What does it mean to be a data-driven organization? How many platforms are you running, and how useful is the business data you’ve collected from them?
Companies analyze business and customer data derived from several sources: an organization’s website, email campaigns, customer service, support, or sales team, to name a few.
Data ranks high in achieving an advantage over the competition. Every business has data (and lots of it), all coming from multiple data sources. Instead of having ready access to the information generated from all these sources, this data often resides in hard-to-reach places.
For example, all of your company’s event data could be in Mixpanel with your sales metrics delivered in Salesforce. Your support is handling Zendesk and NetSuite handling your accounting and ERP needs. Can you begin to see where this is going?
Companies today are looking for insights to drive their decision-making. By investing in a data warehouse with the relevant engineering work before growth demands it, forward-thinking companies can use existing data in new ways to stay ahead.
A recent McKinsey report list data extraction, transformation, and loading as the very first and most crucial step in translating data insights into business value.
So… to become a more data-driven organization, where do I start?
Unlocking the value of your analytics means that you need to find a straightforward way to get your data from multiple software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications or internal databases into one place to run your analysis.
In other words, you need the ability to:
- Extract your data
- Transform & prepare your data
- Integrate & load these data into a cloud-based data warehouse
With a service like Blendo, you can skip step #2, and in just a few minutes you can connect your data from Salesforce, NetSuite, Pardot, Microsoft SQL Server, MongoDB, Mixpanel, Zendesk, and more into any data warehouses such as Amazon Redshift, Google BigQuery, Snowflake, PostgreSQL or MS SQL for advanced analysis.
What do I do now that I have my data in my data warehouse?
With some of these tools, you may start getting business insights with simple or no queries at all. If you prefer a dashboard and require answers to difficult questions, then you may need a simple query.
For example, if Intercom is your data source, your query might include, “how many new conversations were created in the last: 30 days?” or what’s the median first response time for a period? You can calculate Salesforce KPIs and drill down to your opportunities data and segment them with a combination of data from your MongoDB that runs your production database.
Without Blendo, getting fast and reliable insight into these questions is becoming difficult.
How do I get these insights too?
Like the apps in the App Store, there are so many options available, but few always stand out from the rest. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to crowdsource, curate, and brainstorm all of the best, dashboards and BI tools in the web.
Some tools will help you explore and visualize this data. They belong in the Business Intelligence category but can vary from Analytics to Reporting tools and Dashboards. In the list below, you will find the tools of these two types.
The tools described here are some of the most popular among the many tools available for you to choose from. Some are better than others, depending on your task and the level of insight you need.
Before We Begin – Here’s How to Make These Tools Work For Your Business (and How Blendo Can Help)
Picking the right tool for your business will depend on your specific requirements as well as the goals you’re trying to achieve. The best advice I can offer you before you even dive into this list, is to sit down and consider your company’s needs—what do you need to better understand about your business?
Always remember, “junk in, junk out!” When you feed in good data, you get the best and most insightful result. Your data, as complicated as it might sound, resides in so many places on a multitude of cloud services – if you’re getting bad data, we can help.
At Blendo, getting to your data and delivering it to you is what we do!
You don’t have to have IT infrastructure to become a data-driven operation. With Blendo, you’re only one step away.
Get up and running in minutes with your data sources connected to sync all your data into your favorite data warehouse. Business insight and analysis truly at your fingertips!
Now, check out these helpful tools!
Business Intelligence tools
Chartio is a SaaS, self-service, business intelligence tool that’s designed to provide powerful analytics in a simple way. This service supports a lot of different data sources while focusing on connecting to on-premise databases and cloud-based databases.
This lightweight tool is best used for data pulls using drag and drop. Chartio’s drag-and-drop interface allows you to create rich visualizations, interactive charts, and dashboards that are easy to build and customize. Further, they can become relatively sophisticated.
As a note, if you are an expert SQL, you may miss functionalities that other editors have. If you are not that proficient, then this is for you!
Chartio pricing: Chartio offers pricing that’s tailored to start from small teams to enterprises. Your organization’s needs. All of their plans include unlimited charts or dashboards and differ on the connections they support or the more advanced features like logs, embedding, etc. Prices start from $40/user/month (annually billed) in their first tier.
Chartio is a Blendo partner, and Blendo helps you break the data silos and easily visualize analytics-ready data to Chartio. Integrate Blendo and Chartio now.
Key Takeaway: Chartio is a cloud-based self-service business intelligence (BI) tool (which also allows you to connect to on-premise databases) and has a visual drag and drop editor to create dashboards. Those with even with basic SQL knowledge can work on your data effectively and efficiently. As a note, if you are an SQL expert, you may find its advanced SQL functionalities to be so-so.
Looker (part of Google Cloud) is a cloud-based platform that makes it easy for both data analyst pros and non-technical users to access and explore their data in an insightful way. Though it’s considered a lightweight data exploration tool for SQL databases and beyond, it’s also a premium way to look into your data without writing code. That means that non-techy people can model their data source and then turn that into an API.
Looker is a BYOD (bring your own database) solution that works great with already established SQL bases like Amazon Redshirt or Vertica.
A powerful and useful feature is Looker Blocks®. These are building blocks (pre-built pieces of code) that you can leverage to accelerate your analytics rather than starting from scratch. Of course, you can always customize the blocks later. Checkout Blendo Looker Blocks.
Looker pricing: Looker offers custom pricing, and it is available upon request. You can select from a valuable list of features like Looker Blocks®, LookML Data models, Security, Support, and more.
Looker is a Blendo partner, and Blendo helps you break the data silos and easily visualize analytics-ready data to Looker. Integrate Blendo and Looker now.
Key Takeaway: Looker offers a self-service solution to understand your data with rich SQL abilities. Despite its lightweight offerings, there is some SQL knowledge required and a need to bring your database.
Periscope Data & Sisense
Full disclosure, these merged companies are partners with Blendo, but that doesn’t mean we can’t provide our unbiased opinion here! Periscope Data, by Sisense, is designed for technical-savvy people who are already SQL oriented and are looking to break down complicated queries into beautiful, interactive charts. The customization, performance, and flexibility of this tool make it a fantastic choice for those who are SQL driven, but if you’re not already SQL oriented, this might not be the tool for you.
On the other hand, Sisense offers user-friendly interactive dashboards, with a large number of integrations (native and with 3rd parties – like Blendo) to get data from and can handle large data sets very efficiently. SiSense has a great collection of features to enable users to prepare, analyze, and visualize complex data. It’s fast and easy to set up, which you can get some simple widgets and dashboards up and running in a few minutes after installation.
Periscope Data pricing: Periscope offers pricing upon request. They split it in tiers (Express, Pro), and they offer the Embedded Analytics option. Plans differ in Python / R editor availability, custom visualizations, data management functionalities, and security. Other than that, you get a powerful data engine and an optional data warehouse to store your data.
Periscope is a Blendo partner. Blendo helps you break the data silos and easily visualize analytics-ready data to Periscope Data. Integrate Blendo and Periscope Data now.
Sisense pricing: Sisense offers custom pricing upon request. They offer annual contracts that are structured to fit your organization.
Sisense is a Blendo partner. Blendo helps you break the data silos and easily visualize analytics-ready data to Sisense. Integrate Blendo and Sisense now.
Key Takeaway: Periscope and Sisense offer an engaging SQL environment for SQL-savvy and savvy-ish users—if you’re not SQL proficient, you might want to turn to other tools. SiSense can handle massive databases and datasets quite easily, plus, it’s simple to design and customize.
Google Data Studio
Google Data Studio business intelligence tool is an easy-to-use, intuitive, that works best for folks who are generally non-analytically minded. That means if you’re a digital marketer looking to create branded reports that turn your clients’ data into informational, visual reports that are easy to share and understand, you’ve come to the right place.
Blendo works seamlessly with Google Data Studio, integrating in a snap to pull data from multiple data sources. That being said, if you’re an experienced data hound looking for in-depth, complex reporting, this might not be the ultimate tool for you (though, there is a premium, more advanced version available as well).
Google Data Studio pricing: Google Data Studio is free!
Blendo helps you break the data silos and easily visualize analytics-ready data to Google Data Studio. Integrate Blendo and Google Data Studio now.
Key Takeaway: Google Data Studio is an excellent tool for non-analytic folks who have little experience with data analysis. This tool makes it easy to create branded reports that digital marketers can use to spell out analytics to their clients without making it too confusing. Also, it’s free!
Microsoft Power BI
Microsoft Power BI is a self-service business intelligence tool for analyzing business data and sharing insights via rich visualizations. It’s recognized as a leader in Analytics and Enterprise BI Platforms and claims that it offers any data, any way, anywhere, all in one view. They’re big on variety, offering both a desktop version and a cloud version. The cloud-based Power BI services will grant you an easy to way create customizable dashboards.
Microsoft Power BI pricing: Power BI offers two choices for their cloud service. The Power BI Pro at $9.99 gives you self-serve BI. They also provide the Power BI Premium at $4,995 per month, which targets dedicated cloud compute and storage needs. They also offer the Desktop version you can use for free or a single user and with the ability to push to Power BI cloud.
Blendo helps you break the data silos and easily visualize analytics-ready data to Power BI. Integrate Blendo and Power BI now.
Key Takeaway: Microsoft Power BI offers a self-service business intelligence tool with a desktop and a cloud version that is consistently being updated and improving.
Yellowfin’s claim to fame is that it’s the only analytics suite that offers its users automated analysis, storytelling, and collaboration. With Yellowfin, you can use prepare data, discover insights, share that data with collaborators in multiple forms (not just charts and graphs, but in storytelling formats), and more.
Further, it’s easy-to-use and integrate, and doesn’t require previous analytics knowledge (non-SQL analysts, this is for you).
Yellowfin pricing: Yellowfin offers plans for different BI needs. There are Yellowfin Signals, for AI-powered automation, Yellowfin Analytics, and Analytics+, which contains the complete suite of products. You can find the Data Prep for data preparation and Stories. All have their on and offs, but the only pricing tagged is on Yellowfin Analytics and Yellowfin Stories at $50 and $10 per user per month, respectively. For the rest of the plans, you need to contact their sales team. They also offer Embedded Analytics options.
Yellowfin is a Blendo partner. Blendo helps you break the data silos and easily visualize analytics-ready data to Yellowfin. Integrate Blendo and Yellowfin now.
Key Takeaway: Yellowfin is a powerful suite that blends BI and analytics that allow you to share insights creatively—it’s helpful if you have prior analytics experience, but not required, as it’s a reasonably intuitive setup.
Tableau’s continued claim to fame is its beautiful dashboards. This desktop visualization tool is ideal for mid-to-large businesses that have some web-publishing functionality. Its collection of data integration connectors and visualizations makes it one of the most mature players in the BI tool game, but unfortunately, it also means that it has one of the highest learning curves.
If you are using public data, you can download a free version of Tableau with Tableau Public, but note that it does not connect with enterprise-grade databases.
They also offer Tableau Reader, a free desktop app to open, view, and interact with dashboards built in Tableau Desktop.
Tableau pricing: Tableau offers plans that start from $70 per user per month for individuals (Tableau Creator package) to modular pricing for teams that can reach the $350 per user per month mark if you add everything. They have different pricing if they host the service, or you use Tableau Server to deploy on-prem. They also offer embedded analytics options.
Blendo helps you break the data silos and easily visualize analytics-ready data to Tableau. Integrate Blendo and Tableau now.
Key Takeaway: Tableau is essentially the most beautiful, mature, and functional BI tool on this list—with impressive visualizations and beautiful dashboards, it’s a no-brainer for those who are already tech-savvy. It’s not ideal for folks looking for free services if they private enterprise databases. Further, it has a steeper learning curve than other tools.
Good Data’s claim to fame is that it’s the go-to choice for over 50 percent of The Fortune 500 Analytics, but more than that, it’s a relatively use-to-use solution for users of any type. It’s typically easier to understand than similar tools with specialized tools for marketing, customer service, and sales data, and further, it puts a huge emphasis on data security (more so than several other BI tools out there).
The upside of this business intelligence tool? It’s great for folks who are new to the data analysis world, providing multiple useful templates and a variety of report creation options. The negatives? It’s said to be confusing when it comes to building customized templates and doesn’t use enterprise features.
Good Data pricing: Good Data does not release its pricing publicly. It is available upon request.
Key Takeaway: This is part of a range of tools out there, that provide platform-as-a-service through its only cloud-based open platform. It’s an easy-to-use, self-service BI that affords strong security opportunities.
Qlikview is a suitable choice for the data-savvy people who are looking for excellent visualization tools and guided analysis. It provides its ETL engine and can write code while developing reports and analytical dashboards for you. That being said, it’s not designed for introductory-tech users. If you want to play with data in a very hands-on way, this is the perfect choice for you.
This tool also features Qlik Sense, which offers self-service data discovery directly mainly to managers and execs to build themselves what they need.
Qlikview pricing: Qlikview offers plans that start from $30 per user per month. Their more expensive are at $70 per user per month for more mature organizations. The main differences are in Saas capacity and addon products for advanced reporting, location-based analytics, and more. You will need to contact their sales team.
Key Takeaway: QlikView is an excellent product for guided analytics for more data-savvy users. It has a free trial option, too!
Statsbot is a complete BI platform that allows you to transform big data on the fly— it also allows you to create consistent data definitions within your organization easily. Further, Statsbot provides you with a Slack bot so you can visualize specific metrics within your Slack channel.
Statsbot is designed to work with raw data that’s stored in modern data warehouses, and it not only queries and transforms data quickly, but it also completes jobs in the background to optimize and pre-aggregate more cumbersome calculations.
Statsbot pricing: Statsbot offers a free tier that is structured to fit the relatively early needs of a company. They have a pay-as-you-go plan that starts $45 per month and an Enterprise plan (need to request a quote). The pay as you go is structured on the number of users, the number of reports, and the number of rows, with the latter, to weigh more in the calculation.
Key Takeaway: Statsbot loves Slack integrations, which can be a positive addition if you’re working with a team and need to share visualizations of data.
Mode Analytics is a data analysis platform that combines a powerful, web-based SQL editor with charting and sharing tools. The good thing about Mode? It offers top-of-the-line tools for writing SQL, visualized results, and share ideas.
The bad part? It’s built specifically for SQL-proficient users. Translation? If you’re not great with SQL, this probably isn’t the tool for you.
Mode Analytics pricing: Mode offers a free tier that gives you the basics to work with SQL, Python, and R. Other than that, you need to request a quote to get a pricing for their platform.
Key Takeaway: Mode offers an attractive SQL environment along with visualization and collaboration tools. It is becoming increasingly popular because it helps you get from SQL to charts quickly and efficiently, but it’s only ideal for folks who are SQL oriented.
QuickSight is a web-based tool from Amazon that allows a company to create and visualize their customers’ data in easy-to-understand, highly creative ways. QuickSight is extremely fast and functional, but if you’re a user looking for in-depth, highly-customizable tools, this might not be the cloud-based tool for you—it’s very much the lightweight option for users who are just now learning about dabbling in data visualization and analysis.
Amazon QuickSight pricing: QuickSight has a standard and an enterprise tier. Plans start from $9 per user per month for an annual subscription. Amazon also provides pricing for QuickSight Readers, a wording to denote users who want to use the interactive dashboards. Amazon also offers ML-powered Anomaly Detection and relevant pricing.
Key Takeaway: Amazon QuickSight is lightning fast and exceptional for ad-hoc data analysis—but when it comes to tools and features, it’s a rather light option for those who are looking for in-depth analysis tools.
Dundas BI is most well-known for its flexibility and its unrivaled, personalized support for those who use it. An enterprise-level business intelligence tool, Dundas BI, is all about data analytics and dashboard software. The cool thing about Dundas? It’s highly customizable, which makes it perfect for teams who have different organizational styles.
This browser-based BI lets you create interactive dashboards, custom visualizations, and easy-to-use report building tools. It works great as a standalone but also as an embed into other software.
Dundas BI pricing: Dundas BI does not release its pricing publicly. It is based on licensing, and it is available with a request for a quote.
Key Takeaway: Dundas BI is easy-to-use and even easier to integrate into your current data system. This is a great choice for people new to data analytics and is easily scalable.
Klipfolio is a fantastic program—but only for folks who are already deep into understanding the rich features of a dashboard tool. For those who are new to it, there’s going to be a steep learning curve due to the advanced and thorough features. You’re able to create a broad range of real-time dashboards to monitor and analyze almost any KPI and metric that you might need.
It has advanced features and a relatively steep learning curve because of all of these.
However, you can create a broad range of real-time dashboards that monitor and analyze almost any KPI and metric that you may need. Klipfolio is designed for developers, and it is easy to add data right from production systems.
Klipfolio pricing: Klipfolio offers tiered plans, that start from $70 per month to $500+. They offer Agency pricing that scales to $700+ and finally provides an Enterprise plan that you need to request a quote. The tiers differ in the number of dashboards; data refresh time, white labeling, and training. In the Agency plans, they offer access to the REST API, among others. They provide annual plans too, with a discount on the monthly price.
Key Takeaway: Klipfolio is ideal for more advanced use cases. Much flexibility. More developer-oriented.
Cyfe is a cloud-based dashboard app created with the intent to monitor all of your business data in one place—in real-time. That means it allows you to efficiently monitor and control your business by bringing together a myriad of different monitoring dashboards into one, centralized platform.
The best part? Cyfe has a freemium pricing plan that includes social media, web analytics, marketing, sales, support, infrastructure, and more (when we say everything, we mean everything).
Cyfe pricing: Cyfe offers tiered plans and a free tier. The paid plans start from $29 per month to $90+. They offer Agency pricing, but you will need to speak with their sales team. The tiers differ in the number of dashboards and the number of users. For agencies, they offer white labeling options.
Key Takeaway: Cyfe offers a cloud-based, real-time dashboard service for your every need at a freemium plan (paid plans are available, too).
Geckoboard is a cloud-based tool used for both aggregating and visualizing data in real-time, just like Cyfe. It has a lot of Cyfe similarities as it allows you to pull together data from a large number of services to bring them together into one, centralized dashboard.
Geckoboard has highly customizable, distinctive dashboard examples and offers an API for developing custom widgets and push data. Another great point? They have a free trial and a paid subscription model, making it easy to allocate funds for this dashboard.
Geckoboard pricing: Geckoboard offers tiered plans that start from $39 per month to $599. The tiers differ in the number of dashboards, database integrations, and support. They also provide annual plans too, with a discount on the monthly price.
Key Takeaway: Geckoboard is a cloud-based, real-time dashboard service with a considerable selection ready-made integrations—this distinction makes it possible for non-intuitive and non-technical users to reap the rewards of this program. It’s a great way to display your KPIs, whether daily, weekly, or monthly.
Their graphs are both rich and interactive, which I believe to be one of their biggest strengths. Check these examples with some of their dashboards here.
Plotly pricing: Plotly does not release its pricing publicly. It is available upon request.
Key Takeaway: Plotly offers a great API. It’s flexible and easy to use and has fantastic features, rich dashboards, and great extras. It’s perfect for companies of any size, big or small.
Note: For the tools below, you may not need to buy a license to use them, but many charge for training or support services, or they provide a “commercial” version of the software.
Metabase is a simple, lightweight tool that non-technical savvy users can run their queries. The overall concept behind Metabase is to allow for an easy, open-source way for everyone in your company—tech-savvy or not— to ask questions and learn from data.
Their UI is pretty abstract, but you can run your SQL in advanced mode—and it’s only there if you need it, it’s not required to function. It’s a free service that, again, is open-source.
Metabase pricing: Metabase is open source so you can use it for free. Though they offer premium embedding licenses and enterprise options. The first option starts from $3K per year and the second at $10K per year. They differ in white labeling options, support, and security tools.
Key Takeaway: If you are looking for a simple, but powerful, tool that is focused on reporting that a whole myriad of users in your company can use, look no further than Metabase.
Redash is a web-based open-source dashboard client that’s designed to help you make sense of your data—you can connect and query your data sources, build dashboards to visualize your data, and then seamlessly share them with your company. With Redash, you can connect to services like Redshift, Postgres, Sentry, Soundcloud, Mozilla, Cloudflare, and more.
You may use a hosted solution or install it on a server—you’re also free to use local options, too. This service allows folks new to data analysis the ability to run quick queries. I think this is a great recommendation for folks before they commit to things like Periscope, Looker, or Mode.
Redash pricing: Redash is open source so you can use it for free and fork it from their repo on GitHub. Though, Redash offers tiers for its cloud offering. Plans start from $49 per month to $450 per month. The plans differ in the number of data sources, the number of dashboards, saved queries, data refresh rate, and permissions.
Key Takeaway: Check out Redash if you are looking for a simple solution that’s rich in features and is open-source—and you are still considering to commit to tools like Periscope or Mode.
Meet BIRT, an open-source technology platform that’s used to create data visualizations and reports that can be embedded into client and web applications. It’s complex, top-level software that started from a developer within the Eclipse Foundation—even better, it’s run by an active-developer community, meaning it’s consistently evolving. BIRT offers a strong set of BI tools, but it requires highly skilled developer expertise to run it.
Most people view BIRT as one of the standards applications in open-source business intelligence, but it’s certainly not an easy-to-use tool for those who are just diving into data reporting.
Key Takeaway: BIRT is primarily focused on reporting, not necessarily analytics. It is prevalent among the developer community, but it requires highly skilled developers to utilize it.
Superset (formerly Caravel by Airbnb)
This data platform is an exploration platform created by Airbnb. Initially known as Caravel, Superset was designed to work solely with Druid.io, it quickly broadened its scope to support other databases through the use of SQLAlchemy, a Python ORM that’s compatible with most standard databases.
Superset isn’t just for data exploration; it also provides users with the ability to slice and dice any data set for analyses as well ad create rich visualizations quickly and effectively.
Key Takeaway: Superset is similar to most of the new dashboarding tools, but its dashboards involve creating ‘slices’ of data, based on your customized templates, that are easily combined to create unique data sets.
Data Lasso (by Tumblr)
Data Lasso is not a dashboard service, rather, a 3D visualization tool that’s built to structure and format any data. That means there’s no setup, no need to prepare your data—formats like .csv, .tsv, or .json will work perfectly fine.
This lightweight program won’t give you any in-depth analysis, but if you’re looking for a quick look at your data that’s straightforward and gets you started, this will work perfectly.
Key Takeaway: Data Lasso is not a dashboard service. Use it as an exploration visualization tool of an arbitrary set of data in 3D.
Jaspersoft is best known for its immersive data experience that works inside your apps—it’s detailed reporting includes web-based reports, dashboards, data integration tools, and data visualization tools, too.
This project, run by TIBCO, is an open-source system, meaning it requires highly skilled developer expertise to use it and, unfortunately, can’t be used by an average business user.
Jaspersoft pricing: Jaspersoft is available as a community edition (open source), so you can use it for free. TIBCO also offers more versions and professional services, but the prices are not disclosed. You will need to contact for a quote.
Key Takeaway: Jaspersoft has a broad range of tools and dashboards to use. It is an open-source tool that requires high skill to utilize it. It also has a free trial available for those who have the skills to operate it.
Pentaho BI is an open-source Business Intelligence suite with dashboards, reporting, data mining, workflow, and data integration capabilities. This BI tool, from Hitachi Vantara, provides easy-to-use dashboards and a free community edition (along with other options for Enterprise Editions, too).
The Pentaho BI Suite Community Edition is an open-source business intelligence package that includes ETL, analysis, metadata, and reporting capabilities.
For support (other than the community) and enhanced features that are designed to accommodate production environments, then Enterprise Edition is the most appropriate. Currently, Pentaho BI is supported by Hitachi Vantara.
Pentaho BI pricing: Pentaho BI is available as a community edition (open source), so you can use it for free. Hitachi Vantara offers more options and professional services, but the prices are not disclosed. You will need to contact for a quote.
Key Takeaway: Pentaho BI has a community edition for free use. It has helpful integration abilities and dashboards.
How to make it work for your business
At Blendo, getting to your data and delivering it to you is what we do!
You don’t have to have IT infrastructure to become a data-driven operation. With Blendo, you’re only one step away. Get up and running in minutes with your data sources connected to sync all your data into your favorite data warehouse. Business insight and analysis truly at your fingertips!