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Business Intelligence Software

Business Intelligence (BI) software allows organizations to easily access and analyze company information through easy data visualization and the use of a single platform. Companies can internally and externally share important information and gather performance metrics, allowing data-driven business decision making. BI tools provide an infrastructure used to compile, analyze and distribute key data. With the huge quantity of data that most organizations carry, BI applications facilitate more accurate and streamlined reporting and monitoring as well as strategy implementation and assessment. Business Intelligence software is related to Reporting software, Knowledge Management software and Survey software. Browse all available BI tools in Canada to start analyzing and acting on your organization's data insights.

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Explore what’s possible with a complete AI and analytics platform that helps turn critical questions into trusted decisions. Learn more about SAS Viya
As a cloud-native AI, analytics and data management platform, SAS Viya enables you to scale cost-effectively, increase productivity and innovate faster, backed by trust and transparency. Viya makes it possible to integrate teams and technology, enabling all users to work together successfully. AI-based automation aligns to the needs and talents of your team, connecting all aspects of the AI and analytics life cycle and helping turn critical questions into trusted decisions. Learn more about SAS Viya

Features

  • Benchmarking
  • Key Performance Indicators
  • Predictive Analytics Software
  • Profitability Analysis
  • Strategic Planning Software
  • Trend/Problem Indicators
  • Ad hoc Reporting
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Data Connectors
  • Data Visualization Software
  • Multiple Data Sources
  • Performance Metrics
Logi Symphony is a platform for creating rich, embedded analytics and business intelligence applications. Learn more about Logi Symphony
Logi Symphony enables software teams to rapidly design, build, and embed interactive dashboards and data visualizations with fast connectivity and access to modern data infrastructure. Maintain complete control over the analytics experience while empowering end users to explore, analyze, and share data, securely. Logi Symphony allows both medium and enterprise-level companies to bring new Analytics and Business Intelligence capabilities to their applications. Learn more about Logi Symphony

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  • Benchmarking
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  • Predictive Analytics Software
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  • Strategic Planning Software
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  • Ad hoc Reporting
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Data Connectors
  • Data Visualization Software
  • Multiple Data Sources
  • Performance Metrics
Angles Enterprise for Oracle allows you to implement a true reporting and analytics environment in the least time and cost. Learn more about Angles Enterprise for Oracle
Angles Enterprise for Oracle delivers a context-aware, process-rich business data model, a library of 1,800 pre-built, no-code business reports, and a high-performance process analytics engine for Oracle Business Applications, including EBS and OCA. This integrated solution helps you unlock your enterprise data and gain actionable insights. Learn more about Angles Enterprise for Oracle

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  • Benchmarking
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  • Predictive Analytics Software
  • Profitability Analysis
  • Strategic Planning Software
  • Trend/Problem Indicators
  • Ad hoc Reporting
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Data Connectors
  • Data Visualization Software
  • Multiple Data Sources
  • Performance Metrics
Longview Tax is a corporate tax management solution that provides businesses with tools for managing tax strategies. Learn more about Longview Tax
Longview Tax from insightsoftware is a corporate tax management solution that provides businesses with tools for managing tax strategies, collecting data, provisioning, and reporting on taxes. The cloud-based platform also offers tools for tax planning and helps businesses create data-driven strategies using real-time data. Learn more about Longview Tax

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  • Benchmarking
  • Key Performance Indicators
  • Predictive Analytics Software
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  • Strategic Planning Software
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  • Ad hoc Reporting
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Data Connectors
  • Data Visualization Software
  • Multiple Data Sources
  • Performance Metrics
Angles Enterprise for SAP transforms and enhances your critical data from SAP ERP tools ,turning it into actionable business insights. Learn more about Angles Enterprise for SAP
Angles for SAP works ‘’plug-and-play” on any SAP ERP, including both ECC and S/4HANA, to collect and prepare data so it is suitable to analyze. It understands context, connections, and integrations, and it simplifies data for business users. It then creates insights into what is happening at an operational level right now and in the foreseeable future by enriching the data with pre-built supply chain and finance calculations, on a transaction level and in the form of operational KPIs. Learn more about Angles Enterprise for SAP

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  • Ad hoc Reporting
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Data Connectors
  • Data Visualization Software
  • Multiple Data Sources
  • Performance Metrics
Grow makes it simple for companies to connect their data and surface insights so everyone can make data-driven decisions. Learn more about Grow
Grow is a no-code, full-stack business intelligence (BI) platform that empowers everyone in your organization to make data-driven decisions. By combining ETL, data warehousing and visualization in one easy-to-use platform, any organization can connect and explore its data to surface insights. Our unlimited-user license model provides a single source of truth for your company, giving everyone access to the answers they need. Learn more about Grow

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  • Predictive Analytics Software
  • Profitability Analysis
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  • Data Visualization Software
  • Multiple Data Sources
  • Performance Metrics
AI-powered data platform that helps M&A professionals find acquisition targets, add-ons, or competitors with a single search. Learn more about Inven
Inven is a financial data platform that harnesses AI to help M&A professionals find acquisition targets. With Inven, you can save time and find what you might otherwise miss. By using our AI, you can easily find relevant companies just by searching with a single example company. Our advanced search combines millions of data points. Whether you are looking for competitors, add-on targets, or platform companies, it finds you the most relevant companies based on what they actually do. Learn more about Inven

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  • Benchmarking
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  • Predictive Analytics Software
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  • Strategic Planning Software
  • Trend/Problem Indicators
  • Ad hoc Reporting
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Data Connectors
  • Data Visualization Software
  • Multiple Data Sources
  • Performance Metrics
NetSuite analytics and business intelligence capabilities provide the data and insights businesses need to make better decisions. Learn more about NetSuite
NetSuite cloud business management solution centralizes all financial and operational data across a company to provide the business intelligence and reporting needed to improve decision-making. SuiteAnalytics pre-built, customizable reports and workbooks, role-based dashboards, and KPIs deliver the data needed to help run your business while, NetSuite Analytics Warehouse consolidates NetSuite and non-NetSuite data to help gain even deeper insights into issues, trends and opportunities. Learn more about NetSuite

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  • Benchmarking
  • Key Performance Indicators
  • Predictive Analytics Software
  • Profitability Analysis
  • Strategic Planning Software
  • Trend/Problem Indicators
  • Ad hoc Reporting
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Data Connectors
  • Data Visualization Software
  • Multiple Data Sources
  • Performance Metrics
Monitor all your competitors' marketing strategy in one place. Takes only 5 minutes a week to know your competitors' marketing moves Learn more about Competitors App
Monitor all your competitors' marketing strategy in one place. Takes only 5 minutes a week to know your competitors' marketing moves. You will read the emails we send you every time a competitor is taking a significant action. Competitors App monitors all marketing channels: - Trial Emails & Newsletter - Blog & Social Media - Website changes & SEO - Keywords & Ads Monitor competitors change on our website and in your email. Pricing: Flexible and affordable Learn more about Competitors App

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  • Benchmarking
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  • Predictive Analytics Software
  • Profitability Analysis
  • Strategic Planning Software
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  • Ad hoc Reporting
  • Collaboration Tools
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  • Data Visualization Software
  • Multiple Data Sources
  • Performance Metrics
erwin Data Intelligence by Quest unites data catalog, data quality, data governance, data literacy and data marketplace capabilities. Learn more about erwin Data Intelligence
erwin Data Intelligence by Quest combines data catalog, data quality, data literacy and data marketplace capabilities to help you discover, understand, govern, score and share high-value, trusted data across your organization. erwin delivers enterprise-wide visibility of available data assets, guidance on their use, and the guardrails to ensure data policies and best data practices are followed. Learn more about erwin Data Intelligence

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  • Benchmarking
  • Key Performance Indicators
  • Predictive Analytics Software
  • Profitability Analysis
  • Strategic Planning Software
  • Trend/Problem Indicators
  • Ad hoc Reporting
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Data Connectors
  • Data Visualization Software
  • Multiple Data Sources
  • Performance Metrics
Minitab Connect is a data access, automation and dashboarding solution for monitoring and sharing KPIs Learn more about Minitab Connect
Why continue building the same report and analysis every day, week or month? Use Minitab dashboards to set-up your report to run regularly and be shared easily. Access and integrate your data from a variety of sources. Stop wasting precious time formatting and blending CSVs and spreadsheets. Self-service data preparation tools empower users to curate, enrich, and shape datasets. Dashboarding tools include configurable design and formatting options to facilitate meaningful reporting. Learn more about Minitab Connect

Features

  • Benchmarking
  • Key Performance Indicators
  • Predictive Analytics Software
  • Profitability Analysis
  • Strategic Planning Software
  • Trend/Problem Indicators
  • Ad hoc Reporting
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Data Connectors
  • Data Visualization Software
  • Multiple Data Sources
  • Performance Metrics
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Subscription Billing, usage rating, mediation, and billing solutions for M2M/IoT, Telecom, and Enterprise service providers globally. Learn more about LogiSense Billing
LogiSense is a cloud-based billing platform, built to allow businesses to offer customers myriad usage and subscription options. This subscription-based billing and real-time usage rating solution allows companies to modify products and services and improve operational efficiency, as well as to adjust and capitalize on changes within their industry. LogiSense is an API-first platform based on a microservices architecture at scale, exposed via a transactional RESTful API interface. Learn more about LogiSense Billing

Features

  • Benchmarking
  • Key Performance Indicators
  • Predictive Analytics Software
  • Profitability Analysis
  • Strategic Planning Software
  • Trend/Problem Indicators
  • Ad hoc Reporting
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Data Connectors
  • Data Visualization Software
  • Multiple Data Sources
  • Performance Metrics
Make your data talk in Qlik Sense with interactive visualizations, self-service analytics, and game-changing writeback capabilities. Learn more about Vizlib
Vizlib is a data analysis and visualization software designed to help businesses across healthcare, life science, manufacturing, and other sectors streamline visual analytics and collaboration operations. One of its modules - Self-service - enables users to generate ad-hoc reports for Qlik Sense and conduct analytics. The application allows employees to load applications with advanced functionality and gain insights into data through interactive reports. Vizlib offers a host of features such as custom branding, an activity dashboard, charting, a drag-and-drop interface, self-service analytics, user management, and more. Another Vizlib module - Gantt - allows users to plan, organize, and visualize processes in Qlik Sense application as well as track projects and optimize resources. insightsoftware is the most comprehensive provider of solutions for the Office of the CFO. We turn information into insights, empowering business leaders to strategically drive their organization. Learn more about Vizlib

Features

  • Benchmarking
  • Key Performance Indicators
  • Predictive Analytics Software
  • Profitability Analysis
  • Strategic Planning Software
  • Trend/Problem Indicators
  • Ad hoc Reporting
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Data Connectors
  • Data Visualization Software
  • Multiple Data Sources
  • Performance Metrics
Power ON turns Power BI into a real-time data collection and decision-making machine for Planning and Data Collaboration processes. Learn more about Power ON
Power ON enables organizations to turn Power BI into a real-time, collaborative, data collection, and decision-making machine for innumerable Planning and Data Collaboration processes. Using Power BI as our cornerstone, Power ON’s software suite enables Planning, Forecasting, Modeling & Enhanced commentary functionality, all in Power BI. Data can be stored where our users want it; on-premises, in the Cloud, or hybrid; across SQL Server, Snowflake, Azure, Oracle, Hana; the choice is yours. Learn more about Power ON

Features

  • Benchmarking
  • Key Performance Indicators
  • Predictive Analytics Software
  • Profitability Analysis
  • Strategic Planning Software
  • Trend/Problem Indicators
  • Ad hoc Reporting
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Data Connectors
  • Data Visualization Software
  • Multiple Data Sources
  • Performance Metrics
Tableau Connector for Jira enables you to stream all your data from Jira to Tableau. Learn more about Tableau Connector for Jira
Tableau Connector for Jira is anapplication that helps businesses extract and migrate data from JIRA to Tableau for further analysis. Tableau Connector for Jira app available for all Jira platforms - Server, Cloud, Data Center. Learn more about Tableau Connector for Jira

Features

  • Benchmarking
  • Key Performance Indicators
  • Predictive Analytics Software
  • Profitability Analysis
  • Strategic Planning Software
  • Trend/Problem Indicators
  • Ad hoc Reporting
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Data Connectors
  • Data Visualization Software
  • Multiple Data Sources
  • Performance Metrics
Power BI Connector for Jira allows you to export your Jira data to Power BI and build necessary dashboards with Jira data. Learn more about Power BI Connector for Jira
Power BI Connector for Jira allows you to import easily and quickly any Jira data into Microsoft Power BI, including default fields and custom fields, History, Worklogs, Sprints, 3rd-party apps data, and others. Learn more about Power BI Connector for Jira

Features

  • Benchmarking
  • Key Performance Indicators
  • Predictive Analytics Software
  • Profitability Analysis
  • Strategic Planning Software
  • Trend/Problem Indicators
  • Ad hoc Reporting
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Data Connectors
  • Data Visualization Software
  • Multiple Data Sources
  • Performance Metrics
With Power BI Connector for ServiceNow app users can visually explore ServiceNow data and build ServiceNow dashboards in Power BI. Learn more about Power BI Connector for ServiceNow
Power BI Connector for ServiceNow is an Enterprise-grade application that allows businesses to connect ServiceNow with Power BI to visualize data and generate analytical reports. Learn more about Power BI Connector for ServiceNow

Features

  • Benchmarking
  • Key Performance Indicators
  • Predictive Analytics Software
  • Profitability Analysis
  • Strategic Planning Software
  • Trend/Problem Indicators
  • Ad hoc Reporting
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Data Connectors
  • Data Visualization Software
  • Multiple Data Sources
  • Performance Metrics
Tableau Connector for ServiceNow enables users to export and consolidate the correct datasets for further complex analysis in Tableau. Learn more about Tableau Connector for ServiceNow
Tableau Connector for ServiceNow is an Enterprise-grade app that enables to export and explore ServiceNow data with Tableau for further data visualization and analysis. Learn more about Tableau Connector for ServiceNow

Features

  • Benchmarking
  • Key Performance Indicators
  • Predictive Analytics Software
  • Profitability Analysis
  • Strategic Planning Software
  • Trend/Problem Indicators
  • Ad hoc Reporting
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Data Connectors
  • Data Visualization Software
  • Multiple Data Sources
  • Performance Metrics
Visualize your data on and across your different data sources with Easy Insight's SaaS business intelligence. Learn more about Easy Insight
Easy insight helps you visualize your business's data through beautiful dashboards. Connect to a wide range of SaaS services and get immediate results. Create custom reports and dashboards with easy drag and drop. Clean dirty data right from your reports to ensure accurate information. Combine your different connections into a dashboard with a single view of your business. Create, update, integrate, and delete data right from reports. Learn more about Easy Insight

Features

  • Benchmarking
  • Key Performance Indicators
  • Predictive Analytics Software
  • Profitability Analysis
  • Strategic Planning Software
  • Trend/Problem Indicators
  • Ad hoc Reporting
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Data Connectors
  • Data Visualization Software
  • Multiple Data Sources
  • Performance Metrics
UpKeep Edge leverages secure gateways, sensors and advanced analytics to gather asset intelligence for smooth business operations. Learn more about UpKeep Edge
UpKeep Edge enables businesses to monitor the performance of their equipment and machinery in real-time. By placing sensors on the assets that track their operational status, users can detect when a machine is running smoothly or experiencing issues. By providing insights into the health of equipment, UpKeep Edge helps businesses to prevent breakdowns, reduce maintenance costs, and improve overall productivity. Learn more about UpKeep Edge

Features

  • Benchmarking
  • Key Performance Indicators
  • Predictive Analytics Software
  • Profitability Analysis
  • Strategic Planning Software
  • Trend/Problem Indicators
  • Ad hoc Reporting
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Data Connectors
  • Data Visualization Software
  • Multiple Data Sources
  • Performance Metrics
Qrvey is a complete embedded BI analytics solution built exclusively for SaaS products, putting analytics into the hands of your users. Learn more about Qrvey
Qrvey is an embedded analytics platform that allows SaaS companies to rapidly add a modern analytics layer with rich capabilities that are easily configurable for all types of users. By using Qrvey’s platform to create an embedded analytics layer within their products, SaaS software firms can deliver greater value, unlock new revenue streams, and ensure greater customer loyalty. Learn more about Qrvey

Features

  • Benchmarking
  • Key Performance Indicators
  • Predictive Analytics Software
  • Profitability Analysis
  • Strategic Planning Software
  • Trend/Problem Indicators
  • Ad hoc Reporting
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Data Connectors
  • Data Visualization Software
  • Multiple Data Sources
  • Performance Metrics
Circuitry.ai Product AIdvisor answers any product questions, offers guided selling, and recommends products to drive sales. Learn more about Circuitry.ai
Circuitry.ai Product AIdvisor, powered by the latest Gen AI and AI algorithms, guides your customers through the buying experience. Product AIdvisor is trained on all your product catalogs and knowledge so customers can enjoy a curated conversational experience. Product AIdvisor understands customer needs to provide precise recommendations, help customers understand your products better, and lead them to purchase. Product AIdvisor will increase customer conversion by 30% and grow sales across all channels. The trusted advisor is available for your customers globally 24x7, on the web, mobile, text, or messengers to assist them anywhere, anytime, lowering your customer acquisition costs in marketing and sales. Product AIdvisor also improves the productivity of your sales team by augmenting them to be an expert on your entire product portfolio and close more sales. Start now with Product AIdvisor, and you will have trusted advisors who will help close more sales in no time. Learn more about Circuitry.ai

Features

  • Benchmarking
  • Key Performance Indicators
  • Predictive Analytics Software
  • Profitability Analysis
  • Strategic Planning Software
  • Trend/Problem Indicators
  • Ad hoc Reporting
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Data Connectors
  • Data Visualization Software
  • Multiple Data Sources
  • Performance Metrics
Tableau is the world’s leading AI-powered analytics and business intelligence platform. Learn More!
Tableau is the world’s leading AI-powered analytics and business intelligence platform. Easily connect to data stored anywhere, in any format. Seamlessly create reliable insights with built-in data preparation and governance features that promote transparency and uniformity. Quickly perform ad-hoc analyses to reveal hidden opportunities for your business. Drag and drop to create interactive data visualizations with advanced analytics. Then share your insights with anyone and make an impact on your business. From global enterprises to early-stage startups and small businesses, people everywhere start with data and move forward with Tableau. Learn More! Learn more about Tableau

Features

  • Benchmarking
  • Key Performance Indicators
  • Predictive Analytics Software
  • Profitability Analysis
  • Strategic Planning Software
  • Trend/Problem Indicators
  • Ad hoc Reporting
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Data Connectors
  • Data Visualization Software
  • Multiple Data Sources
  • Performance Metrics
Semrush is a leading online visibility management software-as-a-service platform.
With over 55 products, tools and add-ons across online visibility management, including tools for search, content, social media and market research, data for more than 142 countries, seamless integration with Google and task management platforms, Semrush is a critical solution for all companies who are serious about online presence. Semrush in numbers: over 800 million unique domains monitored for 142 geo databases; over 43 trillion backlinks; 21 billion keywords; over 10 million users. Learn more about Semrush

Features

  • Benchmarking
  • Key Performance Indicators
  • Predictive Analytics Software
  • Profitability Analysis
  • Strategic Planning Software
  • Trend/Problem Indicators
  • Ad hoc Reporting
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Data Connectors
  • Data Visualization Software
  • Multiple Data Sources
  • Performance Metrics
Database and analysis offering for rapidly delivering the next generation of scalable e-commerce & line-of-business solutions.
Database and analysis offering for rapidly delivering the next generation of scalable e-commerce & line-of-business solutions. Learn more about Microsoft SQL Server

Features

  • Benchmarking
  • Key Performance Indicators
  • Predictive Analytics Software
  • Profitability Analysis
  • Strategic Planning Software
  • Trend/Problem Indicators
  • Ad hoc Reporting
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Data Connectors
  • Data Visualization Software
  • Multiple Data Sources
  • Performance Metrics

Business Intelligence Software Buyers Guide

Introduction

Business intelligence tools, or BI tools for short, are designed to assist companies with the gathering of important data from a variety of internal and external sources, including performance metrics and operational information. From there, Canadian business leaders can access, analyze, and share the information with a view to gaining useful insights. Ultimately, a business intelligence platform can help Canadian businesses to improve their strategies, decision-making and overall business outcomes.

A key function within business intelligence software tools is the ability to run queries that can analyze and draw meaning from business data. Business intelligence reporting provides data that may be in a variety of formats and may come from a number of different locations, with some of the most common examples including sales data, operations data, customer data, employee data, and financial information. This data and the analysis of it can then be presented in different formats, assisting with data visualization.

One of the key benefits of business intelligence systems for Canadian organizations is BI analytics and its ability to provide business leaders with a holistic view of company operations, factoring in historical data and current performance data while using it to generate insights and forecasts about the future. Using a business intelligence dashboard can empower Canadian businesses to think more strategically, improve stability, identify opportunities, improve relationships with customers, and compete more effectively with other businesses.

The vast amounts of data that can be collected and analyzed by BI analytics software means these solutions are often categorized alongside big data software and data visualization tools. With that being said, applications of this kind also share features and functionality with other packages, including business performance management software and reporting software too.

Different options on the market may focus on slightly different areas of business intelligence, such as reporting or analytics, but many business intelligence solutions will be fairly comprehensive in nature, and this means they may be able to replace the aforementioned products or services. Although the features and their quality can vary, there are a number of core features that are found in most solutions in this category and which may be considered defining features. Generally speaking, business leaders making use of BI software will be able to:

  • Continually track business statistics, performance data, and other important information
  • Store, access, and analyze internal and external data to gain insights and assess performance
  • Take advantage of data visualization features, such as graphs, charts, and interactive dashboards
  • Run advanced data analytics, allowing for the use of predictive modelling and data mining

What are business intelligence tools?

Business intelligence tools, or BI tools, are designed to allow companies and their management to gain valuable insights into the state of business operations and wider business performance. The software solutions in this category can be used to gather and manage data from a variety of sources, both internal and external, and then analyze that data, with the aim of gaining a better perspective on the present state of play, as well as what the future may bring.

A good way to get to grips with the various uses of BI tools is to first ask: what is business intelligence? Essentially, it refers to the various techniques, strategies and tools that businesses and their employees use to analyze company information and improve decision-making. With this in mind, business intelligence solutions offer a variety of features that allow companies to access, analyze, and extract data, such as financial details, customer data, and employee data.

Once data has been gathered, the software can process and analyze it, in order to identify trends and draw conclusions. Data can be displayed in easy-to-understand formats, and data visualization is a key feature in most products within this category. When Canadian businesses make intelligent use of BI solutions, they can start to make more intelligent decisions, implement new strategies, gain a crucial competitive edge, and have a better understanding of any shortcomings.

In many cases, information is gathered and analyzed in real-time, offering excellent efficiency.

What are the benefits of business intelligence software?

The benefits of business intelligence tools are numerous but tend to centre around ideas of making data easier to understand and analyzing data to find underlying trends that may otherwise be missed. In general, a crucial component of business intelligence is the use of both internal and external data sources in order to provide a rounded picture of business operations and performance. With that being said, some of the more specific benefits associated with purchasing and using BI tools are explored in greater detail below:

  • Offers a clear picture: one of the main reasons why businesses invest in BI tools is because they allow companies to gain a much more complete picture of the current state of their business and their operations, as well as forecasts for the future. Through a combination of techniques like predictive data analytics, data mining, benchmarking, and reporting, it becomes easier to make informed, evidence-based decisions and implement the strategies that are most beneficial and most likely to be successful. A good way to think about business intelligence is as a way of making sense of the current state of play, so that action plans can be created for the future.
  • Makes data easier to understand: modern businesses collect and store vast amounts of data from a variety of different sources. Manually processing and analyzing this data can be a time-consuming process, as can presenting it to stakeholders. Business intelligence programs offer a number of tools for making data easier to understand in general, with data visualization being one of the key features. When business leaders have access to important data, find it easy to understand, and start to have a more complete sense of the current state of play, it becomes much easier to turn that data into actionable insights and create realistic plans.
  • Continually monitors performance: another major benefit attached to the use of BI solutions is linked to their ability to help organizations to continually monitor performance. This means that drops in performance can be detected in real-time and appropriate responses can be formulated. With many solutions on the market, alerts can also be set up and linked to key performance indicators (KPIs). So, as an example, it would be possible to set up the software so that it automatically sends an alert if sales, revenue, or productivity drop below a certain level.
  • Improves data analytics: business intelligence tools allow for the use of several advanced techniques, including predictive analytics, which aims to forecast future events and help businesses to create more accurate forecasts. This can often be taken further through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, which can carry out much of the analytics work without requiring intervention from a human user, making the process much more efficient. This then allows decisions to be made at the best possible moment, boosting the chances of success.

What are the features of business intelligence software?

The features contained within different business intelligence tools on the market can vary substantially, as some packages are more comprehensive than others, and some may focus on a particular area of business intelligence. Nevertheless, almost any business intelligence platform or software solution worth its salt is likely to include some defining features. Many of the core and most common features contained within these programs are explained below:

  • Visual analytics: view data in ways that are easy to understand and interpret, such as graphs, charts, graphics, and interactive interfaces or visual representations. As a concept, visual analytics brings together concepts like data analysis, graphics design and computer science, with the end goal of making complex data more accessible. One of the major plus points connected to visual analytics is the ability to present information in ways that provide genuine clarity. Within business settings, this can be invaluable for presenting reports and results to senior leaders and other stakeholders, while for ordinary employees, it can make working with data much more efficient.
  • Self-service data preparation: store, access, remove, reshape, and otherwise make use of data, even without possessing advanced technical knowledge. A major focus of self-service data preparation is focused on making the process of preparing data for analysis as simple and accessible as possible for everyone. This can be especially advantageous in smaller businesses, where there may be limited IT resources, where the IT department itself may be limited in size, and where the level of expertise within the workforce may not be at the level that would historically have been needed for data preparation purposes. Many business intelligence solutions provide sophisticated tools that are explained in simple language and designed so that almost anyone in an organization can make effective use of the feature.
  • Dashboard: view important information about business operations, company performance, employees, customers, and more, all from an easy-to-use dashboard, presented on a single page. In many BI solutions, the dashboard serves as a central hub for actually accessing data and tracking statistics. It is the location where users can broadly oversee business intelligence efforts and see the status of the business. It can also then be used to access the other areas of the software in order to carry out some of the more specific tasks and use more focused features.
  • Predictive analytics: utilize a range of techniques, including data mining and predictive modelling, with the intention of making forecasts about what the future will look like. This could mean predicting future events or business states, or anticipating rises and falls in customer interest or demand. The basics behind this process are that the software finds trends, patterns, and relationships within historic data and then uses the information to make intelligent assumptions about the future. Some solutions can go further, assigning a probability score to each predicted future event, which can help businesses to gain a better sense of which events are likely, which are certain, and which can be more easily avoided with the right actions and strategies.
  • Key performance indicators: continually monitor the key performance indicators within a business in order to measure the current and historic effectiveness of different processes, procedures and strategies. Analyzing performance is vital for optimizing business operations, and business intelligence tools allow this to be done in real-time, with data coming from a variety of different sources. The BI solution then functions as a central KPI database, with employees from all departments having access to the same up-to-date information. This then makes it much easier to make changes to business strategies and to identify performance-related trends.
  • Collaboration tools: capitalize on a range of features that are specifically designed to assist teamwork and collaborative tasks. Most high-quality BI tools will provide options for sharing files and data with other users, and cloud-based solutions, in particular, can be useful for updating data for everyone in real-time. However, the very best tools will also include built-in communication options too, whether that communication is text-based, video-based, or audio-based. Precise collaboration tools can vary from one solution to the next, depending on the types of businesses they are aimed at, or the specific areas of BI they focus on. Nonetheless, any good solution will provide tools that will make it easier for people to work together.

Using the Capterra software directory, it becomes much easier to identify the best BI tools by narrowing down the available options based on the features they actually contain. This provides a significant head start for those involved in the purchasing process because they can begin their search by only seeing the options that are likely to be suitable. From there, a number of options that include the necessary features can then be easily compared and contrasted, and user feedback can be added to the mix, making a successful purchasing decision more likely.

What should be considered when purchasing business intelligence tools?

When purchasing BI tools, there are a number of things that should be considered, as they can have a significant bearing on what the best available solution will be. A good way to explore some of the key considerations prior to making a purchase is to ask some questions and come up with answers to them. When businesses and their decision-makers do this, it provides a better understanding of what is needed, what is expected, and which features are less important. Some examples of the types of questions that can assist with this process are:

  • What is business intelligence software used for? The starting point for any business making a decision about business intelligence applications is to think carefully about what the software is actually going to be used for. Most options on the market will offer a large amount of features and, in many cases, businesses are not actually going to need all of these. This means that the best overall software package may not necessarily be the best option for an individual business because it may be more comprehensive than is required, or it may not include one feature that is vital to business success. Make a list of the main features that are needed, try to be as specific as possible, and then search for the software package that best suits these requirements.
  • What is the best deployment option for BI tools? In terms of deployment, there are two main options available to businesses: the cloud-based method, which is generally offered by third-parties on a Software as a Service (SaaS) basis, or the on-premises method, which involves installing software on company systems and managing data in-house. The first option tends to be less expensive initially, although there will be a subscription involved. Advantages of cloud-based deployment include improved access from remote locations and continuous backing up of data. Although on-premises deployment has higher start-up costs, it does avoid the ongoing subscription and can provide businesses with a greater sense of control and ownership.
  • What skills are needed for business intelligence? Next, businesses need to think about the skills that are needed to use business intelligence platforms and then consider the skills that exist within their workforce. Some options on the market are designed with user-friendliness at the core, making them accessible to people who do not have high levels of technical knowledge. However, some of the other options may be aimed at more advanced users with an existing knowledge of business intelligence processes and procedures. It is important to consider the skills that exist within the organization and to then select an appropriate solution.
  • Can the software integrate with existing technology? Building an integrated tech stack is often highlighted as one of the biggest tips for small businesses who are looking to successfully purchase new software packages. Put simply, it is important that the different software solutions being used in a business can work alongside one another without any unnecessary friction or compatibility issues. Therefore, businesses should give careful thought to the existing tools they are using, such as analytics software, reporting software, and performance tracking software, and select a BI solution that is compatible.
  • Is remote or mobile access to the software required? Decision-makers also need to consider how and where the software is going to be used because this can have a major bearing on the eventual decision. In particular, the growing popularity of remote working can be an important factor because if employees are going to need remote access to the software, it may boost the case for cloud-based solutions. Beyond this, there may also be a demand for mobile accessibility, even if everyone using the software is going to be based in the office. Some employees may need to move around the workplace and work using tablets or smartphones, and solutions that provide a high level of mobile accessibility can be advantageous in these situations.
  • How much does business intelligence software cost? Finally, the cost of the business intelligence programs in question can have a substantial influence on the final decision. Here, businesses need to think about the initial costs and whether the software can be acquired within budget, but also the longer-term costs too. For instance, some solutions may charge for updates or for access to technical support. Cloud-based options are likely to have a monthly subscription charge connected. Then, businesses also need to ponder the costs associated with training employees to use the software and costs linked to storing and protecting the relevant data.

The most relevant software trends related to business intelligence in Canada are also essential to think about prior to making a purchasing decision. Businesses need to know that they are investing in software that has been created with an underlying awareness of what the major trends are and how they are influencing modern workplaces. Additionally, understanding the emerging trends can help businesses to think about what may be needed in the short, medium and long-term future, and this can then alter the final decision. Some of the most relevant BI software trends include:

  • The growth of cloud technology: In general, cloud technology is experiencing growth as more businesses become comfortable with it and more familiar with its benefits. With regards to BI software, cloud solutions provide the ability to update data for everyone, regardless of where they are located, in real-time. Additionally, cloud solutions can help to keep data secure and safe from threats like accidental deletion, which can be especially important when the data is related to business operations, and these software packages also have compatibility advantages because they tend to be accessible from almost any internet-enabled device with a web browser, regardless of the operating system being used, or the physical location of the user.
  • Increased demand for voice control: One of the more interesting technology trends of recent times has been the increased popularity of voice control. This has been influenced by mobile voice assistants, smart speakers, and other similar forms of technology, but it is also disrupting software more generally. When software uses AI and machine learning, voice recognition has the potential to allow users to issue commands through speech alone, and this can be valuable for businesses for a number of reasons. Firstly, voice control can be used while completing complex work with the hands, which can potentially enhance productivity in some businesses. Secondly, it provides accessibility advantages for employees with disabilities or other health conditions that make typing or using a mouse difficult. However, this needs to be balanced against some of the disadvantages, too, such as the potential for voice commands to be misunderstood, which could lead to errors that might otherwise be avoided.
  • Remote and hybrid work: Although remote working was already starting to take off in many industries, the coronavirus pandemic led to a major breakthrough in 2020, and many businesses have subsequently embraced the idea of allowing employees to work off-site more regularly. This is a trend seen across the globe, and 85% of Canadian employees want to continue working remotely at least in part after the pandemic, according to a Capterra study. Of course, when investing in software, this trend is important to keep in mind because solutions that have been purpose-built to accommodate remote accessibility are likely to be preferable to options that are more rigid.
  • The emergence of data storytelling: BI reporting tools can help to make data analytics more accessible, and another key trend in this area is the emergence of the concept of data storytelling. In essence, this is the process of attaching meaning to hard data and using interactive interfaces and presentations to take people on a journey. Tools that allow for a degree of data storytelling can be particularly useful for conveying complex concepts to stakeholders and for highlighting the urgency of certain action plans.
  • AI and machine learning: The last software trend to be aware of in relation to business intelligence is advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities. Software solutions that capitalize on these concepts fully can provide significant benefits for companies, especially when it comes to automating some of the more repetitive tasks. This level of automation may be advantageous in situations where circumstances change, but no employee is available to manually perform data analysis or data preparation tasks. It can also help to identify trends related to business performance more quickly than they may be spotted by human users.

Sources:

The features highlighted were identified based on their relevance and the percentage of products in Capterra's directory that offer them. The following sources were used for this document:

  1. 5 Tips to choose software for small business successfully - Capterra UK (Date accessed: Tuesday, November 2, 2021)
  2. Hybrid and Remote Workers Change How They Use IT Equipment - Gartner.com (Date accessed: Tuesday, November 2, 2021)
  3. Workplace wellness: Almost 3 in 4 Canadian remote workers report burnout - Capterra Canada (Date accessed Thursday, December 9, 2021)