SAP Business Objects is a natural, albeit expensive, choice for many SAP users. However there are alternatives and the list below is a good selection of candidates, with suitability implied in the order – although individual requirements obviously vary.
IBM Cognos is a large, sprawling suite of BI tools and infrastructure best suited to the needs of large organizations, and most likely those with an existing IBM commitment. For senior executives with a ‘Master of the Universe’ complex Cognos will support every possible type of analysis. However for people who just want to know what is happening or has happened there are lighter and more nimble alternatives. Read Review
Information Builders is a long established supplier of BI, analytics and integration technologies. The integration of BI and data mining is quite unique and puts IB ahead of the crowd. The maturity, sophistication and value for money is very hard to beat. Read Review
MicroStrategy is in many ways a meeting of the old and new in business intelligence, and takes the positives from both. It is truly an enterprise solution meeting the less glamorous demands for regular reporting, complex dashboards and extensive admin, while offering up the sexier self-service BI users now expect from a BI solution. It is expensive, and for organizations with less demanding requirements other options will be more economical. Read Review
QlikView BI platform has the ability to be all things to all people, and will satisfy business users, developers and enterprise needs. It sets the right balance between ease-of-use and sophistication in our opinion – something that very few other BI platforms achieve. We particularly like its extensibility and the ability to create new chart types and BI apps – there should be no running up against the buffers. Read Review
SAS BI will attract larger organizations with complex needs. Even here however there may be resistance to the high price of SAS products and a need to find simpler solutions for some requirements. Read Review
JReport is a disarmingly straightforward BI environment capable of addressing the needs of large and medium size organizations. It is well regarded for the flexibility of the architecture and its support for the embedding of BI components into mainstream applications. Read Review
Pentaho often delivers everything an organization might need, and goes beyond the classical role of BI by also offering predictive analytics capability. This unglamorous technology stack with an open source heritage is designed to get the job done – and with the least possible fuss. Read Review