Business intelligence (BI) tools provide an easy way for businesses, organisations and individuals to get valuable information from their business data analysis.
These software solutions enable users to understand relationships between their data, leverage data trends for business forecasting, and gain more insights into what aspects of their business processes are helping them thrive and which aspects require adjustments.
The UK’s BI market is expected to see increased value in upcoming years. According to data from Mordor Intelligence, the market is projected to reach a CAGR of 9.2% during the forecast period 2021-2026. Since the COVID-19 pandemic took effect on the worldwide economy, many businesses have been implementing BI processes within their company structure to derive insights that could help them regain economic success. Thus, BI tools have been a popular method for making business decisions from business data.
Read on to learn more about the top tools and providers available to businesses within the UK.
Business Intelligence Software and Tools
Best for Tech-Savvy Users
Board provides software with features for BI, performance management and analytics software. It can be deployed via cloud or on-premises, with features like native HTML5 web technology, pre-built dedicated data connectors, multi-language support, in-memory server cluster architecture, in-memory technology, multi-layer security, a single logical view of corporate data and more. In addition, its drag-and-drop analysis tools enable users to create calculated metrics and gain perspectives of analysis on their data. Users can also benefit from the system’s planning and business modelling features for forecasting and gaining essential insights into their data.
The software provides integration capabilities for business, sales and financial planning solutions. The third-party tools connect with include Excel, Microsoft Azure, SAP tools, Microsoft tools, Theobald software and more. After a free demo, prospective buyers can contact Board for more information on plan pricing.
Customer reviews online seem to enjoy the product for its flexibility and data use capabilities. However, some users expressed that the product was not easy to manage for less-tech-savvy users and desired for it to provide online training to help users gain familiarity with the interface.
Best for Automated Features
ClicData offers an end-to-end BI software platform that connects users’ data to create useful data visualisations. The system can connect to over 250 data sources of varying types and provides over 50 different types of visualisations. Users can share dashboards and data feed with internal and external recipients, as the tool has unlimited sharing capabilities. The system is fully automated, allowing for real-time data use and automatic scheduling features. Users can create dashboards with the drag-and-drop designer, where they can use over 70 widgets to visualise their KPIs. ClicData is a Microsoft Azure partner, so users’ data is secured and protected.
The BI software supports integrations with various third-party business data tools, such as Box, Excel, Zapier, Dropbox, Salesforce, Pipedrive, Google BigQuery and others. Users can also increase their product’s functionality with the ClicData API. Those interested in the ClicData product can start a free trial. Afterward, product pricing is billed monthly or annually, depending on the number of users and features per plan.
Online reviewers of ClicData seemed to be overall satisfied with the tool’s real-time reporting capabilities and automation features. Still, some reviewers expressed a desire for changes to the software, like more widgets for the dashboards, better documentation and more pre-built report templates.
Best for Customisation and Adaptability
Dundas BI is an end-to-end BI platform that transforms data into insights with flexible features and capabilities. The tool can be adapted to the user’s specifications to get the helpful information that they require from their datasets. The customisable self-service dashboards can enable users to monitor their performance and business metrics in real-time with responsive design options, drag and drop tools and customisable visualisations. The smart data visualisations have features like smart recommendations, data brushing, chart animated transitions, and other capabilities that let the user configure their visualisations to better understand their data. The solution’s forecasting and analytics features can use built-in formulas to leverage third-party analytics tools to gain insights from data analysis. In addition to the various visualisation options, the Dundas BI intuitive reporting also provides customisable settings for scheduling reports, scheduling notifications, eliminating manual processes and more.
Dundas BI has integrations with existing third-party systems and applications like SharePoint, Excel, Salesforce, Google Analytics, Microsoft BI technologies and additional data sources. Users can also integrate their embedded BI software into their existing systems through the APIs. Those interested in purchasing the product can contact Dundas for pricing and quotes.
Despite some complaints about deployment troubles and the product’s learning curve, most reviewers online were happy with the Dundas BI solution for its responsive dashboards and helpful visualisations.
Best for KPI Features
Geckoboard is a solution that enables users to connect their data sources and build real-time data dashboards for their teams. Teams can benefit from live KPI dashboards containing essential metrics that matter most for their particular organisational needs. Team leaders can customise the dashboards using filters to focus on important metrics and visualisation options to represent data in the best way for their teams. The system makes building and organising data visualisations easy, with additional progress management features like status indicators, goals and comparisons. The solution also includes sharing features that enable access to key metrics.
Geckoboard users can use data from each data source, as the solution provides over 80 integration options. Some examples of Geckoboard’s pre-built integration options include Google Analytics, Zendesk, Salesforce, Google Sheets, HubSpot, Instagram, Mailchimp and Trello.
Online reviewers of Geckoboard enjoyed the product’s features and capabilities for visualising and sharing KPIs, with some describing it as an easy dashboard solution. On the other hand, however, a few reviewers had suggestions of ways the solution could be improved, such as through notifications and more customisation options.
Best for Data Modelling
Microsoft Power BI
Microsoft provides its Power BI solution that helps organisations make decisions based on their data insights. The product includes a self-service analytics platform for individuals and scaling up to whole organisations. The solution’s smart tools enable users to discover and share insights with data visualisation options like drag-and-drop data storytelling and interactive reports. The solution also has built-in AI capabilities. For example, AI-driven augmented analytics can help users find patterns and predict outcomes from their data, with no code required. Data modelling tools are a nice feature included within the BI solution, so users can easily prepare, organise and understand their data. Data is secured by the system’s end-to-end encryption, real-time access monitoring, sensitivity labelling and other security features.
Users of the product can benefit from its integration options, with pre-built data connectors for tools like Excel, Salesforce and Azure SQL DB. Additionally, it is also possible to create custom data connectors. The BI solution can integrate with other Microsoft platform products for more data processing, data insight, workflow automation and other capabilities. The Power BI pricing starts at £7.50 per user per month for the Power BI Pro plan. The more advanced Power BI Premium plan can be priced either at £15.10 per user monthly or £3,766.70 per capacity.
Most reviewers were satisfied with the Microsoft Power BI product for its data analysis and visualisations features. However, some areas of improvement mentioned within reviews included the desire for more collaboration features, faster processing of large data volumes and more options for sharing dashboards with external recipients.
Best for Integrated BI Processes
Oracle Business Intelligence
Oracle Business Intelligence is a solution that provides a range of technology and applications as a part of the Oracle Business Intelligence Suite Enterprise Edition Plus platform. Its components include a BI server that is central to business processes such as reporting, dashboards, OLAP analysis, interaction capabilities and related BI data-related processes. In addition, the suite includes the Oracle Business Intelligence Server, Oracle Business Intelligence Answers, Oracle Business Intelligence Dashboards, Oracle Business Intelligence Delivers, Oracle Business Intelligence Publisher, Oracle Real-Time Decision Server, Oracle Scorecard and Strategy Management, and Oracle Data Visualisation. Basically, Oracle provides every BI-related tool they have within this solution, with features that support data analysis, visualisation, predictive analytics, business activity monitoring and alerting, intelligent request generation and more.
The product supports integration with other Oracle tools, as well as Microsoft Office for more BI functionality.
Reviewers of the product appreciated its extensive functionality and role-based security. However, some reviewers expressed issues with generating reports and performing analytic processes, so it may not be the most new-user-friendly option.
Best for Collaboration Features
Qlik Sense is a solution for cloud analytics and data-driven insights. Its features include data preparation and connectivity, data catalog, automation workflows, self-service visualisation, reporting, advanced analytics embedding, alerting, interactive dashboards and more. In addition, the system supports users as they interact with their data through the search-based and conversational analytics tools that help them understand user intent and find the most relevant and impactful insights for their needs. This, along with the augmented analytics tools, make it easier for users to understand and utilise their data to generate relevant and valuable insights. Another nice feature worth mentioning is the collaboration and notes capabilities, which enable users to add context to their analytics, create discussion threads and interact with their team about their data.
Qlik Sense enables users to leverage their data from multiple sources through the API and existing connections with third-party solutions. Qlik offers a free trial and a free version of its software, and pricing is based on plans and the number of users.
Online reviewers generally seemed satisfied with the product for its KPI management and data functionality. However, some reviewers desired additional features that the product lacked, like alerting capabilities and better visualisation formatting options.
Best for Hybrid Analytics Capabilities
SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence
SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence offers a suite and business technology platform that enables users to make decisions from real-time data insights. It is a centralised suite for data visualisation, reporting, and sharing processes that support organisational decision-making. The solution provides data visualisation and analytics features, like intuitive self-service visualisation tools, cross-enterprise sharing functionality for sharing insights, and role-based BI dashboards that deliver insights and information to decision-makers.
The solution integrates with third-party solutions, providing users with a broader range of multidimensional data analysis capabilities. Its integration options include Microsoft PowerPoint for embedding data analytics, Microsoft Excel for discovering business insights, and more. In addition, connections with other SAP tools can offer hybrid analytics features, like connectivity with SAP Business Warehouse and SAP HANA for simplifying data access and real-time data analytics. Those interested in the SAP BusinessObjects BI suite can request a free demo of the product online, as well as a free price quote for the software.
Reviews of the BI suite solution seemed pleased with the system’s data use and reporting capabilities. However, some reviewers found the system’s limited data query capabilities too restrictive for their needs.
Best for Data Monitoring Tools
SAS Business Intelligence & Analytics
SAS provides BI solutions and BI analytics tools to help users integrate and discover their data. They can use the product to generate and share interactive reports and dashboards, with capabilities for data access, filtering, transformation and other data preparation features. In addition, SAS provides what they describe as “easy analytics”, which enable users to forecast trends, find correlations in datasets, predict outcomes, visualise data and more. An excellent feature of the SAS BI analytics tool is its monitoring capabilities. For example, businesses can monitor their resource consumption and visualise the data within the SAS visuals to find correlations, reveal patterns and develop insights.
The SAS BI solution can integrate with Microsoft tools like MS Office, Outlook and Excel. SAS Integration Technologies also provides APIs to enable connections with third-party tools and resources. Those in the UK interested in the SAS BI product can contact SAS for a price quote.
Customer reviews gave the product mostly satisfactory reviews. However, some reviewers indicated that the product might be difficult for inexperienced users.
Best for Data Integration Features
Zoho provides a self-service BI and analytics platform with features that enable users to transform their data into actionable insights. The system can use and blend data from various sources and prepare the datasets for analysis within the system with an augmented data preparation and management module. Data analysis may be augmented with AI to generate automated insights, predictions of future trends, perform what-if analysis and cognitive analysis, and other capabilities. The solution lets users visualise their data how they prefer by building interactive reports and dashboards with the drag-and-drop interface. Teams can collaborate through secured sharing and permissions options and additional collaboration features. The product also enables users to build and embed BI analytics to support their business needs. Other features exist for security and governance, data storytelling, unified business insights and more.
The Zoho solution’s integration options allow users to connect to numerous data sources and blend their data. Users can upload data of various types, such as spreadsheets, online storage, URL feeds, etc. The software provides over 500 integration connector options for sales analytics, marketing analytics, financial analytics, e-commerce analytics, project management analytics, IT and helpdesk analytics, and others. Some specific examples of integratable third-party applications include Stripe, Mailchimp, Salesforce CRM, Shopify and Zoho Projects. Users can also use integration APIs to build connectors from custom apps. Prices are based on the number of users and features supported per plan.
Customers’ reviews online displayed overall satisfaction with the software and its reporting capabilities.