Open Source Business Intelligence Tools
Business intelligence tools provide the analytical and visualization capabilities that allow end users to analyze their data. They can range in terms of complexity, ease of use, and feature sets, but all are designed to help uncover insights through visualization.
For those interested in open-source BI tools, they fall into two general categories: software projects developed and maintained by a community and those created by a software company. In the latter case, an open-source or community edition may be a more limited version of another commercial product, or there may be additional, complementary tools available for purchase.
Here’s an overview of twelve popular open-source BI tools (in no particular order) that are available today.
- Eclipse BIRT
- Apache Superset
- Seal Report & ETL
- Jaspersoft Business Intelligence Suite Community Edition
- Metabase Open Source Edition
- ReportServer Community Edition
- KNIME Analytics Platform
- Helical Insight Community Edition
- Preset Cloud
- SQL Power Wabit
- Pentaho Community Edition
- An open source BI tool is only as good as the data it pulls
Eclipse Business Intelligence Reporting Tool (BIRT) is an open-source software project to provide a platform for reporting functionality and data visualizations. It includes a visual report designer and a charting engine. The designs you create can be used across many data sources.
Apache Superset is a “modern data exploration and visualization platform.” This is an open source project with options including built-in visualizations, charts, and interactive dashboards. It is lightweight, flexible to connect to any SQL-based datasource, and is highly scalable.
Seal Report & ETL
Seal Report is an open source project framework for daily reporting from any database, providing basic querying, charts, and web reports. It differs from other tools in that it was developed for the Microsoft .Net Framework.
Jaspersoft Business Intelligence Suite Community Edition
The Jaspersoft Business Intelligence Suite Community Edition is a platform consisting of different components. JasperReports is the reporting server, which can create analytics to be embedded or otherwise shared. The BI Suite also includes Jaspersoft Studio, which is an Eclipse-based report designer that features a report editing interface for visual report design that allows you to create complex layouts and preview your data. The Jaspersoft BI Suite Commercial Edition includes additional functionality, including ad hoc and dashboard design.
Metabase Open Source Edition
Metabase is a software vendor that offers a pared-down, free open-source edition of its intuitive, user friendly software with charts, dashboards, visualizations, and scheduling. They also offer a variety of paid tiers that can be utilized from the cloud or on premises with additional functionality..
ReportServer Community Edition
ReportServer Community allows you access to a variety of tools within a single platform interface. From within ReportServer, you can utilize some of the different reporting tools listed above, such as Eclipse BIRT or JasperReport, as well as other reporting tools and an OLAP server. The ReportServer Enterprise edition provides additional functionality for a fee.
KNIME Analytics Platform
KNIME Analytics Platform is an intuitive platform that provides ease of use for beginners and robust tools for more experienced analysts. It utilizes visual workflows and a low-code/no-code interface while offering the possibility for coding or using ML libraries for advanced analysts. KNIME Hub is commercial software that can be added on for additional capabilities.
Helical Insight Community Edition
Helical Insight Community Edition is a simplified version of their BI platform, with basic reporting and scheduling. The premium Enterprise version provides access to the UI driven designers, search driven analytics, and ad hoc reporting.
Powered by Apache Superset, Preset Cloud is a fully managed service to create custom, interactive analytics, with visual or SQL-based queries, dashboards, and visualizations. The free version allows up to 5 users.
FineReport is a reporting tool that allows users to design and generate reports and publish them to a report server to be viewed on a variety of devices, including mobile apps or large presentation screens. The fully functional application is free for personal use; pricing is available for commercial use.
SQL Power Wabit
SQL Power Wabit prioritizes simplicity and ease of use, while providing a tool that satisfies the needs for everyday analysis: reports, custom dashboards, ad hoc queries. Users do not need SQL knowledge and can use the drag and drop interface instead.
Pentaho Community Edition
Pentaho Community Edition is a pared down version of Hitachi Vantara’s Pentaho Enterprise Edition. The Community Edition allows you to create a variety of data visualizations using their report designer.
An open source BI tool is only as good as the data it pulls
Some of the best data teams are investing in data observability before deploying an open source BI tool. Data comes in fast and messy and it only takes one instance of conflicting or stale data to lose trust in your BI reports.
Setting up a data observability solution first like Monte Carlo gives insights into the health, usage, and lineage of your data, leading to insights that help you unlock the most value from your data.
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