What are the business intelligence tools?

The business intelligence is the new area of improvement for data science and people concerned with data analytics. With the new environment created by Microsoft is now considered an opportunity for passion data analysts to work with.

Microsoft Business Intelligence
Microsoft Business Intelligence

The new tools are Excel with its new analytical capabilities, power BI with the rapid updates and increased functionalities, and the powerful SQL server


The key general categories of business intelligence applications are:

  •  Reporting and querying software: applications that extract, sort, summarize, and present selected data.
  • Online analytical processing (OLAP) Digital dashboards.


In this article, I will try to catch your attention with an overview on Microsoft Power BI family:

  • Microsoft Power BI :
    is a free, self-service business intelligence cloud service that provides non-technical business users with tools for aggregating, analyzing, visualizing and sharing data.


  • Power BI Desktop:
    provides advanced query, modeling, and report creation features that enables you to build data models, create reports, and share your work by publishing to the Power BI service. Power BI Desktop is a free download.
  • Power BI Gateway:

Gives the ability to refresh the published data from on-premises data sources without the need to move your data to the cloud.


Choosing Microsoft Business Intelligence (BI) tools for analysis and reporting

Choosing the right business intelligence tool can be difficult,  it’s all about selecting the right tool for the right business purpose.

The following list gives a guide in selecting the right tool.

  • Self-Service BI, if you are  Business Analyst or End User
    • For Data Discovery or Data modeling then the best tool is Excel 2016 and  Power Pivot
    • For  visualization and data exploration , use Power View ,3D Maps and Power BI Desktop
    • For Accessing reports using mobile devices, use Power BI apps for Mobile devices
    • For Collaboration and Sharing, use SharePoint sites and team sites


  • Corporate BI, if you are an IT Pro
    • For multi-dimensional/ tabular corporate models use SQL server Analysis services
    • Corporate Dashboards, use Sharepoint Dashboards and Power BI Dashboards
    • Corporate Operational reports, use SQL server reporting services, Power BI Embedded reports


  • Advanced Analytics, if you are a Data Scientist
    • Predicative analytics , use data mining add-ins for excel, data mining in SQL server analysis services
    • Data mining algorithms , use SQL server R services


If you’re looking for a brief overview of these tools to help you decide which tools are right for you, see Introducing Microsoft Business Intelligence (BI) Tools.