Top 20 Business Intelligence (BI) Tools in 2021
Updated: Nov 7, 2022
Business Intelligence (BI) tools are type of application software designed to retrieve, analyze, transform, and report data for business intelligence. Common functions of BI tools include, reporting, analytics, dashboard development, data mining, benchmarking, predictive analytics etc.
The BI market is heavily invested with lots of vendors, and the best way to understand it is by reviewing some of the reports done by industry experts. Some of the reports you should look at include.
The Gartner peer insights
This is a ratings and review platform by Gartner for enterprise IT solutions and services covering over 300+ technology markets and 3,000 vendors.
Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms Report
The Gartner magic quadrant report evaluates the BI tools based on their ability to execute and completeness of vision. The report categorizes the BI tools into four quadrants which include, niche players, visionaries, challengers, and leaders.
You can read the report here.
G2 Crowd is a peer-to-peer review site which aggregates user reviews for business software. A great place to compare the best business software and services based on user ratings and social data.
Other reports you can rely on include, BARC research on BI tools and Forrester research on BI tools.
Although the above reports explore the BI market in detail, in this article I’m going to share the top 20 business intelligence tools you should consider the next time you are implementing analytics and business intelligence (ABI) technology for your organization.
Microsoft Power BI
Power BI is a business analytics service by Microsoft. Power BI offers data preparation capabilities, visual-based data discovery, interactive dashboards, and augmented analytics. It is available as a SaaS option running in the Azure cloud, or as an on-premise option in Power BI report server or as a Power BI desktop for power users authoring dashboards requiring on-premise data sources.
Power BI is a leader in the BI industry according to Gartner’s magic quadrant report for the year 2021 and enjoys massive market reach through Microsoft Office. Some of the platform’s strengths include alignment with office 365 as well as pricing.
Tableau is a business analytics service offering visual-based exploration experience that enables users’ access, prepare, analyze, and present findings in minutes. Tableau is available in several product lineups which include, Tableau Desktop, Tableau Online, Tableau Server, Tableau Prep, Tableau Public etc.
Recently Tableau was acquired by Salesforce, which brings predictive capabilities to the platform in the form of Einstein discovery extension.
Tableau is a leader in the BI industry according to Gartner’s magic quadrant report for the year 2021 and some of the platform’s strengths include a powerful analytics user experience, customer enthusiasm and the Salesforce effect.
Qlik is an end-to-end cloud data integration and data analytics platform for modern business intelligence. It offers deployment flexibility, with enterprise SaaS and customer-hosted options including multicloud and on-premises installations, without limiting customers to any particular cloud.
Qlik is also a leader in the BI industry according to Gartner’s magic quadrant report for the year 2021, and it has a strong vision for machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) driven augmentation.
Some of its strengths include, flexibility of deployment, data literacy and customer focus.
Looker is a business intelligence software and big data analytics platform that helps you explore, analyze, and share real-time business analytics easily. In 2019, Looker was acquired by Google and is now part of the Google Cloud Platform.
In year 2020, Looker introduced enhancements to its user experience, including a mobile app (on both iOS and Android) and an NLQ interface (Looker Q&A) that uses the LookML semantic layer.
Looker is a challenger in the BI industry according to Gartner’s magic quadrant report for the year 2021.
Domo is a cloud-based business analytics and business intelligence platform that offers over 1,000 data connectors, consumer friendly data visualizations and dashboards, and low/no-code environment for BI application development.
With domo, business can integrate data from nearly any source, turn data into live visualizations and extend BI into apps that empower your team with data.
Domo is a challenger in the BI industry according to Gartner’s magic quadrant report for the year 2021 and some of its strengths include Speed of deployment and consumer design focus.
MicroStrategy is a business intelligence and analytics platform which comprise of analytic product family for data connectivity, data visualization, reporting and advance analytics. It is supplemented by mobile, cloud, embedded and identity analytics products.
Its intuitive hyperintelligence application uses a semantic graph to overlay and dynamically identify predefined insights within existing applications.
MicroStrategy is a challenger in the BI industry according to Gartner’s magic quadrant report for the year 2021. Some of its strengths include ability to do direct query data and stability of the integrated products.
SAP is a visionary in the BI industry according to Gartner’s magic quadrant for the year 2021. It offers augmented ABI functionality fully integrated within the SAP enterprise application ecosystem.
SAP analytics cloud is a cloud-native multitenant platform with broad set of analytics capabilities. Most companies that chose SAP analytics cloud already use SAP business applications.
Yellowfin is an enterprise analytics platform that enables organizations extract transformational value from their data – it combines action-based dashboards, automated data discovery, and data storytelling into a single, integrated, seamless platform.
Yellowfin is a visionary in the BI industry according to Gartner’s magic quadrant report for the year 2021, and some of its strengths include innovative product vision, openness, and comprehensive product functionality.
Sisense provides an end-to-end analytics platform that supports complex data projects by offering data preparation and visual exploration capabilities and augmented analytics.
Sisense is a visionary in the BI industry according to Gartner’s magic quadrant report for the year 2021, and one best known for its success in embedded analytics. It has a comprehensive partner program and a strategic partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS).
TIBCO is a visionary in the BI industry according to Gartner’s magic quadrant report for the year 2021 and one with mature product capabilities. Its TIBCO Spotfire offering has a strong presence in the life sciences, high tech manufacturing, transport and logistic, and energy sectors, but less momentum outside its installed base, relative to other vendors.
Some of its strengths include product capabilities for advance analytics, scalability and enterprise readiness, and vision for data and analytics market convergence.
SAS is a statistical software suite developed by SAS institute for data management, advanced analytics, multivariate analysis, business intelligence, criminal investigation, and predictive analytics. SAS offers visual analytics on its cloud-ready and microservices-based platform, SAS Viya. SAS visual analytics is one component of SAS’s end-to-end visual and augmented data preparation, ABI, data science, ML and AI solution.
SAS is a visionary in the BI industry according to Gartner’s magic quadrant report for the year 2021. Some of its platform’s strengths include end-to-end platform vision, augmented analytics, and global reach with industry solutions.
ThoughtSpot is an innovative business-intelligence analytics search software. Its appeal in the analytics business-intelligence platform market is primarily to buyers looking to add NLP (natural language processing) and augmented analytics in order to reach a wider range of users.
ThoughtSpot is a visionary in the BI industry according to Gartner’s magic quadrant report for the year 2021. Some of the platform’s strengths include consumer centric vision and market recognition as a search specialist.
Oracle Analytics Cloud is an end-to-end cloud first platform that provides data ingestion, preparation, visualization, dashboards, reporting and mobility. Its offers persuasive augmented analytics, multilanguage consumer experiences and oracle cloud, data management and application optimizations.
Oracle analytics and business intelligence capabilities can be deployed on the oracle cloud infrastructure, on-premises in hybrid mode, in oracle applications environment with oracle fusion analytics warehouse, or in third party clouds.
Oracle is a visionary in the BI industry according to Gartner’s magic quadrant report for the year 2021.
IBM Cognos Analytics is primarily of interest to existing IBM Cognos customers who are looking to modernize their analytics and business intelligence use. It has multiple deployment options – public, private and on-premises.
IBM is a niche player in the BI industry according to Gartner’s magic quadrant report for the year 2021. Its platforms strengths include flexible deployment options and road map for applying analytics everywhere.
Board is an all-in-one decision-making platform which combines business intelligence tools with corporate performance management. It differentiates itself by providing a decision-making platform that supports business processes more fully than vendors of competing analytics and business intelligence products aim to.
Board is a niche player in the BI industry according to Gartner’s magic quadrant report for the year 2021 and it mainly serves a submarket for financially oriented BI.
Alibaba cloud is the largest public cloud provider in Asia/Pacific. It offers data preparation, visual based data discovery, interactive dashboards, and augmented analytics through its Quick BI platform. This platform is available as a SaaS option running on Alibaba cloud’s infrastructure, an on-premises option, and an embedded analytics option.
Alibaba cloud is a niche player in the BI industry according to Gartner’s magic quadrant report for the year 2021.
Information Builders sells the integrated WebFOCUS analytics and business intelligence platform. WebFOCUS Designer includes components from the WebFOCUS stack that are intended to satisfy modern self-service analytics and business intelligence needs.
Information Builders is a niche player in the BI industry according to Gartner’s magic quadrant report for the year 2021, and recently has been acquired by TIBCO Software.
Amazon Web Services
Amazon QuickSight is a fully managed, cloud-based analytics and business intelligence service for performing ad hoc analysis and publishing interactive dashboards. The platform can ingest data from a variety of on-premises and cloud-based data sources and can scale to thousands of users without any server setup or management.
Amazon web services is a niche player in the BI industry according to Gartner’s magic quadrant report for the year 2021.
Infor is an end-to-end data warehouse, reporting and data visualization platform build for the cloud. It also runs as an on-premise appliance on commodity hardware.
Infor is a niche player in the BI industry according to Gartner’s magic quadrant report for the year 2021, and it aims to meet the needs of the Infor ERP installed base, as well as embedded analytics use cases.
Pyramid offers integrated suite for modern analytics and business intelligence requirements. It has a broad range of analytical capabilities powered by a flexible cloud-based infrastructure deployable in on-premises setup, in a cloud or in a hybrid environment. Pyramid data connectors push compute down to the data sources, rather than ingesting data in-memory like many analytics and business intelligence tools.
Pyramid analytics is a niche player in the BI industry according to Gartner’s magic quadrant for the year 2021.
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