The most common tools used for business intelligence are as follows. They are listed in the following order: Increasing cost, increasing functionality, increasing business intelligence complexity, and decreasing number of total users.
Take a guess what's the most common business intelligence tool? You might be surprised to find out it's Microsoft Excel. There are several reasons for this:
1. It's relatively cheap.
2. It's commonly used. You can easily send an Excel sheet to another person without worrying whether the recipient knows how to read the numbers.
3. It has most of the functionalities users need to display data.
In fact, it is still so popular that all third-party reporting / OLAP tools have an "export to Excel" functionality. Even for home-built solutions, the ability to export numbers to Excel usually needs to be built.
Excel is best used for business operations reporting and goals tracking.
In this discussion, I am including both custom-built reporting tools and the commercial reporting tools together. They provide some flexibility in terms of the ability for each user to create, schedule, and run their own reports. The Reporting Tool Selection selection discusses how one should select an OLAP tool.
Business operations reporting and dashboard are the most common applications for a reporting tool.
OLAP tools are usually used by advanced users. They make it easy for users to look at the data from multiple dimensions. The OLAP Tool Selection selection discusses how one should select an OLAP tool.
OLAP tools are used for multidimensional analysis.
Data mining tool
Data mining tools are usually only by very specialized users, and in an organization, even large ones, there are usually only a handful of users using data mining tools.
Data mining tools are used for finding correlation among different factors.