Top Five (5) Business Intelligence Tools: A Comparative Review
Business intelligence (BI) is a process that involves the transformation of raw data into insights that businesses can use to make informed decisions. BI tools allow business stakeholders to extract valuable insights from their data and visualize it in a way that is easy to understand.
There are many BI tools on the market. Our focus is the top 5: Tableau, Microsoft Power BI, QlikView, SAP BusinessObjects, and IBM Cognos Analytics. In this blog post, we will explore their differences, cost implications, and which one may be the best fit for your business.
Microsoft Power BI
Microsoft Power BI is a cloud-based business intelligence tool with several features, including data preparation, visualization, and collaboration. This tool can integrate with other Microsoft products, including Excel, SharePoint, and Dynamics 365. Power BI also offers a mobile app for iOS and Android. This feature makes it easy to access data on the go. It’s the best fit for businesses already invested in the Microsoft ecosystem and want seamless integration with their existing tools. Power BI pricing model is classified into three offers. They are:
- Power BI Pro – $9.99 per user per month.
- Power BI Premium – $20 per user per month.
- Power BI Premium – $4.995 per month (ideal for large organizations)
Tableau is a data visualization and business intelligence tool known for its ease of use and powerful analytics capabilities. It offers a drag-and-drop interface that allows users to create dashboards and reports. Users can customize these reporting items to fit their specific needs. Tableau allows the integration of multiple data sources with a real-time data connectivity feature. With a need for real-time data analytics, Tableau is an ideal tool for businesses.
Tableau’s pricing model ranges from a free trial (with limited features), a one-time license, a subscription, and a quotation base. The subscription pricing model is shown below:
- Tableau Creator (For individuals) – $70 per user per month
- Tableau Explorer (On-Premises or Public Cloud) – $35 per user per month
- Tableau Viewer (On-Premises or Public Cloud) – $12 per user per month
- Tableau Creator (Fully Hosted) – $70 per user per month
QlikView is a business intelligence tool that offers data visualization and analytics capabilities. It is known for its user-friendly interface and ability to handle large datasets. QlikView uses an in-memory data processing engine. This engine is for faster data retrieval and analysis. It also offers real-time data connectivity and integrates with multiple data sources, making it a versatile tool for businesses with complex data needs. Qlik has different pricing models for their customers. They are open to subscription or user-based licensing options (users are charged on a per-user or periodic subscription basis).
The different Qlik plans are listed below:
- Qlikview Personal Edition – Free with unlimited time validity for a personal computer.
- Qlikview Enterprise Edition – Premium package with pricing based on customer request (This could be per user or subscription plan).
SAP BusinessObjects is a suite of business intelligence tools that offer data visualization, reporting, and analytics capabilities. SAP BusinessObjects has the following features: ad hoc reporting, self-service, cross-enterprise sharing, and predictive analytics. BusinessObjects is known for its ability to handle large and complex datasets, making it an ideal option for large enterprises. There is a list of multiple data sources in this tool that can connect to SAP and non-SAP systems.
SAP BusinessObjects does not have a free version or free trial. The starting price for this solution is fourteen thousand dollars ($14,000) per year.
IBM Cognos Analytics
IBM Cognos Analytics is a business intelligence tool that offers a range of features, including data visualization, reporting, and analytics capabilities. It is known for its ability to handle large datasets and provide real-time data connectivity. Cognos Analytics also offers a range of advanced analytics features, including predictive analytics and machine learning capabilities. It is a good option for businesses with complex data needs that require advanced analytics capabilities.
IBM Cognos Analytics has a free trial window of thirty (30) days. There are different pricing packages for IBM Cognos Analytics. They are:
- Standard (Cloud) – $15 per user per month
- Plus (Cloud) – $35 per user per month
- Premium (Cloud) – $70 per user per month
- Custom – Open to negotiation with the client
So, which BI tool is right for your business? It ultimately depends on your specific needs, requirements, and budget. Tableau is an option for businesses that need powerful data visualization and analytics capabilities. Microsoft Power BI is a good option for organizations already invested in the Microsoft ecosystem and want seamless integration with their existing tools. QlikView is a versatile tool: good for businesses with complex data needs. SAP BusinessObjects is a good option for large enterprises that require advanced reporting and analytics capabilities. Finally, IBM Cognos Analytics is a good option for businesses that require advanced analytics capabilities.
Figure 1: A table that compares the top 5 business intelligence tools based on certain parameters
|Ideal for Start Up||Demo/ Free Edition||Monthly Cost||User Community||Training/Certification||Gartner Magic Quadrant|
|IBM Cognos Analytics||No||Yes||Relatively Cheap||Yes||Yes||Visionary|
|Microsoft PowerBI||Yes||Yes||Relatively Cheap||Yes||Yes||Leader|
|SAP Business Objects||No||No||Relatively expensive||Yes||Yes||Visionary|
There are many great BI tools on the market, and choosing the right one for your business can be daunting. By considering the specific needs of your business, you can select the BI tool that best fits your requirements and provides the insights you need to make informed decisions.