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I was talking to somebody recently who had been dropped into the deep end in the world of Business Intelligence (so to speak) at their organisation and wanted to know what was required to be able to deliver information and some advanced analytical models.

I was explaining the many steps and skills required to deliver the outcomes this organisation needed. I also found myself recommending a few free tools that we use regularly to get them started, without having to make a massive investment in software upfront.

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Trifacta for Data Wrangling

Trifacta allows you to easily profile and understand the data that you have to work with. You can download the free Trifacta desktop version from here.

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RapidMiner for Advanced Analytics

If you aren’t a natural coder R may not be your cup of tea, RapidMiner provide a free desktop version of their GUI tool. You can download the free RapidMiner desktop version from here.

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QlikSense for Visualisation

QlikSense allows you to quickly present the data in an interactive and intuitive way. You can download the free Qlik Desktop version from here. If you have taste and therefore use a Mac, use the free QlikSense Cloud version here.

One thing to be aware of course is that at some stage you will exceed the limitations built into the free versions. Then, you will need to move to the paid versions. It’s a bit like crack (but in a good way), try a little until you’re hooked.

When you need to splash out the cash for the advanced functionality you will have buy-in from the rest of the organisation to spend the money. They will see the value you have already delivered. Plus, you will also know you are buying the right products. You will have already used them in anger.

Shane

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