Business Intelligence (BI) generally refers to technologies, applications, and practices for the assembly, integration, inspection, and presentation of business information. This technique is aimed at supporting better business decision making. However, looking for business intelligence and data analytics software can be an intimidating and expensive process, also requires long hours of research and more capital.
Fortunately, there are several free and open-source BI tools available in the marketplace. Of those solutions, some are offered by vendors looking to sell to users, and some are maintained and operated by a developers’ community looking to democratize business intelligence.
Here, Analytics Insight has compiled 7 best free and open-source BI tools, which provide a brief overview and significance of each tool.
BIRT is an open-source technology platform typically used to generate data visualizations and reports, which can be inserted into rich client and web applications, especially based on Java and Java EE. Sponsored by Actuate along with contributions from IBM, and Innovent Solutions, BIRT has two main components – a visual report designer for creating BIRT Designs, and a runtime component for making those designs that can be applied to any Java setting. The tool also comprises a charting engine which is both fully integrated into the BIRT designer and can be used standalone to combine charts into an application.
BIRT designs are persisted as XML and can access a various number of data sources including JDO datastores, JFire Scripting Objects, POJOs, SQL databases, Web Services, and XML. Currently, with over 12 million downloads and more than 2.5 million developers across 157 countries, BIRT technology platform is one of the most extensively adopted data visualization and reporting technologies. It is licensed under the Eclipse Public License (EPL).
Dataiku DSS is the collaborative data science software platform for teams of analytics leaders, data scientists, data analysts, and data IT engineers to discover, model, develop, and deliver their own data products more efficiently. The tool is an on-premises/on-cloud software product which runs as part of users’ data stack’s existing infrastructure.
Dataiku DSS comes in four distinct editions, with the free version offering access to Dataiku forever. Its free edition supports up to 3 users and provides standard database connectors without limitation in size or volume of processed data.
Tableau is a powerful and one of the fastest-growing data visualization tools used in the Business Intelligence Industry. The tool also comes in free service with Tableau Public, a platform for data people globally who are creating and publishing thousands of interactive data visualizations every week. Visualizations that have been published to Tableau Public can be embedded into web pages and blogs, shared on social media or email, as well as they can be made available for download to other users. Visualizations are created in the accompanying app Tableau Desktop Public Edition without requiring any programming skills.
Microsoft Power BI
Microsoft Power BI is a business analytics service that delivers insights allowing fast, informed decisions. This free desktop tool lets users connect to multiple distinct sources of data, and integrate them into a data model that enables them to create visuals, and collections of visuals that can be share as reports with other people inside an organization.
Microsoft Power BI provides a free version of the platform with a 1 GB per user data capacity limit and once-per-day data-refresh schedule. Its dashboards can present insights from Salesforce, Google Analytics, and other platforms on desktop and mobile devices. Most users who work on business intelligence projects use Power BI Desktop to create reports, and then practice the Power BI service to share their reports with others.
KNIME is an open-source analytics platform for creating data science applications and services and comes with over 1,000 modules. The tool is open and continuously incorporating new developments, allowing users to create visual workflows with a drag-and-drop graphical interface. Open source integrations for KNIME offer further access to large projects, and Community Extensions are user-contributed capabilities from industry-specific applications. KNIME is largely utilized by data scientists and BI executives.
As an open-source business intelligence tool, Metabase lets users to ask questions about data. Afterward, the tool displays answers in formats that make the most sense, whether in a bar graph or detailed table. That questions asked can be saved for later or grouped together into dashboards for later use. Metabase also enables users to share questions and dashboards with other members of their team or with the organization. It also offers an SQL interface for developers in need of more advanced functionality.
Knowage, formerly known as Spago BI, is an open-source business analytics suite, providing advanced, self-service capabilities to give autonomy to the end-users. It allows them to develop their own analysis, and discover and organize data in any manner. Knowage embraces open standards and can be used in distinct environments without substantial requirements. The suite is composed of several modules, each conceived for a specific analytical domain, and can be utilized individually or combined for a more tailored solution.