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Top 5 BI Software for SMBs

Updated on August 3, 2016
Boss Lady Mae profile image

A Best-Selling Author who writes passionately with Beauty, Power, Confidence, and Control

In this era of information technology, fact and figures are the weapons that shape the future of your business. Now, Big business organizations have ample money to spend on customized MIS (Management Information Systems) and ESS (Executive Support Systems) but for small companies, the scenario is not the same. In most usual context, managing data is difficult for small- to medium-sized businesses, many of whom don’t have in-house IT departments. As a business owner, how can you get a clear overview of your company’s performance without hiring programmers to create proprietary software and reporting? Well, one answer is purchasing Business Intelligence (BI) software. BI software offers features that can help business owners capture and review data in a myriad of ways, enabling them to forecast sales, write budgets, set prices and communicate across multiple departments and locations.

While the primary concern of many business owners may be the cost of the software, there are other considerations to keep in mind – e.g. quality, features, portability, compatibility, etc. Most of the BI suites listed here do not have a pre-determined price due to varying level of customization required for different types of business organization. So, this article follows the benefits and features of the BI suites to determine the top 5 that may be good choices for small to medium sized businesses.

SiSense

SiSence considers itself the Robin Hood of the BI world due to its contribution to ‘data justice’! They believe in data independence for small, emerging companies who can use this software for taking decisive actions. In fact, the essential features of this BI software are gathering, analyzing and sharing – quite simple yet pivotal. Moreover, SiSense offers a user-friendly interface, ideal for business owners who have not previously worked with BI software. Their Elasticube database uses minimal hardware and a single server and minimizes data usage so you can share information easily. The suite includes data warehousing, dashboards, ETL functions, and reporting. Companies can use SiSense on-site or in the cloud.

Pentaho

This BI software optimized for cost –effectiveness. What’s unique about this? Well, it’s the integration between data and business analytic which created a self – sufficient analytical platform, capable of providing time and money saving information instantly. Pentaho users can use a dash-boarding wizard that makes customizing and sharing data quick and easy. Some of the products and services recommended by this software are data integration, business analytic, big data analytic, mobile BI, customs visualization, consulting services, etc. Other features include online analytical processing (OLAP), data integration, reporting and data mining. Simply put, this is an all rounding BI platform.

Looker

Looker is unique through its zero – lag, high portability, cloud-based analytical infrastructure. This BI software works with your data wherever you store it, whether it is on-site or in the cloud. Looker works like a web server. So, you do not have to warehouse your data. Each time a user searches within Looker, it creates a sharable URL that makes it quick and easy for users to access the data that other users have already mined. There are also other quite impressive features of Looker – personalized setup, support and access points, limitless data pass through a facility and super innovative data modeling features. Well, if you need a BI with maximum portability – Looker is the one for you.

BI360

BI360 has some exclusive features that provide this BI with a competitive advantage. For instance, the resource library and highly customized solutions in the industry are helpful for having a precise analytic outcome. In addition to dashboarding and data warehousing, BI360 offers drag-and-drop reports and a budgeting module. Along with budgeting analytics, users can forecast sales too. BI360 also allows users to create profiles, making it simple to find the right person to handle any problem. This collaborative feature makes BI360 a good choice for companies with multiple locations.

Exago

Exago is a web-based, self-serve BI solution. It assures user-friendly operation with advanced functionality. It requires no plug-ins or downloads. Exago’s features include standard and ad hoc reporting, dashboards and interactive data visualization. It also features four different report designs and customizable data solutions that integrate with your current system. Pixel perfect templates, automated scheduler, user-defined formulas, the compatibility with multiple platforms (PC, Smartphone/tab – android/iOS), and output formats (PDF, RTF, CSV etc.), are some of the additional lucrative features that Exago offers. Moreover, this BI’s programmable features lend themselves to managing solutions for multiple clients.

There are many other brands of BI software available. If you are shopping for business intelligence software that will help you to gather and use data for empowering your firm, it is a good idea to shop around and find the software with the features you need. Most companies offer prices based on the number of users, so make sure to request quotes and do a thorough price-product comparison. Just remember one thing, it’s a software that just helps you analyze the data but it’s you who’ll use the output. So, ensure the optimum utilization of your software and make you unique to the marketplace.

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© 2014 Mae Merriweather aka Boss Lady Mae

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    • Joe Mosconi III profile image

      Joe Mosconi III 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      My next study......I really need this! Thanks again