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Microsoft SharePoint

Microsoft SharePoint 2013 helps organization collect and analyze key business data in order to gain an accurate and actionable view of business operations. The software supports both on-premises as well as web-based deployment architecture.... Read More
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BOARD

Created to combine business intelligence, corporate performance management, and business analytics, BOARD is a full-featured business intelligence system that serves midsize and enterprise-level companies in a variety of different... Read More
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SAP - Business Intelligence

With its cohesive, consolidated approach, industry powerhouse SAP BusinessObjects gives organizations a full set of tools to manage and optimize Business Intelligence. From a centralized portal, companies can handle everything from... Read More
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TARGIT Decision Suite

TARGIT Decision Suite is a business intelligence and analytics solution that offers visual data discovery tools, self-service business analytics, reporting and dashboards in a single, integrated solution. TARGIT combines the control... Read More
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Birst

Birst, an Infor Company, is a web-based networked BI and analytics solution that connects insights from various teams and helps in making informed decisions. The tool enables decentralized users to augment the enterprise data model... Read More
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Sisense

Sisense is an agile business intelligence (BI) solution that provides advanced tools to manage and support business data with analytics, visuals and reporting. The solution allows businesses to analyze big and disparate datasets and... Read More
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Stratum

Stratum by Silvon is a robust business intelligence solution that was designed to meet the unique needs of business professionals working for manufacturing and distribution companies. Stratum offers a full suite of integrated analytic... Read More
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Rapid Insight

Rapid Insight Inc. provides an on-premise Business Intelligence solutions for Higher Education, Fundraising, Healthcare, and Data Science corporations. Their suite of applications includes Dashboards and Scorecards, Data Mining and... Read More
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Pentaho

Pentaho is a business intelligence system designed to help companies make data-driven decisions, with a platform for data integration and analytics. The platform includes extract, transform, and load (ETL), big data analytics, visualizations,... Read More
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Halo

Halo is an end-to-end supply chain management and business intelligence platform that helps in business planning and forecasting inventory for supply chain management. The system uses data from all sources - big, small, and in-between... Read More
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Domo

Domo is a cloud-based business management suite that integrates with multiple data sources, including spreadsheets, databases, social media and any existing cloud-based or on-premise software solution. It is suitable for company sizes... Read More
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Dundas BI

Dundas BI, from Dundas Data Visualization, is a browser-based business intelligence and data visualization platform that includes integrated dashboards, reporting tools, and data analytics. It provides end users the ability to create... Read More
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Diver | BI

Diver | BI from Dimensional Insight is a business intelligence and information delivery platform offering flexible deployment options and compatibility with most devices. The suite of applications includes dashboards and scorecards,... Read More
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IFS EOI

IFS Enterprise Operational Intelligence (EOI) is business intelligence software for large companies and organizations. The system works for many industries and offers dashboards and scorecards, data warehousing, data mining and predictive... Read More
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Grow BI Dashboard

Grow BI Dashboard is a cloud-based business analytics and reporting solution suitable for small to midsize organizations. The solution allows users to create customizable dashboards for monitoring business workflows and key activities. Grow... Read More
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iCharts for NetSuite

iCharts for NetSuite is a Business Intelligence (BI) reporting and analytics tool that suits enterprise-level companies in a variety of industry segments. The cloud-based platform allows users to visualize and analyze NetSuite data... Read More
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Centerprise Data Integrator

Centerprise Data Integrator is an on-premise data integration solution that includes integration, transformation, quality and profiling. It enables users to choose from multiple integration scenarios and control individual users' view... Read More
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Sage X3

Sage X3 is an enterprise business management software suite that includes integrated functionality for financial management, sales, customer service, distribution, inventory, and manufacturing, and business intelligence. Sage X3 is... Read More
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inZite

The inZite Business Intelligence Suite from Performance Partners Inc. provides a rapid and agile solution that manages and delivers the accurate and relevant data needed by decisions makers at any level in the organization and enables... Read More
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Xtraction

Xtraction is a reporting tool that automates the extraction and organization of data. It requires little or no tech support to install and supports multiple data formats. Xtraction can deliver IT reporting to a number of business... Read More
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Tableau

Tableau is an integrated business intelligence (BI) and analytics solution that helps to analyze key business data and generate meaningful insights. The solution helps businesses to collect data from multiple source points such as... Read More
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Macola

Macola is the ERP and business software that manufacturers and wholesale distributors trust to automate, grow and streamline their business workflows. Macola meets the unique needs of growing SMBs ─ automating and managing core... Read More
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SetSight

SetSight offers a web-based, turn-key solution to quickly and easily collect, analyze and report key data associated with sales trending, replenishment, category management and more across an organization's entire retail client base.... Read More
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Tagetik

CCH Tagetik is a unified BI and accounting software that helps to optimize financial and operational planning. The solution also shortens the consolidation and closing process and allows users to analyze results, model, as well as... Read More
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Profitbase BI

Profitbase is a data warehouse and BI solution that consolidates disparate data and delivers critical business information and key performance indicators (KPIs) through intuitive dashboards and reports. The solution enables companies... Read More
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Agile Data Suite (ADS)

For the past 13 years, Datric has been helping B2B organizations process and analyze data into metrics that can be used to identify opportunities and applied to target goals. Their Agile Data Suite (ADS) delivers data integration and... Read More
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iDashboards

iDashboard is a cloud-based business intelligence (BI) dashboard software designed to help businesses view and present their data through interactive and engaging visuals. The key objective of iDashboard is to analyze business data... Read More
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Instant Answers

Instant Answers is a unique Business Intelligence system that incorporates cutting-edge technology with effective data analysis methods to create a new type of BI solution. This system is scalable and works well with small and large... Read More
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MITS Distributor Analytics

MITS Distributor Analytics, a comprehensive reporting and business intelligence solution, empowers non-technical users to make better decisions using the data in their ERP and other business systems. With fingertip access to browser-based... Read More
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TIBCO Spotfire

TIBCO Spotfire offers executive dashboards, data analytics, data visualization and KPI push to mobile devices. Users can start simple and small and then expand in stages; the system can grow with the needs of any business. It can... Read More
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Skookum Digital Works

Skookum Digital Works (SDW) is not a software licenser or reseller. SDW consider themselves to be a technology innovation SWAT team. The business technology pioneers at SDW help Fortune 1000 business leaders seed innovation, and disrupt... Read More
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GoodData

GoodData is a web-based, end-to-end business intelligence platform that delivers comprehensive, accurate analytics in real-time. With their integrated suite of tools and applications, users across departments will have access to critical... Read More
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Service Lifecycle Management

Designed to help companies handle after sales supply chains, DEX Systems’ software helps manage everything from returns and repairs, to remarketing and warehouse planning. Their core solution, Service Lifecycle Management is used... Read More
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Analance™ Business Intelligence Suite

Established in 2004, Analance™ Business Intelligence Suite by Ducen is an end-to-end BI solution with a full toolbox of applications to help analyze data effectively. This solution helps businesses use their data to influence key... Read More
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IBM Cognos Analytics

Cognos Analytics is an upgrade to Cognos Business Intelligence (Cognos BI). By adding cognitive guidance, a web-based interface and new data visualization features, Cognos Analytics provides self-service analytics to large and midsize... Read More
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Phocas Business Intelligence

Phocas Software’s Phocas Business Intelligence Solution offers a cloud-based, fully integrated suite of Business Intelligence tools for small-to-medium-sized businesses in the manufacturing industry. The system works on any modern... Read More
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Dynamics Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence is becoming increasingly important for business owners in many different industries. I.B.I.S., Inc. is a Dynamics® partner with comprehensive expertise in the field. Power BI for Office 365 provides its users... Read More
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MicroStrategy Analytics

The MicroStrategy Analytics platform is a self-service business intelligence platform that supports both data mining and visualization. Available for Web-based or on-premise deployment, this platform can be implemented on a gradual... Read More
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WebFOCUS

Information Builders’ WebFOCUS is a business intelligence (BI) and analytics platform with a range of governed analytical tools, applications, reports and documents for all business stakeholders. It is a comprehensive platform that... Read More
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Logi Info

Logi Info is a business intelligence (BI) platform that provides self-service analytics tools for businesses. It can be embedded directly into the applications that employees use every day. Logi Info provides analytics that are tailored... Read More
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CoolaData

The CoolaData Platform is a web-based data infrastructure platform that offers users a database requiring no separate hosting infrastructure or IT expertise. This solution has many comprehensive and integrated applications, including... Read More
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SAS Analytics Pro

SAS Analytics Pro is a software suite that provides both data mining and data visualization capabilities, including data access, transformation and reporting. It processes intuitive 4GL (fourth-generation programming language, which... Read More
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Infor BI

Infor BI is a business intelligence platform geared toward business users in midsize to large organizations. It is a data mining and visualization suite that provides financial and operational reporting and analysis and customizable... Read More
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OASIS

OASIS is a customizable ERP system for small to midsize companies. This system is customized to the company’s precise specifications and is used primarily in the retail, manufacturing, and professional services verticals. OASIS’... Read More
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Jaspersoft

Jaspersoft is a scalable self-service business intelligence suite that is suitable for small to enterprise-level companies. Drag and drop features allow users to create dashboards and reports. This system also includes a report scheduler... Read More
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Alteryx

Alteryx is a business intelligence platform for data analysts that offers data mining and predictive analytics. It allows users to blend data from disparate sources, including Microsoft Excel, Hadoop, and Salesforce, with built-in... Read More
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Datawatch Desktop

Datawatch Desktop is a business intelligence software solution that focuses on real-time data visualization. It consists of two modules: Datawatch Desktop Designer, a visual data discovery module, and Datawatch Desktop Modeler, which... Read More
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BI Office

BI Office is a business intelligence suite from Pyramid Analytics that is geared toward small, midsized and enterprise-level companies. It is a scalable solution that supports predictive statistics, including linear regression and... Read More
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arcplan

arcplan offers three self-service business intelligence platforms to help organizations meet their needs. arcplan Enterprise features dashboards and reporting functions, including drag and drop capabilities that allow users to easily... Read More
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Splunk Enterprise

The Splunk Enterprise platform allows users to process and index most forms of data in their native format. It includes data indexing tools, which enable users to locate specific data across large data sets. The software is designed... Read More
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Buyer's Guide

The data universe is expanding. It's no secret that the data businesses create, capture and analyze has been growing in volume and diversity, with no signs of slowing down.

The ubiquity of data in today's business environment dictates that even small businesses should be thinking of how they can use data for a competitive advantage. Increasingly, tools are becoming available to help with the collection and analysis of this data.

In this guide, we'll cover:

What Are Data Integration Tools?

Data integration is simply the process by which data is collected from multiple sources, normalized and prepared for analysis. Data integration software are tools that collect and transform the data for common storage, typically in a data warehouse, from which it can be extracted for analysis, as depicted in the diagram below:

Data integration and analysis process (diagram)

Traditionally, this is done through the extract, transform, load (ETL) process by a database administrator (DBA), who sets up the criteria the data should adhere to prior to storage. The criteria the DBA sets up, or defines for the data, are based on the most critical insights a business seeks to derive from the data.

The ETL process is an involved one in which data is collected, or "extracted" from the original sources, which often exist in widely varying formats. These include not only .CSV and XML files, but also online sources such as social media.

Once the data is extracted from the original source, it is "transformed" into a format that fits the parameters the DBA has defined for the data warehouse, or wherever the data will reside.

Conversely, the ELT (extract, load, transform) process manages the process in a different order—one in which the data is loaded into the database, where it's transformed (as opposed to having predetermined rules set up within the database, such as a data cube).

Data integration environment in TIBCO Jaspersoft (screenshot)

Data integration environment in TIBCO Jaspersoft

Increasingly for large enterprises, data lakes are becoming a popular data storage strategy for those dealing with big data.

The data is then integrated with other transformed data for like comparisons and analysis.

Common Features of Data Integration Tools

As a baseline, data integration tools should offer the following:

ETL (extract, transform, load) Collects data from outside sources, transforms it and then loads it into the target system (a database or warehouse). Because primary data is often organized using different schemas or formats, analysts can use ETL tools to normalize it for useful analysis.
ELT (extract, load, transform) Collects data from outside sources, loads it into the database or warehouse and then transforms it to conform to requests for analysis. This feature allows the data to be manipulated/integrated within the warehouse itself, rather than prior to migration.
Data capture/connection Allows software to "connect" to multiple—and sometimes disparate—data sources (including relational databases, XML, .CSV, data lakes, Hadoop, SQL etc.) for the purposes of data extraction.
Data transformation Normalizes data across disparate sources by standardizing data, converting values and correcting numeric values to conform to minimum and maximum values.
Data quality management Helps organizations maintain clean, standardized and error-free data. Standardization is especially important for BI implementations that integrate data from diverse sources, as this ensures that later analyses are correct.

Some data integration software offers additional features, including more self service options (such as drag-and-drop development for citizen data analysts).

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Typically, data integration resides in the realm of the DBA, who sits in the IT department.

Small businesses. These are businesses with little to no IT department. While traditionally, they have less need to manage vast amounts of data in a data warehouse, this trend is shifting, given the explosion of data in recent years. More and more tools designed to help "citizen" data administrators extract, integrate and manage data without the need for extensive programming knowledge are becoming available today.

Midsize businesses. These buyers are still likely to benefit from data integration tools that offer some level of self-service functionality, so that a robust IT department isn't required to architect complex data storage solutions. Real-time data demands and ad hoc granular data analysis are becoming the norm.

Enterprise businesses. These buyers will have a robust IT department capable of handling the traditional ETL process, which involves time and effort. Ironically, these larger enterprises may have more of a demand for real-time delivery of multistructured data as opposed to the “batch" delivery methods ETL is associated with. Increasingly, tools are becoming more and more sophisticated, with broader functionality sets from delivery to governance, to meet these demands.

Benefits of Data Integration Tools

Data Integration software provides two clear benefits to users:

  • Single source of truth. The principal benefit of data integration software is arriving at a single source of truth for businesses, especially those that deal in a variety of data sets from multiple, and often incongruous, sources. The "truth," or insight sought after, is typically a key performance indicator (KPI) defined by the business. Data integration aligns the data to best reveal this truth.
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  • Apples to apples. The additional benefit is that organizations both large and small can not only define what they need from the data to make the most important business decisions, but confidence in those insights. Integration of data into a consistent, predetermined view ensures to some degree that like-comparisons are being made. In short, integration allows for the best "apples-to-apples" comparison disparate data sources can provide.

Market Trends to Understand

Data integration as a field is undergoing some change. According to Gartner, data integration and quality tools as a market grew 2.5 percent in 2016 to $4.4 billion, though more traditional data integration tools, which serve merely as "connectors" for batch movement of data, had slower growth (report available to Gartner clients).

This is due in large part to the increasing "mass proliferation" of data according to Gartner, which has put greater demand on data integration tools to expand their offerings to serve various data delivery speeds, deployments and types.

Essentially, slow, plodding, structured data delivery is on the outs. More and more, enterprises are seeing the need for data integration flexibility, including virtual and real-time data delivery, as well as the ability to deal with hybrid data sources (cloud and on-premise). Also, businesses are looking more and more for data integration tools that can handle "multistructured" data, or data that comes in a diverse array of structures.