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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:

Best customizable BI software

  • Free demo available
  • Pricing upon request
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Rating: 4/5

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.

Best business intelligence tool for small companies

  • Free plan available
  • From $24/month
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Rating: 4.2/5

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.

Best business intelligence dashboards

  • 14-day trial
  • From $249/month
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Rating: 4.6/5

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.

Best enterprise business intelligence tool

  • 14-day free trial
  • From $75/user/month
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Rating: 4.4/5

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.

Best for sharing analytics with external vendor portals

  • Free trial + free demo available
  • Pricing upon request
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Rating: 4.4/5

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.

Best database BI reporting tool

  • 30-day free trial
  • From $5,000/month
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Rating: 4.4/5

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.

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

  • Free trial + free demo available
  • Pricing upon request
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Rating: 4.3/5

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.

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.

Best enterprise BI portal builder

  • Free trial available
  • Pricing upon request

Founded in 2010, Metric Insights lets you engage users by bringing all your BI tools and data together into one easily searchable portal. It automatically identifies anomalies in your data, provides insights on your data in any application and on any device, and offers plenty of integrations and plug-ins in order to connect to the data that matters most to you.

Metric Insights definitely exceeds our evaluation criteria expectations for integration capabilities, as they integrate with a huge variety of popular databases in order to collect and sort actionable data from a variety of sources. If you need to connect to something infrequently services, Basecamp or iTunes for example, then Metric Insights is the obvious go-to.

Some places they lose marks includes pricing, as they are reportedly quite expensive compared to other competitors. They also have close to no online community to speak of for a company that has been around for a fairly long time, so if you are hoping to problem-solve and collaborate on forums with other users, you’re out of luck.

Metric Insights work with Tableau Server and Tableau Online as well as QlikView and Qlik Sense solutions. They offer plug-ins to pull data from popular platforms like 1010data, Adaptive Insights, Adobe Analytics, Basecamp, Becon, Business Objects, Facebook, Google Analytics, Google BigQuery, Google Sheets, Hubspot, iTunes, Power BI, Jira, Salesforce, Zendesk, and more.

Metric Insights offers custom pricing and has a free demo and free trial.

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

  • Free demo available
  • Custom pricing upon request

Logi Analytics is a BI software that embeds machine learning and artificial intelligence inside your application to provide a robust and interactive dashboard and self-service data preparation and reporting right in your app. Intelligent workflows then let users take action or trigger a process without leaving the application.

Because of their option for custom, branded, developer-controlled UI, Logi Analytics ranked particularly high in the evaluation criteria section for UI score. After all, what better UI can you ask for than one that is easily modified to fit the look and feel of your own brand with custom themes, CSS, and JavaScript?

Additional documentation, examples, tutorials, and online forum activity would go a long way to making Logi Analytics more user friendly, particularly when deep diving into the more complex functions. Furthermore, another con may be that this software is not suitable for non-SQL users.

Logi works with SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL, DB2, Progress OpenEdge; Big data such as Amazon Redshift, HP Vertica, MongoDB, 1010Data, Hadoop (Cloudera, Hortonworks, MapR), Snowflake, Google BigQuery, Infobright; Web services and cloud applications like SFDC, Hubspot, Marketo; and different file types, including Excel, CSV, and XML. They also offer an assortment of plugins to meet additional user requirements.

Logi Analytics offers custom quotes and has a free demo.

The Best Business Intelligence Tools Comparison Chart

You can use the following chart to find the best BI tool for your needs:

Tools Price
NetSuite Pricing upon request
Zoho Analytics From $24/month
datapine From $249/month
Tableau From $75/user/month
Domo Pricing upon request
Looker From $5,000/month
Sisense Pricing upon request
Exago BI Custom pricing
Metric Insights Pricing upon request
Logi Analytics Custom pricing upon request
Preview Image - <h2 class="c-block__title b-summary-table__title c-listicle__title h3" > Compare Software Specs Side by Side</h2>

Compare Software Specs Side by Side

Use our comparison chart to review and evaluate software specs side-by-side.

Compare Software

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. InetSoft

    Best data intelligence tool for scalable architecture and advanced modeling

  2. ClicData

    Best for building and embedding dashboards in your applications

  3. Power BI

    Best business intelligence solution for Microsoft users

  4. Izenda

    Best business intelligence software for embedding in web-based applications

  5. ClickUp

    Best for BI tool integrations

  6. Visor

    Best for Jira integration & custom views

  7. Improvado

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

  8. Klipfolio

    Intuitive data visualization software for companies of all sizes.

  9. Funnel

    Easy to understand and manipulate marketing and advertising data.

  10. Adaptive Insights

    Modernized planning, modeling, budgeting, and forecasting tools.

  11. AgencyAnalytics

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

  12. AnswerRocket

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

  13. Supermetrics

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

  14. BrightFunnel

    Easy to understand and manipulate marketing and advertising data.

  15. ClicData

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

  16. Tray

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

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!