Business Intelligence Software

Business intelligence software is the technical way to get BI into your organization. Even with some of the consolidation that’s taken place in the industry the past few years, there are still quite a few options out there for organizations looking for BI solutions. Let’s look into them deeper.

Once a business gets to a certain size, dedicated BI technology makes much more sense than a cobbled together home-grown solution, often involving Excel. While some of the systems can be procy, data and information is critical enough to most companies that the costs are well-worth it.

IBM, Oracle, and SAP all have made huge purchases of BI vendors in the past few years, looking to provide a one-stop shop not just for business intelligence, but data integration, ERP, portals, and even databases. In addition, there are quite a few open source vendors who have come along in the last 5 or so years, capturing some of the popularity of OS open source. Lastly, a few smaller niche players have made inroads into various branches of the technology.

These are the big players, who control around 60% of the market.
IBM Cognos
Microsoft, including it's new Powerpivot

Large Independents:
Information Builders - Their BI tool is called WebFOCUS

What about open source?

Up to a few years ago, they were more of a novelty or resigned to a small role in company BI. They have expanded rapidly recently, including winning some business from the big players. They would even argue that they do offer a full BI suite.

Some providers, like Tableau, iDashboards, or Qlikview, focus more on the visualization or dashboard. Others, like Actuate, LogiXML, or Inetsoft can do the enterprise reporting well. TIBCO Spotfire is more of an analysis and data mining tool, but has BI functionality as well. Visual mining provides a nice Java based charting and dashboarding tool. Some organizations don’t need full BI suites, or need specialized tools for specific functions that the bigger companies can’t deliver at all, or at least cheap enough. You’ll see these niche players often in business lines, or departments. They offer parts of a BI offering such as:

Balanced Scorecard Software

Reporting software

Dashboard software

Cloud BI

Visualization software - Tableau

Mobile BI- Such as RoamBI

Other - Arcplan

You'll have to consider the needs and resources of your BI infrastructure to decide what choices work best for a given organization. Read more about our reviews to get a deeper analysis of what's out there.

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