Business intelligence applications generally turn raw data into lists, charts and other graphics to present information in a way that can be quickly and easily understood.
In many instances, a large company will build its own BI platform from the ground up to enable the platform to ingest data from all of its departments and give management a comprehensive view of the company’s operations.
But in many other instances, a ready-made BI platform can be acquired and small customisations can result in the production of a fairly good dashboard that provides insights into a business.
The slight problem of the latter option is that sometimes it’s difficult – or even impossible – to connect a data source to whatever BI platform you have chosen.
According to iDataLabs.com, approximately 183,000 companies currently use ready-made business intelligence applications, and the top 30 are as follows, along with their install base – the number of companies iDataLabs found using the software:
- Tableau : 28,483 installations
- Cognos : 24,314
- Hyperion : 16,098
- QlikView : 12,584
- QlikTech : 10,530
- SAP Business Objects : 10,180
- Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition : 8,384
- MicroStrategy : 7,919
- Pentaho : 6,853
- Microsoft power BI : 5,456
- Oracle Hyperion Enterprise : 5,072
- Jaspersoft : 3,992
- Cognos 8 : 3,325
- Tibco Spotfire : 3,322
- SAS Enterprise : 3,203
- Highcharts : 2,724
- Cognos 10 : 2,712
- Tableau Server : 2,283
- Tableau Desktop : 2,078
- Information Builders : 1,898
- Alteryx : 1,591
- WebFOCUS : 1,584
- Qlik Sense : 1,530
- Google Chart Tools : 1,376
- SAS Business Intelligence : 1,336
- Oracle Business Intelligence Publisher : 1,256
- Cognos Series 7 : 1,021
- JMP : 892
- Actuate : 873
- Birst : 630
The main reason managers want to use business intelligence software is to visualise data and discover patterns and make decisions based on actual data rather than hunches and instincts.
The software is increasingly becoming popular across many different departments, but the general view is that it’s most useful for finance and accounting managers, with industry analysts predicting that the majority of such job functions will integrate business intelligence knowledge.