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Reviews

Best Business Intelligence Software

Every day, you gather massive amounts of data, but it’s all useless if you don’t know what it means. The best business intelligence software exists to help you analyze, monitor, and make sense of it all. After digging deep into the top options on the market, Zoho Analytics slides in as our top pick because it offers a generous free plan, uses a drag-and-drop interface that’s easy to use, and is compatible with virtually every data source.

The Best Business Intelligence Software for Most

Zoho Analytics Logo

Zoho Analytics

Best for Most

Trusted by 500,000+ companies including HP and Ikea. Gather data from any source plus it comes with drag-and-drop customization capabilities and an incredibly intuitive user interface. Choose the free forever plan and upgrade to a paid plan starting at $24 per month (only) when you're ready.

Zoho Analytics is our #1 recommendation for most businesses because it’s affordable (starts at $0), includes a drag-and-drop interface, and allows you to compile data from virtually any source you can imagine. All plans—even the free one—come with dozens of pre-built data connectors you can use to start compiling and analyzing data in just a few clicks.

It’s definitely the way to go if you want to start making educated business decisions and monitoring your business’s performance at a glance.

The 8 Best Business Intelligence Software Options to Consider:

  1. Zoho Analytics – Best for most
  2. Tableau – Best for complex data visualization
  3. Sisense – Best for developers
  4. Board – Best for corporate performance management
  5. Dundas – Best for flexibility and customization
  6. Clear Analytics – Best basic business intelligence software
  7. GoodData – Best BI tool for embedding analytics
  8. Yellowfin BI – Best full business intelligence product suite

When It Makes Sense to Invest into Business Intelligence Software

In the past, large companies and enterprises were the sole users of business intelligence software.

However, the introduction of cloud-based software makes it more accessible to smaller organizations.

BI software has a wide range of use cases that may apply to your business, regardless of its size. From measuring basic KPIs to deploying cost-effective resources and generating insights for business decisions, BI software is extremely flexible. 

It helps businesses of all sizes make better business decisions and use the information they already have to develop better strategies to continue growing. All without guessing or worrying if they’re making the right decisions. And it also helps make the process faster.

At the end of the day, they can rest easy knowing they have data and analysis to back up their ideas.

With that said, it goes beyond understanding basic data. At its core, it’s incredibly powerful. So, it makes sense to invest if you have a lot of data or struggle to understand what it means.

It’s also useful if you want an easier way to share data-driven graphics and embeddable graphs, charts, or tables.

The bottom line: if you’re struggling to make sense of the data you collect, are growing rapidly, or want to gain a better understanding of the health of your business, BI software is a smart choice.

#1 – Zoho Analytics — The Best Business Intelligence Software for Most Users

Zoho Analytics Logo

Zoho Analytics

Best for Most Users

Trusted by 500,000+ companies including HP and Ikea. Gather data from any source plus it comes with drag-and-drop customization capabilities and an incredibly intuitive user interface. Choose the free forever plan and upgrade to a paid plan starting at $24 per month (only) when you're ready.

If you’re looking for business intelligence software that’s easy to use (even for beginners), affordable, and scalable, Zoho Analytics is our top pick. Its simplicity and target audience of small businesses make it a great fit even if you’ve never used BI software before.

However, it’s robust enough for large businesses as well and can affordably scale alongside your business as it grows.

Over 500,000+ businesses (including big names like HP and Ikea) trust Zoho Analytics to help them make educated decisions, understand the data they have, and understand the true health of their businesses at a glance.

You don’t have to worry about outgrowing the software in a few weeks or even years. As your business grows and the data you gather changes, the software grows alongside you, supporting you in all of your new endeavors—no matter how big or small.

Beyond that, the best part is how easy it is to use. All you have to do to get started is create a free account, connect your data source, and you’re ready to start analyzing the numbers as they come in.

Despite its advanced capabilities, it’s easy for beginners to gather, visualize, and analyze data from virtually any data source you can throw at it.

Identifying trends and making sense of complex data is as easy as dragging and dropping measurables into a report that automatically updates itself in real-time.

It seriously takes just a few minutes. If you can click a mouse, you can build detailed analytics reports.

Zoho Analytics preview

From there, you can easily drill down into specifics as far as you’d like to, leverage different visualization options, and augment your data with artificial intelligence to gain even more insight.

You can also share reports and invite collaborators in one click to share them with your team, stakeholders, and clients.

You and your team or clients can comment on items, start new conversations, and keep conversations centralized across the business.

There are more than 500+ integrations so you can directly connect Zoho to the tools you already use to streamline and automate data collection and analysis across your entire business.

With Zoho, you can do so much more than just organizing and compiling data. The platform allows you to discover new relationships between data sets and detect trends in different areas of your business you’d otherwise have a hard time identifying.

Did we mention there’s a free-forever plan? You can sign up and start analyzing data in the next five minutes without ever paying a cent.

You can try it for free as long as you’d like and upgrade whenever you need to. Or you can stay on the free plan forever, depending on your business intelligence needs.

Zoho Analytics’ paid plans include:

  • Basic — up to 2 users for $24 per month
  • Standard — up to 5 users for $48 per month
  • Premium — up to 15 users for $115 per month
  • Enterprise — up to 50 users for $445 per month

So, the Basic Plan is affordable even for small or new businesses looking to gain in-depth insight into the health and performance of their businesses.

Sign up for a free account (or a 15-day free trial) to get started.

#2 – Tableau — Best BI Software For Complex Data Visualization

Tableau

Tableau

Best For Complex Data Visualization

Tableau has a wide range of plans and business intelligence solutions for individuals and large teams. You can launch Tableau in the cloud, on-premises, or with embedded analytics, making it a versatile data visualization platform. Plans start at $70 per user per month.

Tableau is one of our top picks for data visualization software as the best for businesses with massive amounts of data. So, it makes sense that it’s on our list of the best business intelligence software as well.

The tool is perfect for advanced users and businesses with a metric ton of data to organize, analyze, and visualize. In other words, it takes the business intelligence data you have from every data source you can imagine and compiles it into something that’s easy to understand.

Its advanced and in-depth capabilities outshine that of most data visualization tools out there while still maintaining ease of use for smaller and newer teams interested in making sense of their business intelligence.

With that said, Tableau is ideal for organizations that want to transform complex data sets into visuals that actually mean something. A bunch of numbers is just that—a bunch of numbers.

But a visual turns those numbers into something meaningful at a glance.

Data that people don’t understand is useless, which is why data visualization is such a powerful tool. Visualizing it allows you to quickly identify trends and ultimately make more informed business decisions without guessing or spending hours trying to understand what something means.

Users can share data dashboards, embed them anywhere, and stay on top of real-time incoming data and trends with customizable notifications.

All of Tableau’s features, capabilities, and benefits combine together into an intuitive platform designed to help you leverage storytelling and visualizations to make sense (and share) the data you have.

Paid pricing plans start at $70 per user per month for individuals.

So, it’s not the most affordable option on this list but it is undoubtedly one of the most powerful.

They offer cloud and on-premise deployments and various pricing plans to choose from. Those pricing plans include:

  • Creator — $70 per user per month (minimum one user)
  • Explorer — $35 per user per month (minimum five users)
  • Viewer — $12 per user per month (minimum 100 users)

Additionally, 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 for larger teams. However, its power, ease of use, and scalability justify the cost if it’s something you need to make use of complex data sets.

Alternatively, if you want an embedded analytics solution from Tableau, contact the sales team for a custom quote.

Or sign up for a 14-day free trial to get started!

#3 – Sisense — The Best BI Software For Developers

Sisense

Best For Developers

As an experienced data specialist or engineer, the other tools on our list will feel stifling. Thankfully that's not the case with Sisense's advanced business intelligence software that's loaded with dev-friendly tools like RestAPIs, JavaScript APIs, HELM, various SDKs and more without the enterprise price tag.

Sisense offers advanced business intelligence tools specifically for developers and data professionals. Furthermore, the software exists to help transform complex data into robust analytics applications.

Businesses like GE, Motorola, Philips, Wix, and the Salvation Army all use Sisense for their business intelligence needs.

So, you’re in good company when you sign up.

Sisense is a cloud-native analytics platform, typically used to create enterprise-grade apps with various deployment options at the lowest possible total cost of ownership.

As such, you can build completely custom analytical dashboards and applications for your own company or for your clients.

Sisense has all the tools developers need to create standalone dashboards and analytics apps, including things like:

  • REST APIs
  • HELM
  • Actions SDK script
  • Single sign-on
  • JavaScript APIs
  • Embed SDK
  • Sisense JS library
  • Add-on framework

Plus, you can deploy on Linux or Windows as a hybrid app, cloud app, or on-premise application depending on what you or your clients need.

And organizations in healthcare, government, retail, manufacturing, supply chain, digital marketing, software, travel, hospitality, and more use Sisense to develop custom analytic applications. 

So, it’s suitable for developers and data professionals in a wide range of industries.

Contact the Sisense sales team to get a custom quote today! 

#4 – Board — Best For Corporate Performance Management (CPM)

Board

Board

Best BI Software For CPM

Board is an all-in-one solution for business intelligence, performance management, predicting trends, and data discovery. Top features include drag-and-drop analytics and real-time monitoring, making it the perfect choice for non-data specialists interested in making data-driven business decisions.

Board is a business intelligence solution with a primary focus on CPM—corporate performance management. The platform helps your organization’s decision-makers gain full control over business planning and performance.  

3,000+ businesses worldwide, including Volkswagen, Puma, Mitsubishi Electric, and the United States Navy trust Board for their business intelligence needs.

Furthermore, Board has 40+ international awards from analysts and experts around the world.

With Board, it’s easy to search for information and interact with complex data. Because it’s an all-in-one solution for business intelligence, analytics, data discovery, and performance management. 

Some of the top features and benefits 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 which is above average for the industry.

Request a free demo today!

#5 – Dundas — Best For Flexibility and Customization

Dundas

Dundas

Best Flexibility and Customization

Want more freedom and flexibility from your BI software? Dundas automatically adapts to users based on role, which makes it perfect for teams with varying experience levels. With it, you can visualize data from any device for fast and informed decision making, complete with a highly customizable dashboard.

Dundas is another top choice to consider for business intelligence software. 

The platform accommodates the needs and experience of the end-user. Dundas automatically adapts based on the user’s skill level. So whether you’re using Dundas as an analyst, developer, or administrator, you can fully customize the software to accommodate your needs at scale.

Furthermore, 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. Plus, everyone can interact and visualize data in a way that makes sense for their specific needs.

Dundas uses HTML5 web technology which means you can connect and analyze 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 or unsure if Dundas BI is right for you, try it free for 25 days.

#6 – Clear Analytics — The Best For Simple BI

Clear Analytics

Clear Analytics

Best For Simple BI

Sometimes, simple, straightforward, and easy is the way to go. If that sounds up your alley, Clear Analytics is a no-brainer. With it, you can leverage the power of BI with custom dashboards and queries directly in Excel for a familiar interface that doesn't overcomplicate business intelligence.

If you’re new to the world of business intelligence software, Clear Analytics is a top choice to consider. 

Most business intelligence software is overwhelming, especially for new users. And your data is complex enough; the last thing you want is your BI tool making matters more difficult. 

With Clear Analytics, you can generate powerful business analytics using Excel. Simply integrate your Excel environment to get started. Plus, you can 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. And you can leverage the platform directly within Excel.

I like Clear Analytics because you can easily share data between departments. And 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. Plus, you can start without any special training.

Try Clear Analytics free for 30 days. 

#7 – GoodData — The Best For Embedded Analytics

GoodData

GoodData

Best For Embedded Analytics

Sharing data with others is a great way to build credibility, prove you've done your homework, establish authority, and really drive the results home. With GoodData, embedding analytics has never been easier (or more affordable). The free plan includes unlimited users and up to five workspaces.

More than 50% of Fortune 500 analytics trust GoodData. Why? Because the software provides BI tools that extend beyond your own organization.

You can use GoodData to embed analytics into your products and services to gain deeper insights from your customers. And you can give users in your franchises and subsidiaries enhanced visibility for decision making. 

GoodData helps 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. For example, you can use GoodData for structured, unstructured, and semi-structured data from any source.

And this includes APIs, MQs, and data streams for third parties. 

GoodData is an open platform with a rich set of APIs and frameworks that seamlessly integrate with your existing UI stacks and development. Which is ideal for developers and data engineers.

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. And paid plans start at $20 per workspace with unlimited users.

To get the most out of GoodData, contact the sales team for custom enterprise pricing. Or sign up for the free forever plan to try it risk-free.

#8 – Yellowfin BI — The Best BI Product Suite

Yellowfin BI

Yellowfin BI

Best BI Product Suite

An all-in-one BI suite is the best way to make the most of the data you have. If you want it all in one package, Yellowfin BI is the way to go. Its modular solution comes with everything you need for data dashboards, storytelling, embeddeding analytics into software, building applications, and data discovery.

Yellowfin BI is a bit unique in comparison 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.

Furthermore, Yellowfin BI has versatile and flexible solutions for varying use cases including:

  • 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. Over 29,000+ companies trust Yellowfin BI worldwide.

Contact the Yellowfin BI sales team for a free demo and 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.

Let’s walk through the factors you should evaluate as you’re shopping around so you can make the best decision for you and your business.

Data Environment

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. The vast majority of options on our list should be able to accommodate your needs, but take a hard look at this when deciding.

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. That can be a big difference-maker for larger operations with several cooks in the kitchen, so to speak.

Look for a solution that integrates with your CRM, the ad networks you use, your help desk software, and any ERP platforms you’re using, to name a few common integrative needs. 

Custom Development

How do you want to wield the power and potential of BI software?

Some solutions offer cookie-cutter tools for analytics. This will be fine for some of you just looking to make sense of your data in any way at all.

However, plenty of other organizations may want to develop custom applications for their data analytics, especially if there are specialized metrics and trends you’re trying to share. 

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 give you actionable reports for improved decision-making within your organization and ones you can share with stakeholders and other parties to demonstrate trajectory and viability.

And the best way for most of us to analyze data is with visual reports. So make sure those reports are easy to generate, understand, and digest.

It’s also important that your reports are sharable. The people generating those reports may not be the final decision-makers. So whether you want to share those reports across departments, with managers, with partners, or with clients, make sure they can be read and understood by the end-user. 

Zoho Analytics Logo

Zoho Analytics

Best for Most Users

Trusted by 500,000+ companies including HP and Ikea. Gather data from any source plus it comes with drag-and-drop customization capabilities and an incredibly intuitive user interface. Choose the free forever plan and upgrade to a paid plan starting at $24 per month (only) when you're ready.

Summary

What’s the best business intelligence software? We recommend Zoho Analytics for most businesses. This software accommodates the needs of most businesses and it’s perfect for non-technical users.

However, there are plenty of other great options to choose from. 

If you’re looking for a specialty solution, consider the additional recommendations in this guide. And make sure to use the methodology we talked about as you make your final decision.


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