Best Business Intelligence Software 2021 - Overview

  • Overview
  • Buyer's Guide
  • Resources

Business Intelligence (BI) solutions offer a centralized system for storing, organizing, and analyzing all the vital data that shapes your business decisions and helps you drive your business forward.

You can use BI tools to pull regular reports, access real-time sales data, and analyze past and present data to create predictions about how your company will scale or perform in the future. In modern BI systems, reporting, analysis, and visualizations are now available at the fingertips of employees across the many departments that keep your business operating smoothly and growing. Real-time data can help lead to smarter, more expedient business decisions and improve a company from many different angles, across various departments.

Deeper analysis can also unveil important data correlations or trends that would likely not be visible through more manual data management and analysis and give your business strong competitive edge through data-driven decisions. 

The top BI features include:

  • Real-Time Data and Analytics
  • Prescriptive Analytics
  • Predictive Analytics
  • Big Data Analytics
  • Customer Profiling
  • Data Visualization Tools and Graphics
  • OLAP Integrations
  • Data Mining
  • Ad-Hoc Reports
  • Intuitive Dashboards and Reporting Tools
  • Mobile BI Tools

The top benefits of BI software are:

  • Increased Data Accuracy and Relevance
  • Expedited, Data-Driven Decision-Making
  • Increased Adaptability
  • Improved Processes through Automation
  • Enhanced Competitive Edge
  • Improved Insight Into Developing Trends 

As AI continues to improve, more business benefits of this technology are being realized, and he implications of AI in business are ever increasing to new height. As this technology makes its way into modern software programs like BI, companies are positioned to experience tremendous growth in innovation and automation. AI is becoming central to key areas of Business Intelligence, including:

  • Process Automation and Internal Organization
  • Communication Improvements Due to Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Real-Time Language Translations
  • Pattern, Voice, Speech, Facial, and Biometric Recognition and Analysis
  • Data Mining and Customer Profiling

BI aggregates all your important business data in one system and has powerful predictive analysis features in place that can help you identify trends, spot areas of growth or concern with customers, and make accurate forecasts for the future performance of your company.

Most all BI tools offer the ability to create custom dashboards within the system. These dashboards can be specialized by role within your organization, and can be loaded with the reports, graphs, and other data visualizations that a user accesses frequently for their work. These reports will update according the rules in place, and will save time in running new reports and queries every single time you need the same report, but for a new time period. 

The BI dashboard provides quick access to data that you use every day, every week, every month, and more, and can be tailored for easy use and insights by user. 

This level of detail, all in one place, makes it possible for you to really see where you have the biggest opportunities with your customers through more personalized sales processes. This year, more and more businesses are leveraging BI to personalize their marketing efforts with rich, in-depth data.

Top 10 Business Intelligence Software
  • Board
  • Necto
  • Pyramid Analytics
  • Longview Analytics
  • Zoho Analytics
  • Margin Minder
  • Altair
  • Birst
  • DataSelf
  • Dundas
  • List View
  • Chart View
  • Grid View
Cost (All)
 
Platforms (All)
 
Company Size (All)
Product Name
Wheelhouse Score
Rating
Features
Pricing
Select product
Board

By Board International

Wheelhouse Score
4.46/5
Excellent
Rating
4.38/5
Excellent
Features
5.00/5
Excellent
Pricing
Economy

BOARD International is a global leader in the CPM and BI Toolkit approach. Founded in 1994, BOARD International has since been the only major provider of a programming-free toolkit for the cost-effective and rapid deployment of Business Intelligence software applications and Corporate Performance Ma...

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Necto

By Panorama Software

Wheelhouse Score
4.34/5
Excellent
Rating
4.45/5
Excellent
Features
4.56/5
Excellent
Pricing
Economy

Panorama Software is the next generation smart data discovery and visualization solution. Panorama Necto is a leader in the next generation self-service smart data discovery worldwide. It supports a suggestive discovery engine, which unravels the data preparation for business users while automating ...

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Pyramid Analytics

By Pyramid Analytics

Wheelhouse Score
4.28/5
Excellent
Rating
4.67/5
Excellent
Features
4.17/5
Excellent
Pricing
Economy

Pyramid Analytics offers BI business intelligence platform, which is a web-based tool that is centered on governed data discovery and that functions within the Microsoft BI Suite. BI Office is recognizable for its governed data discovery method, meaning, an entire analytics spectrum and data discove...

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Longview Analytics

By insightsoftware Inc.

Wheelhouse Score
3.99/5
Above Average
Rating
4.00/5
Above Average
Features
3.97/5
Above Average
Pricing
Economy

Longview Analytics (formerly Arcplan) software solutions focus on helping companies perform better planning and analytics. The solution can capture data from over twenty data sources without having to extract and aggregate data into a single proprietary data source: the software connects to div...

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Zoho Analytics

By Zoho Corporation Pvt. Ltd.

Wheelhouse Score
3.83/5
Above Average
Rating
4.00/5
Above Average
Features
2.60/5
Above Average
Pricing
Economy

Zoho Analytics (previously, Zoho Reports) is a self-service BI and data analytics software that lets you create visually appealing data visualizations and insightful dashboards in minutes.

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Margin Minder

By Salient Management Company

Wheelhouse Score
3.72/5
Above Average
Rating
3.00/5
Above Average
Features
4.17/5
Excellent
Pricing
Economy

Margin Minder BI from Salient is a Sales Analytics platform for Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) & Retail, specifically designed to provide answers to the challenges of Sales and Distribution of CPG and FMCG. Margin Minder focuses on product performance, pricing and profit and offers built-in actio...

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Altair

By Altair Engineering

Wheelhouse Score
3.65/5
Above Average
Rating
4.00/5
Above Average
Features
4.95/5
Excellent
Pricing
Mid-Range

Altair Knowledge Works (formerly Datawatch) offers the only “Managed Analytic” performance, which combines self-service data preparation and visual data discovery. Altair software connects the gap between an easy, intuitive experience that business users want and the governance and autom...

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Birst

By Infor

Wheelhouse Score
3.62/5
Above Average
Rating
4.25/5
Excellent
Features
2.60/5
Above Average
Pricing
Economy

Birst offers an excellent, cloud based business intelligence. Birst offers an automated storeroom and first-rate visual analytics, so users can draw meaning from data of all types and sizes. Moreover, it is cheap and nimble solution compared to most legacy BI systems.

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DataSelf

By DataSelf Corporation

Wheelhouse Score
3.59/5
Above Average
Rating
4.30/5
Excellent
Features
3.63/5
Above Average
Pricing
Lower-Cost

DataSelf is a business intelligence solution for small and mid-sized businesses. It provides more than 5,000 report templates, KPIs and dashboards which allows businesses to leverage the solution from day 1 and improve business productivity. DataSelf is Tableau enabled; it helps to quickly gain insi...

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Dundas

By Dundas Data Visualization

Wheelhouse Score
3.56/5
Above Average
Rating
4.50/5
Excellent
Features
3.19/5
Above Average
Pricing
Lower-Cost

Dundas BI gives you full control over your data so it can be quickly delivered in the most actionable way.

Learn more about Business Intelligence Software

What is Business Intelligence (BI) Software?

Business intelligence (BI) software provides a variety of tools and functions that companies can use to store, analyze, and visualize data in a series of charts, graphs, dashboards, and customized reporting.  This level of data insight helps guide confident business decisions, identify emerging trends, and signal issues that might be arising across business activities. 

What Does BI Stand For?

The acronym “BI” stands for “Business Intelligence.” 

What is a Business Intelligence BI System?

Business intelligence (BI) is a system that stores and analyzes business data and transforms that data into actionable insights in reports, graphs, charts, and other visualizations to help give a company a full picture of business health and future growth initiatives. 

What is the Purpose of Business Intelligence Software?

The main purpose of BI software is to help businesses make real-time, data-driven decisions across all facets of a company, from sales and marketing to finance and accounting. 

What are the Basic Tasks of Business Intelligence?

The basic tasks of Business Intelligence (BI) include:

  • Sourcing clean, accurate data
  • Analyzing data in real-time
  • Assessing risk and identifying issues 
  • Supporting data-driven business decisions

What Problems Can Business Intelligence Solve?

BI systems can solve many problems companies face, including:

  • Limited data access
  • Poor corporate performance management
  • Decentralized data sources that waste time and cause data inaccuracies or other issues
  • Reliance on IT staff or business analysts to generate all the reporting needed in a business 

What are the Disadvantages of Business Intelligence?

While implementing a BI software system can bring many benefits to a company, there are some drawbacks to be aware of and plan for, including:

  • Compiling historical data from various sources with accuracy
  • Implementation complexities and timeframes
  • Upfront investment and ongoing costs
  • Use limitations

What are the Top Features of Business Intelligence (BI) Software?

The top BI features include:

  • Real-Time Data and Analytics
  • Prescriptive Analytics
  • Predictive Analytics
  • Big Data Analytics
  • Customer Profiling
  • Data Visualization Tools and Graphics
  • OLAP Integrations
  • Data Mining
  • Ad-Hoc Reports
  • Intuitive Dashboards and Reporting Tools
  • Mobile BI Tools
  • Pivot Tables
  • Geospatial Mapping
  • Interactive Reporting
  • Self-service Reporting
  • Advanced Security & Privacy

What are the Common Functions of Business Intelligence?

The core functions of BI software include reporting & analytics, Online Analytical Processing (OLAP), dashboards, data mining, data visualizations, automated reporting, real-time data and reporting capabilities, predictive & prescriptive analytics. 

What are the Different Stages of Business Intelligence?

Business Intelligence is typically classified into stages, which include:

  • Gathering information & Data
  • Analyzing Data
  • Real-Time Reporting
  • System Monitoring
  • Predictions & Prescriptions 

What are the Different Types of BI Users?

Business Intelligence (BI) software makes data and reporting tools much more accessible and actionable than ever before, and generally the people using BI are:

  • Data Analysts
  • Business Users
  • IT Teams
  • Managers
  • Executives

What are the Business Benefits of BI?

The top benefits of BI include:

  • Increased Data Accuracy and Relevance
  • Expedited, Data-Driven Decision-Making
  • Increased Adaptability
  • Improved Processes through Automation
  • Enhanced Competitive Edge
  • Improved Insight Into Developing Trends 
  • Improved Customer Experience
  • Real-Time Analytics
  • User-Friendly, Intelligent Dashboards

What are the Challenges in Business Intelligence?

Some of the most common BI challenges a company faces are:

  • Failing to create or adhere to a BI strategy
  • Lack of coding knowledge or expertise
  • Limited training and support for user success and adoptions
  • Low impact or ROI on the BI system
  • Data issues
  • Failed deployment, integration, and customization

What are Some Potential Barriers to BI System Success?

Some of the potential barriers a company can face in successfully implementing and using a BI system include:

  • Data understanding and expertise
  • Integrating data from various sources 
  • Time limitations for proper data integration and processing
  • Closed architecture

Who Should Use Business Intelligence?

Analysts, executives, and IT teams tend to use BI tools the most. However, BI software can support all different types of companies and industries and provide tools and reporting for confident, data-driven business decisions. BI systems can analyze past and current data patterns to provide context, inform benchmarks and goals, and make predictions for business growth. 

How to Buy Business Intelligence (BI) Software?

You can use the following checklist to help ensure you choose the right Business Intelligence (BI) software for your business:

  • Focus on business needs and growth goals driving the decision to get a new or upgraded BI system.
  • Plan for data migration, implementation costs, IT involvement, and any downtime that may impact ongoing customer interactions or sales processes.
  • Make a plan to support user adoption through training.
  • Understand the business processes you’re looking to streamline and automate.
  • Plan for integration with existing software solutions and understand each of the data sources you’ll be tying into your BI system
  • Don’t skip the product demos offered by Business Intelligence software vendors to show features and functionality.
  • Understand reporting and analytics needs and how BI will support your needs and help you make data-driven decisions.

What is the Future of Business Intelligence?

BI software is predicted to continually improve and become more accessible and collaborative as a system for use across an organization. Data will also continue to evolve to be more insightful, giving companies more tools to make proactive decisions. 

How Much Does BI Software Cost?

BI software typically starts around $3,000 a year for basic data and reporting tools. Depending on the size of the company and the complexity of data and reporting, can go up from there. 

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