8 High Productivity BI Platforms


The productivity of a BI platform is the number one concern of businesses choosing a product. While the hardware and software costs vary, these are dwarfed by the cost associated with the actual use of a platform, and as such it needs to be as productive as possible. Listed below are eight alternatives. In my opinion Stories and ThoughtSpot set a trend in the use of AI to augment the analysis process. With proliferating data sources and increasing complexity AI will be needed to enhance productivity. Chartio is simply very easy to use, ClearStory makes the data wrangling end of the task very easy, Sisense provides very high levels of flexibility, Spotfire won’t jam up when requirements become challenging, and Izenda and JReport are highly productive in the OEM environment.

So here is a list of 8 high productivity BI platforms in order of interest:

  1. Stories is driven by an AI engine which looks for significant events within data. These events may be trend deviations, simple count anomalies, time window comparison anomalies and several others that highlight unexpected results within data. The findings are presented as stories – short descriptions that outline the issues, with the ability to drill down and assign responsibility to a story. Naturally this delivers very high productivity, telling users which issues need addressing, without the need to slice and dice data on an ongoing basis.
  2. ThoughtSpot is one of a new generation of BI platforms driven to some extent by AI and taking the hard slog out of producing meaningful analysis. The interface is search driven, meaning users formulate their queries in terms of a search, much as they would do with Google. Most data sources are supported and ThoughtSpot is scaled simply by adding more ThoughtSpot appliances.
  3. Sisense is an integrated BI platform with an easy to use dashboard, reporting and charting capability. However the real power lies in its data engine, quite capable of combining data from many different sources with astonishing speed. This lends a level of flexibility that is quite rare, and adds considerably to the productivity of the platform. It all leads the way with presenting information through narratives and IOT type devices.
  4. Spotfire is a particularly sophisticated BI platform most suited to those with complex needs. While it does offer the same easy to use visual interface to create dashboards, reports and various visual artifacts, the productivity of Spotfire comes into its own with challenging analysis requirements. It supports advanced statistical, predictive, prescriptive and machine learning based analytics as well as the more familiar visual interface..
  5. Chartio majors on ease of use, and to this end it is one of the most productive platforms on the market. It caters well to the most common needs, and Chartio prides itself on requiring almost no supporting training and consulting expenditure. All the complex stuff is done behind the scenes allowing business users to slice and dice data as they wish through a disarmingly simple interface.
  6. ClearStory excels in the blending and preparation of data for BI. This often accounts for over 60% of the analysis effort, and so ClearStory accelerates analysis considerably through these capabilities. It comes with the usual visual interface – drag and drop, drill down etc, and a particularly strong storyboard capability.
  7. JReport is a favorite with OEMs and systems integrators because of its powerful embedding features, easy to use Quick Start interface and very high levels of scalability. Developers use the JReport Designer to create production quality reports and JDashboard provides the familiar drag and drop dashboard creation environment with filters, drill down, trend analysis and other features that add considerably to the productivity of the environment.
  8. Izenda excels in embedded analytics and has done very well in the OEM marketplace. It offers a very productive environment for the creation of reports, dashboards and charts, while at the same time delivering visuals through the browser. While traditionally implemented in a Microsoft .Net environment, Izenda extends its reach to Linux through the .Net Core architecture.