Early Stage Startups: 10 Free Business Intelligence Tools You Need to Support Your Growth
Regardless of the size, scope, or industry of your business, you can benefit from business intelligence tools. This is especially true for small startups, as the information business intelligence tools provide can create actionable opportunities that can make a big impact at this stage. For these businesses, they cannot realistically afford pricier tools, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t powerful solutions to facilitate their growth.
Below is a small sample of 10 free business intelligence tools that will allow your startup to grow.
Heading off our list is BIRT. It’s an open source business intelligence tool that’s commonly viewed as the industry standard. Many large organizations use BIRT such as Cisco, S1, and IBM.
BIRT is a powerful tool that can create a wide range of reports. This includes the capacity to create textual documents, crosstabs, standard bar and pie graphs, and much more. One of BIRT’s most utilized functions is its ability to integrate with a host of other applications. It works exceptionally well with applications that use Java.
Despite all of its benefits, it does require some significant coding knowledge to be able to truly benefit from this program. For startups who lack a tech-savvy employee, this may not be the best choice.
Another popular tool, Jaspersoft Community is Jaspersoft’s free offering. They boast a list of big name customers, from Groupon to Time Warner Cable.
Jaspersoft Community, like many other open source programs, has a thriving developer community. This means that you’re often likely if you do have issues, to run into other users who’ve had the same issue and can help.
In addition, if the functionality doesn’t exist to do some specific function you’re looking for, it can easily be added. This means that Jaspersoft Community can change to suit your specific needs.
Pentaho is another commonly used tool in the open source business intelligence sphere. This tool provides many helpful basics, such as data visualization tools like heat graphs or geo-mapping. This program also offers reporting in a variety of output forms such as PDFs, Excel, and HTML.
Pentaho offers both a paid and free version of their software. However, as with BIRT, your organization will need someone who can code to get the most value out of this program.
Some of the utility offered by being able to code in Pentaho includes their CTools, which gives you the ability to create custom dashboards on top of Pentaho. This gives you an impressive amount of control over the program, allowing you to create more advanced dashboards or incorporate extra visual aids for reports.
As with Jaspersoft, Pentaho provides community-driven forums that enable discussion of development, changes to the code, or any questions you may have.
Report Server Community Edition
Report Server Community Edition is a great, no-nonsense tool aimed at coders specifically. While other business applications, such as BIRT and Pentaho require you to have at least one person who knows how to code to get the full benefit, Report Server Community Edition basically requires that each user be at least familiar with coding.
Despite this, it’s a powerful tool that can give you insights that few other business intelligence solutions offer. One such tool is that they enable collaborative spaces within the program itself. This can be incredibly useful for meetings or when working on various projects. As with other programs, there’s a community-driven forum you can check to get additional information or questions answered.
Spago claims to be “the only entirely Open Source Business Intelligence suite.” Despite this bold claim they’ve been successful enough to have provided significant assistance to a number of Dutch cities seeking to manage their health care spending.
They provide the basics that business intelligence professionals need, such as visualizations, dashboards, reporting, as well as multi-dimensional analysis. Spago also can provide data mining services, should your organization have sufficient amounts of information to warrant that.
ClicData Personal is a free version of ClicData`s flagship program. It provides users up to 1GB of data storage, unlimited dashboards, as well as the ability to present Excel and CSV files in a well-organized and useful format.
In addition, ClicData Personal offers the ability to refresh your data 10 times per month. This means that you could, in theory, get new updates on your information every three days.
Unfortunately, ClicData Personal is limited to one user at a time. This means that the collaborative element of most business intelligence software is not available here. For start-ups, however, this is a fantastic tool.
Dataiku Free Edition
Dataiku Free Edition is a stripped down version of their enterprise level business intelligence software. For data visualization solutions, Dataiku does an admirable job. They offer 15 different chart types in their free version.
One relatively unique feature is that Dataiku Free Edition lets you experiment with machine learning algorithms. This includes regression, classification, and clustering.
As with several other free business intelligence solutions, Dataiku Free Edition only supports one user. This means you’ll need to forgo the collaborative experience with the tool. Despite that, it’s a fantastic data visualization tool that’s well worth a look for many start-up businesses.
QlikView Personal Edition
QlikView Personal Edition is designed for smaller organizations. It has the same features as the full edition, except it doesn’t offer the ability to collaborate or share data the same way you would with the full, enterprise level edition. For startups who often don’t need the same ability to collaborate, QlikView Personal Edition is an excellent choice.
Microsoft Power BI
In addition to their enterprise-level business intelligence tool, Microsoft also provides a stripped-down, free version. As with other free solutions, they provide 1GB of data, and the ability to transform CSV data along with Excel spreadsheets into a presentable format.
Power BI refreshes its data daily. The information they provide can be acquired through a mobile app. This tool is especially valuable for small organizations without any coding knowledge, as queries can be made in plain English.
Style Scope Agile Edition
Our final entry is Style Scope AE (Agile Edition). It’s a free version of InetSoft’s enterprise-level visualization software. One thing that Style Scope AE emphasizes is the user experience. It uses a drag-and-drop interface. This means that no technological background is needed to get proper use out of it.
It supports a multitude of data styles and formats. In addition, it provides a range of free video tutorials to help you get the most out of the software.
Your small startup can benefit from any one of these tools. Depending on what type of work you do, what your staff composition looks like, or what information you’re looking to acquire, you’re sure to find a viable solution on this list.