Book Review: The Buyer’s Guide To Business Intelligence Software: 2016 Edition

The Buyer’s Guide To Business Intelligence Software:  2016 Edition, Curated from End-User Reviews on:  TrustRadius

A significant portion of my reading consists of material related to my work in data science.  Some of this reading is what I do for my own personal development in areas like data visualization and the use of data to improve the bottom line of businesses[1].  At other times, though, this reading is more like perusing through the information of consultants in order to determine if there is any useful information that could improve the company that I work for.  In my professional capacity I watch a lot of online presentations dealing with data preparation, visualization, and reporting, most of which involve sales pitches of one kind or another.  Occasionally I even answer surveys about the business intelligence used by my own company, even though I do not consider myself a particularly important person when it comes to the decision-making regarding software products for our company, which qualifies as a mid-size company based on this particular guide’s rubric.  So even if I do not consider myself a particularly important person as a buyer, it is still worthwhile to read about the pros and cons of various software and approaches, so that by knowing what products are available I might be able to know myself better, and know what sort of customer the company I work for would make.

The contents of this report are, for the most part, well-designed to convey useful product information to a corporate audience that is looking for business intelligence software, both traditionally marketed as well as cloud-based options, with the companies and their offerings divided into three segments:  small companies (under 50 employees), mid-size companies (51-1000 employees) or enterprise companies (larger than 1000 employees).  TrustRadius discusses the report, the types of business intelligence tools that exist, recent trends in the market for this type of product, and give the best BI software for small businesses, mid-size companies, and enterprise firms, all within the first 30 pages of the slightly more than 100 page guide.  The majority of the book consists of a detailed look at user ratings and feedback by product for the following companies/products:  Alteryx Analytics, Birst, Chartio, Dundas BI, Entrinsik Informer, GoodData, IBM Cognos, InsightSquared, Looker, Microsoft BI, MicroStrategy, Pentaho, QlikView, SAP Business Objects, SAP BusinessObjects Lumira, SAP Crystal Reports, Sisense, Tableau Desktop and Server, TIBCO Jaspersoft, TIBCO Spotfire, Zoho Reports.  Admittedly, I am nearly entirely unfamiliar with these products, having never heard of a majority of them and having used very few of them.  The most useful part of the guide is the closing discussion on how to buy a BI solution, which focuses on companies knowing what they want, and what sort of technical expertise they have within them.

This is, unsurprisingly, a vital problem.  There are business solutions designed with all kinds of customers in mind.  Some companies, like the one I work for, are still heavily based in Excel as a pseudo-database, and lack the resources in IT to support complex technical features that require a lot of maintenance.  Other companies have large and skilled IT staff that can be dedicated to development and require the analysis of large and complex sorts of data.  Some companies trust cloud-based solutions and others do not.  A lot boils down to trust—much of how one feels about this report depends on how much one trusts the source of its information, which quite fittingly calls itself TrustRadius.  I do not happen to know much about this firm myself, but the guide is well-written and the authors of the guide express a clear and frequent commitment to researching and to sharing their research with those who are willing to help them.  For those who want to know more about Business Intelligence software, this is a good guide, and I look forward to reading future guides from them.

[1] See, for example:

The Buyer’s Guide To Business Intelligence Software:  2016 Edition, Curated from End-User Reviews on:  TrustRadius

A significant portion of my reading consists of material related to my work in data science.  Some of this reading is what I do for my own personal development in areas like data visualization and the use of data to improve the bottom line of businesses[1].  At other times, though, this reading is more like perusing through the information of consultants in order to determine if there is any useful information that could improve the company that I work for.  In my professional capacity I watch a lot of online presentations dealing with data preparation, visualization, and reporting, most of which involve sales pitches of one kind or another.  Occasionally I even answer surveys about the business intelligence used by my own company, even though I do not consider myself a particularly important person when it comes to the decision-making regarding software products for our company, which qualifies as a mid-size company based on this particular guide’s rubric.  So even if I do not consider myself a particularly important person as a buyer, it is still worthwhile to read about the pros and cons of various software and approaches, so that by knowing what products are available I might be able to know myself better, and know what sort of customer the company I work for would make.

The contents of this report are, for the most part, well-designed to convey useful product information to a corporate audience that is looking for business intelligence software, both traditionally marketed as well as cloud-based options, with the companies and their offerings divided into three segments:  small companies (under 50 employees), mid-size companies (51-1000 employees) or enterprise companies (larger than 1000 employees).  TrustRadius discusses the report, the types of business intelligence tools that exist, recent trends in the market for this type of product, and give the best BI software for small businesses, mid-size companies, and enterprise firms, all within the first 30 pages of the slightly more than 100 page guide.  The majority of the book consists of a detailed look at user ratings and feedback by product for the following companies/products:  Alteryx Analytics, Birst, Chartio, Dundas BI, Entrinsik Informer, GoodData, IBM Cognos, InsightSquared, Looker, Microsoft BI, MicroStrategy, Pentaho, QlikView, SAP Business Objects, SAP BusinessObjects Lumira, SAP Crystal Reports, Sisense, Tableau Desktop and Server, TIBCO Jaspersoft, TIBCO Spotfire, Zoho Reports.  Admittedly, I am nearly entirely unfamiliar with these products, having never heard of a majority of them and having used very few of them.  The most useful part of the guide is the closing discussion on how to buy a BI solution, which focuses on companies knowing what they want, and what sort of technical expertise they have within them.

This is, unsurprisingly, a vital problem.  There are business solutions designed with all kinds of customers in mind.  Some companies, like the one I work for, are still heavily based in Excel as a pseudo-database, and lack the resources in IT to support complex technical features that require a lot of maintenance.  Other companies have large and skilled IT staff that can be dedicated to development and require the analysis of large and complex sorts of data.  Some companies trust cloud-based solutions and others do not.  A lot boils down to trust—much of how one feels about this report depends on how much one trusts the source of its information, which quite fittingly calls itself TrustRadius.  I do not happen to know much about this firm myself, but the guide is well-written and the authors of the guide express a clear and frequent commitment to researching and to sharing their research with those who are willing to help them.  For those who want to know more about Business Intelligence software, this is a good guide, and I look forward to reading future guides from them.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/10/21/book-review-big-data/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/09/01/book-review-dataclysm/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/08/08/book-review-dataism/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/08/07/book-review-big-data-work/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/08/07/book-review-big-data-work/’

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2016/01/13/book-review-red-state-blue-state-rich-state-poor-state/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/08/25/book-review-information-dashboard-design/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/08/22/book-review-the-science-of-rating-and-ranking-whos-1/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/08/10/book-review-statistics-concepts-and-controversies/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/08/01/book-review-microsoft-sql-server-reporting-services-recipies-for-designing-expert-reports/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/07/14/book-review-envisioning-information/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/07/14/book-review-envisioning-information/

 

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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1 Response to Book Review: The Buyer’s Guide To Business Intelligence Software: 2016 Edition

  1. Pingback: Solomon In Ecclesiastes: A Case Study On Scientific Reporting | Edge Induced Cohesion

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