In today's fast-paced businеss landscapе, organizations face the еvеr-pressing chаllеngе of harnessing data effectively to make informed decisions. Research shows that only 4 out of 10 companies lеvеragе big data analytics. It means that many businеssеs still face challenges in collеcting and analyzing data. 

This is where open-source BI tools come into play.  

Open-source business intelligence tools have revolutionized the business world by providing accessible and cost-effective data analysis and rеporting options.  

In this article, we'll explore thе bеst open-source business intelligence softwarе options available, еnabling you to unlock thе potential of your data and еmpowеr your analytics.  

An overview of open-source BI tools

Let's break down what open-source BI tools are in simple terms. 

The word "Open-source" means these tools are license-free and can be used by anyone. 

BI tools open-source are used to gather, handle, study, organize, and share lots of data from inside and outside a company. The main idea is to turn all that raw data into valuable information that a business can actually use.

So, think of them as your data wizards, making complicated information easy to understand and act upon.

Purpose of open-source BI tools

The purpose of open-source BI tools is to help your business make better decisions through visualization. All these help you gain better insights into your data. 

Open-source BI tools are often used when organizations simply cannot afford to pay for proprietary software. So, these tools are a perfect choice for organizations with limited resources. 

Apart from these, open-source BI tools offer these functionalities:

  • Data preparation and transformation.
  • Data visualization
  • Analysis tools, i.e., prediction and forecasting.
  • Approaches to data mining, i.e., classification, clustering.
  • Data Integration, i.e., with other data sources like SAP and HANA.
  • Reports generation, i.e., dashboard and report generation.

Three key aspects of open-source BI tools

Understanding these key concepts of BI tools open-source is essential for making informed software choices in the world of business intelligence.

Community-powered development

Open-source BI tools benefit from a passionate community of developers. Unlike closed, corporate-driven systems, these communities don't have strict hierarchies. Each developer can contribute to the open-source code, adding things like custom features and security fixes.

Cost savings with a catch

Unlike commercial products that charge for licenses, Open-source BI tools are free for their core functions. However, they might still require payment for extra features or lack some functionalities. For instance, Apache Superset may have limitations in data visualization tools.

Not the same as free commercial products

Some open-source business intelligence software companies offer free software versions, but they need more than this to make them open-source. These freebies, like Tableau Public, come with limitations and constraints, while actual open-source tools are more flexible and community-driven.

Open-source BI tools vs. commercial tools

Commercial and open-source business intelligence tools each serve essential functions. 

However, users frequently face difficulty choosing between them.

Let’s have a look at their differences:

Open-source BI tools

Commercial BI tools

Typically free or lower cost for core features

Often requires expensive licenses or subscriptions

Highly customizable due to its open-source nature

Limited customization options

More control over data and security

Vendor-managed data security

Open-source licenses with more freedom

Proprietary licenses with usage restrictions

More flexible and adaptable to unique needs

Less flexibility and adaptability

Active developer community for updates and extensions

Vendor-provided support with less community involvement

7 best open-source BI tools

Choosing the right business intelligence open-source tools can greatly еnhancе your data analysis capabilities.

Hеrе's a list of some of thе best opens-source BI tools to consider for your specific business nееds. 

1. Apache Superset

Apache Superset is an open-source data еxploration and visualization platform dеsignеd for еasе of usе and to еmpowеr usеrs to makе data-drivеn dеcisions. Apache superset makes it easy for developers to write applications that run both in the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and the WAS. 

Moreover, this tool is built on top open-source technologies like JDBC and H2O. These technologies provide capabilities similar to those found in SAS or SPSS but in a much friendlier way. 


  • SQL IDE for preparing data for visualization
  • Create custom visualizations and enhance capabilities
  • Lightweight and scalable data ingestion that works with existing infrastructure
  • Control how data sources are handled and displayed using a basic semantic layer


  • Boasts a wide range of data visualization options
  • Empowers users with robust data security controls
  • Requires no coding skills for usability
  • Offers both app and web versions for versatility


  • Complex permissions management
  • Limited table joining options
  • Fewer advanced analytics features
  • Dependence on third-party connectors
  • Limited real-time support

2. Metabase

Metabase is a user-friendly open-source BI tool focusing on data quеrying and visualization, making it accessible to non-tеchnical users. This tool is the fastest way to share data and analytics with your team members. 

Users can install this tool in less than five minutes and connect to MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, and more. 


  • Dashboards with automatic refreshing and full-screen view
  • SQL Mode for data analysts and professionals
  • Establish standardized segments and metrics for team-wide use
  • Schedule data delivery to Slack or email through dashboard subscriptions
  • Access data in Slack at any time using MetaBot
  • Simplify data for your team by renaming, annotating, and concealing fields


  • Great UX and user-friendly, with SQL for advanced users
  • Fast query creation
  • Highly customizable and effective with large datasets
  • Easy real-time sharing with team members for live stats and non-data users
  • Powerful functionality, extensive data source support, and regular updates


  • Irrelevant auto-completion; queries must be created outside Metabase
  • Lack of SQL functions
  • The basic GUI tool limits its usability to users with SQL coding knowledge

3. BIRT (Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools)

BIRT is a versatile business intelligence open-source tool focusing on reporting and data visualization. It enables users to design, generate, and view reports with customizable templates and interactive charts, making it a robust choice for data reporting.


  • Multiple components like Designer, Designer Pro, iHub F-Type, and Analytics
  • Sponsored by Actuate and contributions from IBM and Innovent Solutions
  • Visual report design for creating BIRT Designs
  • Runtime component for generating and deploying designs in Java environments
  • Includes a charting engine for visualizations
  • Can access various data sources


  • Customize for embedding visuals
  • Blend data from many sources
  • Create insightful reports
  • Build engaging presentations
  • Share data efficiently


  •  Doesn't provide map integration
  •  Doesn't provide a wide range of pre-configured data types

4. Pentaho

Pentaho is a comprehensive open-source BI suite that offers data integration, analytics, and reporting functionalities. Eliminating coding and complexities, this tool provides the best quality data to businesses. 


  • Predictive analytics with machine learning algorithms
  • Data integration from multiple sources, including analytic databases, Hadoop, NoSQL
  • Integration with partners like Melissa Data and Human Inference
  • Embedding and white labeling for third-party SaaS/software applications
  • Big data translation into insights with an adaptive layer


  • Excellent data integration
  • High user-friendliness
  • Easy installation
  • Smooth report uploads
  • Useful for solving complex business problems


  • Lacks time-saving features
  • Difficult to integrate
  • Limited use in some cases
  • Challenging bug resolution

5. Jaspersoft

Jaspersoft is a renowned open-source business intelligence tool with robust reporting, dashboards, and data analysis capabilities. It is widely used for creating and delivering reports and interactive data visualizations, making it a valuable choice for data-driven decision-making.


  • Comprehensive reporting and dashboard creation
  • Rich library of data visualizations and chart types
  • Integration with various data sources and databases
  • Multi-tenancy support for secure sharing
  • Advanced reporting features like ad-hoc reporting and scheduling
  • Scalable architecture for enterprise-level deployment


  • Excellent database integration
  • Handles large database records
  • Suitable for pixel-perfect reporting
  • Offers detailed and useful analytics


  • Security concerns with plain text passwords in the source code
  • Lack of automated purging mechanisms for scheduled reports

6. Helical Insight

Helical Insight is a self-service open-source BI and reporting tool. It empowers businesses to explore data, create customized reports, and share insights using Machine Learning and NLP. Its focus on self-service makes it accessible to users across the organization.


  • Web-based Business Intelligence software
  • Interaction with organizational data
  • Utilizes Machine Learning and NLP (Natural Language Processing)
  • Custom workflow specification
  • Triggering functional modules
  • Data retrieval from multiple databases


  • Offers robust customization capabilities
  • Encompasses an extensive range of business intelligence software features
  • Features an open API for enhanced flexibility


  • Limited support for data app deployment
  • Lacks robust collaboration tools compared to top competitors

7. Redash

Redash is an open-source tool for data visualization and collaboration. It facilitates organizations in taking a more data-driven approach by providing them with tools for democratizing data access. It also has a good range of out-of-the-box dashboards. 


  • Data source connections for querying and visualization
  • Interactive and shareable dashboards
  • Collaboration and sharing features for reports and queries
  • Scheduled and automated report generation
  • Customizable visualizations and chart types
  • Extensible through plugins and API integration


  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Ad hoc reporting and visual dashboards for data analysis
  • Effective tracking of marketing automation campaign performance leads and revenue
  • User-friendly interface for customizable dashboards at a personal level


  • Lack of version control feature
  • Accumulation of analytics technical debt in a growing company
  • Confusion regarding dashboard refresh status
  • Delay in query refreshing

Final words

The open-source BI tools landscape is ever-evolving, with developers continually introducing innovative features to address ongoing challenges. To make informed decisions and offer the best recommendations, staying current with the latest offerings in the market is crucial. 

By staying up-to-date, you can ensure that you're equipped to choose and advocate for the most suitable tools to empower data-driven decision-making in the ever-dynamic business world.

If you're considering creating or incorporating a BI tool for your business, Apptensions can help. 

We specialize in designing, building, and launching digital products. From the spark of an idea for your BI tool to its growth and success in the market, we're here to guide you every step of the way. With a dedicated and invested team by your side, you can conquer your target market and turn your digital product dreams into reality.