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  • Writer's pictureHa Hoang

Unleash the Power of Open Source BI Tools for Small Businesses!

Updated: Jul 12, 2023

Small business owners always look for ways to gain a competitive edge. We know that data is the key to making informed decisions, but how to harness that data to its full potential at affordable cost. That's where open source business intelligence (BI) tools come in.

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What is open-source BI?

Open-source Business Intelligence (BI) is a powerful tool that businesses can use to collect, manage, analyze, and make informed decisions based on data. It refers to the use of open-source software, which is freely available to everyone, to perform these tasks. Open-source technologies, tools, and frameworks can be used to perform different tasks, such as data ingestion, ETLs (extract, transform, and load), storing and management (data warehousing or lakes), and visualization through code or drag-and-drop interfaces to build charts, reports, and dashboards. This means that businesses can use open-source BI to gain insights into their operations, track their performance, and make data-driven decisions that can lead to better outcomes.

Open-source BI is also highly customizable, allowing businesses to tailor the software to their specific needs, and it is often more cost-effective than proprietary solutions. By using open-source BI, businesses can harness the power of data to gain a competitive edge in their markets and drive growth and success.

Why Use Open-Source Business Intelligence?

As small businesses accumulate more than 1 million rows of data, Excel may no longer be able to process or allow advanced features such as pivot tables. When your business grows, you would need to make more informed decisions based on accurate and up-to-date information. That's where business intelligence (BI) tools come in.There is a lot of BI tools that we had covered in here.

There are different types of BI tools, some specialized in tasks like data collection, building data pipelines, or report visualization. Others are like a Swiss Army knife for your data needs, offering a versatile and customizable toolset that can help you gain insights and make data-driven decisions. Traditional BI software comes with hefty recurring costs, not to mention the need for expert support and customer care. It can also be hard to know if they will even work for your business. This is where open-source BI shines. You can test whether the Swiss Army knife or the specialized ones are fit for your needs without breaking the bank.

Open-source BI tools have several advantages over traditional BI solutions:

One of the main advantages of open-source BI tools is their cost-effectiveness. They are often free or available at a lower cost than their enterprise counterpart, making them an attractive option for small businesses looking to manage their budgets. Big bonus for startups & small companies that disrupting an industry or doing thing outside of the box, open-source BI tools are highly customizable and flexible, allowing these organizations to tailor them to their specific needs and requirements. This means that businesses can choose the right open-source BI tools to perform different tasks, such as data ingestion, ETLs (extract, transform, and load), storing and management (data warehousing or lakes), and visualization through code or drag-and-drop interfaces to build charts, reports, and dashboards.

Moreover, open-source BI tools are transparent and provide organizations with access to the source code. This enables them to inspect, modify, and contribute to the tools' development, which can lead to a higher level of trust and reliability. It also means that businesses can benefit from the contributions of a larger community of developers, who can improve the software and add new features.

Our Top 5 Swiss Army Knives in Open-source BI for SMBs

Are you a small business owner searching for a business intelligence (BI) solution that fits your needs and budget? Do you struggle to make sense of the sea of data you have and want to gain an edge in your market for growth and success? Look no further, we have compiled a list of the top 5 open-source BI tools that, from our point of view at, are feature-rich, need short learning curve, and affordable for SMBs. These tools are the Swiss Army knives of the data world, allowing you to test which data functions you really need and later move to a paid enterprise tool without breaking the bank. By using any of these tools, you can transform your data into actionable insights with minimal effort.

When choosing a open-source BI solution, it's important to consider factors such as customizability, cost, ease of use, available integrations, and community resource & support. We have listed 5 open-source BI tools that we think are the most comprehensive and complete, offering a wide range of features, including data integration, data warehousing, building data pipeline, and data visualization. Take a look at their top features to find the best fit for your business.


Rocket.BI is a free, open-source, web-based business intelligence solution. It is tailored specifically for analytical databases, making it the ideal tool for data analysts and business users alike. With Rocket.BI, you can easily integrate different data sources, perform advanced data analysis, and create personalized reports, interactive business dashboards, and actionable insights in a matter of minutes.

The open-source version of Rocket.BI can be easily deployed for free on a Clickhouse server, ensuring that you have access to all the tools you need to make informed business decisions without having to break the bank. To learn more about the many benefits of business intelligence, including how Rocket.BI can help take your business to the next level, visit Rocket.BI today!

Rocket.BI hightlight features:

  • Data Ingestion from 25 different sources from databases, cloud storages to analytics & advertising services, with customizable ODBC connectors.

  • Schema Management: Quickly review & explore your dataset, and encrypt sensitive & privacy user data.

  • Row-level Security: Custom user data view by filtering the dataset.

  • Calculated Fields & Measurement: Easy to generate & manage computed columns right on the interface.

  • Ad hoc Analysis: Using SQL to do complex analysis & visualize the result with just drag-n-drop for a clear perspective.

  • Datacook: Our branded no-code data modelling, business users can load, transform & extract data without writing a single line of code.

  • Share & manage collaboration with colleagues easier with access control.

  • Drag-n-drop chart builder with fully customizable options using 35 types of visualization.

  • Unlimited drill-down & analysis of your big data from the dashboard with instant speed.

  • Monitor users' activities & data usage easily.

Rocket.BI Ad hoc Analysis

Rocket.BI Data Cook

Rocket.BI Schema Management

Example Rocket.BI Dashboard


Metabase is an open-source business intelligence tool that allows you to manage database, monitor KPI, track bug, file record, generate dashboards with simple ad hoc queries without using complex SQL statements. Metabase allows you to easily create custom reports and dashboards without requiring technical expertise. It also offers free community and paid enterprise editions with additional features. Check out our article introducing BI with Metabase.

Metabase Key features:

  • Very intuitive to set up and develop the dashboards

  • Visual SQL query builder

  • Set constraints and permissions on certain tables

  • Let anyone on your team ask questions without knowing SQL

  • Rich beautiful dashboards with auto-refresh and fullscreen

  • SQL Mode for analysts and data pros

  • Create canonical segments and metrics for your team to use

  • Send data to Slack or email on a schedule with Pulses

  • View data in Slack anytime with MetaBot

  • See changes in your data with alerts

Example Metabase Visualization

Metabase Database Connector List

Example Metabase Dashboard

Apache Superset

Apache Superset is a data exploration and visualization tool that supports a variety of data sources. It provides interactive dashboards, ad-hoc reporting, and data exploration features. Apache Superset is highly extensible and can be customized to meet the specific needs of your business. The tool itself is very powerful, with various data connections and data visualization types, as well as good user management and embedding options. Find out more with our article introducing Apache Superset.

Superset Key features:

  • An intuitive interface to explore and visualize datasets, and create interactive dashboards.

  • A wide array of beautiful visualizations to showcase your data.

  • Easy, code-free, user flows to drill down and slice and dice the data underlying exposed dashboards.

  • A state of the art SQL editor/IDE exposing a rich metadata browser, and an easy workflow to create visualizations out of any result set.

  • An extensible, high granularity security model allowing intricate rules on who can access which product features and datasets. Integration with major authentication backends (database, OpenID, LDAP, OAuth, REMOTE_USER, …)

  • A lightweight semantic layer, allowing to control how data sources are exposed to the user by defining dimensions and metrics

  • Out of the box support for most SQL-speaking databases

  • Fast loading dashboards with configurable caching

Example Metabase Visualization

Superset Supported Databases

Superset SQL Editor


KNIME Analytics Platform is an open-source data analytics platform allowing you to combine data from different sources, build ML-based models for various data operations, create workflow prototypes and scale workflow performance, as well as visualize data. It offers a wide range of data sources and data transformation tools. KNIME Analytics Platform also offers a paid commercial edition with additional features and support.

Knime Key features:

  • Scalability through data handling (intelligent automatic caching of data in the background while maximizing throughput performance)

  • High extensibility via a well-defined API for plugin extensions

  • Intuitive user interface

  • Import/export of workflows

  • Parallel execution on multi-core systems

  • Command line version for "headless" batch executions

  • Visual programming

  • Nodes control

Example KNIME Visualization

KNIME Predictive Tools

KNIME Node System


Redash is a BI tool that allows you to easily create interactive visualizations and dashboards from various data sources. It supports SQL databases, Google Sheets, and other data sources. Redash also offers a simple user interface, a SQL editor, and a dashboard editor to create custom dashboards.

Redash Key features:

  • Browser-based: Everything in your browser, with a shareable URL.

  • Ease-of-use: Become immediately productive with data without the need to master complex software.

  • Query editor: Quickly compose SQL and NoSQL queries with a schema browser and auto-complete.

  • Visualization and dashboards: Create beautiful visualizations with drag and drop, and combine them into a single dashboard.

  • Sharing: Collaborate easily by sharing visualizations and their associated queries, enabling peer review of reports and queries.

  • Schedule refreshes: Automatically update your charts and dashboards at regular intervals you define.

  • Alerts: Define conditions and be alerted instantly when your data changes.

  • REST API: Everything that can be done in the UI is also available through REST API.

  • Broad support for data sources: Extensible data source API with native support for a long list of common databases and platforms.

Integrations Available for Redash

Example Redash Dashboard


Data is the lifeblood of business, and open-source BI tools offer a cost-effective and flexible way to access and analyze that data. These tools can help businesses gain insights and make data-driven decisions that lead to better outcomes and a stronger bottom line. It's like having a Swiss Army knife for your data needs, with a versatile and customizable toolset that can help you gain insights and make data-driven decisions. So, don't let your data go to waste – start using open-source BI tools today and unlock the full potential of your business.

From, we built Rocket.BI to be the perfect solution for businesses. This open-source end-to-end data system provides all the business intelligence features you need to make informed decisions. It connects all stages of your data journey, saving you time and integration costs by having all your critical business data in one platform.

Get started with more data-driven decisions by following the instruction on our GitHub to deploy Rocket.BI on your mechine, and exploring how our robust platform can provide actionable insights to help you meet your business goals.

Don't have an hour technical resource to spare? Or you just want to try out Datainsider Rocket.BI before commiting any time & resources. We provide SaaS version with access to all features, integrations, and visualisation capabilities. Visit to sign up for your free trial and experience full accessibility.

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