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There are seemingly countless business intelligence solutions available, so figuring out which is best for you is tough. You want to turn complex, raw data into simple, clear, actionable insights to make better. First though, you need to figure out which BI tool is best for you. In this post I make BI software selection simple, leveraging my experience managing complex data sets, and using dozens of different BI tools to bring you this shortlist of the best business intelligence software.

What Are Business Intelligence Tools?

Business intelligence tools are applications that collect, process, analyze, and display large volumes of raw disparate, disconnected data sets. The BI tools transform the data into simple, consolidated insights to enable more informed decision-making. The information processed by BI software comes from sources like spreadsheets, databases, documents, forms, images, files, emails, videos, website code, and more.

Business intelligence tools typically include features like data visualization, reporting, dashboards, and analytics. They provide a user-friendly interface for data exploration, support real-time reporting, and enable users to drill down into detailed information.

Best Business Intelligence Tools Overviews

These are overviews of the best BI tools on the market right now:

1

NetSuite

Best customizable BI software

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4
1 review

Free demo

Pricing upon request

NetSuite is a cloud BI ERP business software solution. The tool combines financial information, dashboards, reporting features, predictive analytics, and other features to provide a complete set of BI functions.

NetSuite allows users to automate project creation when specific services are sold and automatically track percent complete, time budget, and time spent on project tasks. Reports for utilization and backlog help analyze employee workloads and efficiency for business users.

NetSuite’s Project Management module seamlessly integrates with the NetSuite accounting system. In addition to project management and time and expense tracking, you can create and issue invoices, compare project performance to budgets and other metrics. NetSuite Project Management module manages revenue recognition, expenses, unbilled balances, and other project-related financials.

Other key capabilities include Multiple Project Types, Automate Job Creation, the Project Center, Timesheets, Mobile Time and Expense, Performance Measurement, and Project Tracking Reports.

Pricing for NetSuite is available upon request.

2

Zoho Analytics

Best business intelligence tool for small companies

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.2
146 reviews

15-day free trial + free demo

From $24/month

Zoho Analytics is a great business intelligence tool for small businesses, given their large feature set, simple interface, and affordable pricing for a small number of users.

This tool lets you pull data from a wide range of sources and build out intuitive and functional reports in order to analyze the visualized data. AI assistant “Zia” will answer questions typed into a query box using the data collected, combined with machine learning and natural language processing technologies.

Zoho Analytics takes the prize for my favorite in features and functionality. While most of the software reviewed here can sport a robust BI system, Zoho goes above and beyond with features like their AI assistant, their focus on ease of collaboration, tons of third party integration options, and Android and iOS mobile apps.

A few minor cons for Zoho include that the SQL tutorials could be built out a little bit better. Additionally, the reporting pivot view/summaries would benefit from having an “OR” or “CONTAINS” command in order to better pull out the data that you need.

They have integrations with Zoho Analytics, SAlesforce CRM, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Hubspot CRM, Mailchimp, Google Analytics, Bing Ads, Zoho Surveys, Survey Monkey, Facebook, TWitter, YouTube,QuickBooks, Xero, Shopify, Zendesk, and more.

Zoho Analytics starts from $24/month for 2 users and has a free 15-day trial.

3

Visor

Best for Jira integration & custom views

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
5
3 reviews

Free plan available

From $9/user/month

Visor is a workspace tool that connects to various SaaS applications, aiming to bring people together with data for a more collaborative work environment. It allows users to create custom views and visualizations of their nested Jira data, offering bi-directional integration with Jira for accurate and customizable sharing.

Visor operates as a workspace tool that enhances the functionality of SaaS applications by providing users with a unified view of their data. Visor also emphasizes secure sharing, featuring a straightforward drag-and-drop interface for ease of use. It additionally includes an advanced JQL importer and supports over 75 Jira field types, catering to a wide range of data management needs. 

Moreover, Visor facilitates collaboration and communication among team members, with features such as Gantt charts, roadmaps, and the ability to customize views with colors and conditional formatting. This can save time and improve the efficiency of project planning and reporting processes. 

Visor integrates with Salesforce, Jira, and HubSpot.

Pricing for Visor starts from $9/user/month.

4

ClickUp

Best for BI tool integrations

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.7
4135 reviews

Freemium plan available

From $9/user/month

ClickUp is a project management software powerhouse that has the functionality to pull tons of data from within the software and display it in the beautiful graphs you see on the screenshot above. Although not a BI tool by nature, it can definitely inform your decisions.

However, I have to say that ClickUp has recognized that it cannot compete with BI tools with the product as is. For that reason, they have an integration with Tableau. This integration allows Tableau to grab a screenshot of one of your ClickUp spaces and aggregate it on their end with all the rest of your business data.

ClickUp offers native integrations with Tableau, Slack, Google Suite, Dropbox, and many more tools, as well as over 1,000+ integrations through Zapier.

ClickUp is free with limited storage for an unlimited number of users. Paid plans start at $5/user/month and offer a free trial.

5

datapine

Best business intelligence dashboards

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.6
27 reviews

14-day trial

From $249/month

Datapine is a great business intelligence software as it combines simple, intuitive usability with advanced analytics capabilities. The self-service BI solution empowers business users and data analysts alike to generate actionable business insights and make well-informed data-driven decisions.

Datapine is a comprehensive BI Suite, that offers all needed features within your analytics journey. First of all, you can connect literally any kind of data source (databases, flat files, CRM and ERP-systems, marketing, social media or helpdesk data, etc.) with a few clicks. Optionally, you can store connected data in their high-speed data warehouse to increase querying speed. The analyzer section in the screenshot above is the core part of the product, where data analysis and visualizations are done. Besides doing analysis and building charts by drag and drop, here you will find also advanced features like drill-downs, conditional formatting, trend identification, or predictions.

Additional strengths of datapine are their dynamic, interactive business dashboards. They offer a wealth of innovative dashboard features and have a large dashboard gallery, providing over 80 dashboard templates for different areas of applications (business functions, industries, platforms). Dashboards can be shared easily in multiple ways, including, among others, automatic email reports, sharing via URL, or advanced embedding options.

Datapine offers a 14-day free trial without any limitations with custom pricing starting at 250$ per account.

6

Tableau

Best enterprise business intelligence tool

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.4
2028 reviews

14-day free trial

From $70/user/month

Tableau is a robust, scalable analytics platform with desktop, cloud or on-site options. It boats an interactive, visual analysis style and allows you to securely consume your data via browser, desktop, mobile, or embedded into any application. They offer over 900 learning resources, including over 100 training videos.

They excel in a specific area of the features and functions evaluations criteria section: flexibility. Tableau is easily scalable; offered by server, desktop and/or cloud; available on all device types, be it PC or smartphone; and they have free analytics resources for students, educators and smaller not-for-profits. Whatever your niche, you are sure to find something that fits.

Tableau can join with data collection systems like ServiceNow, Splunk, and Google Analytics. Other integrations, or “Technology Partners as they call them, include 0xdata, AIMMS, Aircloak, AllSight, Amazon Web Services, Astera, Axiomatics, Birst, Datawatch,

Element Analytics, Google Cloud Platform, IBM, Microsoft, and many, many more.

The pricing is a bit steep to begin with and costs go up at the end of the year long contract. Multi-year contracts are not available, so they got dinged in our value for cost section because of the high and shifting price schema, which can come across as predatory.

Tableau starts at $70/user/month and has a free 14-day trial.

7

Domo

Best for sharing analytics with external vendor portals

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.4
632 reviews

Free trial + free demo available

Pricing upon request

The Domo Business Cloud is a platform that lets you aggregate data from multiple sources and build custom workflow apps. Their features include dashboards and reporting, machine learning, predictive analytics, and external self-service reporting.

I like the focus that Domo places on your external relationships with vendors and other stakeholders. The name is Domo Everywhere, and it’s a feature that lets you build portals for your external partners. Therefore, they can analyze the data you decide to share with them on their own and draw their own insights.

Further, the data visualization boards are independent widgets that can be edited, filtered, and resized with a couple of clicks. Lastly, the platform allows you to set permissions on both internal and external users, regardless of the account (Domo or not Domo).

Domo integrates with external data sources through their 1000+ pre-built connectors, which include Shopify, Salesforce, Amazon S3, Adobe Analytics, Sharepoint, and Survey Monkey.

Domo has a free trial available, and prices can be quoted upon request.

8

Looker

Best database BI reporting tool

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.4
1082 reviews

$300 in free credits

Pricing upon request

Create easy-to-read reports and visual oriented interactive dashboards that display data-rich actionable insight for defining business metrics, locating value, and discovering interconnectivity between tables. Resources and features include custom applications, embedded visualizations, data science workflows, the ability to host on Public Clouds (like AWS and GCP), and more.

They offer a free interactive training course and many other tutorial-like resources, which is why I was able to score them so highly in the usability section of the evaluation criteria. Beneath the “Getting Started” tab, you’ll notice that they have plenty of self-help resources for viewing raw data, building tools, and developing models.

The downfall of this software is that writing the queries is not incredibly user friendly. On top of that, data analytics tasks take a significant amount of time to render and run queries. When it comes to big data, it may get sluggish.

They connect with databases from Redshift, Snowflake, BigQuery, as well as 50+ supported SQL dialects like Amazon Redshift, Google BigQuery, Snowflake, MySQL, Oracle, Amazon Athena, Amazon Aurora, and more.

Looker starts at $3,000/month for 10 users ($50/additional user) and has a free demo.

9

Sisense

Best business intelligence API for building analytics into your products and tools

This is an aggregated rating for this tool including ratings from Crozdesk users and ratings from other sites.
4.3
729 reviews

Free trial + free demo available

Pricing upon request

A hybrid-cloud platform built to leverage all of your data together and make it available to you through interactive dashboards, self-service analytics, and/or white-labeled BI apps. They offer support, analytics, and reporting for business areas such as customer service measurables, digital marketing, finances, human resources, retail and eCommerce, IT analytics, and more.

As far as our usability and UI evaluation criteria expectations, I found that Sisense is easy to use, easy to instal and setup, and sports an intuitive interface and streamlined UX. The customer service team is responsive and adaptive so this would be a decent choice for companies with lower levels of technology experience who might need some extra assistance.

A few cons include that the marketing connector could be more robust. Also, some functions are so simplified that they get in the way, for example not having to write a query seems like a time saving mechanism until your needs don’t match their pre-existing data and you have to jump through hoops to find a creative solution to get what you need.

Use ODBC to connect directly to Sisense’s powerful back-end from any third party application you like, from Excel to popular data visualization and reporting tools. They also offer a marketplace for extensions and plug-ins that they or their partners provide for use. Some are available free and others are only available with a premium account.

Sisense offers custom pricing and has a free demo as well as a free trial.

10

Exago BI

Best business intelligence reporting tool for beginners and non-technical folks

30 days free trial

Custom pricing

Award-winning ease of use as well as advanced functionality means that Exago is great for both non-technical users and experts alike. You can determine what set of features each user has access to, offering solutions like a library of standard customizable reports, a drag-and-drop ExpressView designer, and a spreadsheet-organized Advanced Report builder. Build, format and export reports at any technical skill level.

Exago perfectly balances our evaluation criteria needs for value for cost and stand-out usability. It is relatively inexpensive, very flexible, easy to deploy, and intuitive to learn and use for the end user.

They integrate with your software in what they call “stealth mode”, offering an open API, fully configurable CSS, single sign-on authorization, and programmatic extension points.

While great for small or static teams, Exago’s software can't scale with you so it won’t do well for companies that expect to expand over time. Another con is that it is somewhat lacking features like a broader variety of data manipulation functions, multi selection in a parameter, and the ability to use mssql over mySQL.

Exago offers custom pricing and has a free 30-day trial.

Preview Image - <h2 class="c-block__title b-summary-table__title c-listicle__title h3" > Compare Software Specs Side by Side</h2>

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Other Options

In my research, I found a few tools that didn’t quite make the list but that deserve a shout-out nevertheless.

  1. Metric Insights

    Best enterprise BI portal builder

  2. ClicData

    Best for building and embedding dashboards in your applications

  3. Logi Analytics

    Best out-of-the-box embedded business analytics tool for software teams

  4. Power BI

    Best business intelligence solution for Microsoft users

  5. InetSoft

    Best data intelligence tool for scalable architecture and advanced modeling

  6. Izenda

    Best business intelligence software for embedding in web-based applications

  7. Klipfolio

    Intuitive data visualization software for companies of all sizes.

  8. Improvado

    150+ integrations – like Facebook Ads, Google Analytics, YouTube and LinkedIn – to plot all marketing initiatives on one dashboard.

  9. Funnel

    Easy to understand and manipulate marketing and advertising data.

  10. AnswerRocket

    A searchable database of statistics and reports that is designed to answer questions of the everyday user.

  11. Tray

    An iPaaS solution with API integration, CSV automation and an easy drag-and-drop workflow.

  12. Adaptive Insights

    Modernized planning, modeling, budgeting, and forecasting tools.

  13. BrightFunnel

    Easy to understand and manipulate marketing and advertising data.

  14. Supermetrics

    Marketing metrics with a focus on reporting automation tools for PPC, SEO, social and web analytics.

  15. AgencyAnalytics

    SEO, PPC, social, email, review and call tracking dashboards all-in-one system.

  16. ClicData

    A business intelligence platform complete with a data warehouse, processing and management, dashboard designer and automation.

How I Picked The Best BI Tools

First, I selected a big list of popular tools based on reviews and user ratings. Then, I narrowed down the list by looking at the key features that my experience has shown me a BI tool needs. Finally, I selected the criteria below as the basis of my evaluation.

User Interface (UI)

Your BI platform is a place where you analyze business data, and through data modeling, consume it in the form of graphs and other visual representations that improve decision-making. Therefore, the interface has to be clean, intuitive, and make good use of white space.

Usability

The tool needs to be easy to learn and master. Tools like Microsoft Power BI, for example, have a drag-and-drop interface that you can use on graphical elements to alter the information being analyzed. The BI tool should have features like these and proper support documentation, training, and tutorial videos to help you use the tool faster.

Features & Functionality

How many of the key management reporting tools features and functions does it provide, and how powerful are they? Specifically, I looked for:

  • Customizable Dashboards: The best BI solutions offer a single screen display with multiple visualizations, along with the ability to interconnect the visualizations (so any filters or selections will affect all the visualizations) or maintain each one as independent. It should reflect changes in real-time and allow you to create customized displays of key data.
  • Drill Down and Data Filters: Looking at in-depth information is key. This includes features such as drop-down menus, search filters and slicers, as well as the ability to drill down into the details and back up to data summaries.
  • Web-based Interface For Clients: It’s simplest if reporting solutions that are client-facing offer web-based client interfaces, as it’s more efficient and easier to administer than desktop-based client interfaces.
  • Scheduled and Automated Reports: The tool should help you easily monitor progress. This includes the ability to schedule automatic updates to be sent out to teams, send out automatic reports to clients, and set up automatic notifications to be made aware of key dates or thresholds.
  • High-Quality Diagramming: Basic tools include bar, line, pie, area and radar chart types, and more advanced diagrams include heat maps, scatter plots, bubble charts, histograms, and geospatial maps. The best reporting tools let you mix and match to create diagrams that use a combination of these visualizations.
Integrations

Data connectors will help you make the most out of a BI platform. One way of achieving this is through data integrations with other cloud-based software like SAP or SAS. Therefore, I look for pre-built integrations, third-party software aggregators like Zapier, and custom integrations using APIs.

Pricing

One of the biggest influence on tool-related business decisions is pricing. Therefore, I look for information on use cases, pricing plans per month and any other information that will help you. For example, if it has a free version you can try, a free trial, or if it’s available as an on-premise solution.

BI Tools FAQs

Find answers to common questions other people ask about this topic.

What is business intelligence?

Business intelligence is a technological solution for sorting, preparing, analyzing, and presenting data in a way that allows management and their teams to make informed decisions in the workplace.

What are the popular features in business intelligence tools?

Business intelligence tools can do many things, including but not limited to popular functions such as ad hoc reports, performance metrics, data visualization, data analysis, reporting dashboards, KPIs, and more.

What problems do business intelligence tools help solve?

Report software helps management and their teams make decisions based around marketing and advertising data. They help you build towards department KPIs by answering the questions “Where are we now?” and “Where do we want to be?” Teams can then use this data to determine, “How we will get from A to B?”

business intelligence tools logos list

What’s Next?

Gone are the days when business intelligence systems were dominated by IBM and Siebel (now Oracle), as was the case in the late 20th century. Now, you have a whole host of data reporting tools available to you on a whim. Whether you need to sort, retrieve, visualize, or report data, there is something out there that best meets your needs.

Related tool lists:

Report generation software can amplify your marketing efforts by providing you with the data you need to make key decisions going forwards. Make sure you have the tools you need to back up these efforts so that you can continually grow your business operations based on real-world data that is relevant to you and your customers.

By Ben Aston

I’m Ben Aston, a digital project manager and founder of thedpm.com. I've been in the industry for more than 20 years working in the UK at London’s top digital agencies including Dare, Wunderman, Lowe and DDB. I’ve delivered everything from film to CMS', games to advertising and eCRM to eCommerce sites. I’ve been fortunate enough to work across a wide range of great clients; automotive brands including Land Rover, Volkswagen and Honda; Utility brands including BT, British Gas and Exxon, FMCG brands such as Unilever, and consumer electronics brands including Sony. I'm a Certified Scrum Master, PRINCE2 Practitioner and productivity nut!