Self-Service BI Tools

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Showing 1 - 20 of 218 products
Showing 1 - 20 of 218 products


Domo transforms business by putting data to work for everyone. Domo’s low-code data app platform goes beyond traditional business intelligence and analytics to enable anyone to create data apps to power any action in their busines...Read more

4.24 (198 reviews)

7 recommendations

Dundas BI

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 cre...Read more

4.52 (121 reviews)

4 recommendations

SAP Analytics Cloud

SAP Analytics Cloud is a business intelligence and data visualization solution designed for businesses of all sizes. It offers business planning, predictive analytics, digital boardroom and reporting functionalities within a suite...Read more

4.33 (81 reviews)

3 recommendations


Incorta is a unified data analytics platform that provides a true self-service data experience. The software enables organizations to quickly and accurately make decisions based on vast easy to digest data sets. Incorta is a ...Read more

No reviews yet

2 recommendations

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

4.55 (42 reviews)

1 recommendations


Hevo is a no-code, bi-directional data pipeline platform specially built for modern ETL, ELT, and Reverse ETL Needs. It helps data teams streamline and automate org-wide data flows that result in a saving of ~10 hours of engineeri...Read more

4.67 (42 reviews)

1 recommendations


With a focus on reducing the complexity of insights from data for business users, even complex tasks are made simple with the Toucan guided analytics platform: Data visualization is guided, allowing the user to focus on the story...Read more

4.70 (23 reviews)

1 recommendations


Reveal is a self-service embedded analytics solution that provides organizations with the most powerful, flexible, and transparently priced analytics tools on the market. It enables users to easily create data reports and dashboar...Read more

4.19 (16 reviews)

1 recommendations

Google Analytics 360

Google Analytics 360 is an enterprise-level analytics platform with in-depth performance indicators, such as ROI analysis reports. The app's primary function is to provide insights into customer behavior interactions with websites...Read more


Tableau is an integrated business intelligence (BI) and analytics solution that helps to analyze key business data and generate meaningful insights. The solution helps businesses to collect data from multiple source points such as...Read more

Software pricing tips

Read our Self-Service BI Tools Buyers Guide

Subscription models

  • Per employee/per month: This model allows you to pay a monthly fee for each of your employees.
  • Per user/per month: Users pay a monthly fee for users—normally administrative users—rather than all employees.

Perpetual license

  • This involves paying an upfront sum for the license to own the software and use it indefinitely.
  • This is the more traditional model and is most common with on-premise applications and with larger businesses.

Rated best value for money

Google Cloud Platform

Featuring G-Suite and GCP, Google Cloud is a platform that provides a reliable and easy-to-use set of solutions that can be used to tackle the toughest challenges in any type of industry. It provides secure storage options, integr...Read more

Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft Power BI is a web-based business analytics and data visualization platform that is suitable for businesses of all sizes. It monitors important organizational data and also from all apps used by organizations. Microsoft P...Read more

Google Charts

Google Charts is a cloud-based business intelligence solution designed to help teams visualize data on their websites in the form of pictographs, pie charts, histograms and more. Key features include content management, custom das...Read more


ActivTrak helps companies unlock productivity potential. Our award-winning workforce analytics and productivity management software provides expert insights that empower people, optimize processes, and maximize technology. Addit...Read more


Sisense goes beyond traditional business intelligence by providing organizations with the ability to infuse analytics everywhere, embedded in both customer and employee applications and workflows. Sisense customers are breaking th...Read more


Boomi is a unified cloud-based integration solution designed to centralize data, applications, and processes into one unified ecosystem, effectively breaking down data silos. Using Boomi's integration capabilities, businesses are ...Read more


Minitab is a cloud-based statistical tool designed to help small to large organizations across various verticals such as manufacturing, healthcare, energy, automotive or non-profit discover market trends, predict patterns and visu...Read more

Operations Hub

Operations Hub allows you to easily sync customer data and automate business processes. It supercharges your HubSpot CRM by synchronizing contacts, leads, and company data with other applications. Operations Hub works two ways a...Read more


Grow is a cloud-based, business analytics and reporting solution suitable for small to midsize organizations. The solution allows users to create customizable dashboards for monitoring business workflows and key activities. Grow...Read more


IFTTT is a data integration software, which helps fintech, home automation, and energy companies connect applications and devices with third-party integrations. The software allows financial institutions to connect apps or website...Read more

Buyers Guide

Last Updated: July 05, 2022

Self-service BI is a term for business intelligence (BI) tools aimed at business users, instead of the IT department. These tools help analysts explore databases through visual interfaces, instead of SQL queries and custom scripts.

We'll take a look at the types of self-service BI tools on the market and explain how they differ from traditional platforms. Here's what we'll cover:

What Is Self-Service BI?
Common Functionality of Self-Service BI Tools
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Benefits and Potential Issues
Market Trends to Understand

What Is Self-Service BI?

To answer this question, you have to understand traditional BI.

Back in the 80s and 90s, BI platforms were so complex that IT staff had to help business analysts create custom reports by writing SQL queries and custom scripts. Moreover, organization-wide reports were typically produced by the IT department.

IT was traditionally in charge of BI because traditional BI platforms store data in a data warehouse, which is a dedicated database system for historical business data (e.g., many years' worth of sales data, accounting data, customer information etc.).

Essentially, data warehousing involves pulling data from business applications (CRM systems, accounting systems etc.) and storing it so that analysts can spot and diagnose issues with the business's operational and financial performance:

data warehouse processing

Before data could be loaded into the warehouse, however, IT departments had to prepare it for analysis by normalizing dimensions (e.g., ensuring that “customer ID" means the same thing in all the tables in the database), aggregating certain metrics, cleaning dirty data etc. This is known as the “extract, transform, load" or ETL process, because data is extracted from applications, transformed into standard formats for analysis, and loaded into the warehouse.

When an analyst had to combine a new source of information, such as a web analytics system, with data in the data warehouse, the IT department would often have to reinvent the whole ETL process.

This was definitely not a user-friendly situation for analysts, and the IT department didn't really like being reduced to the work of data waitressing either.

Common Functionality of Self-Service BI Tools

Self-service BI tools emerged in the last decade as a response to this situation. They differ from traditional systems in the following ways:

self service vs traditional bi
  • Direct/live data connections. With a traditional BI platform, data is loaded into a warehouse before analysis. With a self-service tool, analysts simply connect directly to the data source, whether it's a cloud application, a relational database, a NoSQL file system, a flat file etc. Analysts can then explore and combine data from the data source with other sources. Moreover, instead of pulling data from the source in batches, analysts can configure a "live" connection to the source so that dashboards and visualizations automatically refresh with new data.
  • Self-service data preparation. Instead of having the IT team clean and prepare data for analysis, self-service tools allow analysts to prepare data themselves. After the analyst connects to a raw data source, they can specify cleaning procedures and transformations that the data needs to go through before being presented in, say, a dashboard.
  • Self-service data modeling. As analysts clean and transform data from a raw data source, a data model emerges. For instance, the analyst decides which columns in which tables should be aggregated using the “customer ID" dimension. Essentially, with traditional BI systems IT settles on a data model before data is loaded into the warehouse, whereas with self-service BI business analysts create the data model as they clean and transform data sources for analysis. Pre-configured data sources can then be shared with other analysts for use across the organization.
data modeling looker

Self-service data modeling in Looker BI

  • Graphical user interface. Self-service BI tools include a graphical user interface for data analysis. Analysts can drag and drop dimensions and measures into charts to create data visualizations. They can then click on parts of the visualization (e.g., a wedge in a pie chart) to drill down to more granular data. The drag-and-drop gestures that analysts make in the user interface are transformed into SQL queries by a backend engine. This means that analysts don't need to know programming languages to get data out of databases.
geospatial data visualization board

Visual data exploration in Board

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Analyst workgroup. Analyst workgroups typically need solutions that are robust when it comes to data analysis features—for instance, the statistical algorithms found in IBM SPSS and SAS STAT. They don't typically need strong dashboard capabilities or governance functionality.

IT department. Even though self-service tools are designed for business users, IT departments are still tasked with purchasing and configuring these platforms in many organizations. IT departments will need to find solutions with strong data modeling capabilities, since they'll need to invest in tools that can support data modeling for a whole organization rather than just a workgroup concerned with specific analytical tasks. Moreover, they'll need to invest in solutions that offer strong data governance to protect sensitive data from business users who don't need to access it as part of their roles.

Benefits and Potential Issues

Self-service BI tools offer the same benefits as traditional BI platforms, including:

Data governance Restrict access to sensitive data sources and visualizations.
Role-based dashboards Customize end-user dashboards for different roles throughout the organization.
Data mashups Blend data from many different sources in visualizations.
Metadata management Manage metadata (time stamps, classification tags etc.) across the organization.

Self-service tools also offer the benefit of user-friendly, visual data exploration, which isn't a strength of either traditional BI platforms or of tools for statistical analysis and data mining.

The need that self-service tools don't cover is data storage for analysis, since these tools typically lack support for data warehousing.

Additionally, since self-service tools lack support for analytical data warehousing, they are not as robust when it comes to data governance as traditional platforms. Organizations in which data quality is of utmost importance (e.g. financial institutions) will still need to use traditional data warehousing alongside self-service tools.

Market Trends to Understand

  • The convergence of data prep and visual analytics. Self-service BI tools fall into two categories: data preparation tools that allow analysts to clean and prepare data for analysis, and visual analytics tools that give analysts a visual interface for data exploration and enable them to publish visualizations as dashboards. Currently, data prep vendors and visual analytics vendors team up for self-service BI deployments. However, visual analytics vendors like Tableau are now working to add data prep functionality to their products. This means that you should consider your vendor's roadmap for product development when selecting a self-service tool.
  • Analytics as a service. As we've seen, self-service tools lack data warehousing functionality, which remains necessary for many organizations. However, providers of cloud services like Amazon Web Services (AWS) are stepping in to meet this need. Services like Amazon Redshift and Amazon S3 are enabling businesses to shift data warehouses to the cloud, and Amazon is launching a whole line of cloud-based analytics tools to complement data storage offerings.
  • “Smart" data discovery. New analytics offerings like IBM Watson and Salesforce Einstein promise to revolutionize analytics by automating the data exploration process via machine learning and natural language generation (NLG). These tools support a Q&A interface for data analysis, and use machine learning algorithms to spot patterns in data on their own, rather than relying on human users to spot the patterns. NLG functionality allows smart data discovery tools to return answers in the forms of sentences and even short narratives (“EMEA Sales dropped in Q2 because of APAC supply chain interruptions"). While smart data discovery is a long way from replacing human analysts, it represents the future of self-service analytics.