Best open source business intelligence and analytics tools

The proprietary analytics software market can be extremely difficult to pick through, with a wide range of similar solutions that all come with hefty price tags, with vendors like Microsoft, Tableau, Qlik, Domo, Splunk and SAS dominating the market for everything from business intelligence to IT and security monitoring.

So what are some open source alternatives to these proprietary tools? And aside from cost what benefits can they bring? Here's our pick of the market.

BIRT
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BIRT

BIRTis a pretty basic open source analytics tool for reports, dashboards and visualisations. It isn't a code-free solution though, so if you don't know basic Java, scripts and formatting, this isn't the tool for you.

BIRT boasts “over 12 million downloads and over 2.5M developers across 157 countries.”

Apache Zeppelin
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Apache Zeppelin

Zeppelinfrom the open source standard bearers at Apache is a 'multi-purpose notebook' for analytics. This includes data visualisation, analytics and data discovery.

It is naturally well suited to data ingestion from other Apache technologies, such as Spark, Hadoop and Hive, as well as PostgreSQL and Python.

Knowage/SpagoBI
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Knowage/SpagoBI

Now under the Knowage brand, SpagoBI is an open source business intelligence tool. Now in version 6.1 it is a popular tool with features include basic reporting, dashboards, data management tools and a new cockpit feature where it's possible to move a widget from tab to tab, change the look and feel of dashboards and create 3D charts.

MapD
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MapD

MapD is an open source analytics tool built with performance in mind, for everyone from business analysts to data scientists.

It promises querying and interactive dashboards for big data workloads and is an SQL engine designed to manage workloads distributed across CPU and GPUs. Verizon is a blue chip customer of MapD.

Jaspersoft Community
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Jaspersoft Community

Jaspersoft proved itself popular enough to be snapped up by analytics company Tibco in 2014 for $185 million. There are still multiple community editions however, including:

  • JasperReports Server
  • JasperReports Library
  • Jaspersoft ETL
  • Jaspersoft Studio
Knime
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Knime

Knime(short for Konstanz Information Miner), is a free and open source data analytics tool particularly geared towards data scientists working in Python or R, so well suited to machine learning use cases. There are three open source versions:

  • Knime Analytics Platform
  • Knime Cloud Analytics Platform
  • Knime Server
Metabase
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Metabase

Metabaseis a completely free and open source SQL-free analytics tool for querying your data using natural language and running visualisations for reporting.

Matomo
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Matomo

For any businesses looking for an open source alternative to Google Analytics, particularly handy for those that are reliant on web traffic or specialise in ecommerce, there are open source alternatives in this space also.

One of the best known is Matomo, which is about as feature rich as GA but far more customisable.

This includes core metrics on the number of visitors, referrals, bounce rate and exit pages, complete with reports and dashboards.

Read next: 11 best web analytics tools 2018: Alternatives to Google Analytics

Seal Report
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Seal Report

Seal Report is an open source SQL analytics tool written in C# for simple reporting and dashboards.

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