The Best Business Intelligence Software of 2021

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

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How We Chose the Best Business Intelligence Tools

Business intelligence (BI) tools are some of the newest and most exciting corporate software products that companies are using to transform their data analysis and reporting. To create this list of the best business intelligence tools, we evaluated companies based on what’s most important. For our list of business intelligence software tools, we based our recommendations on the quality of their analysis tools, artificial intelligence, and visualization capabilities.

Analysis Tools

Businesses can produce and collect more data than ever before, but that data doesn’t have much value if you’re not able to interpret what it means. Business intelligence tools should have analysis features such as trend indicators and predictive analytics. These powerful analytical tools can extract valuable insights from a massive volume of data. This helps users get relevant information in front of decision makers quickly and efficiently.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) may sound futuristic, but many BI tools are already incorporating this technology to take their analysis to the next level. Features such as data mining and machine learning make business intelligence tools much more powerful. Some BI tools even have virtual assistants to simplify searching, make suggestions, and alert users to important changes in their data.


Business intelligence tools should be able to generate charts, graphs, and infographics that make it easier for the user to understand their and present their data. Tools that include components like drag-and-drop functionality, interactive dashboards, and scorecards with customized graphics make presentations more effective and keep clients happy. Some BI tools also have collaboration modules that make it simpler for users to share and comment on their data visualizations for improved teamwork.

The 15 Best Business Intelligence Tools of 2021

CompanyPriceFree Trial / DemoVisit
Clear AnalyticsStarts at $39.99/userFree trialVisit Clear Analytics
datapineStarts at $249/monthFree trialVisit datapine
DomoCustom quoteDemoVisit Domo
DundasCustom quoteDemoVisit Dundas
Entrinsik InformerCustom quoteDemoVisit Entrinsik Informer
LOOKERCustom quoteDemoVisit LOOKER
MicroStrategyCustom quoteDemoVisit MicroStrategy
QlikViewCustom quoteDemoVisit QlikView
SAP BusinessObjects$14,000/year/10 usersFree trialVisit SAP BusinessObjects
SAS Business IntelligenceStarts at $8,000/yearFree trialVisit SAS Business Intelligence
Sisense$17,000/yearFree trialVisit Sisense
SpotfireStarts at $650 per year per userFree trialVisit Spotfire
TableauStarts at $70/month/userFree trialVisit Tableau
YELLOWFIN BIStarts at $50/month/userFree trialVisit YELLOWFIN BI
Zoho AnalyticsBasic: $25/month
Standard: $50/month
Premium: $125/month
Enterprise: $495/month
Free trialVisit Zoho Analytics

Clear Analytics

Clear Analytics offers a relatively budget-friendly business intelligence tool that may be a good choice for companies just getting started with incorporating data analytics into their business plan. The tool integrates directly with Microsoft Excel, a program many employees will already be familiar with, as well as Microsoft Power BI, a common business analytics service.

Although it’s not as well-stocked with analytical features as some of the other candidates we evaluated, the Clear Analytics tool provides improved data aggregation and up-to-date data on demand. Clear Analytics also offers a 30-day free trial, a free demo, and consultation with a data specialist so you can test it out before committing to a monthly fee.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
Starts at $39.99/month/userFree trial>Compatible with Windows devices
>Phone, email and online support during business hours
>Integrates with Microsoft Excel and Power BI
>More features at Clear Analytics

Pros & Cons of Clear Analytics Business Intelligence Tool
The Clear Analytics Business tool is a basic, user-friendly BI tool that allows small businesses to do more with programs they already know how to use for a budget-friendly price. Although it doesn’t have all the features of other options on our list, it can help users create reports, data visualizations and dashboards without needing programming experience or extensive training. Though it doesn’t have mobile or cloud access, its ease of use and price point make it a good program for smaller businesses or those just starting to explore how BI can help them improve.

>Works well with Excel and Power BI
>Price and ease of use well-suited for small businesses
>No mobile access
>No cloud access

What Customers Are Saying
Clear Analytics customers seem satisfied with how user-friendly this BI tool is. One customer said, “Clear Analytics is very easy to use. It does not require programming or IT expertise to create custom dashboards and queries in minutes.” Other users were pleased with how well this BI tool works with Excel, with one saying, “We found this to be a great way to delve into our data with minimal effort and maximum reward. Because it functions as a bolt on to Excel, it allowed us to easily manipulate our data, create reports, dashboards and KPIs without learning another software.”


If you’re looking for a business intelligence tool that excels when it comes to visualization and presentation features, datapine is a good choice. The datapine tool allows users to merge multiple data sets without restructuring a database or setting up a data warehouse. Plus, it has multiple sharing and presentation options, including dashboards customized by industry type. These dashboards can be easily shared with others via a link or incorporated into a presentation using the datapine Presentation Mode option. If you want to give datapine a try before committing to the monthly fee, a free trial and demo are both available.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
Starts at $249/monthFree trial and demo>Web-based, cloud, SaaS, and iOS deployment options, plus compatibility with Windows and Mac devices
>Online, phone, and email support during business hours
>Integrates with Azure, Zendesk, Salesforce and Dropbox
>More features at datapine

Pros & Cons of datapine Business Intelligence Tool
For a lower-priced option, the datapine BI tool has an impressive amount of functionality. It’s widely compatible with multiple systems for easy access and integrates with several popular third-party products to make merging data from multiple sources simple. However, it doesn’t offer data mining or collaboration tools.

>Integrates with multiple third-party products
>Rich features set
>No data mining or collaboration tools

What Customers Are Saying
Considering that datapine is a more budget-friendly BI tool than some of the others on our list, its customers seem very satisfied with what the tool can do. One user commented, “They provide flexibility and performance speed that we’re really satisfied with, and I have to say the software delivered more than we expected.” Another user shared, “In general, it made my reporting practices way more efficient and interactive, and I got really good feedback (internally and externally).”


Domo offers a powerful business intelligence tool that includes predictive analytics, data visualization, data mining and collaboration features. Ideal for companies with a remote or mobile workforce, Domo can be accessed over the internet or cloud from anywhere. Users can even access Domo using an iOS or Android smartphone or tablet. Domo offers 24/7 support and integrates with other common business software services, like CallRail, Ally, ClickPoint and Zendesk, to make analyzing collected data fast and easy. Though Domo doesn’t publicly disclose its pricing, a free demo is available for those who want to see it in action.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
Custom quoteDemo>Web-based, cloud, SaaS, iOS and Android compatible
>24/7 live representative service and online customer portal
>Integrates with CallRail, Ally, Clickpoint and Zendesk
>More features at Domo

Pros & Cons of Domo Business Intelligence Tool
Domo’s BI tool boasts multiple features that competitors lack, including data mining, predictive analysis, profitability analysis and trend indicators. The fact that it integrates with multiple third-party products makes gathering data from different sources easier. It’s also widely compatible with different systems, making it more convenient for remote workers or business travelers.

>24/7 customer support
>Feature-heavy BI tool
>Good data visualization tools
>Pricing isn’t listed online

What Customers Are Saying
The real test for a BI tool is whether it can deliver truly valuable insights instead of just aggregating data. According to its customers, Domo definitely delivers when it comes to business-changing insights. One user said, “We can see analytics we could never see before. We can understand our business in a way we never could before. We honestly don’t know what we’d do without Domo at this point. It’s fantastic.” Other users praised Domo’s ease of use and accessibility, with one commenting, “This software is extremely flexible and user friendly. Our users can access data from their phones or anywhere with an internet connection.”


Heavy on features, Dundas offers a fully programmable end-to-end analytics tool that’s capable of processing large amounts of data to help companies gain valuable insights and make important informed decisions. The Dundas business intelligence tool can be used on any Windows computer or accessed online or through the cloud. It integrates with Microsoft Azure, Salesforce, Xplenty and the ubiquitous Google Docs to make pulling data from these sources seamless. Dundas conveniently offers both a personalized demo of its BI tool, which is used by more than 1,000 companies worldwide.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
Custom quoteDemo>Compatible with Windows installation and web-based, cloud, or SaaS deployment
>Online customer support during business hours
>Integrates with Microsoft Azure, Salesforce, Xplenty and Google Docs
>More features at Dundas

Pros & Cons of Dundas Business Intelligence Tool
The Dundas BI tool is meant to be widely applicable, not just for BI professionals but for corporate executives and other businesspeople. Some programming experience is helpful to get the most out of this tool, but many of its features, including dashboard creation and reporting, are easy to use even for novices. Although it doesn’t make its pricing transparent, you can request a free demo, which will show the platform and its pricing model.

>No programming experience needed to create dashboards
>Live data updates for up-to-the-minute reporting
>Multiple third-party integrations for easier data aggregation
>Pricing isn’t listed online

What Customers Are Saying
The Dundas BI tool is easy to use even for end users, although developers can make the program’s capabilities really shine. One user said, “Dundas BI is very easy to use and intuitive. For simple reports, almost everything works right out of the box. For advanced usage, the API’s available are astounding.” Another user commented, “There are so many features to this software that we learn new tricks every time we work with it, but you don’t have to learn everything to start providing value to your customers.”

Entrinsik Informer

More than 3000 companies worldwide have chosen Entrinsik’s BI tool Informer to help them gain a competitive edge through better data analysis. Although it lacks predictive analytics and data mining tools, Informer allows users to integrate data across multiple sources, including enterprise applications, traditional databases, cloud data, unstructured data from across the web and spreadsheets. Entrinsik is compatible with both Windows and Mac computers and can be accessed using the cloud. Entrinsik also offers a free demo as well as on-site, personalized training to help users get comfortable with the program quickly.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
Custom quoteFree Trial/Demo>Installs on Mac or Windows devices and has Web, cloud and SaaS deployment
>Online, phone and email customer support during business hours
>Integrates with Box
>More features at Entrinsik Informer

Pros & Cons of Entrinsik Informer Business Intelligence Tool
While Entrinsik Informer isn’t quite as stacked with capabilities as some of the other options on our list, it’s still a robust system that’s widely compatible with a variety of operating systems. It includes features like trend indicators and profitability analysis and has great data-gathering and reporting abilities. Plus, the on-site training option is really helpful for getting all your employees up and running with the program at one time. The more confident your employees feel about how to use the program, the better return you’ll get on your investment.

>Includes trend indicators
>Permits ad-hoc reporting
>Compatible with both Mac and Windows computers
>Pricing isn’t listed online

What Customers Are Saying
Entrinsik Informer’s customers are pleased with how much this BI tool helps them with their everyday tasks. Users enjoy being able to create jobs and schedule them to run on specific days and times automatically. One user had nothing but praise for Informer, saying, “It has been a fantastic tool that has allowed me to more effectively and efficiently perform the duties of my job.”


Looker is one of the most versatile BI tools currently available. It can provide real-time dashboards and custom applications designed for the purposes each user prioritizes. It also helps companies better use what they already have by integrating with a ton of other tools, including Zendesk, Salesforce, Slack, MailChimp and Dropbox. Plus, since it recently became part of Google Cloud, it works seamlessly with other Google BI tools, like Google BQML, BigQuery, Cloud Spanner, Cloud SQL and Dataproc, which allows you to run Spark and Hadoop directly on the Google Cloud platform.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
Custom quoteDemo>Web-based, cloud and SaaS deployment
>Online, phone and email customer support during business hours with support ticketing system
>Integrates with Zendesk, Salesforce, Slack, Mailchimp and Dropbox
>More features at LOOKER

Pros & Cons of Looker Business Intelligence Tool
With its ability to integrate with multiple third-party products as well as its compatibility with Google’s BI tools, Looker offers customers tons of data-gathering and reporting capability. Though its pricing is a mystery until you have your demo, the good collaboration tools and ease of access through Google Cloud make Looker one to “look into.” Looker also excels when it comes to ad-hoc reporting and customization for users who prefer to have total control over their data.

>Good collaboration tools
>Ad-hoc reporting
>Pricing isn’t listed online

What Customers Are Saying
Customers enjoy the ability to fully customize their data and reporting using Looker. One reviewer shared, “Looker gives you absolute control over your data and allows the democratization of data exploration and analysis. There are tools that I have checked previously that offer the same level of visibility but none of them offer the amount of control that Looker offers its users.” Another user commented that Looker had helped him become better at his job, stating, “If you use it intelligently, it can be a help boost your business as well as your performance.”


MicroStrategy offers a versatile BI tool with solid capabilities. It can be installed on any Windows or Mac machine or accessed through the web or cloud. It offers 24/7 customer service and integrates with several popular programs, including Salesforce and Microsoft 365, to help customers pull data from those sources seamlessly. It doesn’t utilize machine learning and is slim when it comes to collaboration tools, but otherwise MicroStrategy’s product has many great features, including data visualizing, ad-hoc reporting and profitability analysis.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
Custom quoteDemo>Installs on Mac or Windows devices and has Web-based, cloud and SaaS deployment
>24/7 live representative customer support available with online, phone and email options
>Integrates with Salesforce, Microsoft 365, MongoDB and Phrazor
>More features at MicroStrategy

Pros & Cons of MicroStrategy Business Intelligence Tool
MicroStrategy’s BI tool has several features that competitors lack, including profitability analysis and trend indicators. It also offers 24/7 customer service, which can be very helpful for companies with offices in more than one location or remote workers. And although its pricing isn’t disclosed, MicroStrategy does offer a free demo for those who want to make sure it’s a good fit before committing to the product.

>24/ 7 customer service
>Includes trend indicators and predictive analytics
>Integrates with multiple third-party platforms
>Pricing isn’t listed online
>Few collaboration tools

What Customers Are Saying
Customers seem to really like MicroStrategy’s ability to integrate with third-party applications. One customer even said it was his favorite thing about the software, stating, “It has [the ability] to bring in multiple different sources from multiple different data types and allow the user to use them and present them in a way that is easily understandable.” Users also praised MicroStrategy’s extensive list of features and commitment to data integrity, with one saying, “Really good in maintaining data structures and hierarchy to ensure data integrity and consistency. Capable to do almost anything that other competitors have.”


QlikView’s BI tool is designed to go beyond helping customers create better visualizations or aggregate data. Its goal is to transform the workplace by developing a data-driven culture that motivates users to create actionable data and insights. The idea is that consulting data will become totally integrated into the company’s way of thinking. One way QlikView encourages this culture is by making the tool fully accessible through the cloud without the need to download or install software. The tool also seems to be relatively user-friendly, permitting users to quickly and easily associate multiple data sources and drag and drop data to create fully interactive, customized analytics apps. Though it doesn’t include predictive analysis or data mining tools, QlikView is considered a leader in the BI field and is used by more than 50,000 customers worldwide.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
Custom quoteDemo>Installs on Mac or Windows devices and has Web-based, cloud and SaaS deployment
>Integrates with Salesforce, Dataddo, Xplenty and Mobisoft
>24/7 customer support with live representative available and phone, email and online options
>More features at QlikView

Pros & Cons of QlikView Business Intelligence Tool
While QlikView lacks the functionality that other tools on our list offer, it makes the capabilities it does have easy and satisfying to use. It also offers 24/7 customer support to help keep users productive.

>Ease of use
>24/7 customer support
>Pricing isn’t listed online
>No installed software options

What Customers Are Saying
QlikView users are satisfied with how user-friendly this BI tool is, with one customer stating, “I liked how it was easy to make your own query from ad-hoc reporting tools. All available fields were there.” Other reviewers noted that QlikView can produce even better results when used by properly-trained developers. One customer praised the tool, saying, “QlikView is an excellent tool for data visualization. Developers can create intuitive solutions with relative ease.”

SAP BusinessObjects

With over 200 million cloud users, SAP can rightfully call itself the world’s number one cloud business software company. It’s also considered a leader in the industry with multiple BI tools available, including the SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Suite. This suite of tools is accessible using almost any device, including smartphones and tablets, and features 24/7 live support. It integrates with several other applications to make data gathering easier and performs well when it comes to generating reports and creating data visualizations.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
$14,000/year/10 usersFree trial>Web-based, cloud, SaaS, iOS and Android deployment
>Integrates with
TACTIC, Toucan Toco, Zoho Expense and Qliktag Platform
>24/7 live support with email, chat, phone and expert options
>More features at SAP BusinessObjects

Pros & Cons of SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Tool
Customers can access SAP BusinessObjects from almost any device, making it a great choice for companies with lots of business travelers or remote workers. Its 24/7 customer service is also helpful for companies with locations in multiple time zones. However, it’s cost is high, which means it may not be the right choice for small to medium-sized businesses.

>Accessible from almost any device
>Great customer support
>Flexible and scalable platform
>High annual cost

What Customers Are Saying
Customers who use SAP BusinessObjects often compliment its reporting capabilities. They also mention how easy it is to collect data from multiple sources using this tool, with one customer calling it a “game-changer” for his company. Users also seem impressed with the large amounts of data this tool can handle quickly, even from multiple sources, with one calling it, “Fast, robust and compatible with third-party integrations.”

SAS Business Intelligence

SAS Business Intelligence is a suite of BI tools designed for large companies that need to process large amounts of data, often from multiple sources. SAS is a leader in the BI field and offers one of the most widely-adopted BI platforms. It continues to improve its tools with new machine learning features that provide automated analysis and natural language explanations. It has future-facing analysis capabilities, with features like trend indicators and predictive analysis, and boasts some of the best data visualization tools in the industry. Though SAS is somewhat pricier than other options on our list, its perks like excellent collaboration tools and 24/7 customer support may make it worthwhile, especially for bigger companies.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
Starts at $8,000/yearFree trial>Web-based, cloud, SaaS, iOS and Android deployment on any Windows or Mac device
>24/7 customer service with live representative, online, phone and email support options
>Ad-hoc reporting
>More features at SAS Business Intelligence

Pros & Cons of SAS Business Intelligence Tool
SAS Business Intelligence is a powerful suite of tools that can help large corporations wrangle and analyze huge amounts of data. Although pricey, it’s widely compatible with multiple systems and has mobile apps that make it easy to use anywhere. Interactive visualizations and collaboration modules help enable teamwork on big group projects, even across multiple offices.

>Designed for large businesses
>Collaboration module allows multiple users to work on the same projects
>More expensive than other options
>Requires training to get the full benefit from this program

What Customers Are Saying
Users praise SAS Business Intelligence for its ability to handle reams of data in an effective and efficient way. One user shared, “Great for big data and business intelligence in the workplace. Given the evolving need for data mining, this product lets us analyze data in very intelligent ways.” Other customers appreciate how this BI tool has saved them time and made their reporting more accurate. One customer commented, “SAS has enhanced our metrics reporting by streamlining repeating processes. We’ve saved time and increased accuracy by building reports that run themselves.”


Though pricier than some other options on our list, Sisense offers one of the most well-rounded BI tools available today. Sisense performs on a hybrid-cloud platform with technology that makes it easy to mashup data from multiple sources and create analytic apps. These apps can include useful features, like interactive dashboards and self-service analytics. It integrates with commonly used services, including Zendesk, Salesforce, Slack, Gmail and Box to make pulling data from all those sources simple. It also provides future-facing features, like trend indicators and predictive analytics with great reporting and visualization tools, while utilizing powerful data mining and machine learning capabilities.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
$17,000/yearFree trial>Web-based, cloud, SaaS, iOS and Android deployment or install on any Windows machine
>Online and support during business hours with ticketing system
>Integrates with Zendesk, Salesforce, Slack, Gmail and Box
>More features at Sisense

Pros & Cons of Sisense Business Intelligence Tool
Though its annual fee makes it appear more expensive than some other BI tools, Sisense may be worth the money for companies looking for a product that checks all the functionality boxes or that want availability for a large number of users. Though it doesn’t offer 24/7 customer support, it still has one of the highest overall ratings for customer satisfaction in the BI industry. It integrates with multiple third-party products and has powerful artificial intelligence-driven features, like data mining and machine learning, that some competitors lack.

>Powerful suite of capabilities including data mining and machine learning
>High customer satisfaction
>More expensive than other tools
>No 24/7 customer support

What Customers Are Saying
Customers have made very positive comments in their reviews about Sisense. One user declared, “Sisense is a fantastic tool that rivals just about any other name in the game.” More specifically, customers seemed very satisfied with how easy it was to create customized dashboards, reports and apps with Sisense. One customer shared, “It makes it the perfect tool to quickly set up added value dashboards and begin your shift towards understanding your data. Sisense is also easy to embed and therefore makes it easy to provide our users with self-service analytics.”

Tibco Spotfire

Tibco’s Spotfire BI tool incorporates the power of built-in artificial intelligence to create efficient recommendations and faster searching. Spotfire can be used to create everything from board metrics to predictive applications and real-time analytics applications. Heavy on features, Spotfire delivers numerous capabilities at scale, including visual analytics, data wrangling, predictive analytics and streaming analytics. One unique feature that Spotfire offers is an emphasis on location analytics. It offers multilayer maps, geocoding and reverse geocoding to help users visualize geographic data and create custom maps and charts. It also provides 24/7 customer support and a free trial.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
Starts at $650/year/userFree trial>Web-based, cloud, SaaS, iOS deployment or install on any Windows machine
>Global 24/7 support with phone, online, expert and support portal options
>Integrates with Smartsheet
>More features at Tibco Spotfire

Pros & Cons of Tibco Spotfire Business Intelligence Tool
Tibco’s Spotfire is a high-powered BI tool with some unique features and great customer support. Its location analytics tools make it a standout choice for companies like logistics businesses that need to visualize data using a geographic component. It also has 24/7 customer support, which is useful for larger companies that have multiple offices in different time zones.

>Feature-heavy tool with unique perks, like location analytics and streaming analytics
>24/7 customer support
>Features are more limited for lowest priced plan

What Customers Are Saying
Spotfire users love the wide variety of options this BI tool offers. One user shared, “There are so many robust options and metrics that are at your disposal and once you master the tool, it can really help take your reporting to the next level.” Other customers praised Spotfire’s efficiency, with one saying, “I love that Spotfire is able to process large file sizes extremely quickly, which means filtering millions of rows in seconds and making it easy to find and sort filter options.”


Tableau is unique in the BI world because it markets its business intelligence tool not only to companies or analysts and data scientists but to individuals, including teachers, students and business owners. Consequently, Tableau places an emphasis on intuitive, user-friendly interfaces and visualization tools with a wide range of applications. However, just because it’s designed to be used by people outside the BI field doesn’t mean it lacks features; Tableau has trend indicators, predictive capabilities, data mining and profitability analysis, along with useful collaboration tools. Owned by Salesforce, Tableau offers lots of features for a relatively budget-friendly monthly starting price.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
Starts at $70/month/user
(Billed annually)
Free trial>Web-based, cloud, SaaS, iOS and Android deployment or install on any Windows or Mac machine
>Online, email and phone support during business hours with standard, extended and premium support options available
>Integrates with Integrify, Raima Database Manager, ActivTrak and Ally
>More features at Tableau

Pros & Cons of Tableau Business Intelligence Tool
Tableau stands out because it’s easy to learn and use even for non-BI professionals. It has very nice data visualization tools that help users create impressive reports and presentations. Tableau manages to offer a robust list of features for a relatively budget-friendly price. Perks like trend indicators, predictive capabilities and powerful data mining abilities make Tableau a very versatile BI tool for a wide variety of businesses.

>Designed for even non-BI experts to use
>Lots of features for a budget-friendly monthly price
>No monthly billing available

What Customers Are Saying
Users focus on Tableau’s excellent visualization capabilities when reviewing this BI tool. One user said, “Tableau has great tools to visualize the data. The quality and variety of graphics that can be created with Tableau is vast and that’s the best part of it and its competitive strength.” Another commented, “It makes really nice looking dashboards and views that can wow executives.” Other users also appreciated Tableau’s data mining capabilities, with one commenting, “It is very good to do some data mining on your data. We’ve used it on corporate data for performance improvement and it was a huge help.”

Yellowfin BI

Yellowfin BI is a simple but powerful BI tool. It incorporates five different products — Dashboards, Data Discovery, Signals, Data Storytelling and Data Prep — into one AI-powered business intelligence suite. Yellowfin BI allows users to monitor their data constantly using threshold-based alerts or Yellowfin Signals. This automatic monitoring frees up workers who would otherwise be performing manual analysis and permits business operators to instantly know when important changes to data occur. Yellowfin BI also has features like Stories and Present which allow both analysts and business users to create data stories and presentations for management. Starting at only $50 per user per month, Yellowfin BI is one of the more budget-friendly options on our list. It also offers a 30-day free trial and a free walk-through, so prospective customers can try it out before making a monthly commitment.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures
Starts at $50/month/userFree trial>Web-based, cloud, SaaS, iOS and Android deployment or install on any Windows or Mac machine
>24/7 online or email support with live representative and online support portal
>Integrates with SAP Business One, Microsoft's Azure, Zendesk and Salesforce
>More features at YELLOWFIN BI

Pros & Cons of Yellowfin BI Business Intelligence Tool
Yellowfin BI’s strength lies in easy-to-use analysis, reporting and presentation tools. Its user-friendly interface makes it simple for even non-BI professionals to get started with the program, quickly and easily. And at only $50 per user per month, this BI tool doesn’t break the bank for smaller businesses that want to ease into the analytics field without making a big financial commitment. The only downside is that, according to some users, the software is not easily customized.

>Good reporting and presentation tools
>Easy to monitor data automatically and be instantly notified of important changes
>User- and budget-friendly tool
>Software is not easily customized

What Customers Are Saying
Customers love how easy Yellowfin BI is to use and that they don’t have to provide special training for their clients in order to share reports. One user said, “This program was very easy to setup and use. Within a few hours, we were working.” Customers are also pleased that this BI tool can be used on multiple platforms and find it to be a worthwhile business expense, with one customer sharing, “The fact that the program is usable on both Mac and PC makes it a great option. The program is certainly worth the cost.”

Zoho Analytics

Zoho Analytics stands out from other BI companies on our list due to its flexible pricing options, which start at just $25 per month. While it’s not as powerful as some of the other BI tools presented here, since it lacks trend indicators and data mining, it still boasts lots of features, like predictive analysis tools, and the ability to create ad-hoc reports, profitability analysis and collaboration tools. Zoho also makes it easy to import and blend data and create great-looking reports and other visualizations for presentations and company documents.

PriceFree Trial / DemoFeatures

Basic: $25/month
Standard: $50/month
Premium: $125/month
Enterprise: $495/month
Free trial>Web-based, cloud, SaaS, iOS and Android deployment or install on any Windows machine
>Customer portal with live chat and phone options; varying amounts of support based on plan (8 hours x 5 days for Classic,
24 hours x 5 days for Premium,
24 hours x 7 days for Enterprise plus extra support tools for Enterprise plan members)
>Integrates with Microsoft's Azure, Salesforce, Dropbox and Pipedrive
>More features at Zoho Analytics

Pros & Cons of Zoho Analytics Business Intelligence Tool
Zoho Analytics allows users to share reports with its easy-to-use collaboration tools, whether they’re in the same office or working remotely. Users can comment on the reports directly to create efficient conversations. While it doesn’t have all the heavy-hitting features of some of the other BI tools out there, like trend indicators, Zoho’s flexible pricing framework can allow even small businesses to take advantage of useful BI technology.

>Flexible pricing
>Useful collaboration and visualization tools
>No trend indicators

What Customers Are Saying
Users like Zoho’s practical abilities to generate useful reports and gain valuable insights from their data. One user commented, “The tool has been very helpful in generating project reports, integrating data and allowing our operation team to gain greater insight into our client’s needs.” Another user appreciated the ability to personalize their dashboard, saying, “I love the fact that I can customize the views and what reports I’d like to see on my dashboard. This allows me to easily manage the stats of my sales team.”

What Are Business Intelligence Tools?

Business intelligence (BI) tools are specialized software products designed to collect and process large amounts of data from a wide variety of sources. These sources can include documents, spreadsheets, images, records, emails, and many other business sources. They also commonly have features to help prepare data for further analysis so that customers can create reports, data visualizations, customized apps, and up-to-date dashboards. For companies, BI tools are a valuable resource that can help them become more organized, improve efficiency, identify market trends, improve decision making, and gain important insights that may give them a competitive edge.

BI tools can vary greatly when it comes to complexity and features. The simplest ones are basically bolt-on applications that work with a company’s existing programs to better organize and visualize data. Other tools are more complex and include features like data mining, predictive analytics, and machine learning to help businesses do more complicated data analysis. A good BI tool also includes methods for improved reporting and customized dashboards, scorecards, and presentations with easy-to-understand visuals.

Benefits of Business Intelligence Tools

Companies choose to use BI tools because they understand that better, faster, and more accurate access to data can help them make better decisions. BI tools provide multiple benefits to help companies achieve this goal, including:

  • Better data quality and access.BI tools can improve reporting, analysis, planning and data quality. BI tools prevent information from becoming siloed in one area and allow data to be gathered from multiple sources to gain a more complete picture of what’s going on throughout an organization.
  • Improved coordination. Departments throughout a company can access the same data at one time and be on the same page for important meetings or presentations. When leaders can gain company-wide insights and coordinate their decision-making in this way, it’s easier to identify problems as well as areas of opportunity.
  • Better presentations.BI tools help users present data in a more appealing way, thanks to features like ad-hoc reporting, customized dashboards and data visualization. Better reports and visuals improve information sharing internally as well as with clients. Impressive, professional graphics and interactive visuals can make a strong, positive impression on both new and existing customers.
  • Happier, more efficient employees.BI tools can help organizations become more efficient. Because they simplify data management and reduce the workload on IT and analytics teams, they also contribute to improved employee satisfaction.

Must-Have Features for Business Intelligence Tools

BI tools can come with lots of different features. When you’re comparing products, it can be difficult to figure out which ones you really need. Each workplace has to examine its own goals, needs and budget to narrow down the list to the best choices.  However, for a BI tool that transforms your workplace, look for products that have at least some of these features:

  • Analysis tools.A good BI tool should make gathering and analyzing data faster and more efficient. BI tools that integrate with third-party products your company already uses, like Excel, Salesforce, Zendesk and many others, make aggregating data from multiple sources easier. Once you’ve got all that data in one place, analysis tools, like trend indicators, predictive analytics and profitability analysis, are helpful for making sense of it. With these features, you can transform your data from information into insights. Many users comment that once they started using a BI tool it was like they truly understood their business for the first time.
  • Artificial intelligence.Artificial intelligence is becoming more common in our everyday lives, and it can make BI tools much more powerful too. Some AI-inspired features to look for when evaluating BI tools include virtual assistants, natural language searching capability, data mining and machine learning. BI tools with artificial intelligence features can even offer recommendations to company decision makers or issue alerts and notifications when they detect significant changes, like outliers or new patterns in data. Some AI-based features use natural language, which makes them easier to use since customers don’t need to be well-versed in programming to run queries or interpret results.
  • Visualization.Data is more meaningful when it’s presented in a way that makes it appealing to look at and easier to understand. A good BI tool will have multiple features that help users create functional and beautiful data visualizations. Examples include charts, graphs, reports and infographics. Some BI tools also feature visualization tools for making customized dashboards, apps and scorecards, as well as presentation and collaboration tools that make sharing and discussing data easier.

The Cost of Business Intelligence Tools

It’s hard to determine an industry average cost when it comes to BI tools. For one thing, many companies choose not to disclose their pricing. Some companies charge an annual amount while others charge a monthly fee. The fees may also vary based on the number of named users. All of these factors make cost comparison difficult.

To help our readers, we broke down the cost for each BI tool on our list that publishes its pricing information to determine what the monthly fee would be. The lowest-priced option on our list was around $40 per month and the highest-priced option was around $1,400. The average monthly cost is around $450, which is helpful as a benchmark when you consider some of the lower-priced monthly options charge on a per user basis. If you want your entire workforce to have access to your chosen BI tool, keep in mind that the cost can quickly add up based on the total number of users and determine your budget accordingly.

BI tools rarely offer free versions, and those that do often lack many of the useful features available in paid versions. However, many BI tools feature free trials or personalized demos. Companies should definitely take advantage of these when deciding which BI tool is best suited to help them achieve their goals.