There are many business intelligence tools in the market that help you with data visualization, analytics, reporting, dashboards. They help you transform data into insights and make better decisions. Here’s a list of top 10 Free business intelligence tools that you can try.
Top 10 Free Business Intelligence Tools
Pentaho (now Hitachi Vantara) is one of the most popular free business intelligence tools that features data integration, ETL and reporting. It is suitable for complex business intelligence needs of large organizations and enterprises.
Consequently, it is fairly difficult to setup and use. You will need a team of trained IT professionals to manage Pentaho in your organization.
Although their product is free to use, they do charge fairly high amount for customer support.
BIRT (stands for Business Intelligence and Reporting Tool) by Eclipse is another free business intelligence tool that allows you to easily design charts, reports, visualizations, dashboards.
It also allows you to embed charts & reports on your web pages, mobile applications and web applications. It features a visual chart designer, charting engine and runtime environment.
It is an on-premise deployment, so you need an IT team, and hardware to manage it in your organization.
Spago BI (now Knowage) is an open-source, free business intelligence tool for large businesses and enterprises. It supports data integration, data analysis and visualization, ETL, business intelligence, dashboards, reporting, forecasting and predictive analytics.
It is also an on-premise software and requires IT professionals to help you manage it for your organization.
Metabase is a free business intelligence tool that allows you to easily query your databases, generate charts & reports and share them with others.
It is suitable for SMBs as well as large enterprises. Metabase is an on-premise tool that requires you to install Java and other dependencies.
So you need IT professionals and software developers to help you install and manage it, on an ongoing basis.
Helical Insight is a BI tool that comes in 2 editions – community and enterprise. Its community edition is free to use, while you have to pay for the enterprise edition, which has more features and better customer support.
It also supports data visualization, analytics, dashboards, reporting, business intelligence, user management, scheduled reports, multi-tenancy and API.
It also provides a search-like interface that allows you to query data using natural language and retrieve answers as charts & tables.
Jasper Reports also offers a community and enterprise edition. You can use Jasper Reports to develop web-based reports, charts and dashboards, and share them with other users. You can access these reports on web, desktop as well as mobile devices.
You will need software developers or IT professionals to help you install and manage its reporting server on your premise. Also, you will need to bear the cost of additional hardware required for this solution.
KNIME is a data analysis and visualization tool that features 1000+ modules and hundreds of ready to use examples.
It focuses more on data analysis and less on business intelligence & reporting. So it is mostly used by scientists, researchers and data analysts.
RapidMiner is a powerful business intelligence and reporting tool that allows you to create complete data workflows for analysis, visualization, business intelligence and reporting.
It supports data integration, ETL, data preparation, reporting, analysis, visualization and business intelligence.
It offers a free version, with paid version starting from $2,500/year.
Seal Report is a simple reporting framework for Microsoft .NET. You can easily create charts, data visualizations, dashboards and reports from any database. It also supports pivot tables, crosstabs, report servers and dynamic SQL sources.
It also allows you to schedule email reports or generate them in folders.
Power BI is a paid business intelligence tool by Microsoft that supports variety of data sources, visualizations and analytics features. However, it also provides a free version of this tool with limited capabilities and features.
Problems with Free business intelligence tools
While it might seem tempting to use free business intelligence tools to save money, they incur many hidden costs and problems, that you need to be aware of.
First, business intelligence is a fairly complicated process that requires minimum customer support. Most of these free tools have limited customer support or charge you heavily for it.
Second, they are mostly on-premise deployments and don’t offer cloud-versions. So you need to spend on additional hardware to host these solutions, as well as hire trained IT professionals who can help you install and manage them in your organization.
Third, they are very likely to be abandoned or sold out, due to lack of revenues or interest. If their developers get busy with other projects, you’ll realize that they stop releasing updates, patches and bug fixes. In such cases, you are stuck with them, or have to look for alternatives.
Choosing a business intelligence solution is a long-term decision. It can be quite painful to migrate all your reports, charts, queries, dashboards to another system. So be careful before going for a free business intelligence tool. In most cases, paid tools provide better support, frequent updates and a hassle-free experience. Also, there are many affordable BI tools in market today.
If you are looking for an easy to use, powerful and affordable business intelligence and reporting tool, try Ubiq today.