Finding the Right Business Intelligence Tool – Musato Technologies
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Finding the Right Business Intelligence Tool

Musato Technologies is committed to helping businesses in finding the right business intelligence tool to maximize their ROI.  Given the issues spreadsheets can have when used as ad hoc BI tools and how firmly ingrained they are in our psyches, finding the right BI tool isn’t a simple process. Unlike spreadsheets, they have major differences when it comes to how they consume data inputs and outputs, and manipulate their tables. Some are better at exploration than analysis, and some require a fairly steep learning curve to really make use of their features. Finally, what makes matters worse is that there are dozens (if not hundreds) of such tools on the market today, with many vendors willing to claim the self-serve BI label even if it doesn’t quite fit.

Getting the overall workflow down with these tools will take some study. With some such as Qlik Sense Enterprise Servier, Tableau Desktop, and Clearify QQube, you start out with the desktop version of the software to build your visualization and link up to various data sources. Once you have this together, you can start sharing it online or across your enterprise network, depending upon which tool is used. With others, such as Domo and Zoho Reports, you start in the cloud and only use the desktop versions to pull in specific local data sources when you need them.

Given the wide price range of these products, you should segment your analytics needs before you make any decision. If you want to start out slowly and inexpensively, the best route is to try either Zoho Reports or Microsoft Power BI. Both are very affordable and make it very easy to get started. Plus, both tools have large ecosystems of add-ons and partners that could be a cost-effective replacement for doing BI inside a spreadsheet.

If you have a large Intuit QuickBooks installation, then certainly Clearify QQube’s 15-day free trial is worth a look. After all, if QuickBooks is your only data source, spending more than $15,000 for one of the more expensive tools will be a harder sell.

Domo has the largest collection of data connectors and a powerful social interaction component that will disseminate analytics throughout your enterprise. Tableau Desktop has the largest collection of charts and visualizations, and the biggest partner network. And Zoho Reports, Tibco Spotfire Desktop, and Qlik Sense Enterprise Server are the most welcoming to users who may be intimidated by the steeper learning curves of Tableau Desktop and Domo.

 The more expensive BI tools we examined included Looker, Information Builders WebFocus, and Chartio. Looker and to a lesser extent Chartio bridge old and new-school BI by helping you analyze SQL and NoSQL data. At the other end of the cost spectrum, Microsoft Power BI is mostly free and a good starting place for BI newbies. Both Information Builders WebFocus and Chartio still have some work to do to make both products easier to use. They could learn from Tibco Spotfire Desktop, which is one of the easiest tools for finding insights if you have a lot of Microsoft Excel data.

IBM Watson Analytics scored the highest, and Microsoft Power BI and Tableau Desktop scored the next hightest in our roundup. However, all three products received our Editors’ Choice award. Tableau Desktop may have a big price tag depending on which version you choose, but it has an exceptionally large and growing collection of visualizations, and a relatively easy learning curve (although others such as Tibco Spotfire Desktop, Qlik Sense Enterprise Server, and Zoho Reports were even easier). Domo, Microsoft Power BI, and Tableau Desktop all have large and growing collections of data connectors, and both Microsoft and Tableau have their own sizable communities of users that are vocal about their wants and needs, and carry a lot of weight with the vendors’ development teams. The bottom line is finding the Right Business Intelligence Tool is very crucial to the success of your organisation.