Dig Deeper Into Your Data By Using Business Intelligence Tools

There is a common saying that states you should work smarter not harder; however, if you want to achieve outstanding results and growth, you must do both. While there can be various options how to achieve the “work smarter” part, in modern day data-based economy businesses can work smarter and make better decisions if they understand the their data. Data analysis allows businesses to map out customer buying habits, make a record of competitor sales techniques, assess potential risks and perform other tasks that are crucial for a company to be successful.

Luckily, there is a multitude of business intelligence tools available that can help small/medium enterprises to boost sales and view the state of their business over time. One of the best things about business intelligence tool is that the benefits of their use are not restricted by the size of the business. As the main idea of any BI tool is to make reporting easier and enable users to dig deeper into their data to uncover useful insights, they can be used in various types of companies, including SME.

To help you get started with business intelligence tools, we have compiled a list of several free options with a short overview of each. Continue reading to find out what those tools can bring to the table.


BIRT is an open-source BI software that has more than 2.5 million developers and 12 million downloads within 157 countries. BIRT allows you to create reports and visualisations of your data. BIRT can be integrated with business software that you are already using as it can be embedded in a wide range of applications and programs that use Java. However, in order to successfully work with BIRT, you will need someone in your team who knows JavaScript.


QlikView is another cloud-based BI platform that excels at data visualization and provides users self-service data capabilities with the ability to scale as needed. QlikView can analyze data collection using in-memory processing which is faster than traditional online analytical processing. In addition to creating reports, QlikView offers the possibility to automatically save the connections between data.

Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft offers a free version of their business intelligence program, known as Power BI. It provides up to 1 GB of space and allows you to convert data into visuals. WIth the help of this tool you can dig deeper into data and share your insights within your organisation or embed them into your app or website. You can also create dashboards and reports. The greatest benefit of Microsoft Power BI is its accessibility, because it uses the same DAX language as Excel. Microsoft Power BI can access data from various on-premise and cloud-based sources, such as Salesforce, Azure, Dynamics 365, SQL DB, Excel, and SharePoint.

Tableau Public

Tableau Public is a BI tool that offers the possibility to create visualisations and dashboards and share them via email or social media or embed them on your website or blog. You can save and store your visualisations on your profile and the tool offers you 10GB of space to do that. Tableau Public allows you to import data from Excel and Azure.


With MetaBase you can group and filter your data to explore connections and dig deeper for various insights. MetaBase has features such as ad hoc queries, SQL-free interface and data visualization and it works with MySQL, Oracle, SQL Server and other database management systems. In addition, you can embed MetaBase in your application.

How Do I Know Which Tool is the Best for Me?

When talking about business intelligence tools, you should remember that there are both free and paid options available on the market. In some cases open source software might need some level of technical know-how to be operated - if you choose this option, make sure that you have someone in your team who has the time and the skills necessary to successfully operate your new tool. If your IT team is small or your IT department does not have the capacity to take on such a project, it’s better to go with a paid tool or opt for a different free tool. You should also keep in mind that free tools might have limited functionality, therefore, you have to understand what are the main goals that you want to achieve with the tool of your choice. However, before committing to a paid plan it is always best to try out a free version of the tool to see if it corresponds to your needs.


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