Business Intelligence software—or BI software—is a set of tools designed to make sense of large data sets.
Companies across all industries are compiling massive amounts of data at scale. But that data is useless if you can’t use it to make crucial business decisions. BI software helps organizations collect, analyze, and monitor data. The software also makes it easier to predict trends and potential business scenarios.
What’s the best business intelligence (BI) software on the market today? We’ve narrowed down the top eight options for you to consider.
The Best Business Intelligence Software Options to Consider:
When it Makes Sense to Invest Into Business Intelligence Software
Historically, BI software has been reserved for larger businesses. SMEs and large enterprises with extensive data libraries have used this type of business analytics tool to make data-driven decisions.
Cloud-based software has made business intelligence software more available and affordable for smaller organizations.
With that said, it only makes sense to invest in BI software if your company is struggling to make sense of your data. Most small businesses probably don’t have this problem.
Generally speaking, BI software has a wide range of use cases that could theoretically be applied to any business type. From measuring basic KPIs to deploying cost-effective resources and generating insights for decisions, BI software is extremely flexible.
But if your business isn’t overwhelmed by complex data, you probably don’t need BI software just yet.
#1 – Datapine Review — The Best Overall BI Software
Datapine is the best business intelligence solution on the market today. The software makes it easy for businesses of all sizes to visualize and analyze data.
The process is simple. Just create a Datapine account, connect your data, and start analyzing.
Datapine can sync with a wide range of different third-party platforms that you’re using to collect data. Examples include Dropbox, Amazon Web Services, MySQL, Oracle, Salesforce, SAP, Facebook, and more.
With Datapine, you’ll be able to do much more than just organize and compile data. The platform allows you to discover new relationships between data and detect trends in different aspects of your business.
The software lets you build unique dashboards by different functions within your organization:
- Human resources
- Service and support
You’ll also be able to use platform-specific dashboards, such as custom dashboards for Zendesk, YouTube, Salesforce, Google AdWords, LinkedIn, and more.
Share your data with management, clients, partners, and decision makers with scheduled reports or sharing links using Datapine’s presentation mode. You can even embed these dashboards directly into your own personal applications.
Try Datapine free for 14 days.
#2 – Tableau Review — Best BI Software For Data Visualization
Tableau is one of the most popular business intelligence tools on the market today—and for a good reason. The software is ideal for organizations that want to transform complex data into visuals that are easy to comprehend.
These visuals will allow you to quickly identify trends and ultimately make more informed business decisions.
Tableau is trusted by some of the world’s most well-known brands. Verizon, Coca-Cola, Charles Schwab, and PepsiCo are just a handful of companies that use Tableau for business intelligence.
Pricing starts at $70 per user per month for individuals.
Here’s a look at the cloud and on-premises rates for teams and organizations:
- Tableau Creator — $70 per user per month (minimum one Creator per account)
- Tableau Explorer — $35 per user per month (minimum five Explorers per account)
- Tableau Viewer — $12 per user per month (minimum 100 viewers per account)
Tableau also has a fully hosted business plan. The Creator rate is the same, but the Explorer and Viewer pricing jumps to $42 and $15, respectively. As you can see from the pricing structure, the business plans are definitely designed for larger teams. You’re paying for a minimum of 100 viewers regardless.
For those of you who want an embedded analytics solution from Tableau, contact the sales team for a custom quote. Try Tableau free for 14 days.
#3 – Sisense Review — The Best BI Software For Developers
Sisense has BI tools that are specifically designed for developers and data professionals. For those of you who are tech-savvy, you can use Sisense to transform complex data into robust analytics apps.
Businesses like GE, Motorola, Philips, Wix, and the Salvation Army all use Sisense for business intelligence.
Sisense is a cloud-native analytics platform. You’ll be able to create enterprise-grade apps on-premises or in the cloud at the lowest possible total cost of ownership.
Sisense has all of the tools that developers need to create standalone dashboards and analytics apps. Some of the top developer features include:
- REST APIs
- Actions SDK script
- Single sign-on
- Embed SDK
- Sisense JS library
- Add-on framework
You can deploy your apps on Linux or Windows as a hybrid app, cloud app, or on-premise app.
Sisense is commonly used by organizations in healthcare, government, retail, manufacturing, supply chain, digital marketing, software, travel, hospitality, and more.
Contact the Sisense sales team for a custom quote.
#4 – Board Review — Best For Corporate Performance Management (CPM)
Board is a business intelligence solution with a primary focus on CPM—corporate performance management. The platform is designed to help your organization’s decision-makers gain full control over business planning and performance.
The software is trusted by 3,000+ businesses worldwide, including Volkswagen, Puma, Mitsubishi Electric, and the United States Navy. Board has won 40+ international awards from analysts and experts.
With Board, it’s easy to search for information and interact with complex data. It’s an all-in-one solution for business intelligence, analytics, data discovery, and performance management.
Some of the top features and benefits of Board include:
- Cloud or on-premises deployment
- Drag-and-drop analytics
- Server clustering
- Granular multi-layer security
- Real-time monitoring
- Multi-user concurrent data entry
- ERP database write-back
- Business workflows and rules
- Adoptive aggregation
The list goes on and on. Businesses that choose Board for BI stick with it. In fact, the software has a 97% renewal rate.
#5 – Dundas Review — Best For Flexibility and Customization
Dundas is another top choice to consider for business intelligence software.
The platform is designed to accommodate the needs and experience of the end-user. Dundas automatically adapts based on the user’s skill level. Whether you’re using Dundas as an analyst, developer, or administrator, you can fully customize the software to accommodate your needs at scale.
Dundas is virtually limitless in terms of customization and flexibility.
Rather than using cookie-cutter analytics tools, Dundas empowers the users for faster decision making. Everyone can interact and visualize data in a way that makes sense for their specific needs.
Since Dundas is built on HTML5 web technology, you can connect and analyze your data from any device.
This BI tool has a wide range of potential use cases. It’s a popular choice for software vendors and large enterprises. Dundas offers industry-specific and department-specific solutions as well.
If you’re on the fence and unsure if Dundas BI is right for you, try it free for 25 days.
#6 – Clear Analytics Review — The Best For Simple BI
For those of you who are just getting your feet wet with the world of business intelligence software, Clear Analytics will be a top choice for you to consider.
Some business intelligence software can be overwhelming. Your data is complex enough; you don’t want the BI tool to make matters more difficult.
You can generate powerful business analytics using Excel. Simply integrate your Excel environment to get started. You’ll be able to create custom dashboards and queries in just a few minutes.
Clear Analytics has drag-and-drop functionality, making it easier than ever to customize your analytics. You’ll be able to leverage the platform directly within Excel.
I like Clear Analytics because you can easily share data between departments. Your IT team can control the resources and security for the governance of the information while granting access to the appropriate parties.
Of all the business intelligence solutions on the market today, Clear Analytics has the quickest learning curve. You can get started without any special training.
Try Clear Analytics free for 30 days.
#7 – GoodData Review — The Best For Embedded Analytics
More than 50% of Fortune 500 analytics are powered by GoodData. The software provides BI tools that extend beyond your own organization.
Use GoodData to embed analytics into your products and services to gain deeper insights from your customers. Give users in your franchises and subsidiaries enhanced visibility for decision making.
GoodData can help you turn employees into analytics experts for faster decision making in real-time business scenarios.
The software is robust and flexible enough to collect and analyze any type of data. You can use GoodData for structured, unstructured, and semi-structured data from any source. This includes APIs, MQs, and data streams for third parties.
GoodData is an open-platform with a rich set of APIs and frameworks to seamlessly integrate with your existing UI stacks and development, which is ideal for developers.
This BI tool comes with enterprise-grade security and governance, including HIPAA and GDPR compliance.
Best of all? GoodData has a free forever plan for self-service analytics. The free plan supports an unlimited number of users and five workspaces. Paid plans start at $20 per user per month.
To get the most out of GoodData, contact the sales team for custom enterprise pricing.
#8 – Yellowfin BI Review — The Best BI Product Suite
Yellowfin BI is a bit unique compared to other solutions on our list. The platform has an enterprise-level analytics suite that combines multiple tools into a single solution.
The software leverages data discovery, action-based dashboards, and storytelling into one platform for business intelligence.
Yellowfin BI has versatile and flexible solutions for varying use cases:
- Analytics for enterprises
- Analytics for software companies
- Analytical application builders
Leverage automated business monitoring, data stories, and connect your data to 50+ supported databases.
Yellowfin BI is one of the most popular business intelligence solutions on the market today. It’s trusted by 29,000+ companies worldwide.
Contact the Yellowfin BI sales team to get a free demo and request a custom quote.
Methodology For Choosing The Best Business Intelligence Software
Finding the best business intelligence software can be challenging if you don’t know what to look for. Fortunately, you can follow the methodology that we used when narrowing down the best tools in this guide.
I’ll explain what factors you must evaluate as you’re shopping around so you can weigh things according to your personal needs.
The first thing you need to do is recognize where your existing data is located. How easy will it be to connect that data with your business intelligence software?
Not every BI tool integrates seamlessly with certain databases. However, the vast majority of options on our list should be able to accommodate your needs. The best business intelligence software not only integrates with third-party tools to extend your data environment, but they typically allow cross-platform access to all users.
Look for a solution that integrates with your CRM, ad networks, help desk software, ERP, and more.
How are you going to use BI?
Some solutions offer cookie-cutter tools for analytics. This will be fine for some of you. However, other organizations may want to develop custom applications for data analytics.
If you have an in-house IT team or development team, consider their needs before finalizing your decision. You may want to get BI software with an open API and developer tools to provide your IT team with more flexibility for development.
Data Visualization and Reporting
Don’t lose sight of the main reason why you’re searching for BI software. These tools are designed to give you actionable reports for improved decision making within your organization.
The best way for most of us to analyze data is with visual reports. Make sure those reports are easy to understand and digest.
It’s also important that your reports are sharable. The people generating those reports may not be the final decision-makers. Whether those reports need to be shared across departments, with managers, with partners, or with clients, make sure they can be read and understood by the end-user.
What’s the best business intelligence software? We recommend Datapine. This software will accommodate the needs of most organizations seeking BI solutions.
However, there are plenty of other great options to choose from.
For those of you with unique needs, consider the additional recommendations in this guide. Make sure you use the methodology described above as you’re shopping around for business intelligence software.