BI Platforms with Advanced Analytics
Business Intelligence has traditionally delivered a look in the rear view mirror, providing a description of what has happened or is happening. Advanced analytics are more concerned with the future, allowing businesses to predict how customers, suppliers and other aspects of business will behave. Right now, advanced analytics is only supplied by a few BI vendors – eventually they will all have to deliver. The crucial property of advanced analytics in BI is ease of use – and this is what makes it difficult for suppliers to deliver. The platforms listed below offer varying degrees of support for advanced analytics, but new entrants such as BeyondCore set the pace to some extent.
Alteryx is an interesting product, filling a void that most other analytic platforms do not address. It allows skilled business users and analysts to analyze their data using a combination of data visualization and predictive analytics tools. It also supports spatial analytics where location is important.
BeyondCore – The four dominant modes of analysis are covered by BeyondCore – descriptive (traditional BI), discovery (looking for unknown facts), predictive (finding consistent patterns that can be used in future activities), and prescriptive (actions that can be taken to improve performance). What is particularly significant about BeyondCore is that all the complexity is hidden from the business user.
Birst is a cloud based BI platform that caters for self-service and production needs. The underlying data architecture is excellent, and places Birst ahead of the pack in this respect. It is one of only a few true enterprise BI platforms available as a cloud deployment (public or private). Advanced analytics are well supported via the Weka toolkit.
Microstrategy is a very deep and very broad business intelligence platform. It is most suitable for large businesses with extensive production reporting needs. The data visualization capabilities are above average, but not exceptional. Microstrategy does however support advanced analytics, and has done for some time.
SAS Visual Analytics is an easy-to-use, sophisticated analytics platform that stands apart from most of the competition. Several features guide and advise the user to make the experience informed and effective – something almost totally lacking in most other BI platforms.
Sisense majors on ease-of-use and performance. It is capable of handling very large data volumes at speed, and provides powerful data visualization capabilities. Sisense also supports good extensibility, and version 6 improves on this and adds support for advanced analytics via R.
Spotfire from TIBCO successfully combines advanced analytics with an easy-to-use interface. At the most basic level users can create charts and dashboards with considerable ease. As skills and experience increase so other forms of analytics are available. The implementations of additional analytic capabilities are of a very high quality, and Spotfire boasts one of the fastest R runtime engines available.
Yellowfin is an excellent all-round cloud enterprise BI solution with with good data connectivity and management, numerous mechanisms for effective governance and support for embedding and the creation of cloud based services. It also supports some forms of advanced analytics.