Tips for choosing Business Intelligence Tools for Small Enterprise

Tips for choosing Business Intelligence Tools for Small Enterprise

Why Business Intelligence for small Enterprise?

In a small Enterprise, almost all business processes are becoming automated. As the data is growing day-by-day, a problem comes for maintaining the high paid workforce. Following activities needs to maintained on a day-to-day basis by any small enterprise to get a firmer foothold in the market is:

  • Creating weekly sales reports
  • Gather Customer Trends and Consumer Demands.
  • Gathering social media feedback and comments.

As a result, to increase productivity and efficiency, current industry trends show that adoptions of BI in organizations are on the rise.  BI gives us an idea of what the future will be for the businesses.

What can be done with BI?

Visualizing the DATA – BI provides answers to critical business questions quickly and easily. It’s very crucial for any ERP to visualize or understand figures and other BI content at a glance. Data becomes more visual with the use of BI tools. The user can create graphs, charts, and info-graphics.

Data in the cloud – cloud computing is possible with big data and BI analysis with the wide availability of BI software and advanced solutions to handle big data. So the infrastructure cost is minimum.

Customization for easier analysis – with greater BI tool availability and ease of use, anyone can become a data analyst. BI tools are allowing for greater customization, enabling even the average user to crunch numbers and gain insights from analyses of business data. so

What is Business Intelligence?


It is the process to analyze the business data(past/ present) and make use of Customer Trends, Consumer demands, Sales, Business Conditions, Profitability and other internal aspects of a specified business (small/ Medium/ Big). By analyzing the data one can, maybe the Management or an executive can take a decision. Any department whether Top Management, Sales or Marketing, HR, Accounts departments get the benefits out of business Intelligence and drive growth and profitability for the company.   

Now a very big question comes-

How to analyse the Data for Business Intelligence?

There are many tools available in the market which does such analysis.

First I will list the Open source business intelligence software tools, which are also said as free business intelligence software tools. The technical aspect about BI is also important as the infrastructure required is dependent on budget allocation.  It is not possible to shortlist all free and open source BI platforms, so I have mentioned a comprehensive list of five open source BI tool as the topic is for small enterprise. Below is the list of five Open source business intelligence software:

Query2Report

It’s a simple open-source business intelligence platform that allows users to build report/dashboard for business analytics or enterprise reporting. The application has real-time reporting with automatic refresh functionality.

The application transforms SQL queries to Google charts. There are different elements in reports that can pull data from multiple databases instance belonging to the same or different vendor. Report created or to be viewed can be public or private depending on user role. It is Single Page Application (SPA) made in Angular JS and HTML 5 user interface. It runs on laptops, mobiles, and tablet. This is the project from Yogesh Deshpande, Bangalore, INDIA

  • Main Features to highlight are:
  • Web-based reporting and dashboard generator
  • Auto refresh for real-time reporting
  • Public and personal report workspaces
  • Integrates with any RDBMS using JDBC
  • Single Page Application using responsive user interface built using Angularjs
  • Role-based user access
  • Cross-vendor/instance reports/dashboards
For more details and download visit: https://sourceforge.net/projects/query2report/

ART (A Reporting Tool)

ART is lightweight, multi-platform, simple web application open source software licensed under the GPLv3 license. It enables quick deployment of SQL query results making it effective reporting and business intelligence solution.

It is a Java-based web application. You can run it on any operating system that has Java with the latest browser to view and manage reports. An SQL query can be published and results can be viewed by authorized users in the browser.

Some of the features are:

  • Reports available in a web browser
  • The report like tabular, charts possible
  • Output formats can be xlsx, pdf
  • Multiple reports can be viewed in dashboards
  • Reports  can be scheduled
  • Authentication systems like LDAP, Active Directory incorporated
  • Simple installation & Administering
For more details and downloads visit: http://art.sourceforge.net/

BIRT

BIRT is an open source BI program developed in Java to create data visualizations. It generates reports that can be embedded into rich client and web applications, especially applications based on Java and Java Enterprise Editions.

BIRT is an independent not-for-profit consortium of software industry vendors and an open source community, a software project within the Eclipse Foundation.

CloudTweaks

BIRT has been downloaded more than 12 million times with over 2.5 million developers across 157 countries. BIRT is used by major technology companies like Cisco, S1, and IBM.

BIRT has two major components as Visual Report Designer and the run-time to visualize those in Java Environment. It can access multiple Data sources like JDO datastores, JFire Scripting Objects, POJOs, SQL databases, Web Services, and XML.BIRT generate reports on textual documents, crosstabs, standard pie and bar graphs. It also can handle advanced tasks as a grouping on sums, percentages of overall totals and many more.

For more details about BIRT and downloads visit: https://www.eclipse.org/birt/about/

KNIME Analytics Platform

KNIME Analytics is open source software which creates data science applications and services. Everyone can access the workflows and reusable components.

You can connect to a host of databases like Oracle, Microsoft SQL, Apache Hive, and more. Loading Avro, Parquet, or ORC files from HDFS, S3, or Azure is also possible. You can open and combine text formats like CSV, PDF, XLS, JSON, XML, etc, and unstructured data types like images, documents, networks, molecules, etc, or time series data also. You can also access and retrieve data from sources like Twitter, AWS S3, Google Sheets, and Azure.

One can derive statistics, including mean, quantiles, and standard deviation, or can apply statistical tests to validate a hypothesis. You can Integrate dimension reduction, correlation analysis, and more into your workflows. You can create visual workflows with an intuitive, drag and drop style graphical interface, without the coding. If you work with languages like R or Python or use predictive and machine learning algorithms, you can try the KNIME Analytics Platform.

More about KNIME Analytics Platform and download Visit: https://www.knime.com/knime-software/knime-analytics-platform

Metabase

It is an open source business intelligence tool which connects with your database and displays reports in formats like a bar graph or a detailed table. You can save it for later use. It can run on your own laptop, or on your High-end Servers.

You can also share questions and dashboards with the others of your team. You can upload a variety of data formats, like Works with MySQL, Postgres, Mongo, SQL Server, AWS Redshift, Google BigQuery, Druid, H2, SQLite, Oracle, Crate, Google Analytics, Vertica. It’s simple to set up. Some of the features are a SQL-free interface (you won’t have to know coding to use it), ad hoc queries, and data visualization. Moreover, Metabase provides an elegant SQL interface also. Most of the options are in the drop-down menu.

Conclusion:

So what would be your next step for BI?

If you are interested in using business intelligence Application, download any of the above software. Try them out by linking with your existing ERP or use as a standalone version. If you get stuck somewhere consult an expert for the same, who would help you with installation and also will be able to maintain your required reports by developing some small linking programs. This is my personal views and not any promotional or advertorial, and not meant to hurt any other software application or so. Please let me know your comments.

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