The Best Business Intelligence Software of 2020

Our business intelligence software reviews are the result of over 40 hours of research on 50+ business intelligence software companies from across the web. These reviews and our business intelligence software guide help small businesses and startups find the best business intelligence software for their business.

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The Best Business Intelligence Software Companies of 2020

Best Business Intelligence Software Companies Badge

How We Chose the Best Business Intelligence Software

There are many companies offering business intelligence software and data analysis tools that can cost vastly different amounts and have various strengths and weaknesses. Some of these companies are more suitable for small businesses while others are capable of a much larger scope. In preparing this list, we evaluated each company on its data preparation tools, visual analytics and integrations with third-party systems.

Data Preparation Tools

One of the most important elements of any business intelligence software is its ability to process data efficiently and ultimately to help analysts make better decisions and recommendations. These tools can greatly improve outcomes and reduce the time needed for various analytic purposes, such as processing raw data into more readily available forms and weeding out unnecessary or erroneous information.

In most cases, self-service data preparation tools are available, which allows people of differing technical skills to make use of and manipulate data unassisted. Workflow and collaborative tools also help speed up and improve the overall system.

Visual Analytics

Charts, graphs and other useful methods of analyzing or presenting the relevant data were evaluated, and these data visualization tools were weighted fairly heavily in ranking the best business intelligence software. We evaluated the visual analytics capabilities for their range of abilities, ease of use and overall utility and for how well the software packages and presents the data.

Integrations

Data can be used in many ways and processed through many platforms and systems within a single business, and maintaining connectivity and data streams with all relevant parts of the business can greatly improve efficiency. As such, we evaluated providers on how well the software can be integrated with third-party systems, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) software.

The 12 Best Business Intelligence Software of 2020

CompanyPriceFree Trial/DemoMore
BoardCustom QuoteFree Trial/DemoVisit Board
ClicData$79/month/10 usersFree Trial/DemoVisit ClicData
CXAIR Platform$6,000/year/userFree Trial/DemoVisit CXAIR Platform
Domo$249/monthFree Trial/DemoVisit Domo
Dundas BICustom QuoteFree Trial/DemoVisit Dundas BI
LookerCustom QuoteFree Trial/DemoVisit Looker
MicroStrategyCustom QuoteFree Trial/DemoVisit MicroStrategy
Phocas Software$500/month/userFree Trial/DemoVisit Phocas Software
SAP BusinessObjects$14,000/year/10 usersNoneVisit SAP BusinessObjects
Sisense$17,000/yearFree Trial/DemoVisit Sisense
Tableau$70/month/userFree Trial/DemoVisit Tableau
Yellowfin$1,750/year packageFree Trial/DemoVisit Yellowfin

Board

Board
The all-in-one Board software gives business users access to intelligence, analytics and corporate performance management on the same platform, which can help raise efficiency levels and minimize compatibility issues between systems. While it’s capable of handling organizations of all sizes, including small businesses, it was initially developed for enterprise-level usage and many of its features are more suited to this larger scale.

Board is relatively user-friendly, particularly when considering the ground it covers and the depth of features, including analysis, monitoring, scorecarding and auditing. It’s also capable of predictive analytics and performing simulations based on selected criteria, and custom applications can be created with no coding or expert knowledge.

Many large businesses and organizations have used or are currently using the Board platform, such as the U.S. Navy, DHL, Nike, Puma and Mitsubishi. It’s a global company with a physical presence throughout the world, and it provides localized on-site training and customer support.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
UndisclosedFree Trial/Demo>Third-party integrations
>Self-service data preparation
>Publish & share reports
>More features at Board

Pros & Cons of Board Business Intelligence Software
Board allows businesses to perform in-depth predictive analytics directly from the platform. It can be installed on Windows machines or accessed by browser from any operating system, and via the dedicated mobile app. On the negative side, Board doesn’t provide API access and lacks automation in some areas.

ProsCons
>Predictive analytics tools
>Mobile app
>No API
>No automated systems

What Customers Are Saying
A client in real estate compliments Board on its power and speed in building the data models he needed and also enjoys how the software presents itself, saying, “With a logical and very visual interface, BOARD is a pleasant environment to work in, which enhances productivity.”

ClicData

ClicData
ClicData is intended for small businesses on up to midsize operations. The basic plan available for this software is priced within reach of almost all who need such a solution, and it’s also capable of scaling up to a significant degree at various price points. This tool allows for collaboration and access from all modern devices — with 10 user accounts provided in the basic plan — and its reports and dashboards can be shared outside of this team via embedding and other methods.

The basic pricing plan provides 5 to 10GB of cloud-based data storage, and small businesses with large amounts of data can store up to 8TB in a private database on the more expensive plans. These larger data warehouses are dedicated to individual clients, which means all resources are fully available to the client at all times, and come with security and backup features.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
$79/month/10 usersFree Trial/Demo>API access
>Third-party integrations
>Self-service data preparation
>More features at ClicData

Pros & Cons of ClicData Business Intelligence Software
ClicData is a web-based service that’s not limited to Windows or Mac and can be accessed via any modern browser or smartphone. The software has various automated systems and methods of analysis to discover trends. Phone support isn’t available outside of regular business hours.

ProsCons
>Automated systems
>No installation required
>Doesn't provide 24/7 phone support

What Customers Are Saying
A client who has been using ClicData for 6 months since switching from another platform is happy they did and adds, “It is straightforward to use and helpful.” Another small business user says this software is more accurate than the CRM used previously and says, “You can integrate with different databases and get complex calculations sorted and real-time data.”

CXAIR Platform

CXAIR-Platform
CXAIR Platform offers deep insight and analytics that are tailored to large businesses and organizations for the most part, including customized solutions for the finance, health care and retail sectors. It provides self-service data retrieval, transformation and analytics in a consolidated environment, with fast and efficient access to a central repository that combines structured and unstructured data.

The platform works well with teams, providing access control via privileges and roles, which makes it easier for separate departments of a business to collaborate and take advantage of data without compromising sensitive information. Administrators can provide all or certain roles with predetermined reports, dashboards and analytics that each intended role can then use as needed in making decisions and preparing presentations.

As an all-in-one solution, CXAIR Platform is designed as a replacement for multiple systems, including data management, visualization, reporting, dashboard and more.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
$6,000/year/userFree Trial/Demo>Third-party integrations
>In-person training
>Predictive analytics
>More features at CXAIR Platform

Pros & Cons of CXAIR Platform Business Intelligence Software
CXAIR Platform has a relatively long list of self-service data preparation features, including protections for sensitive data and other classification systems, and users are able to publish or share their results with ease. However, there is no mobile app or access to API.

ProsCons
>Extensive self-service features
>Publishing and sharing is made easy
>No API
>No mobile app

What Customers Are Saying
An information analyst at a large hospital says the live reports have been useful and adds, “We have managed to identify a large volume of products that are non-moving, thus allowing us to work collaboratively with clinical areas in decision making.” Others like the speed, with one saying, “Users can make a report out of it within minutes.”

Domo

Domo
Domo is a cloud-based platform that is designed on a large scale to meet the needs of enterprise-level organizations as well as small to midsize businesses. Current and previous clients include eBay, Cisco, National Geographic and ESPN, with usage in various departments such as marketing, consulting and digital analytics.

One of the strong points in the Domo platform is its automated processes — powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning — which helps monitor the data, discover possible opportunities and predict the outcome of various scenarios.

Data permissions can be customized for individual users or groups, allowing restricted access to sensitive data, and the internal system of publishing and sharing will only allow the appropriate users to see privileged reports. Businesses can also continue to use an existing system to manage the single sign-on (SSO) process with an x.509 certificate if preferred.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
UndisclosedFree Trial/Demo>Third-party integrations
>Predictive analytics
>Self-service data preparation
>More features at Domo

Pros & Cons of Domo Business Intelligence Software
Domo is a cloud-based service that can be accessed in any recent web browser or mobile device. It’s capable of using AI and ML in various automated features and applications. The default contract provides no support for custom solutions, and some add-ons are relatively expensive.

ProsCons
>No installation required
>Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)
>Live support 24/7
>Expensive add-ons
>Custom solutions are unsupported

What Customers Are Saying
One long-time user of Domo likes the cloud-based nature of the service and its ability to connect with other systems, saying, “Built in connectors allow for easy connections to major data sources.” Another user comments on the collaborative tools, saying, “It allows a communication flow between a work team through the private chats that it offers.”

Dundas BI


Dundas BI is built for enterprise organizations and software companies that require extensive customization options and the ability to work with current applications or other systems. It’s a web-based platform with API that makes integration relatively smooth, and it provides optional Windows installation.

The platform’s ability to adjust to a specific organization is one of its core benefits, which makes it a good fit in cases that require access to data by many users. Dundas BI can also be customized to help make it more accessible to users of varying technical expertise by simplifying elements as needed.

Dundas BI offers a free trial for 25 days, which includes full functionality across the platform and access to technical support. It also has some of the most in-depth live demonstrations and consultations that are customized to the needs of potential users. The company has offices in Canada and the United States.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
UndisclosedFree Trial/Demo>Third-party integrations
>API access
>Self-service data preparation
>More features at Dundas BI

Pros & Cons of Dundas BI Business Intelligence Software
Dundas BI is web-based, so it can be used via almost any modern device without installation, and it can also be installed on Windows PCs. The support team can provide in-person training or live demonstrations to new customers. However, the platform lacks automation.

ProsCons
>No installation required (Windows installation available)
>In-person training and live demos
>No automated systems

What Customers Are Saying
The self-service aspects of Dundas BI receive a lot of praise, with one client saying, “All in all, Dundas saved us a lot of time and our IT team is much happier.” Another client appreciated the onboarding process, adding, “The staff and support have been excellent.”

Looker

Looker
Looker is a cloud-based platform that can provide all-in-one capabilities from small business and upward, including intelligence, analytics and custom applications, or integrated with an existing system. The service is also available in a package more appropriate for enterprise-level usage — particularly for organizations that will require access by many users with low privileges — as it’s capable of providing unlimited view-only user accounts. This helps with collaboration and reduces the security risks associated with shared logins and unintended access to sensitive data.

The platform is also well-suited to organizations that have only one or few experienced data analysts while also requiring access and exploration capabilities for other employees with far less knowledge. In this case, the more capable data analysts can create views that are highly customized and tailored to each role. This is generally useful for removing clutter and unnecessary features from dashboards and other parts of the platform.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
UndisclosedFree Trial/Demo>Third-party integrations
>API access
>Self-service data preparation
>More features at Looker

Pros & Cons of Looker Business Intelligence Software
The enterprise service has many useful features for large teams of varying skill and experience in data analysis. All services are cloud-based and accessible from anywhere without installation. In-person training is available. On the negative side, there is a lack of automation at the base level.

ProsCons
>Large enterprise features
>No installation required
>In-person training
>No automated systems
>No predictive analysis

What Customers Are Saying
Many of Looker’s current clients appreciate the simplicity and accessibility of the platform, with one saying, “Looker is incredibly easy to use for a casual user, which most of our users are.” Another customer likes the flexibility, noting, “It could easily flex to accommodate whatever data you wanted to look at.”

MicroStrategy

MicroStrategy
MicroStrategy is an enterprise-level software and service that exclusively caters to enterprise business intelligence needs. It has an impressive list of clients in industries such as pharma, health care, governmental agencies and banking — including Commonwealth Bank, the largest financial services provider in the southern hemisphere — with features tailored to these and other large industries, as well as guides and documentation specifically for various roles.

It’s one of the few enterprise exclusive platforms, which has resulted in a very polished and robust product as well as support staff who know exactly what they’re talking about. The platform has also grown in scalability that maintains speed and minimizes resource usage with in-memory caching and other data processing features.

As a global service provider with customers worldwide, MicroStrategy has a very large and experienced support staff in multiple countries and time zones, with many professionals available for non-English assistance.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
UndisclosedFree Trial/Demo>Third-party integrations
>API access
>Self-service data preparation
>More features at MicroStrategy

Pros & Cons of MicroStrategy Business Intelligence Software
MicroStrategy’s face-to-face live support with experts via webcam is a step up from most competitors. In-person training is available in many locations worldwide. User identification, security and tracking features are relatively unique. It has no automation on platform.

ProsCons
>Live support with face-to-face video
>In-person training
>User identity and security features
>No automated systems
>No dedicated mobile app

What Customers Are Saying
A review of MicroStrategy from a data architect says it’s an in-depth platform, although expensive and adds, “The features it offers are among the most complete.” Other reviewers say it helps get things done fast, with one saying he can “add new data and objects in a matter of minutes into our production platform.”

Phocas Software

Phocas-Software
Phocas Software is a business intelligence and data analytics platform that can be accessed from anywhere via browser or installed on computers and mobile devices. It provides businesses with extensive self-service solutions that can scale to the needs of the business and its users while maintaining instant access to data in usable form.

The platform also helps individuals and teams collaborate, plan and remain unified, which makes it much easier for leaders to manage efficiency and performance while reducing errors from outdated, mismatched or otherwise unwanted data.

Phocas Software has an in-depth system of alerts and notifications that can help users catch opportunities they may have missed. These alerts and notifications, as well as the dashboards, can be customized and simplified to varying degrees based on the skill and experience of each team member. Leaders can deploy new customized dashboards and alerts instantly across the team or per-user.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
$500/month/userFree Trial/Demo>Third-party integrations
>API access
>Alerts and notifications
>More features at Phocas Software

Pros & Cons of Phocas Software Business Intelligence Software
Phocas Software is available as a web-based service or via optional installations on Windows, Mac, iPhone and Android. The software has predictive analytics tools as standard. It has no on-platform automation, although it integrates well via API.

ProsCons
>Web-based or Windows, Mac and mobile apps
>Predictive analytics tools
>No automated systems

What Customers Are Saying
A project manager at a building supply company says the business received significant gains from using Phocas and specifically adds, “This reduced our dependence on Excel reporting by around 60%.” Another claims over a decade using the software, saying, “We have used Phocas since 2008 and have always liked how fast we can generate reports.”

SAP BusinessObjects

sap
SAP BusinessObjects products can provide one of the most wide-ranging feature sets across many sectors and in organizations big and small, although the price may place it out of reach for some small businesses. It covers the traditional business intelligence and analytics requirements and includes self-service capabilities, exploration, visualization and more. Analytics can be hosted on site or accessed via cloud.

The suite of products and solutions available via the SAP platform are designed for connectivity and harmony between networks, systems and users, which increases efficiency and reduces the amount of irrelevant and unusable data floating around.

Another key point in favor of SAP BusinessObjects is the speed at which users can access, manipulate and make use of data from a centralized platform. Users have as much or as little flexibility and authority as needed, and views can also be pared down and simplified to suit individual skill levels and roles.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
$14,000/year/10 usersNone>Third-party integrations
>Self-service data preparation
>Multi-cloud
>More features at SAP BusinessObjects

Pros & Cons of SAP BusinessObjects Intelligence Software
SAP BusinessObjects can be accessed from anywhere via desktop or mobile without installation and has dedicated apps for iPhone and Android. The efficiency of automated processes is improved significantly with AI and ML. Documentation is available, but no in-person or online training is offered.

ProsCons
>No installation required
>Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)
>No training

What Customers Are Saying
One analyst at a computer software company likes SAP’s utility in many departments and in multiple worldwide locations as well as the monitoring that “crosschecks rules to ensure consistent reports.” Others praise the sharing, collaboration and team decision systems that helped with requirements.

Sisense

Sisense
Sisense is one of the most widely used business intelligence software and service providers, with many thousands of client companies ranging from startups to enterprise-level behemoths. The platform is used by well known names in various sectors, including Verizon, Nasdaq, Fujitsu and The Salvation Army. It’s also one of the most expensive options and consequently may not be appropriate for a small business that doesn’t require such scale.

The platform’s connectivity with other systems and relatively advanced API functionality make it easier for team leaders and others responsible for developing analytic apps. Sisense apps can then be embedded or used in some imaginative ways throughout the business. Likewise, the self-service analytics capability is designed to give data access as far and wide as needed among staff members while also maintaining control, security and accuracy over many terabytes of data.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
$17,000/yearFree Trial/Demo>Third-party integrations
>API access
>Self-service data preparation
>More features at Sisense

Pros & Cons of Sisense Business Intelligence Software
Sisense can be deployed on premise, in the cloud or hybrid and allows access via web browser, Windows and mobile devices. It has artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities right out of the box but lacks predictive analytics. Live support isn’t available at all times.

ProsCons
>No installation required
>Artificial Intelligence (AI)
>No 24/7 live support
>No predictive analytics tools

What Customers Are Saying
A recent reviewer says it’s a good platform that runs smoothly and adds, “Beautiful looking. Very clean and innovative.” Others comment on the security, with one saying, “What Sisense offers with the eCube concept is a perfect way to promote creative use of the data but still control sensitive information.”

Tableau

Tableau
Tableau is another big name in business intelligence and analytics that has been around since the early 2000s, and it’s also one of the most versatile in scope. It’s suitable for almost any organization from small businesses and startups to multinational enterprises.

Despite the scale and complexity of systems available, it’s relatively simple for business users of all skill levels to get what they need out of the data analysis and visual exploration tools. The views and ready-to-go data preparation tools, among other functions are set by administrators for each role, which can greatly simplify the process for inexperienced users.

Data scientists and analysts will most likely dive straight into the deeper end of Tableau, using its artificial intelligence and machine learning to discover hidden insights. The platform provides many enterprise-level features at an affordable cost for much smaller organizations, including governance with row-level permission options.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
$70/month/userFree Trial/Demo>Third-party integrations
>API access
>Predictive analytics tools
>More features at Tableau

Pros & Cons of Tableau Business Intelligence Software
Tableau is very flexible in its deployment and accessibility, with web-based access and optional installations on Windows and Mac and apps for mobiles. The artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) features increase productivity in many areas. Live support isn’t available outside of business hours.

ProsCons
>No installation required
>Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)
>No 24/7 live support

What Customers Are Saying
Many users comment on the aesthetic appeal, with one saying, “It makes really nice looking dashboards and views that can wow executives.” A business analyst in IT services agrees, saying, “It’s really liked by senior management as it shows each and every bit very clearly to relevant stake holders.”

Yellowfin

Yellowfin
Yellowfin is a full-featured business intelligence and analytics platform that is intended for use in a large enterprise and managed by experienced data analysts. At the enterprise level, the Yellowfin platform is tightly secured and governed to help ensure data security at scale and with many thousands of potential users with a dashboard tailored to their role.

The company also offers an embedded package that is designed for software companies and start-ups, which has more advanced APIs and other developer-friendly features. This embedded Yellowfin service is generally suited to developers and data analysts who are more confident than the typical business users and would like more control and flexibility.

Both of the Yellowfin platforms come with automated data discovery tools as standard as well as visual storytelling functionality and a set of analytics tools. The platforms can also monitor data in real-time to alert users or administrators of unexpected changes, outliers and more.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
$1,750/year package or custom quoteFree Trial/Demo>Third-party integrations
>API access
>Self-service data preparation
>More features at Yellowfin

Pros & Cons of Yellowfin Business Intelligence Software
Yellowfin can be hosted on premises or securely in the cloud while being accessible from any modern device or computer. The training options and documentation is a step above most competitors, including online and in-person training. However, the platform lacks its own predictive analysis tools.

ProsCons
>No installation required (optional apps and software)
>Extensive online/offline training and documentation
>No predictive analysis

What Customers Are Saying
One reviewer appreciates the online training they went through before taking the reins and adds, “Easy to setup (<4 hours), very cost effective for multiple users, easy to connect to any database.” Another customer has a similar story, claiming, “Within a few hours, we were working.”

What Is Business Intelligence Software?

Business intelligence software refers to a wide range of products relating to data storage, retrieval, preparation, analysis and visualization. These individual elements are most often packaged together into a larger platform that harmonizes each part of the system. Ultimately, the goal is for data scientists, analysts and regular business users to be able to explore and manipulate data, visualize it, create presentations or get whatever they need to inform their decisions.

This type of software and service can be fairly simple and affordable — with many options included in this list that are suitable even for very small businesses — but there are also quite a few options that are incredibly advanced and relatively expensive.

Some platforms take advantage of automation to a larger extent than others, using artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) to monitor live data and discover potential points of interest. Knowledge and experience is still very much necessary to know what signs to look for and whether they indicate opportunities or warnings. Fortunately, most platforms allow administrators to easily configure dashboards and views for business users who aren’t as experienced.

Benefits of Business Intelligence Software

Almost every small business, midsize organization and multinational enterprise can benefit from cleaner data and crisper insights.

  • Transform data to action. Data is digital gold, and there is money to be made in the mountains of information that many businesses fail to take advantage of. It needs to be sifted and polished first, and that’s part of what every good BI software platform does.
  • Predict the future. Business intelligence software is very rarely packaged without some form of integrated business analytics, which can help an experienced user spot emerging trends and make other predictions based on real evidence. It’s not set in stone, but it should greatly improve the accuracy of predictions for most users.
  • Organize people and teams. User accounts with different permissions and dashboards of varying complexity can be assigned to individuals and/or teams. This can help new users learn the important parts without the clutter and keeps sensitive data away from prying eyes and unintended access.
  • Efficiency gains. A finely tuned business intelligence software platform should increase efficiency levels in many ways, including speed, accuracy and overall system quality.

Must-Have Features for Business Intelligence Software

Small businesses with few or no experienced data analysts on staff will need to look for simplicity, code-free solutions and self-service data preparation tools. A larger organization or enterprise should also evaluate based on expected demand for IT assistance, ability to scale and user identity features.

  • Self-service tools. These are the features that IT departments dream about at night. Self-service tools do just as the name suggests: They allow business users with very little technical skills to access and use data to make presentations, solve problems and generally make their job easier.
  • User identity and security. Most businesses will get more out of the software by allowing more people to use it and by connecting with external systems. This makes it important to create and secure well-defined user accounts.
  • Dashboards and visualizations. The dashboard displays the key performance indicators (KPI) and other important data based on the individual assigned to it, and visualizations are just as the name suggests: visual representations of data, such as graphs and charts. All of the best business intelligence software platforms on this list have both features. There is no clear winner in either case because it’s largely a matter of preference, and they can be highly customized.

The Cost of Business Intelligence Software

Solutions for small businesses are available from many of the business intelligence platforms listed here. For those just stepping in to BI for the first time, there are price points starting at around $840 to $1,000 per year for basic functionality that provides usable results. In many small business scenarios, these more affordable options provide enough tools to grow without wasting money by paying for features that will never be used.

Enterprise-level platforms can easily cost $20,000 per year for the base service alone. All kinds of add-ons and services such as extra data storage, more user accounts and so on can increase this cost, although many of the business intelligence platforms for enterprise are packed with features by default.

Almost all of these companies on this list offer free demos and/or trials, and some will even assign support staff on the free trial accounts to sweeten the deal. We didn’t find any completely free forever platforms that were worth the time, so there are none in this list. BI software is a money maker in the right hands, so the trick is to find the right tool set for the business at a price point that can be justified.