5 powerful business intelligence tools that are reshaping PMOs

More project management offices are seeing the benefits of business intelligence tools like these to improve how they execute projects and to increase their value to stakeholders.

Project success is heavily reliant on having timely and accurate data to make quick, reliable decisions with confidence. PMOs are recognizing the benefits of having quick access to powerful business intelligence and business analytics tools for high-level, at-a-glance portfolio project insight. 

Top benefits of BI and BA tools in managing projects

A recent survey was conducted to identity how BI and BA tools are helping companies evaluate opportunities. Some identified benefits include:

  • Getting ahead of potential risks
  • Better and faster decision-making
  • Gaining a competitive advantage
  • Successfully meeting deliverables
  • Increasing the value for stakeholders

From dashboards to data visualizations, descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics, companies are using tools like these five tools to reshape how PMOs think, plan and execute projects.

Microsoft Power BI

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Image: monticello/Shutterstock

Microsoft Power BI is a self-serve, web-based business analytics tool for data visualization. Project teams can easily identify trends and provide insights from anywhere. This software also allows users to locate and share relevant insights with hundreds of data visualizations and built-in artificial intelligence capabilities. There are prebuilt and custom data connectors and integrations that help deliver reports and create real-time dashboards.

Key features:

  • Unified self-service and enterprise analytics
  • Azure to help accelerate big data preparation
  • AI to help non-data scientists prepare data and build machine learning models
  • Excel connectivity to run queries, data models and reports to Power BI Dashboards
  • Automation to easily build business applications and automate workflows

Microsoft Power BI offers three licensing plans, BI Pro at $9.99/user/month, BI Premium at $20/user/month, and BI Premium at $4,995/per capacity/month.  

Microsoft

MicroStrategy

Microstrategy logo on phone screen
Image: Viewimage/Shutterstock

MicroStrategy provides companies with business intelligence everywhere through its open enterprise platform. It embeds a high degree of visibility, suggestions and actions directly into the applications employees use each day. Project teams are able to rapidly implement consumer-grade BI experiences based on team roles. The platform is also accessible on any device and provides split-second response time on an enterprise scale.  

Key features:

  • Self-service dashboards with location-based analytics
  • Intelligence Server for more secure intelligence
  • Customer error-handling through an embedded software development kit
  • iOS mobile SDK and library  
  • Mobile and web-based hyper intelligence 
  • Workstation, desktop and web access

Contact MicroStrategy for pricing.

MicroStrategy

SAP Business Objects

SAP logo
Image: Bennography/Shutterstock

SAP Business Objects is a part of SAP's business intelligence suite. It is aimed at helping organizations make better and faster decisions through access to real-time information within one scalable platform. SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.3 provides a fortified business intelligence launch pad, BI workspace, content linking and report scheduling to multiple destinations.

Key features:

  • Reporting and analysis with ad-hoc reporting
  • Data visualization and analytics applications with cross-enterprise sharing 
  • Office integration with embedded analytics in Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Product road maps
  • Credential mapping
  • 64-bit Crystal reports

SAP offers companies access to a demo or try-and-buy option. Contact SAP for a quote.

SAP

Sisense

Sisense logo
Image: Sisense

Sisense takes large, complex data and analyses it to deliver insights to everyone across an entire organization. It empowers software developers to build machine language enhanced analytics into products. This powerful end-to-end BI platform gives project team members, including data engineers, developers, and analysts, the ability to build analytic apps that deliver highly interactive user experiences. Department data can be easily connected and analyzed to remove IT bottlenecks.

Key features:

  • Dashboards powered by live data models from cloud data warehouses to run real-time queries 
  • Azure Synapse native connector 
  • Embedded analytics for software developers
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities  
  • Embedded natural language querying—enhanced for self-service analytics
  • Dashboards, chatbots and voice interfaces for lines-of-business (self-service BI)

Sisense pricing is based on an annual model. Get a price quote online.

Sisense

Zoho Analytics

Zoho logo
Image: Michael Vi/Shutterstock

Zoho Analytics' business intelligence tool is part of a suite of tools that empowers team members and leaders to make data-driven decisions. This self-service BI and BA software lets teams analyze data, create attractive data visualizations and find hidden insights in minutes. Teams can have access to real-time reporting with insight into a variety of metrics about project and team activity reports and performance. The platform integrates data from a variety of files, including Microsoft Office, URL feeds and databases, such as MySQL.  

Key features:

  • Blended data from multiple sources
  • A drag-and-drop designer with visualization options to drill down to specifics
  • Augmented AI-powered analytics
  • Smart data alerts that notify when outliers or anomalies happen
  • Analytics that can be embedded within your own product, application or accessed from your portal or website.

Zoho offers online and on-premise options. There are four pricing plans based on annual billing, Basic at $22/month for up to two users, Standard at $45/month for three to five users, Premium at $112/month for six to 15 users, and Enterprise at $445/month for 16 to 50 users. Month-to-month plans are also available along with a free plan and free trials.

Zoho

By Moira Alexander

Moira Alexander is the Founder of PMWorld 360 Magazine and Lead-Her-Ship Group, and a project management and digital workplace columnist for various publications. Moira has 20+ years in business (IS&T) and project management for small to large busine...