Business Intelligence Software

What is the best Business Intelligence Software?

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

Necto / SAP Analytics Cloud / NetSuite / Looker / TIBCO Spotfire / Tableau / Oracle ERP / Infor Birst / Sisense / Altair

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Developed by Apptio, Cloudability is a cloud cost management solution that helps teams across the organization optimize cloud resources and spend. From core finance, to IT and DevOps, teams are powered with actionable insights that can aid business decision making; whether it's real-time cost monito...
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Logi Symphony
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Logi Symphony is an embedded analytics and business intelligence solution from Insight Software. A strong tool that aids firms in making sense of their data, it offers the ability to link to many different data sources, including cloud-based services, databases as well as worksheets. Logi Symphony c...
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Starting Price:$0 / user / per month
Datapine makes data integration easy. It will take you minutes instead of months to get set up with datapine. They offer native connectors to almost any relational database, Google Analytics, Google Spreadsheets, SAP ERP/BW and many more. Having secure access to dispersed data combined in one l...
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TIBCO Jaspersoft
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The Jaspersoft Business Intelligence Suite, Enterprise Edition is one of the most powerful competitors in the open-source Business Intelligence market. It has a wide toolset, and offers a BI suite that extends to OLAP (Online Analytical Processing), reporting, data integration and data visualization...
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Zoho Analytics
Starting Price:$0 / user / per month
Zoho Analytics is a self-service Business Intelligence (BI) and data analytics software, catering to businesses of various sizes for data analysis, striking data visualizations, and uncovering concealed insights. Operating in the cloud, Zoho Analytics boasts user-friendliness and eliminates the need...
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Starting Price:$0 / user / per month
AnswerDock is an AI-driven analytics solution that uses Natural Language Processing to provide answers to business users' questions, allowing them to make better and faster data-driven decisions, without the need for data analysts. 
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Starting Price:$3000 / user / per month
ClicData offers a powerful, 100% cloud-based analytics and BI tools that can be customized to benefit any business. 
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Magellan is a business intelligence software designed to help organizations make data-driven decisions. It is a self-service data exploration and analysis platform that allows users to access, visualize, and share data insights easily. Magellan is designed to help organizations of all sizes leverage...

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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