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Corey Noles, Managing Editor
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Written by
Aron Vaughan, Staff Writer
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Corey Noles Avatar

Reviewed by
Corey Noles, Managing Editor
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What is business intelligence software?

Business intelligence (BI) software is any application that collects and processes large amounts of unstructured data from internal and external systems and prepares data for analysis. The software is generally used for querying and reporting complex business data. The ultimate goal of BI software is to drive better business decisions, increase revenue, improve operational efficiency, and gain competitive advantages.

Business intelligence tools gather data from various sources, such as databases, spreadsheets, and other business applications, and transform it into an understandable format for analysis. The software performs tasks such as data mining, forecasting, and reporting, as well as visualizing data through charts and graphs, allowing users to identify data trends and patterns. BI software also comes with reporting capabilities so users can create custom reports and presentations shareable with stakeholders.

  • Tableau: Best Business Intelligence Platform for data visualization 
  • Sisense: Best Business Intelligence Platform for embedded analytics
  • Snowflake: Best Business Intelligence Software for data warehousing
  • Qlik Sense: Best mobile BI software
  • Zoho Analytics: Best self-service BI software
  • IBM Cognos Analytics: Best Business Intelligence Platform for reporting and querying

Aug. 9, 2023: We added more visual elements to facilitate a better user experience and verified pricing for vendors.

Aug. 16, 2023: We revised, changed, and added vendor information.

Aug. 31, 2023: Updated vendor information including new features added since publication.

Sept. 7, 2023: Further clarified why we chose each software in our list.

At TechnologyAdvice, we assess a wide range of factors before selecting our top choices for a given category. To make our selections, we rely on our extensive research, product information, vendor websites, competitor research and first-hand experience. We then consider what makes a solution best for customer-specific needs. By defining business needs, we can determine the essential features organizations in various sectors require, and select platforms that will cover all bases. Reputable providers known for their ease of use and customer satisfaction are added to our compilation list for further analysis. We then evaluate each solution on the list based on the features they offer, considering the platform’s usability, integration capabilities, customization options, mobile access, and any other relevant functionalities. Price plans, hidden fees, customer reviews, and customer support are also assessed in the selection process. Technology Advice writers will often take advantage of free trials and demos to get a first-hand user experience of available software. Finally, we curate a comprehensive list based on the previously stated factors, ensuring readers have the necessary tools to make an informed decision.

What is the best Business Intelligence software?

Tableau: Best for data visualization


  • Efficiency in data visualization
  • User-friendly for beginners
  • Real-time data reflection
  • Extensive integration capabilities


  • Platform could benefit from more comprehensive manuals
  • Slow data loading reported

Tableau Public: This proprietary feature allows users to publish their data visualizations to the public, providing a platform for sharing and collaboration. It promotes transparency and broadens the reach of your insights, making data storytelling accessible to a wide audience.

Data Blending: Data blending allows users to combine data from multiple sources without the need for complex data warehouse solutions. This feature simplifies the process of analyzing disparate data, providing a comprehensive view of insights.

Hyper Engine: Tableau’s Hyper Engine is a high-performance in-memory data engine technology that helps businesses analyze large datasets at impressive speed. This feature ensures efficient data exploration and rapid extraction of insights, enhancing the overall user experience.

Free trial available

Free version available

Tableau Viewer: $15/user/month

Tableau Explorer: $40/user/month

Tableau Creator: $70/user/month

After delving deep into the realm of data visualization tools, I confidently settled on Tableau as my top choice. What truly sets Tableau apart is its intuitive drag-and-drop interface, which makes complex data visualization accessible to users without a technical background.

Its versatility in presenting data, from basic charts to intricate heat maps, coupled with its seamless integration capabilities with various data sources, make data analysis as simple as it can be. The real-time data insights offered by Tableau are invaluable for businesses aiming for prompt decision-making. Its emphasis on collaboration and helpful support community ensures that users have all the resources they need. Considering its scalability and the breadth of features, Tableau stands out as an unparalleled tool for data visualization.

Users can present data in the form of charts, graphs, and other visual representations with dashboards and visualization tools. It allows users to identify trends and patterns in data and make more informed decisions. 

Tableau, a leading data visualization BI tool, is designed to help businesses turn raw data into actionable insights. Its standout features include an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, real-time data analytics, and interactive dashboards that empower users to explore data in a user-friendly environment. Tableau’s Data Blending and Cross-Database Joins enable the combination of data from multiple sources, and its Tableau Public allows the sharing of data visualizations to a wider audience.

Sisense – Best for embedded analytics


  • Embedded analytics
  • In-Chip technology
  • Single-Stack system
  • Handles large datasets well


  • Requires SQL code knowledge to leverage fully
  • Resource intensive

ElastiCube Technology: ElastiCube is Sisense’s unique data architecture that allows for efficient handling of large and complex datasets. It provides high-speed, flexible data modeling capabilities that empower businesses to explore and manipulate data with ease.

In-Chip Analytics Engine: This is Sisense’s proprietary technology that processes data faster by maximizing CPU and disk usage. It allows businesses to generate insights and reports more rapidly, reducing the time taken from data to decision.

Sisense BloX: This feature allows users to create custom, actionable analytics applications directly within their dashboards. It goes beyond traditional visualizations, enabling users to interact with data in a more intuitiv

Free trial available

Starting at $25,000/year

Contact Sisense for a custom quote baes on your business needs

Sisense makes the list for its seamless integration with existing applications. The software’s unique ElastiCube and In-Chip Analytics technologies facilitate efficient handling and processing of large datasets. Sisense BloX allows users to create custom, actionable applications within dashboards, offering more than traditional visualizations. This blend of power, functionality, and customizability makes Sisense the prime choice for embedded analytics.

Embedded analytics tools use advanced algorithms to analyze large volumes of data and recognize trends and patterns that may not be immediately apparent. With data mining, predictive analytics, and prescriptive analytics, organizations can make decisions based on historical data. 

Sisense is a Business Intelligent platform designed to simplify complex data processes. Its embedded analytics capabilities offer seamless integration into existing business applications. 

The platform’s Elasticube technology handles large datasets, and its proprietary In-Chip technology enables speedy data processing. Its single-stack system facilitates end-to-end data management from extraction to visualization.

Snowflake – Best for data warehousing


  • Highly scalable
  • High-speed data processing and analytics
  • Data sharing capabilities
  • Support for diverse data


  • High cost
  • Complex query optimization
  • Limited native visualization

Unique Architecture: Snowflake’s distinct architecture, which separates storage and compute resources, allows for dynamic scalability. It can handle fluctuating data workloads efficiently, enabling businesses to pay only for resources they use.

Secure Data Sharing: Snowflake offers real-time, secure data sharing across different business units or even separate organizations. This feature eliminates the need for traditional data copying or transferring methods, enhancing data collaboration.

Zero-Copy Cloning: This proprietary feature allows for instant creation of copy data without occupying additional storage space. It enables rapid testing, development, and data recovery, thereby streamlining operations.

Free trial available

Starting from $23/month

Contact Snowflake for a custom quote based on your business needs

Snowflake emerged as the best data warehousing software solution due to its unique, scalable architecture that separates storage and compute, allowing businesses to handle diverse data workloads effectively.

Its secure, real-time data sharing feature enhances collaborative data analysis across different business units or even separate organizations. The platform’s ability to handle both structured and semi-structured data, coupled with proprietary features like Zero-Copy Cloning, makes it a flexible and efficient solution for modern data warehousing needs.

Data warehousing tools are designed to collect and store large volumes of data from multiple sources in a centralized location. These Business Intelligence solutions help businesses manage and access data more efficiently and bring a foundation for analytics and reporting.

Snowflake is a cloud-based data warehousing platform known for its scalability, performance, and ease of use. Leveraging a unique architecture that separates compute from storage, it allows businesses to dynamically handle diverse data workloads with ease. With native support for both structured and semi-structured data, Snowflake simplifies data engineering tasks. Its secure data sharing feature enables real-time, hassle-free sharing of live data across organizations.

Qlik Sense – Best mobile BI software


  • Associative data model
  • Powerful visualization tools
  • Self-service analytics
  • Mobile BI


  • Limited alerting mechanisms for failed tasks
  • Limited development and updates compared to competitors

Associative Engine: Qlik Sense’s unique Associative Engine dynamically calculates analytics and highlights data relationships, enabling users to explore data freely without being limited by pre-aggregated data or predefined queries.

Guided Analytics: With Qlik Sense’s guided analytics applications and dashboards, users can drill down data for in-depth analysis, facilitating informed decision-making. This feature provides a structured application or dashboard layout for specific data exploration tasks.

Mobile BI Tool: Qlik Sense ensures a seamless, fully interactive mobile BI experience, allowing users to generate insights, explore data, and collaborate on-the-go. It optimizes apps for both smartphones and tablets, ensuring data accessibility at all times.

Free trial available

Qlik Sense Business: $30/user/month

Enterprise SaaS: Contact Qlikview for a custom quote based on your business needs

Qlik Sense effectively bridges the gap between data and decision-making, wherever you are. The platform’s powerful combination of associative data analytics and mobile optimization make it a top choice. 

Qlik Sense’s Associative Engine enables users to explore data relationships freely without constraints of pre-aggregated data or predefined queries. Additionally, its fully interactive mobile BI experience is optimized for both tablets and smartphones, ensuring easy access to data and collaboration tools on-the-go.

As the name suggests, mobile BI software lets users access and analyze data on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. This type of business intelligence software can be particularly useful for sales teams and field workers.

Qlik Sense, formerly QlikView, is a BI platform offering associative data analytics, enabling businesses to uncover hidden data trends and patterns. It’s powered by Qlik’s unique Associative Engine, delivering dynamic, click-driven dashboards and guided analytics applications. A standout feature is its “alternate states” function, facilitating comparative analysis of multiple datasets within a single view. Qlik Sense is particularly adept in offering a fully interactive mobile BI experience, enabling users to explore data, generate insights, and collaborate on-the-go with optimized apps for both tablets and smartphones.

Zoho Analytics – Best self-service BI software


  • User-friendly AI assistant
  • Top-notch collaboration tools
  • Advanced analytics
  • Scalability
  • Competitive pricing


  • Overly technical/unclear documentation and assistance videos
  • Inconsistencies in reporting functionality reported

Data Blending: This feature allows you to blend and merge data from different sources, creating meaningful correlations. With Zoho Analytics, you can create cross-functional reports and dashboards, offering a holistic view of your business operations.

Ask Zia: Ask Zia is an AI-powered conversational assistant that allows you to ask questions about your data in natural language. With this feature, you can interact with your data as if you were having a conversation, making it more accessible to non-technical users and facilitating more straightforward data interpretation.

Data Alerts: Zoho Analytics enables you to set smart data alerts on your key business metrics. It offers real-time alerting, allowing users to be notified instantly when their data hits certain conditions or thresholds. This feature aids in proactive decision-making by keeping users updated on crucial changes in their data.

Free trial available 

Basic: $24/2 users/month

Standard: $48/5 users/month

Premium: $115/15 users/month

Enterprise: $455/50 users/month

Zoho Analytics makes it easy for non-technical users to analyze complex data and create insightful reports without needing assistance from IT or data experts.

The platform’s AI assistant, Zia, allows users to ask data-related questions in natural language, making data analysis more accessible. Additionally, features like data blending, smart data alerts, and the ability to merge data from various sources further enhance its self-service functionality, making it an excellent choice for businesses looking for a comprehensive, easy-to-use BI solution.

Self-service business intelligence tools help businesses authorize employees to access and analyze data even without technical expertise. They enable users to generate reports, run queries, and create visualizations without relying on IT departments.

Zoho Analytics is a self-service business intelligence platform and data analytics software that allows users to create visualizations and data-driven insights without requiring extensive technical knowledge. With its drag-and-drop interface, users can design and share interactive dashboards, reports, and charts.

Zoho Analytics also features AI-driven data alerts, predictive business analytics software, and natural language processing capabilities, which enable users to interact with their data in an intuitive manner. Its integration with various data sources and Zoho’s suite of business applications makes it a comprehensive tool for diverse data analysis needs.

IBM Cognos Analytics Best for reporting and querying


  • Full-featured BI suite
  • Effective dashboards and reports
  • AI-enabled exploration
  • Top-notch customer support


  • Complexity of use
  • Expensive compared to competitors

AI Assistant: IBM Cognos Analytics features an AI Assistant, enabling users to interact with data using natural language processing. This tool helps uncover hidden patterns and answers complex data queries quickly and accurately. Dashboards and data modules: Cognos Analytics offers robust, intuitive dashboards and data modules. These allow users to visualize data, create ad-hoc reports, and establish relationships between different data sources, fostering a comprehensive understanding of business data. Data exploration: The Data Exploration feature in Cognos Analytics facilitates detailed analysis of data, turning complex datasets into easy-to-understand visuals. Users can dive deep into their data, uncover insights, and effectively communicate findings to stakeholders.

Free trial available

On Demand: Staring from $10/user/month

On Cloud hosted: Contact IBM for a quote

Client hosted: Contact IBM for a customized quote based on your business needs

IBM Cognos Analytics offers a powerful AI Assistant that simplifies data querying through natural language processing, enabling users to easily retrieve information and discover data patterns.

Its dynamic dashboards and data modules provide comprehensive data visualization and reporting options, facilitating a deeper understanding of business data. The Data Exploration feature allows users to conduct detailed data analysis, ensuring complex datasets are accessible and insights are communicated effectively.

Reporting tools let businesses generate reports and run queries on data. Users can access data from multiple sources, including databases and spreadsheets, to analyze and summarize data through these tools. Reporting tools give users pre-designed report templates for quicker report generation. These templates are often customizable. Users can add or remove fields, change the layout, or modify the formatting to suit their needs.

Querying tools, on the other hand, enable users to extract specific data from a database or spreadsheet by running SQL queries. These tools offer users a way to construct queries without writing code.

With its advanced reporting and querying capabilities, IBM Cognos Analytics simplifies data analysis and report generation, transforming complex data into meaningful insights. Its intuitive interface allows users to create ad-hoc queries and interact with data on the fly. Furthermore, the platform includes a smart assistant, powered by AI, to help answer questions and uncover patterns in your data.

Find your new BI software

Business intelligence software benefits

Improved data quality

The best BI tools automatically identifies and cleans up inaccurate, incomplete, or duplicated data, ensuring that only high-quality data is used for analysis. Additionally, it enforces data standards and rules across different systems, ensuring data consistency and accuracy while reducing the risk of errors that can arise from manual data entry. Moreover, companies can gain a fuller picture of what is happening with their business by aggregating different data sources through business intelligence solutions.

Greater transparency

Business intelligence tools give real-time visibility into business operations and performance. This enables organizations to monitor progress and identify potential issues in real time. By providing a thorough view of key metrics, BI software empowers businesses to identify areas for improvement and take corrective action when necessary.

Better decision-making

The software equips organizations with valuable insights into their operations, informing strategic decisions across product development, marketing, sales, and other critical areas. Business intelligence tools also show useful information on employee productivity, revenue, and department-specific performance, allowing organizations to understand their strengths and weaknesses.

By analyzing large volumes of data from different sources, BI software can identify trends and patterns and uncover opportunities. With competitors moving quickly, companies must expedite making accurate decisions to avoid losing customers and revenue.

Increased efficiency

Companies can optimize resources and streamline processes with business intelligence software, decreasing costs and increasing efficiency. The software lets businesses make data-driven decisions to reduce waste by providing information on inventory management, supply chain optimization, and production planning.

Furthermore, business intelligence tools unify multiple data sources, refining the overall data organization so that managers and employees spend less time tracking down information and can focus on producing accurate and timely reports.

Enhanced business margins

Business intelligence software improves business margins by identifying areas where costs can be reduced, such as streamlining supply chains and optimizing inventory management. It can also determine opportunities for revenue growth, like finding high-value customers, analyzing sales trends, and developing marketing strategies. BI software enables organizations to better understand their competitors, market trends, and customer preferences, so they can promptly respond to changing market conditions.


It’s important to note many BI software solutions integrate with other software systems, including customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), and accounting software. By doing so, companies obtain a more comprehensive view of their operations and performance by combining data from multiple sources. Business intelligence software is crucial for those seeking competitive advantage by utilizing data-driven insights to make better-informed decisions and adapt to shifting market conditions.

What is the business impact of business intelligence software?

Business intelligence software has a significant impact on businesses by providing valuable insights into customer behavior, market trends, and operational inefficiencies, which directly affect a company’s bottom line. It assists organizations in increasing revenue, reducing costs, and improving overall performance.

Today, investing in business intelligence software rather than relying solely on spreadsheets is a logical decision for companies of any kind. BI software handles large volumes of data more efficiently, minimizes the risk of errors, offers a range of analytical tools and visualizations, and brings real-time data updates, which are crucial in fast-paced business environments.

BI software supports businesses better understanding their clients by analyzing customer data to identify trends and preferences. This, in turn, allows organizations to tailor their products and services to meet customer needs, leading to greater customer satisfaction, loyalty, sales, and revenue.

The software also helps businesses uncover operational inefficiencies and bottlenecks by analyzing production processes, supply chains, and employee performance data. Such analysis helps to determine underutilized resources and streamline operations, boosting efficiency and decreasing costs, eventually resulting in higher profitability.

Business intelligence tools facilitate more effective decision-making by presenting accurate and timely data on sales trends, supply chain performance, and other key business metrics. This data allows business leaders to make informed decisions, driving growth and keeping the business ahead of its competition. As a result, companies can swiftly respond to constantly changing market conditions and have better chances of achieving financial success.

Choosing the best software for business intelligence platform

Ready to start your business intelligence software comparison? Our Technology Advisors are here to help you find the perfect tool for your company’s projects. Call for a free 5-minute consultation, or complete the form at the bottom of this page for fast, free recommendations based on your needs.

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