8 minutes

Best Business Intelligence Tools (Bi Tools)

Business intelligence tools can consolidate your data and help you understand it. Here are the best BI tools for managers, data scientists, HR teams, and more.

Business intelligence tools are vital to ensure you and your team are getting the data-driven insights you need to succeed. However, with so many expensive and conducive business intelligence tools, choosing the right one can be daunting. 

That’s why we’re putting together the best business intelligence tools to help you through your sales and marketing efforts, expedite your hiring and HR processes, and increase your productivity.

All without breaking the bank.

Let’s get started!

Why Use Business Intelligence Tools? 

BI tools can help you and your business in multiple ways. To cut through the noise, SelectHub made this graph to represent the top BI features 600 buyers reported they were looking for:

Source: SelectHub

Let’s dive deeper into the main ones:

Data Consolidation and Reporting

Whereas it’s your CRM, your user base, your lead lists, or your website, your business is generating data constantly and consistently. That’s why most BI tools have interactive dashboards and customized reporting to keep you updated and informed.

BI tools help you not only consolidate all information, but learn from it, identifying trends and getting valuable insights as the data pours in.

Data Visualization

Data visualization tools allow you to express your data in multiple shapes and forms. This can help you communicate data effectively, allowing you to transform your data into various graphs and visuals. 

Some advanced data visualization tools even allow you to manipulate data and change visualizations instantly, helping you find the data you’re looking for, and allowing you to learn from it more easily.

Predictive Analysis

A few powerful BI tools are equipped with advanced AI that analyzes your data for you and calculates forecast information for your business.

These tools allow you to get ahead of the game, anticipate how your business strategies can go, and even proactively offer you data-driven insight to improve your processes while avoiding data fatigue.

Business Automations

Business intelligence software works 24/7, eliminating repetitive manual tasks and analyzing your data around the clock. They’re great for data mining and ETL processes, effectively collecting and understanding data.

With the right BI tools, you can streamline your data management, automate business processes, and use the power of AI to make you into your own data scientist.

How to Choose a BI Tool

Here are a few of the features you need to look for when choosing a BI tool:

Pricing

Arguably the most limiting feature, pricing is a vital thing to get right when choosing a business intelligence tool. 

Instead of simply choosing the cheapest option for the features you need right now, spend time looking into how your pricing will change as you grow. Some platforms offer entry-level tiers with similar features and prices, but can get quite expensive as the business grows.

Make sure to look into all added fees and extra features, and get a pricing model (monthly, quartely, annualy) that fits with your needs.

Usability and Integration

Even the cheapest platform can become quite expensive if it’s not easy enough to use or if it doesn’t integrate into the tools you need to use it along with. That’s why finding the right UI and tie right fit is vital when choosing a new BI tool.

Make sure that your tool works well with the platforms you use to create or collect data. Most importantly, make sure the UI is as intuitive and versatile as possible. The easier it is to use, the faster it’ll be training new users. 

Reporting Capabilities

Different businesses will have different reporting needs. While smaller businesses may just need to keep track of a few KPIs, larger businesses will require more robust reporting capabilities.

Simpler tools will usually have basic reporting capabilities, with dashboards and data visualization options to express and share their data. They may also include some automating reporting, query, and analysis features.

More advanced tools can perform deeper analysis and reporting, using cutting-edge technology like AI and neural networks to understand and report as little or as much as you need.

Real-Time Business Intelligence Tools

Real-time business intelligence tools allow you to visualize data fluctuations and updates minute to minute, giving you a window look into it.

With real-time BI tools, you can keep an eye on your live inventory, check how your sales and marketing goals are doing, and immediately receive the results of your latest strategies. They can also do wonders when solving issues, since you can always use the latest data to inform you and help you come up with a solution.

However, real-time BI can be expensive and slow, so not all BI tools are capable of an affordable and accurate real-time approach.

The best 10 BI tools

Here are the best 10 Business Intelligence tools for you:

1. Polymer Search

Polymer Search’s powerful and robust features allow almost anyone to become their own data scientist. With a fast and simple cloud-based tool, Polymer allows you to instantly transform your spreadsheets into smart and searchable databases, with just one click.

All you need to do is to upload your spreadsheet to Polymer, and let Polymer’s cutting-edge AI take care of the rest.

Some of its best business intelligence features are:

  • Powerful visualization options: Instantly change between visualization options to better express and learn from your data.
  • Real-time updates: Polymer automatically updates itself with the latest changes on your spreadsheet.
  • Data Discovery: Use Polymer’s Auto Insights feature to analyze your data and keep you informed of the top-performing combination of factors for your strategies to succeed.
  • Reporting: Build and transform dashboards and share their URLs with one click.
  • Automatically-generated data tags: Polymer generates tags and attaches it to data, allowing you to quickly group together and analyze the data you’re looking for.
  • Interactive pivot tables: Forget about the hassle of creating rigid pivot tables in Google Sheets or Excel. Polymer allows you to easily create interactive pivot tables to answer all your data-based questions.
  • Auto Insights

Ready to start? Sign up for free and drop your first spreadsheet, today.

2. Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft Power BI allows you to consolidate, analyze, and visualize your data through a simple platform.

This BI tool offers users interactive dashboards, detailed analytics, and multiple data visualization and preparation features. The platform also seamlessly integrates with other Microsoft tools, like the Power BI platform, which allows it to automatically generate and publish reports.

Pros:

  • Affordable user version: The platform packs enough features on its entry tier to attract users looking for an affordable BI tool.
  • Powerful Microsoft integrations: Great for teams already using other Microsoft BI tools.
  • Attractive for large companies: The platform can be used on-premises at an organizational level.

Cons:

  • Learning curve: Like with many other robust BI tools, this platform requires users to spend a while learning to use its sometimes bulky UI at its fullest.
  • Expensive AI features: Users can only access AI features at the most expensive tier. 

Pricing: The platform’s pricing starts at $13.70 per user per month for its Power BI Pro tier. The Power BI Premium tier starts at $27.50 per user per month or $6,858.10 per capacity per month for companies. 

3. HubSpot

HubSpot is a popular CRM used mostly for inbound marketing, sales efforts, and customer service.

With a famously generous forever-free CRM and multiple marketing and sales features, HubSpot offers users great value when looking for customer relationship platforms.

Pros:

  • Simple UI: HubSpot’s streamlined and intuitive UI makes it easy to use.
  • Free CRM: Great for smaller companies looking to organize and keep track of customers.
  • Multiple sales and marketing features: The platform allows the user to generate, report, and supervise their sales and marketing strategies. 

Cons:

  • Limited reporting: Users will need another data processing tool if they’re looking for anything more than basic reporting features.
  • Can be quite expensive: Your pricing will rise very quickly as you start to scale up the platform.

Pricing: HubSpot offers multiple pricing systems (starting at around $45 per month) depending on the focus of the tool and the features needed.

4. Yellowfin BI

Yellowfin BI is another tool packing a wide variety of features into a single platform. With it, users can access dashboards, analyze their data through automated data discovery, and manipulate it with different data visualization features.

The platform also comes with collaborative features and a mobile app, although at a reportedly high price tag.

Pros:

  • Versatile: The platform can be easily deployed on-premise, making it very flexible for multiple companies.
  • Fast: Yellowfin works fast even when handling larger databases.
  • Easy to use: With a simple and streamlined UI, the platform is easy to adopt.

Cons:

  • Unclear pricing system: Although the platform claims to have a predictable pricing system, it forces users to contact its sales teams to inquire about the price.
  • Limited customization options: The platform tags data through a color-coded system, which may not be ideal for many users.

Pricing: Yellowfin’s pricing is only available upon request

5. Zoho Analytics

Zoho Analytics is a large business intelligence tool, and a part of the large Zoho Office suite. 

The platform’s self-service Bi comes with robust dashboards and multiple data analysis features and integrates into a wide variety of other business solutions.

Pros:

  • Robust data consolidation: The tool allows users to link practically all other tools they’re using to automatically consolidate and analyze all generated data.
  • Fairly affordable: The platform packs enough valuable features at a decent price.
  • Powerful integrations: Zoho Analytics comes with multiple native integrations for tools in and out of the Zoho suite.

Cons:

  • Hard to master: Users should expect a steep learning curve when adopting the platform.
  • Lacking customization features: The platform isn’t very customizable or flexible.

Pricing: Zoho Analytics’ pricing starts at $30 per month for two users for its Basic tier.

6. Tableau

Owned by Salesforce, Tableau is a simple and streamlined platform made for non-technical users to analyze their data without writing code.

With clients like Verizon, Lenovo, Lufthansa, and Hello Fresh, Tableau offers robust analytics to everyone from casual users, to IT experts.

Pros:

  • Data consolidation: Tableau integrates with multiple other platforms to consolidate all data into one place.
  • Data visualization: Users can quickly express their data into visually-appealing graphs and charts.
  • Easy to use: Compared to other alternatives, Tableau is relatively easy to use and implement.

Cons:

  • Lacking in features: Tableau is missing features common in tools like these, like static layouts and more robust data reporting.
  • Hard to customize: With a rigid UI, users need to adapt to the platform’s style and capabilities.

Pricing: Tableau’s pricing starts at $15 for its basic Tableau Viewer tier, which includes simple dashboards and visualization features.

7. Sisense

Sisense is a newer platform that has gained a lot of attention in the last few years thanks to its business intelligence features and capabilities.

Although not as easy to use as some other options listed here, Sisense’s attractive features, like its in-chip processing and its natural language commands and queries make it attractive to many users looking to take the next step in analyzing data.

Pros:

  • Powerful features: Sisense is one of few platforms offering users cutting-edge AI to analyze data.
  • Multiple customization options: Users can quickly integrate Sisense to go beyond the platform and use it inside third-party apps.
  • In-chip processing: The platform can use in-chip processing to expedite the time it takes to process data.

Cons:

  • Somewhat complex: Some of the platform’s features may be too advanced and complex for the average user.
  • Lacking data reports: The platform doesn’t offer advanced or scheduled reports and comes with limited dashboards.

8. Domo

Domo is a cloud-based business intelligence tool capable of robust reporting and versatile data visualization.

With multiple dashboards and a streamlined UI, Domo keeps data easy and accessible with multiple data sharing capabilities, and a responsive mobile interface.

Pros:

  • Multiple integrations: The platform connects to multiple data sources to ingest and process data.
  • Robust dashboard and reporting features: With flexible and versatile dashboards, users can easily personalize their experience to their needs.
  • Real-time analytics: Users can monitor their analytics in real-time from any computer or smartphone.

Cons:

  • Can become expensive: Scaling up the platform can quickly raise its price.
  • Somewhat hard to use: Users may need to take time learning how to make the most out of this platform.

9. SAS Business Intelligence & Analytics

SAS Business Intelligence is another BI tool packed with features made to help users analyze their data and extract the insights they need out of it.

With forecasting features, robust reporting, and advanced text analytics, SAS Analytics is a well-rounded platform, albeit at a higher price range.

Pros:

  • Multiple data analysis features: From advanced data exploration and forecasting features to its text analytics capabilities, the platform comes with multiple ways of analyzing data.
  • Robust reporting capabilities: Users have multiple options to create and personalize interactive reports and dashboards.
  • Multiple integrations: The platform comes with multiple integrations, and works well along with the Microsoft Office suite.

Cons:

  • Fairly expensive platform: The platform comes with a fairly expensive price tag. 
  • Lacking data visualization options: The platform comes with limited data visualization and presentation features.

Pricing: Reports place its pricing starting at $9000 per user per year.

10. MicroStrategy

Claiming to be the  #1-rated Embedded Analytics platform, MicroStrategy gives both cloud and on-premise BI services to clients like Disney ABC, Pfizer, and Sainsbury’s.

The platform comes with a simple drag-and-drop interface to make it easy for users to create customized visualizations and dashboards. With it, users can consolidate their data sources, pursue data-mining efforts, and analyze and visualize their data in multiple, customizable options.

Pros:

  • AI features: The platform comes with a “hyperintelligence” feature to automate tasks and help users analyze data.
  • Powerful visualizations: Users can quickly create visually-appealing graphs and charts to express data.

Cons:

  • Steep learning curve: Setting up the platform and learning how to use it to its fullest can take users a while. 
  • Expensive: The platform comes with a high price tag.

Pricing: Pricing is available only upon request.

Final Thoughts 

Business Intelligence tools can help you improve your business and analyze your data without writing a single line of code.

If you’re looking for a simple way of transforming the data of your spreadsheets into a robust, AI-powered web tool, try Polymer Search.

Drop your first spreadsheet for free, and see what Polymer can do for you.

Posted on
April 20, 2022
under Blog
April 20, 2022
Written by
Ash Gupta
Former Tech Lead for Machine Learning at Google AdWords (6 years) and a quant developer on Wall Street. Co-Founder & CEO of Polymer Search.

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