Best BI REPORTING Tool – BI is a tool

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I couldn't help but notice this thread.  Who couldn't if you're in the Business Intelligence Professionals group on LinkedIn. It is 9 months old and has over 600 comments. I have read all of the posts and it is fascinating!

The most interesting piece of information I found from peoples comments is BI is a tool.

I have implemented a little over 100 BI projects over the last 14 years using products such as Holos, Gentia (I'm showing my age with these two), Essbase, TM1, Microsoft SQL Server and a few lesser known BI tools. My focus is Microsoft and CALUMO these days (the best combo Winking smile).

I decided to do a word cloud of all the comments to help me see what was most commonly talked about. I did take out words like Months” and Follow” and here is what happened.


BI IS a tool.  It helps people in businesses do their job.  It is a tool like your email tool, your web browser, your ERP, your hammer.

Why is one tool better than another? The letter I” didn't show up on my word cloud but appeared 399 times. It would appear best BI tool is the one you know.  It's the one that has worked for you.  There were comments about Gartner's magic quadrant, Forrester reports – so what? When you have to get that report out in seconds for your manager or the CFO what BI tool do you use?  The one that works for you.  I am of course coming from peoples perspective who use the BI tool, not the implementers who have mostly commented in this thread.

Here is the vendor count.


Cognos is the most talked about tool with 198 mentions.  Cognos clearly has excellent market penetration with implementers.  Is this a reflection of a good tool set or excellent sales?  Microstrategy is next with 120 mentions. SAP is talked about 93 times.  Surprisingly OBIEE only gest 75 mentions, Business Objects gets 55, Microsoft/SQL 54, QlikView 38 and Hyperion 16.

Source data seemed to be popular too.  But who really cares?  In my book, to be called a BI tool, it can get data from a printed sheet of paper if it's worth it's salt (that project was a tough one).

It is good to see Users gets 119 mentions, People 26.

Open Source products are apparently good because… they don't say.  I guess if you can read C and you have the time and can understand the OLAP algorithms, perhaps open sources is important to you. They're often not free that's for sure.

There are some excellent posts like this though:

Natasha Judge • Whatever your choice of tool, delivering benefit to the business must surely be the key aim?


Sean Ali • How can anyone make a recommendation without requirements?

I did notice some missing arguments though.

Firstly, is industry knowledge important when implementing BI?  Are the people implementing BI and their experience and value they bring important?

What about write back? Forecasting, budgeting and planning in the one system is surely vital to any BI application!  History is interesting and a measure of our decisions but the future what we make decisions about.  How easy is it to get this data into the BI tool?

A CFO at a new client of mine suggested using their current BI tool's as decision making tools for his company like having no windows or radar on the bridge of a ship.  There is no way to look forward. They can look back but they can only see where they were last month. They have to sale the ship from London to Sydney. If that's BI, what use is it? People just rely on gut feel.

I will finish with my favourite quote:

Lucas souza • These days I seen Pentaho, but I don't using.

For more information and further discussion on this topic, go here.


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