Best analytics and business intelligence tools for enterprises 2019

The growing understanding of the power of analytics is leading many enterprises to find tools that all employees can use to access real-time insights without requiring technical expertise.

Here's our pick of the best self-serve analytics and business intelligence (BI) platforms for enterprise customers, from established vendors to new entries in the highly competitive market.

Tableau
© Tableau

Tableau

Tableauis a self-service analytics platform with impressive data visualisations that aim to get businesses away from PowerPoint presentations. The company employs colour, animation and cartography experts to make their visualisations easily digestible.

Tableau connects a wide range of data sources, from established formats such as Excel to more recent additions including Amazon Aurora, Microsoft Azure SQL Data Warehouse, MapR and Hadoop. Tableau is quick to implement and its commitment to visualisation stretches into the administrator tools, such as visual permissioning and governance.

The company has expanded its product offering in recent years. In 2019, it launched Ask Data, which uses natural language processing to enable customers to type questions and receive interactive visualisations in response. They can then reply with clarifying questions, new questions, or use drag and drop gestures.

The previous year, Tableau launched Tableau Prep, a data preparation tool that cuts the effort required to discover and prepare data through a drag and drop interface designed for casual users.

Tableau was acquired by SaaS CRM giant Salesforce in June 2019 for $15.7 billion. Read next: Tableau CEO eyes 'time machine leap forward' after Salesforce acquisition

Tableau revised its pricing plans in 2018, shifting to a trio of tailored subscription packages, all of which are available on-premises, in the public cloud or as-a-service.

Tableau Creator provides the full suite of Tableau capabilities, so: Tableau Desktop, Tableau Prep, and licenses for Tableau Server or Tableau Online for $70 per user per month.

Tableau Explorer enables users to create new dashboards based on governed data sources, collaborate with others, and set up data-driven alerts and subscriptions for $35 per user per month.

Tableau Viewer gives casual users the power to view and filter dashboards, receive alerts and receive and manage subscriptions for $12 per user per month.

Looker
© Looker

Looker

Looker was founded in California in 2012 to make it easier for business users with limited or no SQL knowledge to explore their data.

As the name would suggest, Looker prioritises high-quality data visualisation, through dynamic charts that can be drilled into straight from almost any device.

Customers can use Looker to embed analytics into apps, or as a standalone BI platform. Looker offers bespoke pricing, and you can request a quote online.

Read next: How Deliveroo uses Looker analytics to deliver food whatever the weather

It was announced in June 2019 that Looker has been acquired by Google Cloud.

MicroStrategy 2019
© MicroStrategy

MicroStrategy 2019

MicroStrategy provides a range of analytics tools designed for every skill level, which can be embedded into any business application or product through the company's open architecture and set of APIs.

The latest version of the platform, MicroStrategy 2019, is designed to provide the speed, accessibility and portability necessary for a consumer-like experience of advanced business analytics.

It includes the new HyperCard feature, which presents vital information on websites and applications when users hover over highlighted keywords, no code drag-and-drop customised app development, and APIs that integrate with Amazon Alexa and other voice-controlled applications to get answers to questions on the go.

The company offers a free application, MicroStrategy Desktop, and an enterprise platform that can be installed as a free trial. Contact MicroStrategy for full pricing details.

Birst Smart Analytics
© Birst

Birst Smart Analytics

Birstis a business analytics platform that gives everyone from individuals to enterprises improved insights and decision-making by connecting their data and people.

In January 2019, the company launched Birst Smart Analytics, a set of machine learning-powered capabilities that provide automated and personalised insights and recommendations that diagnose the current situation and predict what will happen in the future.

The first in the series of capabilities is Smart Insights, which analyses the variables driving Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to help users find meaningful relationships between a given KPI and countless business variables. It then automatically generates visualisations and dashboards that explain the KPI’s behaviour in a way that requires no expertise to understand.

Birst plans to also introduce capabilities including Anomaly Detection, Natural Language Generation/Querying (NLG/NLQ), and Intelligent Alerting. Contact the company for full pricing details.

Sisense
© Sisense

Sisense

Sisense is a powerful and agile analytics tool with an intuitive interface and impressive data visualisations.

The platform cleans and combines data from many different sources, which is processed with an in-chip analytics engine that promises greater speeds than in-memory processing. The results are displayed in interactive visualisations.

Users can receive automatic alerts for their most important KPIs, and mobile alerts on the go. They can also use the Sisense Boto chatbot to learn about the data or their Amazon Echo to ask Alexa for real-time responses to any questions.

The platform has an excellent reputation amongst experienced business analysts but a little tricky for absolute beginners.

The NYC-based company has big ambitions to expand in the UK. In 2018, Sisense opened a London-based office to accelerate its growth in Europe and add to a roster of British clients that currently includes Flight Centre, Motorola UK and Rolls-Royce Digital.

ContactSisense directly for a price quote.

Qlik
© Qlik

Qlik

Qlikis an established name in the data visualisation, BI and analytics space and offers a well-rounded portfolio of products.

Qlik breaks up its products according to how much support you require. Customers can choose from a self-service solution called Qlik Sense, the original guided analytics QlikView, a guided and embedded analytics option called Qlik Analytics Platform or external data feeds through Qlik DataMarket.

The self-service tool Sense is essentially an intuitive visualisation tool. It uses a drag and drop input method, so there is no need for scripting or SQL queries and users can quickly use search capabilities to track down key metrics.

Sense is enterprise-ready with central governance and security and the platform is fully customisable when it comes to data sources through APIs.

Qlik Sense pricing is based on a subscription licence model. Full pricing details are available by contacting the Qlik sales team direct.

SAS

SAS

Popular BI vendor SAS has a self-serve analytics platform called Viya, and has been busy adding AI and automation capabilities over the past year.

Aimed at both hardcore data scientists and business users, Viya is a massive platform of capabilities for all expertise levels, from Visual Analytics for reports and dashboards to event stream processing and complex model management.

SAS often touts its data preparation capabilities to automate a lot of the cumbersome aspects of data analytics, giving users a point and click environment where the platform takes care of a lot of the data prep under the hood.

The latest Viya release included embedded AI and automation, from data preparation to complex model building and deployment.

SAS products are priced on a bespoke basis. Visit the SAS website to request a quote.

Microsoft Power BI
© Microsoft

Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft Power BI is a popular choice for businesses, especially those that are existing Microsoft shops.

It's pretty simple software to use for building reports and dashboards for business data, collaborating and sharing across devices. It integrates with many data sources, SQL databases and even Spark, stored either on-premise or in the cloud.

Power BI is available online as a free desktop version and a professional edition that costs a very reasonable £7.50 per user per month.

Domo

Domo

Domoattempts to make BI and data visualisation truly self-serve by easing the tiresome data cleansing process.

It does this by allowing any data source to be plugged into the platform out-of-the-box, and enables users to prepare data for analysis without knowing how to code in SQL. You can then automate regular reports and easily share them across the organisation to collaborate on.

Domo is free to use for 30 days and then available in three separate licensing models for different user needs. Contact the sales team for specific pricing details.

IBM Cognos
iStock

IBM Cognos

After IBM shut down Watson Analytics it started directing customers towards its cloud-based Cognos offering.

IBM Cognos Analytics is a cloud-based, self-service analytics platform that allows users to create compelling visualisations and dashboards.

Incorporating AI, the platform claims to be able to highlight key information in dashboards and visualisations that may not be immediately obvious, by using pattern detection. An intelligent assistant is also on hand to deal with your queries. This means you can quickly find the data sources you need using natural language, not SQL.

The premium version of the software starts at £55.95 per user per month. Contact IBM for pricing details on the enterprise edition.

Teradata Analytics Platform
© Teradata

Teradata Analytics Platform

The Teradata Analytics Platform integrates a diverse set of analytics systems and data formats into a single environment. Users can switch between interfaces and tools, giving them the freedom to choose how they analyse data.

It includes an SQL engine with embedded analytic functions, a machine learning engine that delivers more than 100 pre-built analytic functions and a graph engine that discovers relationships between people, products and processes.

The platform also now also provides "4D Analytics", a new capability that combines geospatial data with time-series data to support the constantly changing time and locations variables of IoT applications.

Teradata is more complex to use than most of the platforms on this list, but it enables self-serve analytics through the Teradata Data Lab, a rapid development environment that simplifies BI within the production data warehouse.

Teradata can be deployed in the cloud and on-premises. Contact the Teradata sales team for pricing details.

Information Builders WebFOCUS

Information Builders WebFOCUS

Information Builders WebFOCUS is a business intelligence (BI) and analytics platform in the cloud that offers applications, reports, documents and analytical tools for businesses.

Other capabilities provided by the software includes data discovery, location intelligence, predictive and prescriptive analytics, BI smart search and natural language search.

With customisable dashboards, users can create an intuitive display from the data collected in multiple formats from different sources.

The platform also offers predictive analytics functions, including data modelling and scoring.

You can take a tour of the product and discover prices here.

Zoho Analytics

Zoho Analytics

Zoho Analytics(previously Zoho Reports) is a self-service BI platform that allows users to quickly create data visualisations and dashboards.

Typically for Zoho the product is simple to use and reasonably priced, with features including the ability to easily pull in multiple data sources and track key business metrics, extract trends, identify outliers, and uncover insights.

There is even an intelligent assistant, Zia - incorporating AI, machine learning and NLP technologies - which can answer your queries by pulling up reports and KPI widgets.

The software is available in four different editions. Basic, which costs $22.50 per month for two users, Standard, at $45 per month for five users, Premium, for $112.50 per month for 15 users, and enterprise, a $445.50 package for 50 users. Additional users can be added for $8 per month for each user.

Salesforce Einstein Analytics
© Salesforce

Salesforce Einstein Analytics

Salesforce rebranded Analytics Cloud to Einstein Analytics when it launched the brand in 2016 as it looked to shift to more intelligent analytics for its users.

Einstein encompasses all the machine learning-driven capabilities in Salesforce's product portfolio, so automation and smarter insights are the focus here.

The product includes predictive analytics for forecasting, smart data discovery to help users find and explain insights from their data, and automated analytics to prioritise the most pressing insights.

Users can obviously interrogate their Salesforce data, but can also bring in external data sources to enrich their data sets. Follow up tasks can then be assigned, such as a sales task or close a service case for better collaboration.

The product is available in three versions: Sales Cloud Einstein for £40 per user per month, Einstein Predictions for £60 per user per month, and Einstein Analytics Plus, available on request.

SAP Analytics Cloud

SAP Analytics Cloud

SAP's Analytics Cloud is an end-to-end BI platform with machine learning built in to surface key insights, and integrated planning features.

The product provides real-time analytics and collaboration tools in the cloud. It can be hooked up to on-premise or cloud data sources for historic or live data from SAP or external sources.

Analytics Cloud is available as a free 30-day trial and in flexible licensing options starting at £18 per user per month. Visit the SAP website for full pricing details.

Chartio
© Chartio

Chartio

Chartio is a Y Combinator-funded analytics company that bills itself as the Google Analytics for business data.

The proposition is pretty simple: Chartio pulls data from your database of choice and presents it back in web dashboards, which can be easily shared across the organisation.

Chartio focuses on cloud-based analytics and is available on a bespoke pricing basis. Visit the Chartio website for a quote.

Splunk

Splunk

Splunkspecialises in analytics from machine data, which the company has developed into an enterprise-grade guided analytics platform.

Splunk for Business Analytics provides real-time, end-to-end visibility into business processes, product performances, customer experience and marketing campaigns.

The product is available in a free version for one user to scale up to 500 MB of data per day, Splunk Lift for up to five users and 20GB of data per day, and Splunk Enterprise for an unlimited number of users and of data.

Alteryx
iStock

Alteryx

Alteryxis designed to help business analysts to pull together data and insight and deliver reports quickly.

It does this through a series of tools headed up by Designer, which simplifies workflows by combining data preparation, blending and analytics from a variety of data sources.

The software also opens up R-based predictive analytics to analysts with no coding skills through a drag and drop tool that simplifies report generation. These can subsequently be exported to a variety of formats or platforms, including Microsoft Excel, ESRI, XML, PDF, Tableau, and Qlik.

Alteryx also offers an on-premise solution called server which is built for sharing and collaboration, and a cloud-based product called Analytics Gallery which is centred around deploying analytics applications.

Alteryx Designer is priced at $5,195 per user per year. Customers can add spatial data to bring the price up to $11,700 and demographic and firmographic data for $33,800.

Logi Analytics
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Logi Analytics

Logi Analyticsstarted life as an application development platform but evolved into a self-service analytics and data visualisation platform.

Tom Cahill, VP of EMEA at Logi Analytics told Computerworld UK that Logi benefits from being a development environment.

"What that means is it's very accessible and robust because it isn’t a little piece of standalone kit or architecture, it is a developer kit, so very interesting for large enterprise and the software industry as they create something and embed it in the application and sell it," he said.

What this means in practice is that Logi provides a fully customisable front end and some initial training to self-serve data analysis and visualisation, after which you are left to customer support.

"When we install Logi it sits within the context of the approved infrastructure of the company, very native, and will conform with security infrastructure," explained Cahill. "Secondly, because Logi is configurable it doesn’t require a lot of skills to set it up considering what under the hood are very complex joins and customisable dashboards."

Pricing is bespoke with Logi depending on a variety of factors on either a perpetual or annual licence. Contact the company directly for a quote.

Crimson Hexagon

Crimson Hexagon

Crimson Hexagon specialises in self-serve social media analytics for large enterprise customers.

For visualisation, Crimson Hexagon prefers to plug into tools such as Tickr to provide a real-time single dashboard. This shows sentiment and trends across all touch points for a brand, blending social data with search trends and web analytics.

Crimson Hexagonis sold through a quote-based pricing system. Contact the company online for a quote.

Read next: How Samsung uses social media analytics to understand customers and guide strategy

Tibco Spotfire
© Tibco

Tibco Spotfire

Tibco's self-serve analytics platform is available to enterprise customers through its platform product for organisations.

Spotfire pulls together data from across the business and can present historical and real-time data on one unified platform.

This data can then be broken down and analysed in a whole range of ways, including interactive visualisation, diagnostic analytics, data augmentation, predictive analytics and location-based insights.

For casual users, Spotfire has best practice recommendations built in to point you in the right direction when working with business information.

Tibco sells the product in three separate versions: Spotfire Desktop and Cloud for smaller teams, and Spotfire Platform comes for users looking for a central governance platform and enterprise-grade data protection and compliance.

Pricing for Tibco Spotfireis available upon request.

DrivenBI
© DrivenBI

DrivenBI

SRKis DrivenBI's flagship product, and built for users with no IT skills. Kathleen Douglas, head of global sales at DrivenBI told Computerworld UK that this means "no data modelling, warehouse, programming, ETL required."

By offering a set of generic and custom connectors, SRK can pull data into a dashboard from various sources, such as an Oracle database, local file store or web service like Salesforce.

Granular access controls mean that a single report could be made by the head of sales, but only the data relating to specific clients will be shown when opened by a member of the team with more limited rights.

DrivenBI's SRK software can be deployed in the public or private cloud on a subscription licence basis at prices available on request.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.