What is Business Intelligence (BI)?
Before we dive into Business Intelligence trends 2020, let’s understand BI and how to stay updated on these trends.
BI or Business Intelligence is exactly what it literally means i.e. Intelligence towards Business. BI is one of the many fields within the large umbrella of Data Science. Let me explain.
Suppose you have a shop running successfully. You’re making enough profit to sustain the store and your personal needs. As any business, sustaining is not enough. You need to grow your business but you don’t exactly know how.
The first step here, would be to collect all the data (including expenditure, sales, marketing, customer base, etc.). When you collect this data, you start noticing a pattern. As an example, maybe you’re spending too much to procure a particular product but it doesn’t have enough sale and hence, very less profit margin. This piece of information will now help you to decide whether to continue procuring this product or not. In simpler terms, gathering data and generating actionable insights for your business is Business Intelligence.
The above example is a very small example. Let’s consider a huge business where there are many employees to analyze data and they have generated good actionable insights for the management. Can they walk up to their seniors and start blurting out the insights? No. The management needs to see to believe it. They require a proof to these insights, and they need to see aggregated data from where you derived these insights.
Now these employees must create reports and dashboards to present their findings using various tools and technologies.
According to Forrester Research, business intelligence is “a set of methodologies, processes, architectures, and technologies that transform raw data into meaningful and useful information used to enable more effective strategic, tactical, and operational insights and decision-making.”
What are BI Tools?
BI tools are types of software used to gather, process, analyze, and visualize large volumes of past, current, and future data to generate actionable business insights, create interactive reports, and simplify the decision-making processes.
These tools include key features
- Data visualization
- Visual analytics
- Interactive dashboarding
- KPI scorecards.
Additionally, they enable users to utilize automated reporting and predictive analytics features based on self-service.
Research Companies and their reports.
There are some research companies which regularly publish reports that provide advice on existing and potential impact of technology to its clients and the public. Forrester Research and Gartner are two such companies.
Gartner releases its Magic Quadrants where in they categorize tools into 4 categories viz.
- Visionaries, and
- Niche Players.
Forrester releases its Wave reports where they categorize tools into 4 categories viz.
- Strong Performers,
- Contenders, and
Specific to BI, Forrester releases 2 different Wave reports viz.
- Vendor-Managed Platforms – Clients are fully responsible for deploying their private instance of the BI software. They may choose to install it on-premises, in a public cloud, or hosted by a vendor.
- Client-Managed Platforms – Clients do not deploy but subscribe to software. A vendor maintains a single software instance and partitions it for logical private instances for each client.
Nonetheless, both Forrester and Gartner compare tools against multiple parameters which are available in their detailed reports. You can always refer to latest reports by Gartner and Forrester to find the latest Business Intelligence trends 2020.
Now let’s look at the top BI tools as per Gartner and Forrester reports.
Fact Based Top BI Tools
Gartner Magic Quadrant (2020)
Forrester Wave Vendor-Managed (Q3 2019)
Forrester Wave Client-Managed (Q3 2019)
Top BI Tools
Considering Forrester, Gartner, and my personal experience working with multiple BI Tools, I can narrow down the top BI tools as follows.
However, I would suggest you try each tool on your own and then buy the tool which best suits you.