Zoho Corp. a Software-as-a-service business tools provider announced a new business intelligence (BI) platform that combines its new data preparation application with an enhanced version of its analytics application to help companies gather real-time insights. Zoho offers a variety of cloud-based business applications covering everything from accounting to employee onboarding.

With the Zoho BI Platform, users can access data from more than 250 sources, including tools from Google LLC, Microsoft Corp., Zendesk Inc., HubSpot Inc., Mailchimp Inc., and Stripe Inc. The system prepares that information and uses it to blend and analyze it to provide insights. Users can access insights through easy-to-use visual dashboards.

Zoho Chief Evangelist Raju Vegesna explained, “These two components are key because one of the most important considerations with any business intelligence platform is that there are no gaps in the data collection, management or analysis processes.”

He continued, “Too few BI platforms in the market excel in both data preparation and analytics, which leaves businesses with weak, or worse, flawed insights. Zoho’s BI platform ensures organizations are acting on legitimate data which can be effectively leveraged to determine new revenue streams, refocus funds, drive productivity and gain a competitive edge.”

One of the key aspects of Zoho BI is Zoho DataPrep, a new service that can also be used independently. Using artificial intelligence, it builds and manages data pipelines integrating, modeling, cleansing, transforming, enriching, and cataloging information in readiness for analysis.

Another important component of the platform is Ask Zia, a conversational AI platform from the company. The Ask Zia tool makes it easy for business users without technical expertise to interact with their business data. Also included are what-if capabilities that support scenario analysis so that better decisions can be made.

The “data stories” feature within Zoho BI is one of its most useful features. The integration enables users to embed live reports, dashboards, and visualizations in websites and PowerPoint presentations, so they can add context to whatever subject is being discussed. Additionally, Zoho will make use of the Zoho Marketplace so partners can develop and publish “analytical apps and integrations” that will complement Zoho BI.