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In the past, running business analytics and creating reports entailed a serious amount of hassle. Tools like spreadsheets can only take you so far, and collecting all the data by hand could be an enormous time sink. The times, though, they are a-changin, and technology has provided us with alternatives.

Business intelligence platforms available today turn the hard work of analyzing business data into a streamlined task that takes just a few clicks to complete. We’ve put together a list of a few of the options that are bound to be helpful for you, and discussed the strengths of each.


An Adobe Flash-based platform, Birst accommodates businesses both big and small. It comes in two flavors: “Discovery edition,” and “Enterprise edition.” Discovery edition is a more simplified experience, focusing on ad hoc analytics, mobile analytics, and dashboards. Smaller business owners will often find it offers everything they need.

Enterprise edition adds to that things like data warehousing and dimensional database management. Giving a more complete experience, it’s a better fit for companies with big data needs. It works with existing systems, like SAP or Salesforce, and has tools designed for specific branches of business, such as HR, marketing, or finance. It’s an effective tool that, depending on your needs, may fit your business very well.


Domo is a cloud-based BI solution that offers a comprehensive toolset. It offers powerful analytics, a wide array of connector support, and impressive social collaboration features. It’s easy to implement and use, and the visuals are clean and beautiful. It’s also a powerful mobile tool, with native apps for both iOS and Android.

Domo is an industry leader, and is frequently found at the front of the pack in head-to-head comparisons as. It’s an especially useful tool for larger organizations that need help processing big data. As opposed to a traditional BI tool, it can handle just about anything you can throw at it.

IBM Cognos

IBM Cognos is a powerhouse. Another web-based solution, this thorough and comprehensive solution provides its users a collection of tools designed to cover every need. More impressive than its breadth of use, however, is how good the development team is at listening to, and incorporating customer feedback. Frequent tweaks and updates dictated by the needs of the users ensure that platform is always the best it can be at the moment.

Like Birst, Cognos comes in a second flavor, “Cognos Express,” for organizations who aren’t prepared for the implementation costs of the full suite. And while the program may need a little bit of technology-savviness to get started, it runs smoothly once you adjust to the steep learning curve.


The first among BI tools to advertise direct reporting for NoSQL, Pentaho combines the best of data integration and business analytics. Able to deftly integrate data even from places like Amazon Redshift, and utilizing analytic tools from basic reporting to predictive modeling, Pentaho is a capable tool that appeals to IT and end-users alike.

Easy Insight

Easy Insight, a tool that consistently ranks high in user satisfaction, runs well with the pack. It’s an easy to use tool, allowing you to get the data and reports you need without having to involve your IT department. Reports are easy, and can be put together with just a few clicks. You can embed those reports—or even dashboards—into other sites for ease of use. Easy Insight is a good choice for enterprises and small businesses looking to integrate data from a multitude of sources with ease.