In today’s world, the progress and growth of any business are not reliant on effective promotion and quality of its products & services alone. Instead, with the advancements and the rapidly growing popularity of big data and data science, the corporate sector is turning more towards the use of Business Intelligence tools. These software tools are supposed to analyze the data, interpret them, and present the underlying useful information for further use. This data and the subsequent information is becoming essential for the businesses to plan their future development and marketing strategies. That is why the use of Open-Source Business Intelligence software is becoming the need of time.
What is open source business intelligence?
Open Source Business Intelligence refers to the business data that provides important information about the company. Today, the information extracted from this data is a prerequisite for the company’s growth and development. That is why the trend of big data and data science is dominating the corporate world.
The Open Source Business Intelligence (OSBI) software are specialized for extracting relevant information from this OSBI data to provide ready details to the business owners. These software programs are adorned with typical management and analytical tools that help you get a well-presented data for your brand, project, or the company. Usually, OSBI software programs are available for free. Nevertheless, there are some tools which require you to pay subscription or service charges.
If you look up to find the best free OSBI software programs, you will come across a myriad of tools offering various impressive features. Of course, it will be difficult for you to choose the best one that meets your requirements, but it is obvious that you cannot use all of them. To help you make a decision, we have researched for the best free and Open Source Business Intelligence software. After going through the product features, here we present the ten best Business Intelligence software which might be useful for you.
Launched by Tibco in 2014, the Jaspersoft Community BI tools is one of the most robust Open Source Business Intelligence software programs available for free. It is an embeddable suite that provides interactive reports and analytics that can embed in a mobile or web app as well. The suite comprises several tools, all of which feature unique options for your convenience. These are,
- JasperReports Server
- Jaspersoft ETL
- JasperReports Library
- Jaspersoft Studio
Among these, the JasperReports Server is one of the key BI tools in this suite. It is a standalone reporting server that creates unique web-based reports with an intuitive user interface. The suite is also accompanied by Jaspersoft community where you can share your queries, ideas, and other discussions. The only problem here is that you are addressing the entire community of developers at large. Hence, you remain unassured of getting a response. However, if you receive a reply from someone, you are likely to get a few more replies to your query.
2. Zoho Reports
Zoho Reports is yet another Open-Source Business Intelligence software that is launched with a vision to help the business community by providing analytical data reports and dashboards. It is a great tool to analyze any data and create useful reports visually. The software allows two users at a time. Nevertheless, $10 per month may be paid to add more users (but it will not be free then).
Though this software has a limitation of two users with its free version, still, it remains a better choice for the real-time analysis of data and to get unlimited reports and dashboards. The most impressive feature of Zoho Reports is its unlimited cloud storage with no restrictions regarding the file sizes.
Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT) is an impressive BI suite from Eclipse that is being used by some of the business giants of the world, such as Cisco, IBM, and S1, while being sponsored by IBM and Innovent Solutions along with Actuate. Launched in 2004, BIRT indeed is the most used open-source business intelligence software, as depicted from its 12 million downloads and more than 2.5 million developers across 157 countries.
An impressive user-interface and user-friendly features are the things which make this software an industry standard. It is an embeddable tool that can generate a range of comprehensive reports including textual details, graphs, and various charts. In addition to the report layout, it also features data access and scripting tools.
Although this software is mainly designed to fulfill the requirements for intuitive reporting, it can go slightly further to include data analysis as well, and to present the data in a more grouped and analytical way by performing various functions such as summing, totals, percentage. Moreover, it can be embedded in multiple other applications. Hence, if you are already using some other business apps, no worries – this software can easily integrate with all such apps. Precisely, BIRT can be easily embedded with JAVA/JAVA EE to create riveting reports.
Following are the main components of BIRT, each of which lets you avail a unique feature to satisfy your business needs.
- Visual report designer for creating BIRT reports
- Runtime environment for generating embeddable reports
- Chart engine
- Chart designer
The Konstanz Information Miner (KNIME) presents an inclusive platform as an open-source business intelligence software that is developed as an integration platform to create analytical reports. KNIME consists of all those components that are required for data mining and machine learning. Predominantly, there are two different programs in this business suite. KNIME Analytics Platform, and the KNIME Cloud Analytics Platform.
KNIME is indeed a fantastic brand with more than 1000 modules to facilitate the data scientists and analysts. It carries a myriad of instant examples of analyses, a comprehensive toolset and a range of algorithms for the users to choose from. It is a rather specified software that may not be easy to use for the beginners. However, for the data scientists and experts, mainly those willing to work on R, Python, or other predictive machine learning tools, KNIME is undoubtedly a convenient option, which also allows you to perform multivariate analysis and data mining.
The only limitation with KNIME is that it is difficult to be used by apprentices. Nevertheless, owing to its amazing features, this little restriction is negligible.
Pentaho is a designated Business Intelligence tool that combines analytics with data integration to create logical reports by visualizing the data. Owned by Hitachi, Pentaho is one of the most interactive Open-Source Business Intelligence software programs that offer a lot of BI options that satisfy your business needs and generate output in multiple formats, such as Excel, PDFs, and HTML.
This business suite is offered in two different editions. One of them is the Pentaho Enterprise Edition, which is a subscription-based program that features slightly more features than the other variant. Whereas, the other is the Pentaho Community Edition which is an open-source business intelligence software, featuring almost all necessary features and options you may require to create comprehensive analytical reports.
The prominent features of this software include,
- OLAP Analysis
- Data Mining
- Solutions for business problems
Wondering how does this software carry out all these functions? Well, the Pentaho Community Edition is adorned with some fantastic tools that make this software a robust one. Here is a quick view of the portfolio of this BI program.
- Data Integration
- Business Analytics Platform
- Aggregation Designer
- Report Designer
- Meta Editor
- Schema Workbench
- Hadoop Shims
Although the Pentaho Community Edition features somewhat complex UI and programming tools, and the novices may find it difficult to work on. Nevertheless, if you have a coder with you, or know a bit about coding yourself, then this software program is indeed the best option for you since the range of customizability you get in return for a little coding is simply impressive. The software sports Pentaho’s CTools that let you create personalized dashboards and visualization in the reports by coding. If you get perplexed at any point while coding or you have any questions regarding the CTools options, the Pentaho’s community forum is a nice place to discuss.
Developed by an Italian software services company, Open Source Competency Centre of Engineering Group, SpagoBI is one of the best choices as an Open-Source Business Intelligence Software for reporting, data mining, and charting. With a myriad of analytical functions, the software ensures to include advanced visualization in the reports.
Precisely, the key analytical features offered by SpagoBI include,
- OLAP analysis
- Geo-referenced reporting
- Free Inquiry (QbE)
- Data mining
- Data analysis and documentation
- ETL/EII Processes
- Smart filters
- Real-time consoles
The most important module of this software is the SpagoBI Server which offers core analytical features. It has two conceptual models for analysis, both of which support different functionalities. These include the analytical model that fulfills the analytical requirements and the behavioral model that moderates the end user roles for visualizing the data and all other documents. Moreover, this software is also equipped with various administration tools including, import/export tool, scheduler, menu management, user profile management system, monitoring and audit, graphical interfaces, and subscription management. Besides, the cross-platform services featured with this software allow you to perform analytical activities regarding all related domains.
ReportServer is yet another free and Open-Source Business Intelligence software that requires you to have background knowledge of coding to get maximum benefits from it. The best part which makes it distinct from the other open-source BI software programs is its support for unlimited users. It means you can add as many users here as you want, without worrying about any subscription plans. ReportServer can integrate various BI reporting tools to a single user-interface for convenience, while it also enables you to apply all analytical tools to the data. For instance, it can easily integrate with BIRT, JasperReports, and SAP Crystal reports.
Another prominent trait of this software is its feature of TeamSpaces that supports communication. It indeed is a feature missing in most of the other OSBI software programs. The other prominent features of this software include,
- Dynamic lists
- Graphic reports
- Interactive dashboards
- Report variants
- User management
- Data sources
- Report management
Besides, there is a dedicated community forum through which you can share your queries with others and get your problem solved.
Microsoft has set up a norm of producing user-friendly products, which remain convenient for amateurs and non-technical persons. Continuing the trend, it has launched an impressive open-source business intelligence suite known as ‘Power BI’. It is a cloud-based service that allows 1GB of data storage per user in the free version. Power BI refreshes once in a day, and if you have downloaded the dedicated Power BI app, you will be informed about the updates as well. However, you may not be able to carry out any analytical activities through the app.
The Microsoft Power BI is a simple and wonderful tool to help all those who are not aware of coding. Since you can enter all your data in sample English language, you are not required to make efforts to learn about coding and programming.
Power BI is truly an interactive tool that gets connected with online platforms to fetch the data for you. With the connectors and pre-installed dashboards, Power BI can analyze the data and present visually creative reports by connecting with Google Analytics, Salesforce, and other important software.
So, if you wish to get creative and informative reports of your data, but are unaware of coding and programming, then Microsoft Power BI is indeed your choice.
9. Seal Report
Continuing our list of free and open-source business intelligence software, we now talk about another excellent BI tool for creating impressive reports and dashboards. It is meant for the Microsoft .NET Framework written in C#. The main features of this interesting BI software are user-friendly dashboards and interactive reports. Concisely, the software sports the following distinct features.
- Dynamic SQL sources
- HTML 5 charts
- Native pivot tables
- Charts in Microsoft formats
- Web report servers
- HTML rendering via Razor engine
- Task Scheduler
All these features together create interactive reports, which are comprehensive as well as easy to understand, and are generated with minimum efforts.
Although mentioned at the end of our list of best free and open-source business intelligence software, RapidMiner is among the leading OSBI tools in the market. It certainly sports all those features that are required by the data scientists for all the data mining and business analytics. It enables the user to perform all activities related to data modeling and preparation, and deployment within the same environment. The RapidMiner Community Edition is a free variant of the software that can easily be downloaded from the site.
The free version of RapidMiner is available for all three of its products – RapidMiner Server, RapidMiner Radoop and RapidMiner Studio. The RapidMiner Server gives you a storage capacity of about 2GB for free. The paid version of it has slightly more features which you can avail by paying a cost of $2500 per year. Presently, RapidMiner has earned the support of around 250,000 data scientists, which indeed depicts its usefulness and efficiency for data analytics.
Wrapping it up
The Open-Source Business Intelligence software range is undoubtedly helpful for the world community of data scientists and BI executives. All the software programs, including those discussed in this article, bear different features, and analytical tools. However, the primary focus of all these software tools remains the same, that is, to generate interactive data analysis reports for the users. Leveraging the robust features of these software is indeed the need of time for the businesses to flourish and sustain a stable position in the market.
Listed above are some of the best free OSBI software programs which are dominating the niche of Business Intelligence. If you are perplexed on choosing the best OSBI software for your business, our brief review might help you in making an appropriate selection.