Open source business intelligence software


The Top 15 Free and Open Source Business Intelligence Software

Update 07/11/2018: This article has been updated to reflect the most current information and to delete options that no longer offer a free version of their software.

One of the best things about business intelligence software is that its benefits are not restricted by the size of the business. Whether you’ve got ten or 10,000 employees, you can still find value from what business intelligence software offers, such as dashboards and ad hoc queries.

One problem, though? Business intelligence tools are expensive.

Fortunately, there’s a solution: If you’re a small or midsize business (SMB) with a tight budget, free and open source business intelligence software is your way to get the benefits of data and analytics for free.

But how do you know which BI tool is best for your business? How do you even know which ones are free? There are about 500 options in Capterra’s business intelligence software directory, and you probably don’t have time to review them all.

No worries: I’ve done the research for you.

In selecting these software programs, I’ve used Software Advice’s FrontRunners for business intelligence software as a guide. Beyond that, I’ve added whatever free and open source programs I could find.

Products are listed alphabetically.

1. BIRT

BIRT is an open source BI program that CloudTweaks says is often viewed as the the industry standard. BIRT boasts “over 12 million downloads and over 2.5 million developers across 157 countries.”

Its users include heavyweights such as Cisco, S1, and IBM (which is also a BIRT sponsor). They also have maturity going for them, as they’ve been around since the (second) Bush administration.

visualization BIRT business intelligence softwareAn example of a BIRT visualization (Source)

BIRT can create a range of reports, from textual documents to cross tabs to standard pie and bar graphs. Along with these BI basics, BIRT can also tackle slightly more advanced tasks, “such as grouping on sums, percentages of overall totals, and more.”

BIRT can also be embedded in a range of other applications, so it may integrate with business software you already use. BIRT report engine and charting engine integrate easily with applications and programs that use Java.

Be aware, however, that you’ll need someone who knows code to be able to really work the program. If you’re left scratching your head at terms such as “conditional formatting” or “scripted data sets,” you may be in over your head.

2. Jaspersoft Community

You’ll run into Jaspersoft pretty quickly if you search for open source BI tools. How good is Jaspersoft? Good enough that Tibco spent $185 million to acquire them in 2014.

Jaspersoft Community is the company’s free offering. Jaspersoft offers four of its programs in Community editions:

  • JasperReports Server: A program for designing reports that can be embedded or used on its own.
  • JasperReports Library: A Java library that allows you to use data from any source and that exports reports in HTML, PDF, Excel, and other formats.
  • Jaspersoft ETL: A data integration engine that transforms your raw data into easily consumed information.
  • Jaspersoft Studio: A program that lets you design and customize the reports you’ll embed in JasperReports Server.

undefinedA Tibco Jaspersoft data visualizations (Source)

They have an impressive list of customers: Groupon, Time Warner Cable, the government of British Columbia, and Vanderbilt University.

Like a lot of open source programs, Jaspersoft has a developer community—an online forum for people who use and, well, develop that open source code into a fuller program.

tibco jaspersoft dashboardA Jaspersoft dashboard (Source)

The upside to developer communities for any open source program is that you’ve got a potential support network, or at least people with similar concerns.

The downside is that, since developer communities are populated by users, rather than paid customer service advisers, whether you get an answer depends on whether another developer has the time, or interest, to offer a solution.

3. Knime

Knime (short for Konstanz Information Miner), a free and open source data analytics program, comes in several versions:

Knime visualizationA Knime data analysis workflow (Source)

Knime is a great choice for data scientists, or employees who do the work of data scientists (citizen data scientists, as they’re also known).

If you work with languages such as R or Python, or use predictive and machine learning algorithms, give Knime a look.

Are you familiar with multivariate statistics and data mining? If so, great! If those terms make your eyes glaze over (raises hand sheepishly), try something different.

Knime’s one of the bigger established players among open source data analytics programs, with users in more than 60 countries worldwide. It gets an 8.1/10 rating from “Predictive Analytics Today” and can be used for purposes as diverse as data visualization and internet of things projects.

4. Metabase

Metabase is an open source business intelligence tool that enables you to poke around in your data and prod it until answers come out. It offers such features as a SQL-free interface (you won’t have to know how to code to use it), ad hoc queries, and data visualization.

dashboard designed with metabaseA Metabase data visualization (Source)

Metabase offers dashboards and 11 visualizations, including pie charts, bar graphs, line graphs, and maps of the world.

Worried you won’t pick the right sort of visual? If a particular visualization isn’t right for the sort of data you’re trying to visualize, Metabase will gray out that option in the drop-down menu (though you can still use it if you want to).

You can upload a variety of data formats, from MondoDB to SQL.

5. Pentaho Business Analytics

Pentaho was bought by Hitachi, and now makes up one part of Hitachi Ventara. It’s still called Pentaho, though. Though the free version of Pentaho Business Analytics is no longer offered through Hitachi’s website, you can find a free version on SourceForge.

Pentaho offers a lot of helpful BI basics such as visualizations from heat graphs and geo-mapping, as well as reporting in outputs as diverse as PDFs, Excel, HTML, and others.

It offers an Enterprise edition (for which you’ll have to buy a subscription) and a Community edition (free and open source). As with Jaspersoft, your business will need someone who knows how to code if you want to really take advantage.

pentaho dashboardA Pentaho dashboard (Source)

If you have coders on hand, Pentaho is a great choice. The customizability one gets from coding is strengthened by offerings such as Pentaho’s CTools, which are “tools and components created to help you build Custom Dashboards on top of Pentaho.”

The tools allow you to perform an impressive range of activities, such as creating more advanced dashboards or incorporating extra graphics for reports.

Like Jaspersoft, Pentaho offers community forums that allow you to discuss developments or changes you’ve made to the code, or ask questions. That said, Pentaho’s forums are less active, with most questions getting one or two responses at most.

6. Report Server Community Edition

If you’re looking to run reports, you know how to code, and you don’t want to spend any money, check out Report Server Community Edition, that vendor’s open source option.

Report Server is good for unlimited users, which is unusual among free BI software tools.

reportserver dashboard exampleA ReportServer dashboard (Source)

A lot of free business intelligence software doesn’t offer the collaborative features that make it such a good investment, but ReportServer has collaborative Team Spaces in its free version.

As with a lot of open source software, there’s also a community forum you can check in case another user already had the same questions you have.

7. Knowage

Since the last update of this piece, SpagoBI has rebranded as Knowage. The most recent free and open source version is called Knowage Community Edition 6.1.

knowage visualizationsExamples of Knowage visualizations (Source)

Based out of Italy, Spago will give you the basics BI professionals anywhere need, such as visualizations, dashboards, reporting, and multidimensional analysis.

If you have enough data to need data mining, Spago offers that, as well.

Free business intelligence software

If you really want a sense of just how much software has changed business intelligence, consider that some of the following programs offer unlimited reports.

Thirty years ago, the amount of time, effort, and man hours that went into making a single report would have made that idea seem fanciful.

8. Dataiku DSS Free Edition

While Dataiku DSS (short for Data Science Studio) is more of a data science program than a business intelligence tool, I’m including it on this list because 1) it offers some dynamite data visualizations, and 2) it’s free.

Dataiku Free offers 26 different chart types, to be precise. Dataiku’s free edition is worth a look if your primary interest is data visualization.

example dataiku churn predictionA Dataiku churn prediction visualization (Source)

Dataiku Free also lets you play with machine learning algorithms, including a few of the most popular: regression, classification, and clustering. Given that you’re paying nothing, that’s pretty impressive.

Dataiku’s free version isn’t multi-user, and, given how important collaboration is to business intelligence, you’ll be missing out there. Dataiku’s Enterprise edition (for which you have to pay) does, however, allow multiple users.

9. Microsoft Power BI Desktop

Microsoft offers a stripped down, free version of their business intelligence program, Power BI Desktop. It offers up to 1 GB of data, along with the ability to transform CSV data and Excel spreadsheets into something people actually don’t mind looking at.

power bi visualizationA Microsoft PowerBI visualization (Source)

The biggest benefit of Power BI is its accessibility. If you can use Excel, you’ll probably have an easy time with Power BI because it uses the same DAX language as Excel.

10. Qlik Sense Cloud Basic

Two great things about Qlik Sense Cloud Basic: 1) It’s cloud-based, so you can access it from anywhere, and 2) it’s free for up to five users.

That means you can collaborate with a small team, which is especially useful if you want to test before you invest. It’s that collaborative element that’s especially useful, as collaboration is one of Gartner’s Critical Capabilities that every business intelligence program should have (research available to Gartner clients).

Qlik sense dashboardA Qlik Sense dashboard (Source)

One useful collaborative feature is Qlik Sense Stream, which shows changes, updates, and annotations made to documents and images. It’s like having a Twitter feed for what people do in the program.

There’s also a stream for yourself, so if you get stuck in a “what-was-that-thing-I-worked-on-last-Tuesday” loop, all you have to do is scroll down.

11. QlikView Personal Edition

Qlik also offers a free, one-user version of their QlikView program.

qlikview dashboardA Qlikview dashboard (Source)

QlikView’s personal editions are best for solo use. They have the same functions as the full version and aren’t timed (as in 30-day trials).

They don’t offer the same ability to collaborate and share data you’d get with the full versions, but if you’re a solo entrepreneur or in charge of a small operation, these could still be solid options.

12. RapidMiner

RapidMiner offers free versions of all three of its products: RapidMiner Studio, RapidMiner Server, and RapidMiner Radoop.

Rapidminer screenshotA RapidMiner data screenshot (Source)

If you’re a small or midsize business, RapidMiner might be a good place to start.

When you download the free version of RapidMiner Studio, the first 30 days offer all of the features of Studio Large, which include unlimited rows of data, and Auto Model. After the first 30 days, you’ll be limited to 10,000 rows of data, and lose Auto Model.

If that worries you at all, assuage your fears by checking out all of RapidMiner’s other features. With RapidMiner Server, you get up to 2 GB of storage and up to 1,000 web service API calls.

Though you won’t get the same support as the paid versions, you’ll still have access to RapidMiner’s community support. The free version of RapidMiner Radoop similarly limits you to community support and supports only one user, but it still supports over 70 Hadoop operators.

13. Style Scope AE

Style Scope AE (Agile edition) is InetSoft’s free business intelligence offering. It’s primarily a data visualization program, but it also allows you to prep your data beforehand.

Style Scope AE uses a drag-and-drop interface, so even the technophobic can work it. You can upload a wide variety of data styles to AE, including (of course) Excel spreadsheets.

The visualizations you can make are gorgeous, especially for a free program.

StyleScope visualizationA StyleScope visualization (Source)

Style Scope AE has beauty, but it also has brains. If you have trouble adapting to new technology, refer to one of the numerous free video tutorials on the StyleScope AE training page.

14. Tableau Public

Tableau Public is business intelligence tool creator Tableau’s free offering. The program’s accessibility is a strong feature, with the ability to share visualizations via email or social media and the option to connect to Google Sheets.

Tableau Public can import and understand data from Excel and Azure, and also CSV files.

tableau business intelligence dashboardA Tableau dashboard (Source)

Tableau also offers a free version of Tableau Reader, if all you want to do is look at Tableau visualizations, rather than make them.

tableau reader visualizationA visualization accessible with Tableau Reader (Source)

15. Zoho Reports

Zoho’s business intelligence program, Zoho Reports, offers a free version that supports two users. The free version also offers unlimited reports and dashboards, as well as cloud storage.

There’s no limit on the size of a file in Zoho’s cloud storage, but there is a limit on the number of rows (10,000).

zoho reports dashboard exampleA Zoho Reports dashboard (Source)

 

 

Refer source : https://blog.capterra.com/the-7-best-free-help-desk-software-tools/

Big data


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Big Data – What Is It ?

 

Big data is a popular term used to describe the exponential growth, availability and use of information, both structured and unstructured. Much has been written on the big data trend and how it can serve as the basis for innovation, differentiation and growth.

According to IDC, it is imperative that organizations and IT leaders focus on the ever-increasing volume, variety and velocity of information that forms big data.1

  • Volume. Many factors contribute to the increase in data volume – transaction-based data stored through the years, text data constantly streaming in from social media, increasing amounts of sensor data being collected, etc. In the past, excessive data volume created a storage issue. But with today’s decreasing storage costs, other issues emerge, including how to determine relevance amidst the large volumes of data and how to create value from data that is relevant.
  • Variety. Data today comes in all types of formats – from traditional databases to hierarchical data stores created by end users and OLAP systems, to text documents, email, meter-collected data, video, audio, stock ticker data and financial transactions. By some estimates, 80 percent of an organization’s data is not numeric! But it still must be included in analyses and decision making.
  • Velocity. According to Gartner, velocity “means both how fast data is being produced and how fast the data must be processed to meet demand.” RFID tags and smart metering are driving an increasing need to deal with torrents of data in near-real time. Reacting quickly enough to deal with velocity is a challenge to most organizations.

Scott Zucker, Family DollarSmall data is gone. Data is just going to get bigger and bigger and bigger, and people just have to think differently about how they manage it.

—Scott Zucker

Family Dollar

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Big data according to SAS

At SAS, we consider two other dimensions when thinking about big data:

  • Variability. In addition to the increasing velocities and varieties of data, data flows can be highly inconsistent with periodic peaks. Is something big trending in the social media? Perhaps there is a high-profile IPO looming. Maybe swimming with pigs in the Bahamas is suddenly the must-do vacation activity. Daily, seasonal and event-triggered peak data loads can be challenging to manage – especially with social media involved.
  • Complexity. When you deal with huge volumes of data, it comes from multiple sources. It is quite an undertaking to link, match, cleanse and transform data across systems. However, it is necessary to connect and correlate relationships, hierarchies and multiple data linkages or your data can quickly spiral out of control. Data governance can help you determine how disparate data relates to common definitions and how to systematically integrate structured and unstructured data assets to produce high-quality information that is useful, appropriate and up-to-date.

Ultimately, regardless of the factors involved, we believe that the term big data is relative; it applies (per Gartner’s assessment)  whenever an organization’s ability to handle, store and analyze data exceeds its current capacity.

Examples of big data

  • RFID (radio frequency ID) systems generate up to 1,000 times the data of conventional bar code systems. Tweet
  • 10,000 payment card transactions are made every second around the world.2 Tweet
  • Walmart handles more than 1 million customer transactions an hour.3 Tweet
  • 340 million tweets are sent per day. That’s nearly 4,000 tweets per second.4 Tweet
  • Facebook has more than 901 million active users generating social interaction data.5 Tweet
  • More than 5 billion people are calling, texting, tweeting and browsing websites on mobile phones. Tweet

Uses for big data

So the real issue is not that you are acquiring large amounts of data (because we are clearly already in the era of big data). It’s what you do with your big data that matters. The hopeful vision for big data is that organizations will be able to harness relevant data and use it to make the best decisions.

Technologies today not only support the collection and storage of large amounts of data, they provide the ability to understand and take advantage of its full value, which helps organizations run more efficiently and profitably. For instance, with big data and big data analytics, it is possible to:

  • Analyze millions of SKUs to determine optimal prices that maximize profit and clear inventory.
  • Recalculate entire risk portfolios in minutes and understand future possibilities to mitigate risk.
  • Mine customer data for insights that drive new strategies for customer acquisition, retention, campaign optimization and next best offers.
  • Quickly identify customers who matter the most.
  • Generate retail coupons at the point of sale based on the customer’s current and past purchases, ensuring a higher redemption rate.
  • Send tailored recommendations to mobile devices at just the right time, while customers are in the right location to take advantage of offers.
  • Analyze data from social media to detect new market trends and changes in demand.
  • Use clickstream analysis and data mining to detect fraudulent behavior.
  • Determine root causes of failures, issues and defects by investigating user sessions, network logs and machine sensors.

Rex Pruitt, Premier BankcardHigh-performance analytics, coupled with the ability to score every record and feed it into the system electronically, can identify fraud faster and more accurately.

—Rex Pruitt

Premier Bankcard

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Challenges

Many organizations are concerned that the amount of amassed data is becoming so large that it is difficult to find the most valuable pieces of information.

  • What if your data volume gets so large and varied you don’t know how to deal with it?
  • Do you store all your data?
  • Do you analyze it all?
  • How can you find out which data points are really important?
  • How can you use it to your best advantage?

Until recently, organizations have been limited to using subsets of their data, or they were constrained to simplistic analyses because the sheer volumes of data overwhelmed their processing platforms. What is the point of collecting and storing terabytes of data if you can’t analyze it in full context, or if you have to wait hours or days to get results? On the other hand, not all business questions are better answered by bigger data.

You now have two choices:

  • Incorporate massive data volumes in analysis. If the answers you are seeking will be better provided by analyzing all of your data, go for it. The game-changing technologies that extract true value from big data – all of it – are here today. One approach is to apply high-performance analytics to analyze the massive amounts of data using technologies such as grid computing, in-database processing and in-memory analytics.
  • Determine upfront which big data is relevant. Traditionally, the trend has been to store everything (some call it data hoarding) and only when you query the data do you discover what is relevant. We now have the ability to apply analytics on the front end to determine data relevance based on context. This analysis can be used to determine which data should be included in analytical processes and which can be placed in low-cost storage for later availability if needed.

Kerem Tomak, Macys.comNow you can run hundreds and thousands of models at the product level – at the SKU level – because you have the big data and analytics to support those models at that level.

—Kerem Tomak

Macys.com

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Technologies

A number of recent technology advancements are enabling organizations to make the most of big data and big data analytics:

  • Cheap, abundant storage and server processing capacity.
  • Faster processors.
  • Affordable large-memory capabilities, such as Hadoop.
  • New storage and processing techno