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Data is arguably the most influential factor in determining business decisions today, especially as companies continue to prioritize data-driven decision-making. Companies use data to assess progress and performance, determine where to allocate resources, identify patterns, accurately forecast, and so much more.

These insights heavily rely on the way data scientists, data analysts, marketers, accountants, and other workers are able to make sense of data, which is why business analytics tools are so vital. Business intelligence (BI) platforms prepare, model, and transform data into actionable insights that helps businesses position themselves for growth, resolve issues, and predict outcomes.

Here’s our list of the top 5 business analytics tools that can transform the way you think about and use data today.

1. Tableau Desktop

In terms of self-service tools, Tableau Desktop tops our list since it’s one of the easiest analytics tools to use for both beginners and more experienced data specialists. This BI tool offers interactive dashboards, drag and drop functionality, and natural language inquiries, which allows people without coding knowledge to easily gain insights.

Tableau connects directly to hundreds of data sources and creates data visualizations in a few clicks with built-in charts, templates, graphics, and mathematical models. Tableau supports the entire analytics journey, from data preparation and deep analysis to shared insights that drive the business forward.

2. Looker

Looker is both a self-service and embedded BI software, meaning that it allows developers to embed their analytics technology inside other applications.

This browser-based tool is powerful without SQL knowledge and even more powerful with it, so it really works for everyone. Looker provides a unique URL with every adjustment, giving users the opportunity to share thousands of different views. You can easily customize and share dashboards with your team, and each user can further customize those dashboards to their own needs.

3. Domo

Domo is another embedded business analytics tool that is very user-friendly and enables users to analyze data from many outputs without getting IT involved. It ranks pretty close to Tableau in terms of functionality and ease of use but is completely cloud-based.

Mid-market companies (50-1,000 employees) are most impressed with Domo’s custom visualizations and mobile-friendly platform. Domo also has hundreds of pre-built data connections that dramatically reduce implementation time, leading you to decisions faster. The software also includes a slew of communication tools that allow you to talk to your team and share notes in real-time.

4. Chartio

Chartio is one of the most-loved data visualization BI tools on the market. Data visualization tools are great for companies looking to track company goals in real-time, like key performance indicators (KPIs), but they don’t allow users to dive deeper into data to derive insights. Chartio allows just about anyone to visualize data without having SQL or Python knowledge.

Their intuitive charts are just as impressive as the support they offer, which includes hours of how-to videos as well as their valuable live support staff. Chartio is entirely cloud-based and gives you the option to use either basic or advanced tools to create dynamic dashboards on demand. Although Chartio has a very intuitive interface, you’re still able to model very complex data.

5. Esri ARCGIS

In the same way a user can find patterns in financial or sales data with a BI platform, data analysts also rely on location intelligence tools to gain insights based on map and spatial data. These tools help determine things like where to open a new restaurant or warehouse.

Esri ARCGIS is a comprehensive suite of mapping and location intelligence tools that can be deployed on local machines, remote servers, or as SaaS hosted by Esri. It’s an incredibly useful program for linking data and location in a specific coordinate system on different spatial levels, and visualizing the results on a map, including with smart 3D models.

It gives a broad spectrum of tools for analyzing data and makes importing and exporting data efficient. Esri has been a leader in the space for over 40 years and people love this software for making maps and completing spatial and geostatistical analyses.

Depending on your needs, there are a variety of business analytics tools that can help you make the most of your company’s data. If you’re interested in diving deeper into analytics and would like to gain foundational data skills, check out Udacity’s Business Analytics Nanodegree program.

This course teaches the skills needed to analyze data, build models with Excel, query databases with SQL, and create data visualizations with Tableau.

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