Tools for business intelligence

Open-source and Commercial Tools for Business Intelligence


Tools for business intelligence and analytics are distinguished by user-friendly functionality that allows a full analytic workflow, with a focus on self-service usage to help users make better decisions in the simplest way possible. Analytics has become a catch-all word for a wide range of business intelligence (BI) and application-related projects. BI is an umbrella word comprising applications, infrastructure, and tools, as well as best practices that provide access to and analysis of information to improve and optimize decisions, decision support, and performance.

Market dynamics are fast developing as new ecosystems form, leading to the continuous convergence of data analytics, business intelligence, data science, and machine learning technologies. Almost all top businesses leverage business intelligence tools to manage their products, services, and goods to realize greater value and extract data insights that power smart business decisions. In this blog, we’ll compare BI tools and provide you with a list of BI tools of some of the best in the market. Here we go!

Why is business intelligence important?

Business intelligence is strategically designed to help businesses make better decisions. And also, it’s a pillar for digital transformation. Any business looking to stay relevant and meet modern business demands must employ business intelligence practices, methodologies, processes, and tools for relevant data collection, storage, analysis, and decision-making.

Some of the most successful companies use BI systems at every level of decision-making, from strategy to everyday operations, in order to gain a competitive advantage based on useful information. Companies that want to work smarter in today's data-driven environment are investing in strategies to better manage and comprehend the abundance of information.

With the help of business intelligence, firms can keep track of trends, adjust to changing market conditions, and make better decisions across the board. In certain cases, firms are looking to obtain insights into consumer purchasing, while in other cases, companies are looking to improve employee productivity or see who the greatest performers are. The definition of these goals is what helps businesses select the right business intelligence tool for their unique needs. 

Business intelligence technologies come in extremely handy when it comes to helping companies eliminate inefficiencies, discover possible problems, locate new revenue streams, and identify areas of future growth since they speed up information processing and performance review. Some of the specific advantages that firms gain from employing BI include:

  • Increased operational process efficiency.
  • Insight into client behavior and purchasing habits.
  • Accurate sales, marketing, and financial performance tracking.
  • Clear benchmarks based on past and present facts.
  • Data irregularities and client difficulties are immediately alerted.
  • Analyses that can be disseminated across departments in real-time.

Modern tools for BI. Comparison of BI tools: Open Source Tools for Business Intelligence

Apache SupersetApache Superset

Apache Superset is a modern, enterprise-ready web application for business intelligence. Known as one of the best BI tools open source, this BI software is fast, lightweight, intuitive, and packed with capabilities that allow users of all skill levels to easily explore and visualize their data, from simple pie charts to highly detailed geospatial maps.


  • An easy-to-use interface for displaying data and creating interactive dashboards.
  • Stunning visuals to highlight your data.
  • A code-free visualization creator for extracting and presenting datasets.
  • A world-class SQL IDE with a metadata browser for preparing data for visualization.

Price: Although Apache Superset is free for all users, installation charges exist. Setting up and accessing complicated queries in this platform requires the assistance of SQL-savvy experts.

Application example: Many businesses are currently using Superset on a large basis. For example, Superset runs in Airbnb's production environment inside Kubernetes and serves 600+ daily active users viewing over 100K charts per day.


BIRT stands for Business Intelligence Reporting Tool. BIRT is one of the best BI tools for reporting that can collect and aggregate data from a variety of data sources (databases, files, Java, Javascript, online services, etc.) and use it for textual reporting and graphing (visual).


  • Easily customize dashboards and visualizations.
  • Combine information from various sources into a single source.
  • Discover insights and patterns by organizing, filtering, sorting, and grouping specific data sets.
  • Use visualization techniques to prepare reports. Insert tables, charts, explanatory text, and other visual aids.

Price: BIRT is an open-source software project that is free to download on the website.

Application example: IBM uses BIRT as its reporting tool. 


ChartMogul is a real-time reporting and analytics solution for subscription businesses that use Stripe, PayPal, Chargify, Braintree, or Recurly as their payment gateway. 


  • Key metrics are calculated automatically in real-time, allowing users to automate their reporting.
  • Customer lifetime value (CLV), customer, revenue, and quantity churn rates, customer growth, and other management and investor data are included.
  • MRR by marketing channel, retention cohort analysis, churn rate by net promoter score (NPS), and retention rate by sales rep are examples of sales, marketing, and customer success metrics.

Price: 14-day free trial, no credit card required. Launch is our freemium plan and caters to businesses with less than $10K MRR.

Application example: Instapage leverages ChartMogul to track the business's health, plan for the future, and experiment with optimizations.


Cluvio is a cloud-based business intelligence and analytics system that allows companies to evaluate data via a dashboard. 


  • Bank-level security:  Cluvio has drawn inspiration from the most stringent security procedures used in banking organizations. As a result, security equals or exceeds some of the most stringent measures available, in addition to the physical insurance offered by vigilant audits and monitoring of anything critical to the integrity of your data.
  • Quick and powerful analytics:  SQL and R running beneath the hood to discover hidden connections in your data stockpile means you acquire important insights quickly.

Price: All plans come with a 14-day free trial period of the Business plan. You can switch to the Free Forever or any paid plans anytime during the trial or after.

Application example: Amazon uses Cluvio to drill down on sales or marketing channels and explore/discover data insights.


Databox is a cloud-based business analytics solution that enables users to build custom analytics dashboards that incorporate data from numerous sources and can be accessed from any device. 


  • Custom metrics, data, events, and goals can be imported and added to dashboards from numerous cloud services.
  • Advanced data modeling capabilities to change currencies and formats, compare various metrics on the same graph, pick between average and total values, switch between hourly and daily graphs, and more.
  • Datawall designer to create personalized datawalls without writing any code.

Price: Free plan and free trial available. Subscription-based pricing.

Application example: Smartbug Media, HubSpot’s top agency partner, uses Databox to automate reporting.


KNIME Analytics Platform is an open-source data analysis platform that allows data scientists to create and manage visual data analytics workflows. 


  • Scalability via clever data management (intelligent automatic caching of data in the background while maximizing throughput performance)
  • High extensibility using a well-defined API for plugin extensions
  • Simple user interface
  • Workflow import/export (for exchanging with other KNIME users)

Price: 100% free with options for annual-based subscriptions for additional features.

Application example: Würth uses KNIME Partner Miriade to develop its big data recommendation engine.

Hitachi Vantara PentahoHitachi Vantara (Pentaho)

Hitachi Data Systems, Pentaho and Hitachi Insight Group have merged into one company: Hitachi Vantara. The tool aims to assist organizations across numerous industries in extracting value from all of their data, including big data and IoT.


  • Intuitive web-based data access wizard and interactive reporting.
  • Robust data integration and federation for IT and developers, allowing them to access and integrate data from Excel to Hadoop.
  • Interactive visual analysis.

Price: The software comes in free community and subscription-based enterprise editions.

Application example: flydubai, a United Arab Emirates transportation company, uses Pentaho for Analytics and BI.

Tableau PublicTableau Public

Tableau Public is one of the most prominent tools for BI. This free online platform for sharing and exploring data visualizations. Tableau Desktop Professional Edition or Tableau Public Web Authoring can be used by anyone to create visualizations. 


  • Visualizations published to Tableau Public are viewable online by anybody. 
  • Anyone can browse and contribute to Tableau Public's millions of visualizations. 
  • Vizzes that are fully hosted on Tableau Public can support millions of views. Tableau Public manages all infrastructure for free.

Price: Free tool with different hosting (paid) options.

Application example:  Lenovo India uses Tableau Public to increase reporting efficiency by 95% across the enterprise.

Commercial BI tools


With data apps, self-service analytics, automated reporting, and embedded analytics, you can unlock new value by placing well-governed, actionable data in the hands of every business decision-maker, frontline worker, and stakeholder inside or outside your organization.


  • Sub-second queries at scale
  • Over 1,000 pre-built and custom data connectors
  • Bi-directional data flow to write data back to source systems
  • Over 150 interactive chart types
  • Real-time alerts and push notifications

Price: Free trial available with subscription-based options.

Application example: The NBA partnered with Domo to turn their estimated viewership processes from a manual computation to an automated pipeline that can produce instantaneous assessments of estimated viewers.

Oracle Analytics CloudOracle Analytics Cloud

Oracle Analytics Cloud is a unified platform that enables your entire business to ask any question of any data—in any environment, on any device. 


  • Self-service, approach to enable users to create stunning visuals to explain their results and share them with colleagues.
  • Data preparation and enrichment, built into the analytics cloud platform.
  • Business scenario modeling for self-service, multidimensional, and visual analyses.
  • Enterprise reporting, governance, and security, with a semantic layer.

Price: Always free, and free trial instances can be seamlessly upgraded to paid at any time.

Application example: Western Digital, one of the largest computer hard disk drive manufacturers in the world, uses Oracle Analytics Cloud to improve availability for 72,000 employees and improve speed resolution with mobility and collaboration tools.

Power BIPower BI

Microsoft Power BI is an analytics software that analyzes company data and shares insights through beautiful representations. 


  • Create complex visualizations and shareable reports.
  • Centralized platform for creating live customized dashboards and leveraging on-premises data via Power BI gateways.
  • Out-of-the-box connections and pre-built dashboards for 59 popular apps and services.
  • In-depth visual data analysis with free-form drag-and-drop canvas and a library of powerful visualizations.

Price: A free trial is available with subscription-based (paid) options for upgraded versions.

Application example:  Cerner's Power BI report library enables associates to easily and quickly access data by report type. Cerner associates may get the critical insights required to perform an Ambulatory Assessment with a single click.

Qlik SenseQlik Sense

Qlik Sense is a third-generation analytics platform that enables everyone in a company to make data-driven decisions. 


  • The search bar function lets you type in keywords and phrases to find data sets, graphs/charts, reports, and other items quickly.
  • Drag-and-drop capabilities allow for simple dashboard and report generation.
  • Qlik Sense operates as a centralized location to easily create and distribute apps, data stories, and insights.
  • Consolidate several data sources onto a single platform. 

Price: A free plan and a free trial are available. Subscription-based (paid) options for upgraded versions.

Application example:  Airbus uses Qlik to consolidate data sources and optimize aircraft production.

SAS Visual AnalyticsSAS Visual Analytics

SAS Visual Analytics is the company's flagship product for self-service data preparation, visual exploration, interactive reporting, and dashboards, as well as simple analytics. 


  • AS Visual Analytics combines reporting, data exploration, and analytics into a single application.
  • Use machine learning and natural language explanations to locate, illustrate, and narrate easy-to-understand and explain stories and insights. 
  • Highlight essential correlations, outliers, clusters, and more automatically to reveal critical insights that motivate action.

Price: A free trial is avaialble and there are multiple subscription-based models available (paid) for upgraded features.

Application example:  WWF uses SAS Analytics to pinpoint the contact method – such as a catalog mailer, phone call or email – that resonates with each donor. WWF also uses SAS to determine the ideal frequency, content and theme to use for each donor.


The Sisense data and analytics platform makes it extremely simple to combine data from across your whole data environment and transform it into powerful, actionable analytics apps that can be embedded anywhere.


  • Work on a single platform to achieve digital transformation.
  • Containerized, microservices architecture with single to multi-tenant deployments.
  • A powerful suite of tools for business intelligence that can quickly and securely transform raw data into insights. 

Price: A free trial is avaialble and there are multiple subscription-based models available (paid) for upgraded features.

Application example: Air Canada uses Sisense to extract meaningful insights and has become an indispensable operational management tool.


Companies use business intelligence technologies to stay competitive and increase income streams. Tools of business intelligence can support organizations in staying one step ahead of the competition by examining market trends, identifying new opportunities, and devising innovative tactics. 

Companies can also use these technologies to gain a better understanding of their clients' demands and optimize their offerings, from B2B to B2C. Additionally, these tools can also be used internally by companies to track the productivity of their employees in real-time.

The valuable benefits of tools for business intelligence are driving a surge in companies leveraging expertise on how to effectively implement them in their day-to-day operations. 

Svitla Systems is a trusted partner that has collaborated with numerous clients across all verticals to deliver value and expertise in business intelligence tools and technologies. Care to learn more? Reach out to our Svitla Systems representatives and we’ll be happy to share more.

by Svitla Team

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