Over the last decade, the business intelligence (BI) tool market has blossomed, with new and increasingly sophisticated tools being developed every year. In fact, it’s predicted that over the next five years, the BI software market will grow by a compound annual growth rate of 12%.
With the sheer amount of data that is being produced on a daily basis, it’s no surprise that demand is rising for solutions that help companies to manage of all that information and actually process it into useful takeaways.
Once strictly the realm of subject matter experts and IT departments, today’s BI tools are now becoming more intuitive and easier to use, so you no longer need everyone in your team to be highly trained in data analytics to reap the benefits.
Let’s explore some of the best BI options out there for your startup.
- Accessibility and multi-functionality with Sisense
Sisense might just be our top pick. Its unique selling point is its accessibility. Sisense is specifically designed to be easy-to-use for those with little or no prior experience working with data.
For one, it provides in-programme support for your employees. The Sisense chatbot Boto answers questions in a moment’s notice and can be integrated with all your business messaging platforms such as Slack, Skype and Messenger. And Sisense’s AI-enhanced Natural Language Query (NLQ) search is available on all dashboards as of earlier this month.
Sisense is also notable for its multi-functionality – brilliant for a tight startup budget as you get everything you need in one place. The company has gone a long way to ensure their platform is the only one you’ll need when it comes to data management and analytics. It uses Single Stack architecture that allows users to collect, prepare, organise and analyse their data without having to worry about additional tools.
In terms of process optimisation, Sisense has the option of desktop and mobile alters, which automatically send you updates on all your key performance indicators. This means you’ll be on top of the numbers no matter where you are or what you’re doing.
Another upside of Sisense is its powerful analytics engine, which can analyse huge amounts of data with extreme speed. It also hosts a widget library and excellent governance controls and data security, even when embedding dashboards in other digital experiences. This adheres to the highest level of industry standards and security practices, manages who is allowed data access and conducts audits.
- Fancy data visualisations withTableau
Tableau is your go-to if you’re looking for a BI tool that focuses on data visualisation. It has advanced graphics and vast visualisation capacities – a go-to tool for visual analytics.
These visualisations available include everything from simple bar graphs and pie charts to impressive interactive maps and scattergrams. What’s more, you can combine visuals and charts to create data narratives through Tableau’s storyboard feature.
Tableau allows you to create interactive dashboards, with many easy-to-use custom filters. Whether you need an executive, operations or ad-hoc dashboard, these are intuitive to use with drag-and-drop functionality and are easy to share across teams.
While arguably the best tool out there for visualisations, Tableau doesn’t fully meet the mark when it comes to all round functionality, meaning you will likely need to employ the use of other tools on top. It has limited data processing functions and doesn’t provide data cleansing to ensure the accuracy of your data. This could lead to inaccurate datasets – and Tableau’s high cost might not suit every startup out there.
- Modelling and relational databases with Looker
Looker is a great tool for data modelling and relational databases. It allows you to build your own analytics modules and visualisations using a single piece of code. You can also collaborate with colleagues to create your own data model using your company’s metrics. Looker also makes it very easy to manage data reports.
You can use Looker to analyse web-hosted and SQL data and connect to over 50 SQL dialects, enabling users to connect to multiple databases at one time. It’s an impressively adaptable tool which you can use to create varied data models to reflect your organisational structure and needs.
Looker supports live data connections, which are great if your data is stored in a high-performance data warehouse. If you’re a smaller company, however, this might be a downside, as you’ll have to optimise performance in an in-memory layer, which may lead to delays.
- Collaborative analytics with Yellowfin
One of the most brilliant things about BI tools is that they encourage collaboration and break down siloes in your organisation. Yellowfin stands out in this category, allowing you to seamlessly share insights across your organisation. This BI tool makes it easy to export and distribute data via email to whomever might need it.
Like Sisense, Yellowfin gives you the option of personalised alerts available on both desktop and mobile, so the right people will instantly know about significant changes, whether these be spikes or drops in your data stream.
Yellowfin also has a stories function, allowing you to tell a narrative through embedding multiple reports. These can also be imported from various dashboard platforms such as Qlik and Tableau.
On the downside, there isn’t an option to store data and work from the cloud with Yellowfin, which might be an issue if working across multiple computers.
- Data management and security with Zoho
With Zoho Analytics, you can be certain your data is secure and data management on point. It has brilliant query management, with a fast turnaround for problem diagnoses and solutions.
Zoho provides vigorous audits to ensure continuous compliance with industry standards. They also employ a third party to audit specific adherence to their respective guidelines. This, along with regular, internal audits, ensures quality to the highest standard.
Excellent data security is also an asset of this BI tool, as all OWASP practices and guidelines are rigorously followed and no customer data is sold to a third party under any circumstances.
Zoho stands out as an especially affordable option, great for a young company. Unfortunately, Zoho doesn’t offer the function of customising graphics, so if high-quality visuals are a priority for your organisation, best to look to a tool like Sisense or Tableau.
Arrive at your own insights
This is a great time to get started with business intelligence and complex analytics at your company. The software tools of the trade have never been more powerful or affordable. Consider the strengths and weaknesses of each vendor’s product and start experimenting.
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