Cloud analytics tools have emerged as a new model of enterprise analytics. Now companies are using analytics solutions in the cloud to visualize key business metrics remotely.
We get in-depth on each of the tools we feature below, if you are short on time, here is our list of the 7 best cloud analytics tools:
- AppOptics Custom Metrics and Analytics (FREE TRIAL) A data gathering service that gives businesses analytical insights into the performance of applications and IT infrastructure.
- IBM Cognos Analytics Uses AI techniques to uncover and identify patterns combined with great visuals. Has plans to suit businesses at any scale.
- Microsoft Power BI Great data visualization, create dashboards and easily share and collaborate with colleagues. Integrates machine learning.
- Zoho Analytics Available on-premises and in the cloud, with easy to use drag-and-drop customizable dashboards.
- Board Decades of business performance management distilled into a cloud-based offering, with powerful pre-configured automated predictive modeling.
- TIBCO Spotfire AI-powered advanced analytics tool designed for enterprise users with strong search capabilities.
- Domo Pulls data from external service providers such as Microsoft Excel, Xero, Facebook, Salesforce, AWS, MySQL, and more.
What is a Cloud Analytics Tool?
A cloud analytics tool is a platform based in the cloud that allows the user to view analytics data. Through one pane of glass you can monitor data sources, data models, processing applications, computing resources, analytics models, and storage resources. Companies use these tools for everything from network monitoring to business intelligence.
The core benefit of cloud analytics tools is that you can monitor lots of disparate services and datasets from one location. For example, you can view a range of business intelligence metrics and real-time insights before converting them into a report to send over to other stakeholders. Having this information readily available helps to make more informed business decisions and operate more efficiently.
The 7 best cloud analytics tools
AppOptics is a cloud-based monitoring service for applications and IT infrastructure. The infrastructure monitoring functions are included with the applications monitor, which is called AppOptics APM. The infrastructure-only monitor is called AppOptics Infrastructure. The Custom Metrics and Analytics service can be added to either package to get greater insights into the performance of your networks, servers, and services.
The Custom Metrics and Analytics module enables administrators to collect extra performance metrics by activating open source agents, or by including calls to the data gathering processes through an API. These extra interfaces make the data collection capabilities of the Custom Metrics and Analytics service very flexible. However, they also require extra work to set up, which might prove a little too complicated for many time-pressed systems administrators.
As a cloud-based service, AppOptics isn’t limited to collecting data on one site. It can also monitor remote networks, multi-site systems, and cloud servers provided by AWS or Azure. Data from several sources can be aggregated to provide a full statistical overview of your entire system, providing drill-down capabilities to get down to data from individual devices. The presentation of the collected custom data is also up for customization. The administrator can choose whether to view the gathered data as plain lists of records, as graphs, or as charts.
The extra metrics package adds to the system performance data gathered automatically by AppOptics. Many businesses will probably find that the metrics gathered by the standard service provide enough insights to properly plan their capacity and ensure continued faultless serve to their users.
AppOptics is charged for by subscription, with fees charged annually in advance. The full AppOptics APM is available for testing on a 14-day free trial.
IBM Cognos Analytics is a business intelligence focused cloud analytics tool that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to pull insights from data sets. The platform is web-based and allows you to create dashboards and reports to monitor your environment. Reports can be scheduled and shared to deliver regular updates on the latest data. Both dashboards and reports come with AI recommendations to help you configure the best settings for monitoring your environment.
On the dashboard, you have a range of visualization options at your disposal including graphs, dials, and other unique display options that provide you with the essential data at a glance. One such display is the geospatial view which shows you a geographical map of where your services are located. For convenience, when creating a new dashboard you can copy and paste visual displays to create an even stronger monitoring experience.
To supply the platform with data, you can take information from databases on-premises or in the cloud, CSV files, and spreadsheets. The wide range of sources you can import data from is great because it enables you to bring a variety of services into one monitoring platform. You can also use machine learning to automatically discover data sources and add them to your monitoring environment.
There are two paid versions of IBM Cognos Analytics to purchase: Cloud and Enterprise. The Cloud version is based in the cloud and starts at $15.00 (£12.36) per user per month. The Enterprise version can be hosted on the IBM cloud or your network. However, you’ll have to contact the sales team directly for a quote. There is also a 30-day free trial.
Microsoft Power BI is a business intelligence platform with advanced analytics capabilities. Microsoft Power BI provides you with a dashboard that uses visualization to display key insights taken from your enterprise. The dashboard streams analytics in real-time so that you can make informed decisions on the fly.
For more comprehensive analysis you can publish and share reports with other stakeholders in your company. The platform integrates with Excel so that you can connect Excel queries and other data straight to the dashboard.
One of the standout features included with Microsoft Power BI is the ability to use AI to build machine learning models. This means that you don’t have to be a data scientist or analytics expert to pull accurate insights from datasets. Models can be built to manage structured and unstructured data.
There are two versions of Microsoft Power BI available to purchase: Power BI Pro and Power BI Premium. Power BI Pro costs $9.99 (£7.50) per month per user. Power BI Premium costs $4,995 (£3,766.60) with dedicated cloud computing and storage resources. You can download the free version.
Zoho Analytics is a cloud analytics and business intelligence platform available on-premises and in the cloud. The platform takes data from a range of sources and displays it through dashboards and reports. These can both be customized with a drag-and-drop design tool.
With Zoho Analytics you can monitor data from services like Microsoft Excel, Salesforce CRM, Xero, HubSpot CRM Google Analytics, MailChimp, Facebook Ads, and Twitter Analytics.
The platform also has its own AI-driven assistant called Zia which you can ask questions. Zia uses AI, machine learning and NLP to interpret your questions. To use Zia you enter a question into the assistant search bar such as “Show me yearly revenue by country as a bar chart” and the assistant will bring up the relevant metrics.
There are four online versions of Zoho Analytics available to purchase: Basic, Standard, Premium, and Enterprise. The Basic version costs $22 (£18.13) per month supporting up to 2 users and 0.5 million rows. The Standard version costs $45 (£37.08) per month for 5 users and 1 million rows.
The Premium version costs $112 (£92.29) per month for 15 users and 5 million rows. The Enterprise version costs $445 (£366.68) per month for 50 users and 50 million rows. There is also a free plan.
Board is a cloud analytics and business intelligence platform designed with performance management in mind. The software allows the user to create custom planning and analytics applications to improve decision making.
The Board BEAM feature uses automated predictive modeling to produce analytics forecasts to identify future business trends. The feature comes with preconfigured statistical functions including frequency, recency, nascency, and dormancy.
To help you find the information you need quickly, Board has a search function. The search function allows you to explore data, metadata, and applications to discover additional information. Running searches is great for locating information without having to sift through the dashboard.
The reporting capabilities of Board are also excellent. Reports can be customized with a drag-and-drop interface. There is also integration with Microsoft Office so you can import datasets directly.
Overall, Board is a tool that is highly recommended for those looking for user-friendly cloud analytics and business intelligence solution. In order to view the price of Board you’ll have to contact the company directly. You can also download the demo version.
TIBCO Spotfire is an AI-powered advanced analytics tool designed for enterprise users. The analytics capabilities of TIBCO Spotfire range from visual analytics to predictive analytics, location analytics, and streaming analytics. For example, visual analytics provide you with interactive visual displays with graphs whereas predictive analytics forecast future business data.
For further customization, TIBCO Spotfire includes APIs to enable you to create customized visualizations, and apps to monitor your enterprise data. There are also out-of-the-box templates to enable you to set up the program quickly. The configuration options are one of TIBCO Spotfire’s greatest assets.
There are four main versions of TIBCO Spotfire to purchase: TIBCO Cloud Spotfire, TIBCO Spotfire Platform, TIBCO Cloud Spotfire Entreprise, and Spotfire for Amazon Web Services.
To view the price for TIBCO Spotfire Platform and TIBCO Cloud Spotfire Enterprise you’ll have to contact the sales team directly. TIBCO Cloud Spotfire ranges from $25 (£20.60) per month to $125 (£103) per month. Spotfire for Amazon Web Services starts at a price of $0.99 (£0.82) per hour. You can download the 30-day free trial.
Domo is a cloud analytics software platform designed to integrate data from external sources and visualize it in one location. Domo pulls data from external service providers such as Microsoft Excel, Xero, Facebook, Salesforce, AWS, MySQL, and more. All integrated data is automatically updated so that you see up to the minute information and “one living source of truth.”
The dashboard is customizable so you can choose which part of the screen shows what data. To customize the dashboard all you need to do is drag cards into the location you want. You can also use out-of-the-box templates if you want to save time.
You have complete control over the data you see in Domo. Magic ETL allows you to sequence and combine data sources with a drag-and-drop interface. For example, you can join data from MySQL and Excel. Another perk of this setup is that you don’t have to learn SQL to interact with your datasets. You can also deploy custom R or Python scripts if you want to add additional analytics functions like forecasting.
Of course, there are also real-time alerts and push notifications to keep you updated on any changes. With apps available for iOS and Android you can stay in the loop no matter where you are. To view the pricing of Domo you’ll have to contact the sales team directly. You can download the 30-day free trial.
Choosing a Cloud Analytics Tool
Depending on your use case, there are a plethora of cloud analytics tools at your disposal. We think the AppOptics offering from SolarWinds will cover most networks types and sizes. Whether you want to martial the business intelligence capabilities of Microsoft Power BI or the performance monitoring prowess of a tool like IBM Cognos Analytics, there are plenty of choices.
When picking out a solution, decide which tool matches your use case the best. If you lack experience with AI but want to use an intelligent platform we recommend Microsoft Power BI as you’ll be able to create machine learning models even if you’re not a data scientist.