Evaluation: Business Intelligence Tools for Salesforce

Posted by on Nov 19, 2012 in Blog | 10 comments

Evaluation: Business Intelligence Tools for Salesforce

Salesforce.com has a good reporting system built in; however, it has some limitations including the ability to report on a parent object with multiple child objects, trends over time, exception reporting, and more.

Given the limitations of the Salesforce reporting, one of our clients, Education Pioneers, asked me to evaluate business intelligence (BI) tools (with Salesforce integration) for them. They were looking to purchase an application to augment the basic reporting capabilities. Specifically, they were interested in full parent plus multiple child reporting and filtering.

I started the process with a short discovery at Education Pioneers in order to better understand their current Salesforce architecture, needs, and challenges. Once this step was completed,  I interviewed and tested multiple BI applications including: Apsona, Conga Queries, BI OnDemand, Crystal Reports, GoodData, and Birst.

Here is the list of items I evaluated in each system:

  • Reporting on all sets of data
  • Object and a single child object reports
  • Object and multiple child objects reports
  • Creating charts and dashboards within the application
  • Creating formulas within the report
  • Ability to export the information
  • Report Scheduling
  • Level of Salesforce Integration
  • Usability
  • Training needed
  • Hosted/ Desktop/ Within Salesforce
  • API availability
  • Cost

I created the bellow table* to provide Education Pioneers with a full picture of the available BI applications; I would like to thank them for allowing me to share this information on the blog. I hope that you will be able to use it to make smarter decisions at your organizations.

Please click on the image to view the full report.

Evaluation - Business Intelligence Tools for Salesforce

*The table results only reflect the Cloud for Good findings during the discovery on July 2012; they do not reflect the Education Pioneers experience or results.

10 Comments

  1. This is great info! – we are looking (maybe next year sometime) at possibly implementing a reporting solution. This will be very helpful

    Thanks!

  2. Thank you for sharing this. It is very helpful!

  3. Thanks for sharing this very useful info. Question: Would I really need a BI tool if I am only looking to report on a parent object with multiple child objects in Salesforce? Are there reporting tools that can provide this enhancement without implementation a full BI tool?

    • Hi Vince, you might want to look into Apsona’s multi-step reporting tool. It should do what you need.

      • Hi Vince, Apsona Multi-step Reports enables you to create reports spanning any number of objects in Salesforce. It also lets you traverse dependencies in either direction (parent-to-child or child-to-parent), and can handle multiple dependencies between the same pairs of objects.

        If I can be of further use, please contact me through our website at http://apsona.com.

        Tal, thank you again for your blog post and your comments.

        • Hi Tal, thanks for directing me to Apsona’s multi-step reporting tool. From the positive reviews and the online demos, it looks like a very useful tool that is also user-friendly.
          Hi M.A., I will contact you with some questions through your website.

    • Alpine Metrics is preferred by GE… and it’s only $25/month…
      but you can give it a shot for free for 30 days… http://www.alertanalyzeact.com

  4. Fantastic resource Tal. Thank you.

  5. Hi Tal, thanks for this analysis. Did you ever hear of the BI tool Tableau? If so what are your thoughts about the integration of Tableau into Salesforce?

    • Hey Kim, I have not heard about it. I’d love to hear about your experience with them.

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