Business Intelligence Tools

Finding software can be overwhelming. We've helped thousands of businesses choose the right BI software so they can track performance and make decisions based on data-driven insights.

Showing 1-20 of 247 products

DomoFrontRunners 2019

Domo is the Business Cloud®, empowering organizations of all sizes with BI leverage at cloud scale in record time. With Domo, BI-critical processes that took weeks, months or more can now be done on the fly, in minutes or seconds,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 26 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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SisenseFrontRunners 2019

Sisense is an agile business intelligence (BI) solution that provides advanced tools to manage and support business data with analytics, visuals and reporting. The solution allows businesses to analyze big and disparate datasets and... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 12 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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Dundas BIFrontRunners 2019

Dundas BI, from Dundas Data Visualization, is a browser-based business intelligence and data visualization platform that includes integrated dashboards, reporting tools, and data analytics. It provides end users the ability to create... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 12 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: On premise
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Birst

Birst, an Infor Company, is a web-based networked BI and analytics solution that connects insights from various teams and helps in making informed decisions. The tool enables decentralized users to augment the enterprise data model... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 11 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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Style Intelligence

InetSoft Style Intelligence is a business intelligence software platform that allows users to create dashboards, visual analyses and reports via a data mashup engine—a tool that integrates data in real time from multiple sources.... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 7 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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TARGIT Decision Suite

TARGIT Decision Suite is a business intelligence and analytics solution that offers visual data discovery tools, self-service business analytics, reporting and dashboards in a single, integrated solution. TARGIT combines the control... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 7 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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ClicDataFrontRunners 2019

ClicData is a business intelligence (BI) dashboard solution designed for use primarily by small and midsized businesses. The tool enables end users to create reports and dashboards. A drag-and-drop interface designed for ease of use... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 6 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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LookerFrontRunners 2019

Looker is a cloud-based business intelligence (BI) platform designed to explore and analyze data. The solution helps businesses to capture and analyze data from multiple sources and make data-driven decisions. Looker provides business... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 5 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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BOARDFrontRunners 2019

Created to combine business intelligence, corporate performance management, and business analytics, BOARD is a full-featured business intelligence system that serves midsize and enterprise-level companies in a variety of different... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 4 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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AnswerRocket

AnswerRocket is a search engine-based analytics and data visualization solution used by companies to receive complex analysis results in charts and graphs. The solution has a speech-to-text feature in which users can speak a query... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 4 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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CXO

Your organization depends on your team to deliver the actionable C-Level insights from your EPM data that it needs. If you are stuck with static reports, BI tools that don’t innately understand the hierarchies and dimensions of financial... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 3 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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Lumenore

Lumenore is a cloud-based technology performance management platform that integrates with multiple data sources, including spreadsheets, databases, social media and any existing cloud-based or on-premise software solution. It is suitable... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 3 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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Klipfolio

Klipfolio is a cloud-based business intelligence solution that serves businesses of all sizes. It helps marketing agencies, analytics firms, system integrators, business solution providers and technology providers create business performance... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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Phocas Business Intelligence

Phocas is a cloud-based, SaaS company specializing in data analytics for manufacturing, distribution and retail industries. Phocas uses sector knowledge to consolidate essential business data from common ERP, CRM and AP/AR systems... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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Centralpoint - Business Intelligence

Centralpoint by Oxcyon is a content management solution that can be installed on-premise or accessed on the cloud from any mobile device with an internet connection.The modular applications can be deployed in a configuration that suits... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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Toucan Toco

Toucan Toco is a cloud-based data visualization solution designed to deliver data and insights to non-technical decision makers using visual data storytelling. With Toucan's application studio, businesses are able to create and display... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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dashboardMD

dashboardMD is a turnkey, cloud-based, enterprise data warehouse, and business intelligence solution that provides organizations in the healthcare industry with daily dashboards and reporting tools to measure clinical, financial and... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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Dploy Solutions

Dploy Solutions is a cloud-based manufacturing and industrial IIoT software that helps businesses collect, combine and analyze performance data across plant floors and other operations departments. It allows users to gain real-time... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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Exago

Exago BI is a 100% web-based, end-to-end business analytics solution that’s designed to be embedded in web-based applications. Embedding Exago BI allows SaaS companies of all sizes to provide their customers with self-service ad... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
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TrenData

TrenData People Analytics is a cloud-based business intelligence (BI) solution designed for midsize businesses across various industries. The solution offers various HR analytics and workforce management features such as compensation... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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2020 Business Intelligence Pricing Guide

Learn about the key aspects of accurate software pricing before you make your purchase decision.

Includes:

  • Pricing models & ranges

  • Unexpected costs

  • Pricing of popular systems

Buyers guide


Last Updated: April 3, 2020

Business intelligence (BI) software has gained considerable traction since its introduction as "decision support systems" in the 1960s. Today, there are over 100 BI software companies selling some type of business intelligence tool. We put together this buyer's guide to help buyers understand the market. In this guide, we'll review:

What Is BI Software?
A Comparison of Top BI Solutions
Selecting the Right BI Tool
Data Management Tools
Data Discovery Applications
Reporting Tools
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Market Trends To Understand
Recent Events You Should Know About

What Is Business Intelligence Software?

BI software is data visualization and data analytics software that helps organizations organize and analyze data to make better business decisions. Data sources connect to the business's data warehouse, ERP systems, marketing data, social media channels, Excel data imports, or even macroeconomic information.

The BI market is growing rapidly because of the proliferation of data to analyze. Over the past few decades, companies that have deployed Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and other applications are now sitting on a mountain of data that can be analyzed. In addition, the growth of the Web has increased the demand for data analysis tools that can analyze large data sets.

One of the biggest trends in the BI market is the shift in software architecture and design to more user-friendly self-service applications. These applications are now being used by business users—not just IT staff—to pull ad-hoc reports, create interactive dashboards, and even allow end users to perform advanced analytics functions on the BI platform.

Medical practices and doctors looking for solutions that can function with their existing medical software might be interested in healthcare BI software

A Comparison of Top BI Solutions

There are many popular BI solutions on the market, and it can be hard to know what distinguishes one product from another and which is right for you. To help you better understand how the top BI systems stack up against one another, we created a series of side-by-side product comparison pages that break down the details of what each solution offers in terms of pricing, applications, ease of use, support and more:

Top Qlik Sense Comparisons Top Qlikview Comparisons Top Tableau Comparisons
Qlik Sense vs. Qlikview
Qlik Sense vs. Tableau
Qlik Sense vs. Qlikview
Qlikview vs. Spotfire
Qlik Sense vs. Tableau
Spotfire vs. Tableau
Top Spotfire Comparisons    
Qlikview vs. Spotfire
Spotfire vs. Tableau

Common Features of Business Intelligence Software

BI software can be divided into three broad application categories: data management tools, data discovery applications and reporting tools (including interactive dashboards and data visualization software). In the next section, we'll explain how these analytics platforms can help your organization's decision-making process become more data-driven.

What BI tools you need depends on how your data is currently managed and how you would like to analyze it. For example, if it is currently scattered across disparate transactional databases, you might need to build a data warehouse to centralize it and invest in data management tools that offer Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) functionality to move and re-structure it.

Once data is given a common structure and format, you can invest in data discovery solutions such as Online Analytical Processing (OLAP), data mining and semantic or text mining applications, with the capability to create custom, ad hoc reports. And because information is stored within the warehouse, users can quickly pull reports without impacting the performance of the organization’s software applications, such as CRM, ERP and supply chain management solutions.

We’ve illustrated this concept in the image below:

Business Intelligence (BI) Software Architecture


But this isn’t the only way to implement BI within your organization. If you’re only analyzing data from a single source, ETL and data warehouses are unnecessary. Alternatively, you might require multiple warehouses, and thus, require different tools to connect data between both these servers and other analytics tools that need access to this data.

We'll cover these in detail in the next section, but in general, the features you should seek in a new BI solution should include:

  • Data quality management
  • Extract, transform and load (ETL)
  • Data mining
  • Online analytical processing (OLAP)
  • Predictive analytics
  • Semantic and text analytics
  • Data visualizations
  • Interactive dashboards
  • Report writers
  • Scorecarding
  • Ad hoc reporting

Data Management Tools

Better decision-making starts with better data. Data management tools help clean up "dirty data," organize information by providing format and structure and prepare data sources for analyses.

Functionality Description
Data quality management Helps organizations maintain clean, standardized and error-free data. Standardization is especially important for BI implementations that integrate data from diverse sources. Data quality management ensures that later analyses are correct and can lead to improvements within the business.
Extract, transform and load (ETL) Collects data from outside sources, transforms it and then loads it into the target system (a database or warehouse). Because primary data is often organized using different schemas or formats, analysts can use ETL tools to normalize it for useful analysis.

Data Discovery Applications

The ability to sift through data and come to meaningful conclusions is one of the most powerful benefits of adopting business intelligence tools. Data discovery applications help users make sense of their data, whether it be through quick, multivariate analysis during OLAP or via advanced algorithms and statistical computations during data mining.

Functionality Description
Data mining Sorts through large amounts of data to identify new or unknown patterns. It is often the first step that other processes rely on, such as predictive analytics. Databases are often too large or convoluted to find patterns with the naked eye or through simple queries. Data mining helps point users in the right direction for further analysis by providing an automated method of discovering previously neglected trends.
Online analytical processing (OLAP) Enables users to quickly analyze multidimensional data from different perspectives. It is typically made up of three analytical operations: data consolidation, data sorting and classification ("drill-down") and analysis of data from a particular perspective ("slice-and-dice"). For example, a user could analyze sales numbers for various products by store and by month. OLAP allows users to produce this analysis.
Predictive analytics Analyzes current and historical data to make predictions about future risks and opportunities. An example of this is credit scoring, which relies on an individual's current financial standing to make predictions about their future credit behavior.
Semantic and text analytics Extracts and interprets large volumes of text to identify patterns, relationships and sentiment. For example, the popularity of social media has made text analytics valuable to companies with a large social footprint. Understanding semantic trends is a powerful tool for organizations evaluating purchase intent or customer satisfaction among users of these channels.

Reporting Tools

In the words of John W. Tuckey, “the greatest value of a picture is when it forces us to notice what we never expected to see.” Reporting applications are an important way to present data and easily convey the results of analysis.

BI users are increasingly business users—not IT staff—who need quick, easy-to-understand displays of information. In response, software vendors have been working to mask the complexity of these applications and increasingly focus on the user experience.

Functionality Description
Visualizations Helps users create advanced interactive dashboard representations of data via simple user interfaces. The ability to visualize information in a graphical format (as opposed to words or numbers) can help users understand data in a more insightful way. In addition, new interactive tools can provide teams the ability to both analyze and manipulate reports in real-time.
Dashboards Dashboards typically highlight key performance indicators (KPIs), which help managers focus on the metrics that are most important to them. Dashboards are often browser-based, making them easily accessible by anyone with permissions.
Report writers Allows users to design and generate custom reports. Many CRM and ERP systems include built-in report writing tools, but users can also purchase standalone applications, such as Crystal Reports, to create ad hoc reports based on complex queries. This is especially helpful for organizations that continually modify analyses and need to generate new reports quickly.
Scorecarding Scorecards attach a numerical weight to performance and map progress toward goals. Think of it as dashboards taken one step further. In organizations with a strategic performance-management methodology (e.g., balanced scorecard, Six Sigma etc.), scorecards are an effective way to keep tabs on key metrics. For example, a scorecard might establish a grade of “A+" to 40 percent year-over-year growth if the goal was set at 14 percent.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Before evaluating software, you must determine what type of buyer you are.

Business users and departmental buyers. These buyers favor small data-discovery vendors and BI tools over the big, traditional BI systems. Ease-of-use and fast deployment are more important than in-depth functionality and integration. They are usually business users rather than IT staff.

IT buyers. Traditional buyers are more focused on functionality and integration within their information infrastructure stacks or other ERP applications. Integration across different entities and departments is usually more important than ease of use.

Market Trends to Understand

As you begin your software comparison and evaluation, there are a couple trends to consider:

In-memory processing. OLAP systems of the past would pre-calculate every possible combination of data. These calculations would be stored in the “cube,” and users could retrieve them when they needed a certain analysis. Creating these cubes was very time-consuming—sometimes taking as long as a year—and required expertise. Today, computer processors and memory are faster, cheaper and more powerful overall. This same process can happen in-memory, rather than using a disk-based approach with cubes. Analytic software built on an in-memory architecture can retrieve data and perform calculations in real-time or on-the-fly.

Big Data. The Internet is rapidly creating vast amounts of data. This phenomenon is being dubbed “Big Data” among IT and business leaders. Business analytics software companies are beefing up their data warehousing and analytics capabilities to keep up with demand.

However, according to Gartner, through 2015, 85% of Fortune 500 organizations will be unable to exploit big data for competitive advantage. The right BI tools can help harness the power of so much data.

Companies dealing with large amounts of data may also want to consider investing in dedicated IT security suites to support their computer security needs.

Business users to outnumber IT staff. This is a major trend playing out in the market. More business users—rather than traditional IT staff—are evaluating and purchasing software. So usability is becoming more important than functionality during software evaluations. As a result, small data discovery vendors that develop really good interactive visualization tools are gaining market share. Meanwhile, traditional BI vendors are parroting new market entrants by promoting ease of use.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). A growing number of organizations are considering SaaS or “cloud” BI software instead of traditional, on-premise software that you install on-location. Cost is a major driver of this trend. The poorly performing economy is motivating companies to look at lower-cost BI software from SaaS and open source vendors. Of course, perceived ease of use, faster implementations and reduced IT needs are also driving this trend. On-premise BI vendors are responding by committing development resources to cloud technology.

Mobile BI applications
Proliferation of the iPhone, iPad and other mobile devices is pushing vendors (e.g., Microsoft and Oracle) to develop on-the-go business intelligence applications. Analysts think mobile BI could expand the population of BI users to a larger, mainstream audience.

Recent Events You Should Know About

Salesforce acquires BeyondCore for $110 million. CRM titan Salesforce has acquired BeyondCore, a data discovery vendor that promises “one-click automated business analytics.” BeyondCore solutions enable automated recognition of patterns in business data via machine learning. The solution also outputs visualizations and even causal analyses and recommendations for action in textual form. Salesforce plans to fold BeyondCore’s capabilities into core offerings like Wave.

SAP buys Altiscale to enhance big data capabilities. BI mega-vendor SAP has purchased the big-data-as-a-service provider Altiscale. Altiscale specializes in ingesting and processing big data via cloud-based Hadoop and Apache Spark infrastructure. The acquisition further enhances SAP’s big data capabilities beyond Hadoop connections with SAP HANA.

Tableau acquires HyPer. In March 2016, Tableau announced the acquisition of HyPer, a NewSQL relational database management system that supports Hybrid Transactional Analytical Processing (HTAP)—i.e., the simultaneous processing of OLTP and OLAP workloads. The acquisition is aimed at speeding up analytics in Tableau as well as bolstering the product’s data integration capabilities and support for big data.

FrontRunners

Your Guide to Top Business Intelligence Software, April 2019

Software Advice uses reviews from real software users to highlight the top-rated Business Intelligence Tools products in North America.

Learn how products are chosen

Explore FrontRunners

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Software Advice
“Usability” includes user ratings for Functionality and Ease of Use.“Customer Satisfaction” includes user ratings for Customer Support, Likelihood to Recommend and Value for Money.Reviews analysis period: