SaaS Business Intelligence is a cloud based application, with a subscription based approach to sell business oriented tools to enterprises. SaaS is often preferred over on-premise software owing to its lower cost and ease of deployment. Because of the cloud based approach, SaaS BI tools have an even greater advantage, since with an on-premise software, the user will need to install it on the system as well as sync the system with the others over the network. On the contrary, using an SaaS tool, the user just needs an additional 'seat' with a set of credentials to use the tool through a web browser.
Another key feature of SaaS BI is accessibility. Once you have signed up to the tool or the application, you are authorized to access it from any device and any location, with the proper credentials. All you need is a browser, and you will have access to real-time data and analysis on your device.
What is SaaS?
Before delving into Business Intelligence tools, it is important to know SaaS. Software as a service(SaaS) is a cloud service which allows you to use business analysis and management tools such as dashboards and email marketing tools, without having to download or install them on your local system. It costs less than the software download alternative and offers a better operational management because of the compatibility and accessibility. Although to function on an SaaS, you need to have a steady internet connectivity, the rise in accessibility of internet at low costs have helped eradicate this issue.
Advantages of SaaS:
- Accessibility- One of the advantages of SaaS is that it can be access from any system or location, regardless of the operating system. They can be accessed through mobile devices such as tablets since the applications are designed to be mobile-friendly.
- Hardware requirements- Another factor that favors SaaS tools is that there are neither any hardware requirements, nor the need of software compatibility. Often, on-premise software need a compatible device, but since SaaS tools are cloud based, and accessed through a browser, they do not require software or hardware configurations.
- Auto-updates- Since the tools are cloud based, they can be updated centrally. Unlike on-system software, these updates do not need prior compatibility and security tests and hence, neither slows down the process, nor affects business operations of the user.
- Storage- Business analytics applications use and save data on a regular basis. SaaS helps you store the data automatically on the cloud, so the user never has to worry about offline storage. This also helps keep data intact, since offline data can be meddled with.
- Business analytics- Enterprises that use SaaS tools have access to intelligence, reporting and accounting tools which help process information for analytical use, along with utilitarian insights. This allows a streamlined workflow and uninterrupted analysis.
Drawbacks of SaaS:
- Security- Since SaaS implements cloud data storage, you have to rely on a third party for security. Though in domains like pharmaceuticals and finances, this data is extremely sensitive, as long as the service provider guarantees absolute data security, this is not a concern.
- No customization and integrations- Cloud based services are not customizable and hence, cannot be tailored to cater one's personal or a company's convenience. Moreover, API integrations are not easy as well since, you have to check with the terms of agreement with the seller.
- Extra costs- Frequent customization, module requirements, and live support need to be paid for, which often turns into overspending. These extra costs sometimes make up for the reduced pricing of the tool.
What are Business Intelligence tools?
Business Intelligence tools are applications which collect and process unstructured data from different sources such as books, journals, documents, and images and processes it to extract information through queries. Alongside, they also help in data analysis for use in reports and statistical visualization. BI tools are often used to merge a variety of data analysis applications including enterprise reporting, mobile BI, real-time BI as well as Software as a Service BI to build dashboards, scorecards and statistics software for data visualizations.
Advantages of BI Tools:
- Employees can manage and optimize their Key Performance Indicator(KPI) through various real-time data sources and reports.
- Monitoring and insights over revenue, losses and employee productivity is another key aspect of BI tools. Be it tracking metrics, alerting pitfalls or KPI analysis, these tools have it all covered.
- Insights on customer behavior, interactions and feedback, BI tools help identify loopholes and flaws in your services, which can be further customized in accordance to the customers convenience.
- BI tools enhance efficiency by providing a singular and accurate data source and hence data management is optimized.
- Inaccurate data might lead to unforeseen repercussions. BI tools provide clean and quality data and hence help in generating precise reports.
Popular BI Tools:
Zoho Analytics is an SaaS business intelligence tool, which helps users manage Customer Relationship Management(CRM) data along with KPI, by means of reports and dashboards. With an affordable cost, easy to setup and implement structure, and an adaptable and convenient interface, it collects data from multiple sources and helps auto-generate reports. The cloud based storage makes sharing of data and reports effortless along with embedding dashboards into third party software. For solutions for a wide variety of domains including sales, marketing, social media, finance, e-commerce and project management, Zoho offers scalability, which means it can be used by micro and macro business and enterprises.
Pricing and features for different plans
|INR875 per month, charged yearly||INR1750 per month, charged yearly||INR4000 per month, charged yearly||INR15,250 per month, charged yearly|
|INR1000 per month, charged monthly||INR2000 per month, charged monthly||INR4500 per month, charged monthly||INR17,000 per month, charged monthly|
|Allows 2 users with half a million rows||Allows 5 users with 1 Million rows||Allows 15 users with 5 Million rows||Allows 50 users with 50 Million rows|
|Unlimited reports and dashboards along with more than 100 data connectors and Zoho apps connectors||Group support, hourly data sync, data alerts and backup, with all the basic features||Offers logo rebranding and Private links, with all the standard features||Along with all the premium features Enterprise version offers live support and best in class performance|
Microsoft Power BI Pro
Microsoft Power BI Pro is one of the best BI tools when it comes to data based collaboration. It offers services like sharing data visualizations, customize permission for individuals even outside the organization to read and write information, the Power BI Mobile app and team commenting. Furthermore, with solutions to conversational language based queries, inbuilt data reports and templates and promoting relevant data to the team with administrative tools, Microsoft BI Pro also offers data security based on row wise data protection.
Pricing and features for different plans
|Power BI Pro||Power BI Premium|
|Costs $9.99 per month per user||Costs $4995 per month per cloud and computational storage resource|
|Offers incremental data refresh with shared reports publishing||Allows distribution of content with compute resource allocation|
|Allows the use of other Microsoft applications to analyze and embed content||Along with the applications, it also offers fixed layout, optimized and print-ready reports|
|Provides a library of Power BI visuals and custom visual SDK||Along with Power BI visuals and SDK, also offers AI powered data modeling|
Amazon QuickSight offers BI services with an affordable cost through pay-per-session pricing and ML insights within the services. With an entirely managed service, QuickSight is a swift BI service, which helps you create and share interactive dashboards to embed in your applications, and charges for only what you use. QuickSight has a serverless approach and hence is quite scalable, and offers features such as filters and drill downs along with the use of APIs.
|Per user(For Readers)||Session capacity(For Readers)||Per user(For Authors)|
|Costs $5 per month per user||Starts from $4800 per month for 200k sessions per year||Costs $18 per month per user|
|Mostly used for small to medium business and enterprises||The session based pricing on an yearly subscription, with 1 session lasting 30 minutes||Offers to publish interactive dashboards, reports and more|
Amazon QuickSight also offers anomaly detection, through ML powered tools across millions of metrics, giving insights hidden in your data trends and outliers.
Pricing for Anomaly Detection
|Metrics scanned||Price per thousand metrics per month|
|For the first million metrics||$0.5|
|Next 9 Million||$0.25|
|Next 90 Million||$0.1|
|Greater than 100 Million||$0.05|