Business Intelligence (BI) Tools

Best Business Intelligence (BI) Tools include:

Alteryx Platform, TIBCO Spotfire, Domo, TIBCO Jaspersoft, Looker, Tableau Desktop, Microsoft Power BI, SAP Analytics Cloud, Google Charts, Salesforce Einstein Analytics (formerly Wave Analytics), Qlik Sense, SAP Crystal, QlikView, and SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence (BI) Platform.

Business Intelligence (BI) Tools TrustMap

TrustMaps are two-dimensional charts that compare products based on trScore and research frequency by prospective buyers. Products must have 50 or more ratings to appear on this TrustMap.

Business Intelligence (BI) Tools Overview

What is Business Intelligence (BI)?

Business Intelligence tools are designed to make sense of the huge quantities of data that organizations accumulate over time. BI tools analyze this information and present it as actionable information that can guide decision making.

Business Intelligence software (BI) makes up a large heterogeneous category of software. Not all tools in the category can be meaningfully compared to each other. There are several types of BI tools of which the most substantive are Full-Stack Business Intelligence Tools and Data Visualization Tools.

Business Intelligence Tools Features & Capabilities

  • BI Platform Type
  • Supported Data Sources
  • Standard Reporting
  • Ad-Hoc Reporting
  • Report Output and Scheduling
  • Data Discovery and Visualization
  • Access Control and Security
  • Mobile Capabilities
  • APIs / Embedding

Full-Stack Business Intelligence Tools

Full-stack or traditional products are enterprise-level BI tools designed to solve the specific problem of enterprise data silos. Much crucial business data is stored in a range of different data stores, many attached to business applications like ERP. Full-stack BI tools consolidate all data in a data warehouse which is a relational database designed for data mining instead of transactional processing.

Slices of data from the warehouse—usually summary data for a single department like sales or finance—are stored in a “data mart” for quick access. All of this structured data is normalized by using an ETL process (Extract, Transform and Load) whereby transactional data is combined into a single pool of data and then “transformed” into a more appropriate format for querying and analysis before being written in the data warehouse database.

The Full-Stack Business Intelligence TrustMap shows only those products that belong in this sub-category.

Data Discovery and Visualization Business Intelligence

Data Visualization products have a different purpose. These BI tools are primarily designed to help data analysts discover patterns in large quantities of data and to build compelling visual representations which allow these patterns to be easily understood.

These business intelligence tools often use a technology called in-memory analytics to query data residing on a computer’s RAM rather than on a physical disk. This means that the data does not have to be stored anywhere for subsequent analysis.

Data visualization products often have lower cost of implementation and require less support. This can make them good business intelligence tools for small companies that don’t need a full-stack business intelligence solution.

The Data Visualization TrustMap shows only those tools that belong in this sub-category.

Business Intelligence Software Comparison

When considering different business intelligence tools, consider the following aspects of each product offering.
  1. Ease of Use: Some BI tools offer high complexity and customization, but can be difficult for non-technical users. You should consider the technical ability of the staff that will be using the BI tools as well as if you need more complex features.

  2. Compatibility: Many BI tools are not complete, end-to-end solutions. For some organizations, purchasing BI software from multiple vendors may be necessary. If your business needs BI features that aren’t all covered in a single product, be sure to ask venders about integrations and compatibility with other software.

  3. Scalability: Some BI software doesn’t scale up very well as data needs increase. Consider the breadth of data generated by your organization and decide if that amount will stay the same or increase. If your data needs will increase, be sure to choose a BI solution that can handle your expected growth.

Pricing Information

Business Intelligence software is generally quite expensive. However, it’s worth remembering that it is often money very well-spent in terms of significantly improved decision-making.

One of the impediments to understanding pricing is that vendors base their pricing on a broad range of different variables from number of users to number of CPU cores.

However, as a very rough guide, advanced report authoring can cost $2,000 to $2,500 per seat, while interactive report viewing can be about half that amount. Static report viewing can be as little as $50 per seat.

More Resources

Business Intelligence (BI) Products

(1-25 of 203) Sorted by Most Reviews

TIBCO Spotfire
694 ratings
299 reviews
Top Rated
TRUE
TIBCO Spotfire® is a data visualization platform that utilizes predictive analytics. In addition to data viz, it includes data wrangling capabilities, predictive analytics, location analytics, and real-time streaming analytics.
Qlik Sense
614 ratings
186 reviews
Top Rated
TRUE
Qlik Sense® is a self-service BI platform for data discovery and visualization. It supports a full range of analytics use cases—data governance, pixel-perfect reporting, and collaboration. Its Associative Engine indexes and connects relationships between data points for creating actionable insights.
SAP Crystal
482 ratings
151 reviews
Top Rated
SAP Crystal is an analytics and reporting software solution for SMBs. SAP Crystal comprises Crystal Reports for pixel-perfect reporting, and SAP Crystal Server for automated distribution and self-service access to reports, dashboards and data exploration.
Tableau Desktop
1,558 ratings
149 reviews
Top Rated
Tableau Desktop is a data visualization product from Tableau. It connects to a variety of data sources for combining disparate data sources without coding. It provides tools for discovering patterns and insights, data calculations, forecasts, and statistical summaries and visual storytelling.
TIBCO Jaspersoft
258 ratings
112 reviews
Top Rated
TIBCO Jaspersoft is an embedded business intelligence suite designed to be built-into SaaS products as an integrated reporting engine. It provides reports and dashboards for customer-facing applications without requiring app developers to build their own reporting engine.
Tableau Server
708 ratings
105 reviews
Tableau Server allows Tableau Desktop users to publish dashboards to a central server to be shared across their organizations. The product is designed to facilitate collaboration across the organization. It can be deployed on a server in the data center, or it can be deployed on a public cloud.
SAP Lumira Discovery
463 ratings
100 reviews
SAP Lumira Discovery is SAP’s data visualization and discovery application. It facilitates data discovery, visualization, and analysis by assisting users with creation of dashboards, infographics, presentations, data facets, tag clouds, and more.
Birst
183 ratings
96 reviews
Birst offers multi-tenant cloud BI for deployment in a public or private cloud, or on-premises. It provides an in-memory columnar data store and a BI layer comprising a reporting engine, predictive analytics tools, mobile native apps, dashboards, discovery tools, and an open client interface.
Microsoft Power BI
643 ratings
91 reviews
Top Rated
Microsoft Power BI is a visualization and data discovery tool from Microsoft. It allows users to convert data into visuals and graphics, visually explore and analyze data, collaborate on interactive dashboards and reports, and scale across their organization with built-in governance and security.
SAP Analytics Cloud
215 ratings
79 reviews
Top Rated
TRUE
SAP Analytics Cloud combines planning, business intelligence, and predictive analytics as a unified cloud-based platform allowing visualization, planning and prediction to be performed within a single tool. It is built on top of the very fast SAP Cloud Platform, and integrates natively with on-prem…
Entrinsik Informer
84 ratings
76 reviews
Entrinsik Informer is a web-based reporting and business intelligence application popular in the higher education vertical market. It helps organizations transform real-time data into actionable information by delivering ad-hoc reporting, data analysis, and interactive dashboards.
QlikView
653 ratings
74 reviews
Top Rated
QlikView® is Qlik®’s original BI offering designed primarily for shared business intelligence reports and data visualizations. It offers guided exploration and discovery, collaborative analytics for sharing insight, and agile development and deployment.
MS SharePoint / SQL
841 ratings
70 reviews
MS SharePoint / SQL refers to Microsoft Sharepoint, a web-based collaborative platform, being used in tandem with Microsoft SQL Server to provide business intelligence analytics and reporting. They can provide BI content such as data connections, reports, scorecards, dashboards, and more.
Microsoft BI
786 ratings
69 reviews
Microsoft BI is a business intelligence product used for data analysis and generating reports on server-based data. It features unlimited data analysis capacity with its reporting engine, SQL Server Reporting Services alongside ETL, master data management, and data cleansing.
Domo
138 ratings
62 reviews
Top Rated
Domo is a full self-service business intelligence software that combines several data analysis and reporting tools into one platform. It helps users connect to multiple data sources, create robust visual reports, manage their data, send messages in real-time, manage projects, and develop new apps.
SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence (BI) Platform
687 ratings
62 reviews
Top Rated
The SAP® BusinessObjects™ Business Intelligence Platform provides users with ad hoc queries, reporting, data visualizations, and analysis tools. Its integrated, unified infrastructure aims to offer scalability from one-to-many tools and interfaces on-premise, in the cloud, or as a hybrid approach.
Sisense
102 ratings
56 reviews
Sisense is a BI software and analytics platform. With what the vendor calls their In-Chip™ and Single Stack™ technologies, users have access to a comprehensive tool to analyze and visualize large, disparate data sets without IT resources.
IBM Cognos
382 ratings
56 reviews
IBM Cognos is a full-featured business intelligence suite by IBM, designed for larger deployments. It comprises Query Studio, Reporting Studio, Analysis Studio and Event Studio, and Cognos Administration along with tools for Microsoft Office integration, full-text search, and dashboards.
Zoho Analytics (formerly Zoho Reports)
131 ratings
54 reviews
Zoho Analytics (formerly Zoho Reports) is a self-service BI and analytics platform that allows users to analyze their business data and create reports and dashboards. It is designed to help users create and share reports quickly, without IT assistance.
Looker
129 ratings
53 reviews
Top Rated
Looker is a BI application with an analytics-oriented application server that sits on top of relational data stores. It includes an end-user interface for exploring data, a reusable development paradigm for data discovery, and an API for supporting data in other systems.
Tableau Online
256 ratings
49 reviews
Top Rated
Tableau Online is a self-service analytics platform that is fully hosted in the cloud, making it easily accessible. Tableau Online enables users to publish dashboards and invite colleagues to explore hidden opportunities with interactive visualizations and accurate data, from any browser or mobile…
Dundas BI
58 ratings
47 reviews
Dundas BI is a business intelligence and data visualization software that includes customizable dashboards, reporting, and visual data analytics. Dundas BI can be integrated into users’ existing business applications and its visualization and reporting tools can be customized to their needs.
MicroStrategy Analytics
231 ratings
45 reviews
MicroStrategy Analytics is an enterprise business analytics and mobility platform. Key features include automatic big data analysis and reporting, data discovery and visualization, digital security credentials, and support for mobile devices.
Alteryx Platform
149 ratings
44 reviews
Top Rated
The Alteryx Platform is a business intelligence and predictive analytics solution. The vendor's value proposition is that their solution provides analysts with the unique ability to easily prep, blend, and analyze all of their data using a repeatable workflow, then deploy and share analytics at scal…
Salesforce Einstein Analytics (formerly Wave Analytics)
551 ratings
43 reviews
Top Rated
Salesforce Einstein Analytics is a cloud-based business intelligence solutions and analytics software. It provides users with automated data discovery, CRM-connected analytics, top-down views of data, augmented analytics, predictive insights, and customizable data visualization tools.

Frequently Asked Questions

What problem does business intelligence solve?

Business intelligence tools help to make sense of the enormous quantities of data business have regarding customers, suppliers, and business partners, and help uncover the insights within that data that are vital to winning in the marketplace. Business intelligence is an umbrella term for various methods of collecting and analyzing this data to help organizations make data-driven decisions.

What are data discovery and visualization products?

Data discovery and visualization products are primarily designed to help data analysts and business users discover patterns and outliers in large quantities of data, and to build compelling visual representations which allow these trends and patterns to be easily understood. Commonly available visualizations include charts, graphs, and maps.

What is embedded business analytics?

Embedded analytics is the integration of BI capabilities directly into a business application or portal. The idea is to provide analytics that are contextual. In other words, analytics tools are available directly within whatever business application is being used at a given moment, whether it be Salesforce, an ERP system, or a marketing automation tool.

What is augmented analytics?

Augmented analytics is a term used to denote the use of machine learning and natural language processing to automate insights into datasets generated by analytics and BI tools. Today, many well-known BI platforms have built-in capabilities to automate data preparation and detect some correlations and anomalies in large data sets. The ultimate goal is for this technology to be capable of analysis and even insight generation and action plan generation.

What is the difference between business intelligence and data science?

Both business intelligence and more recent technologies like data science are predicated on gaining business insight based on data analysis. The primary function of BI tools is to explore past trends in a business’s historical data and compare data across time. Data science tools, on the other hand, use algorithms to understand and predict a business’s future performance. Data scientists build data models to try to answer questions or discover predictive patterns in huge volumes of data.