At 5000fish, we want our customers and prospects to be fully educated about business intelligence (BI) solutions before, during, and after making a purchasing decision. This is why we like to share our insight and expertise within the BI space.
One question we have seen pop up frequently is, “Is there a good free BI solution?” As business intelligence grows in popularity, businesses are searching for the most cost-effective solution for their data and reporting needs. There are several free BI options on the market that provide a no-risk entry into business intelligence for smaller use cases.
However, we caution those searching for a no-cost solution to really understand what a free BI solution offers at the zero dollar price point. The no-cost BI solutions are often a tease to a more robust, useful, and expensive product. These free business intelligence products will be limited in functionality and may require more technical skills. That being said, there are a few free business intelligence solutions we believe are worth noting:
Qlik Sense: Qlik has a free desktop version of its data visualization tool, called Qlik Sense. Qlik also has a free version of its QlikView guided analytics software.
Tableau Public: Tableau has a free cloud-based version named Tableau Public, Tableau’s public cloud offering, that allows users to connect to several data sources. However, every activity a user performs in Tableau Public can be seen by the public.
InetSoft: InetSoft offers a free version of its software that allows you to make dashboards or reports from a JDBC-compliant database or any spreadsheet. Its limitations are that it only includes one free admin license and one free concurrent license, and users don’t receive access to all of the product’s security and additional reporting features beyond simple dashboards and reports.
Microsoft Power BIDesktop: Microsoft offers a free desktop version of its Power BI software which provides users access to all of the tool’s dashboards and reporting, but it is limited in its file size processing capabilities and will only allow users to upload file sizes of 250 MB or less.
IBM Watson Analytics: IBM provides a free version of its Watson Analytics product. The product limits users to a one-user license with 100,000 rows per data set, 50 columns per data set, and 500 MB of storage. The product also restricts users to only uploading Microsoft Excel files in order to obtain cognitive, predictive, and visual analytics reports.
Open Source BI Tools: Within the free BI solution market is a cluster of open source BI tools, including Pentaho, SpagoBI, Jaspersoft, and BIRT.
The Bottom Line
Most of the free BI tools listed above are stripped down versions of their paid counterparts and will likely not be robust enough for an entire business’ data and analytics needs. However, if you only need access for one user, have the technical skills to leverage the open source BI tools listed, or want a low-risk introduction to a vendor’s paid BI software, free BI may be a viable option for your needs.
Previously, we offered a free version of Yurbi named Yurbi Community Edition, but we stopped offering this edition due to a shift in focus of our customer success efforts to our paying customers because we are a bootstrapped organization. However, we offer and encourage a 30-day free trial of Yurbi or a free hosted test-drive version of Yurbi so that our customers can kick the tires of our software before purchasing because we believe trialing BI software is a huge key in purchasing the right solution.
Plus we try to make Yurbi affordable for companies of all sizes and scope. Our goal is to keep the cost of BI software affordable but to also reduce the overall cost of ownership, specifically the cost of implementation, deployment, and operations of a BI solution. You can download our Price Guide to learn more about our simple, configurable, and transparent pricing model.
Do you know of other free options that should be added to this list? Please leave a comment below or contact us with the info.