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Business Intelligence (BI) Tools

Best Business Intelligence (BI) Tools

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

Business Intelligence 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.

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.

Business Intelligence (BI) Products

Listings (51-75 of 203)

SAS Visual Analytics provides a complete platform for analytics visualization, enabling users to identify patterns and relationships in data that weren't initially evident. Interactive, self-service BI and reporting capabilities are combined with out-of-the-box advanced analytics so everyone can ...

16 Ratings

Jedox is a Business Intelligence and Corporate Performance Management solution. According to the vendor, their solution’s unified planning, analysis and reporting empowers decision makers from finance, sales, purchasing and marketing. Additionally, the vendor says this solution helps business use...

10 Ratings

The JReport embedded reporting platform provides developers and users with advanced pixel perfect, operational reporting capabilities for any data source. According to the vendor, JReport delivers insights for hundreds of thousands of users at over 10,000 installations worldwide. The vendor's goa...

Datawatch Monarch works with both relational and multi-structured data including support for a wide range of formats including PDF, XML, HTML, text, spool and ASCII files. The product can access data from invoices, sales reports, balance sheets, customer lists, inventory, logs and more. Accordi...

MicroStrategy Mobile enables users to bring analytics, transactions, mapping, multimedia, and business workflows to life in custom mobile apps, personalized for any industry or any role. Users can convert any information system or web application into a user-friendly, highly-performant native mob...

Zendesk offers Explore, a business intelligence and customer analytics tool which integrates with the Zendesk suite featuring ticket analytics, custom fields, dashboards, and other features. Zendesk is migrating customers of the BIME analytics product, which is approaching end of support, to Zend...

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.