Exploring the best data and analytics platforms for 2020

July 3, 2020

Forbes recently published the leading data analytics and BI platforms available for this year. As we commence a new decade, some of the key trends in the business analytics arena include cloud, artificial intelligence, automation and augmentation. 

Cloud platforms incorporated with AI technology have progressed significantly over the last few years. Smarter, enhanced prediction and intuitive decision making tools have reached a level capable of being expanded across businesses. The key challenge now is ensuring each business is capable of using the new platforms properly. As the capabilities of platforms to combine other applications into their systems increases, the volume and range of data are only expanding. The biggest obstacles to businesses taking advantage of analytics lie mainly with planning and organisation, rather than the actual technology. The review by Forbes lists some of the most popular analytics and business intelligence platforms available this year.

Microsoft Power BI

Power BI is an end-to-end analytics platform that has the significant benefit of being simple to use for most employees due to its affiliation with the Office 365 system. Power BI has existed for close to a decade and has become a popular choice for analytics. Its latest update has solidified its position, with a continued focus on improving automation and augmentation processes.

Oracle Analytics Cloud

In the last few years, Oracle has updated and relaunched its offering to align closer with the cloud and artificial intelligence market. The natural language products are some of the best on the market, enabling queries spanning 28 languages. Oracle is also driving forward with delivering an autonomous database, using machine learning algorithms to enable functions that would usually require a costly human process.

IBM Cognos Analytics

Cognos has positioned AI at the forefront of IBM’s analytics services, allowing users to ask and receive answers to questions in natural language. So instead of displaying graphical data, the system explains what each data source means and guides you towards the relevant insights. Similar to the solution provided by Microsoft, IBM Cognos operates on the cloud or can be installed on premise.


Thoughtspot is a detailed analytics service that allows users to query a dataset in natural language format. The platform utilises standard features that will be familiar to social media users. The connected AI-powered assistant, SpotIQ utilises machine learning to determine what a user is thinking and generate suggestions, referring to relevant insights that may have been missed by the user.


Qlik is another popular platform that has expanded its focus in machine learning automation. Its Associative Engine enables users to view connections between certain datasets before determining a query. A further benefit is the Data Literacy Project which is implemented in a platform that simplifies the process of launching analytics across multiple workforces that may not be tech-savvy.

Apache Spark

Spark is a tried and tested open source platform, providing a strong volume of varied extensions and plugins. It has a large user community and vendors providing good support for workforces of varying levels of IT experience.


Sisense has grown in popularity over the last few years. The platform enables users to generate team working environments to measure and assess data collectively via the Crowd Accelerated BI solutions. Data can be gathered from multiple sources due to its focus on API systems.


Another popular option is Talend, with its enhanced automation services and focus on machine learning and smart computing. The platform provides automated data quality and compliance services automatically enabling users to have better access to detailed insights. Talend is also connected to open source, meaning it has a good community of users to collaborate with and find tried and tested examples of tools and services in action.

Salesforce Einstein Analytics

Gartner ranked Einstein Analytics as one of the most capable solutions in regards to automated analytics. It continues to be a powerful and innovative tool, providing good automation that most competitors are finding it difficult to match.

SAS Viya 

SAS provides one of the most popular BI solutions in the world. SAS has developed its visualisation services, releasing the Visual Analytics solution, focusing on enhancing its overall automation potential. SAS Viya is created in a way that allows users to gather their analytics processes on one singular platform.

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