as well, such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Quickbox and apps from the Zoho ecosystem. On-premises and cloud versions of the software are available. Some of its key features include:
— Multiple attractive visualization options
— Simple integration with several tools and databases
— Supports teams made up of between two to 50 members
Zoho offers a free trial, and its paid plans start at $22 a month. Overall, Zoho’s clear and attractive visualizations make it easy for small business owners and executives to get a grasp on their data.
Tableau is one of the most intuitive BI tools available. This is aided by its drag-and-drop interface. On top of that, it integrates easily with Microsoft Sharepoint. It is available as an on-premises or cloud installation. Some of its key features include:
— Generate reports with one click
— Connects to multiple data sources easily
— Able to handle huge data sets
Tableau’s strongest point is its ease of use. This is not an overstatement. Tableau’s drag-and-drop interface makes it straightforward to navigate. This tool offers a free 25-day trial and price quotes are available upon request. This makes Tableau an excellent option for small businesses that might not have a lot of experience working with BI tools.
Dundas is solid in terms of data visualization and is quite powerful, allowing for large data sets to be processed quickly. Dundas BI can be installed in the cloud or on-premises. Its key features include:
— Report and visualization personalization
— Data integration from multiple sources
— Drag-and-drop tools make navigation easy
Dundas offers a free trial and price quotes are available upon request. Dundas is powerful and customizable, which means that businesses can adjust the interface according to their preferences. This makes using the software less intimidating for small businesses getting accustomed to BI tools.
Microstrategy supports the importation of data from multiple sources. It also has an intuitive interface and an extensive visualization library. Some of its key features include:
— Data mining capabilities that allow businesses to see patterns early
— Library of analytics functions (mathematical, financial and data mining)
— Ability to connect to social media platforms
Small businesses can’t afford to operate without planning. Microstrategy’s data mining capabilities can help small businesses react to patterns early, so they can either take advantage of positive data or mitigate against negative data. Pricing for MicroStrategy is available on request.
Whether you need a free option like Microsoft Power BI, AI assistance like that offered in Sisense or data mining capabilities such as those found in MicroStrategy, this list contains an option that may suit your small business’ needs. Consider them, and see if one of these options works for you.
This article was originally published on February 26, 2021