5 Business Intelligence Platforms That Now Leverage AI in Promising Ways

5 Business Intelligence Platforms That Now Leverage AI in Promising Ways

We're starting to see tools for AI-based "conversations" with data, further enabling discovery for business leaders

Business intelligence (BI) is a multi-step process that entails data gathering, consolidation, analysis, and presentation. It aims to provide organizations with relevant, accurate, and timely information and insights to make informed business decisions. Because of its data-heavy nature, it is unsurprisingly one of the early adopters of AI solutions.

But how does artificial intelligence make business intelligence more intuitive for executives, stakeholders, and decision-makers? One of the best ways is to enable people to "converse" with data. Instead of collecting, aggregating, and analyzing data in a linear process, it would be a massive advantage to be able to examine data and conversationally extract specific information and insights.

Line-of-business users may have become comfortable slicing data in their own interactive dashboards and generating reports on the fly, that can only happen once a certain amount of iterative data discovery has already taken place. While "self-service BI" has been touted as a thing for many years now, data analysis teams are still often overloaded with requests to code queries, a burden which AI certainly has the potential to alleviate.

The following business intelligence platforms now support AI-powered conversational data discovery in one way or another. They can help put business intelligence within reach for organizations without the need for training or experience in the field of BI. AI in business intelligence is relatively new, though, so there are inevitable limitations in what they can do this early in the game, but improvements are to be expected with the introduction of new iterations.

Tableau

Salesforce's Tableau BI suite leverages generative AI to democratize business data analytics and simplify the process of producing business insights.

Tableau is notable for its "Einstein Copilot" feature, which is now available on a beta basis to qualifying applicants only, promising to serve as an assistant that allows anyone to extract the insights they need from data without being proficient and experienced data analysts themselves.

Users can simply ask the copilot to provide the data analysis and interpretations they need, and the AI system intelligently predicts or guesses what the user needs based on the context of the questions. Tableau emphasizes the use of generative AI for business intelligence without the need for advanced knowledge and experience, while also ensuring data privacy and security.

It seems to empower users of all skill levels to perform advanced data analytics through plain language, enhancing the way people engage with data and arrive at data-driven decisions. Tableau is a leader in the BI category, so it's surprising that Einstein Copilot is not yet widely available, but it definitely shows promise.

Pyramid Analytics

Pyramid Analytics has introduced the concept of generative BI (or "GenBI"), which fuses generative AI and business data analytics to produce insights in a matter of moments. Specializing in what the company calls "data discovery by conversation," GenBI allows users to rapidly obtain insights about data sets through open, natural language queries, even when there isn't any sort of dashboard setup yet.

Gen BI with Pyramid Analytics features a chatbot as the main way through which users can examine their data, creating dashboards or instant multi-page reports. It allows users to scrutinize data through vague, imprecise or even complex, multi-construct requests in various languages – and then add follow-up requests to further refine visualizations.

This solution's chatbot takes voice input, not just typed-in instructions or requests. Users can conveniently say their request in plain language, and the system quickly responds. For example, it can generate a report that includes comparisons of product profitability by category, sales performance in different locations, and manufacturer performance with charts and data interpretation blurbs.

All of these can be generated by simply speaking to the generative AI chatbot. With its LLM, the system predicts what the user wants, including the format of the report and the details to be included. The Pyramid team says it's working on developing an AI-based predictive insights tool as the next big GenAI rollout.

Domo

The Domo.AI business intelligence solution provides a convenient way to explore data through chat, allowing users to incorporate artificial intelligence into business intelligence workflows. It enables LLM management and testing, as well as advanced data visualization that includes the ability to generate customizable data presentations without the need for coding and other advanced presentation skills.

This AI-powered business intelligence platform has a simple but highly intelligent way of responding to chat-based queries about data. For example, if a user asks what are their best performing products on Shopify, Domo.AI scans if a Shopify account is connected to the system. If there is no account connected, it guides the user on the process of linking an account.

In most cases, everything happens on the chat interface to maximize continuity. Users do not have to jump from one app to another to see reports or get tasks done.

At this time, Domo's AI can't build a dashboard from scratch, but it does promote data exploration via existing dashboards. Its intuitive interface includes suggestions on what a user will likely want to inquire about. Also, the Domo interface is designed not only for desktops but also for mobile devices.

Microsoft Power BI

Last year, Microsoft announced a "Copilot" for its BI platform, but the company has only started rolling out these features recently. It allows users to go over data and ask questions to cite specific data or data sets or provide data interpretations and insights on the fly.

The Copilot feature in Microsoft Power BI is has yet to be fully deployed, now only available via Microsoft Fabric Public Preview. The user has to initiate the Copilot pane first before they can start asking questions or giving instructions. Copilot can generate reports, data summaries, as well as visual representations of data.

One notable feature in Microsoft Power BI's Copilot is the ability to add synonyms to enhance the question-and-answer interaction. This is a customization feature that allows organizations that tune the system to their specific needs and the scenarios they typically have to deal with.

Also, the Copilot system comes with the ability to write DAX queries, which is particularly useful when working with tabular models and specialized syntaxes.

Yellowfin

Having started implementing AI tools since long before the LLM revolution of 2022, Yellowfin features a "self-service BI" system that expedites data discovery and the generation of reports and insights. This self-service BI system makes it easy to gather insights from data and quickly turn complex data into succinct answers for decision-making questions.

Its "Assisted Insights" engine is designed to help expedite "getting to the why," and the report builder now sports a "Smart Analysis" button, which can suggest conclusions to draw. These chat-based discussions, however, may have limited conversational continuity capabilities. 

Nonetheless, Yellowfin's Q&A-based business intelligence system is designed for all kinds of users, from business owners to data analysts. It employs guided Natural Language Query (NLQ) technology to generate quick charts as well as advanced reports. This ensures that even non-technical users will not have a hard time querying their data and extracting the answers or insights they need to arrive at the right decisions.

Just like the rest of the chat-based AI-powered BI systems featured here, Yellowfin also provides useful dashboards to allow data users to scrutinize data intuitively without requiring special training. It also comes with a powerful data visualization function and automated data discovery.

Conclusion

The advent of ChatGPT and other AI chatbots has made the Q&A format of information exploration the new norm. It is rather foreseeable that business intelligence systems are adopting this method of interaction with data. However, all of the available chat-based AI-driven BI solutions at present have yet to achieve the peak of their potential. They are still in their fledgling years and they will continue to evolve and provide more useful functions and features to further enhance business intelligence and make it accessible to more users.

Business intelligence was once exclusive to those who have undergone training to develop the ability to spot relevant data, correlate them with other information to form useful insights, and present data purposefully. With the help of generative AI, business intelligence is now unlocking true democratization, whereby anyone can engage in systematic business data analysis and presentation without the need for technical skills.

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