BI tools have become essential for data analysts to visualize, analyze, and gain insights from data. As data volumes continue to grow exponentially, having the right BI tools is crucial for understanding and optimizing business performance.
In 2023, the BI market will reach $29.48 billion, indicating the critical role these tools play for organizations of all sizes. With so many options to choose from, it can be daunting to select the right BI platform for your needs.
This definitive guide covers the top 10 BI tools that every data analyst should consider in 2023. We’ll overview the key capabilities, ideal use cases, pricing, pros and cons, and other considerations for each leading BI vendor.
With the help of this guide, you’ll be able to determine which BI software is best suited for your data analytics needs. Learning these core platforms is a must for improving your data analysis skills and deriving impactful insights. Let’s dive in and explore the top 10 BI tools for 2023!
Overview of the Top 10 BI Tools in 2023
The BI software market has numerous options for visualizing, preparing, analyzing, and extracting insights from data. Below we provide a high-level overview of the top 10 BI tools every data analyst should evaluate this year:
|Tableau||The clear market leader, Tableau excels at interactive data visualization and dashboarding. It’s user-friendly and flexible for a variety of use cases.|
|Microsoft Power BI||As a part of Microsoft’s business analytics suite, Power BI makes it easy to build dashboards, reports, and visualizations to share insights.|
|Qlik||Offering a full platform built around its associative analytics engine, Qlik provides strong BI and data integration capabilities.|
|Sisense||Sisense focuses on ease-of-use and scalability, making it a popular choice for complex data analytics needs.|
|Domo||With a focus on data integration and cloud-based delivery, Domo provides self-service BI designed for business users.|
|Looker||Looker excels at large-scale data analytics with its data modeling capabilities and reusable visualizations.|
|Zoho Analytics||As an affordable BI tool, Zoho Analytics offers an easy-to-use SaaS solution accessible to smaller organizations.|
|SAP Analytics Cloud||Part of SAP’s lineup, this cloud platform provides self-service BI across the enterprise.|
|IBM Cognos Analytics||IBM offers full-featured enterprise BI capabilities with Cognos’ extensive toolset.|
|Oracle Analytics Cloud||Oracle’s option combines data visualization, enterprise reporting, ML, and more in one cloud solution.|
Let’s explore each of these top BI tools in more detail.
Tableau is the clear leader in the BI software market, valued for its powerful yet intuitive data visualization capabilities. Tableau helps analysts rapidly connect to data, visualize findings via dashboards and reports, and share insights across the business.
Some of Tableau’s key capabilities include:
- Drag-and-drop interface to easily build dashboards, charts, maps, and graphs
- Broad data connectivity to connect to files, databases, cloud apps, etc.
- Options for live dashboards connecting to real-time data
- Natural language query (NLQ) functionality via Ask Data
- Rich customization for advanced analytics needs
- Collaborative features to share dashboards and findings
- Optional predictive modeling and machine learning analysis
Tableau is a great choice for data visualization, ad-hoc reporting, and interactive dashboards. It empowers a range of users to work with data independently without IT help. The software is widely used across industries like retail, finance, healthcare, and technology.
Tableau offers subscription-based pricing, with options for individual users, teams, and the full enterprise. Some key pros and cons include:
- Industry leading visualization capabilities
- User-friendly and intuitive interface
- Broad data connectivity out-of-the-box
- Active community and resources available
- Flexible pricing model
- Can be expensive for larger deployments
- Advanced analytics requires add-ons or external BI tools
- Less collaborative features than some competitors
- Limited data preparation functionality
Tableau continues to be a top choice for organizations seeking powerful, flexible business intelligence software with stellar data visualization capabilities.
Microsoft Power BI
As part of Microsoft’s business analytics platform, Power BI makes it easy for companies to build interactive dashboards, generate custom reports, and share data-driven insights.
Some key capabilities of Power BI include:
- Intuitive drag-and-drop interface to create reports and dashboards
- Built-in dataset storage using dataflows
- AI-powered data preparation and modeling
- Natural language query functionality
- Paginated reports for pixel-perfect formatting
- Powerful data visualization with various chart types
- Real-time dashboards and streaming data connectivity
- Collaboration features like content packs and Analyze in Excel
- Integration with other Microsoft solutions including Excel and Azure
Power BI stands out for its ease-of-use, flexibility, and strong Microsoft integration. It’s a cost-effective BI option accessible to organizations of all sizes. Common use cases include data discovery, operational reporting, and interactive dashboards.
Power BI is available as a freemium SaaS solution. The free version has limited functionality while Power BI Pro provides additional features and scalability.
- User-friendly interface and workflows
- Tight integration with Microsoft stack
- Affordable pricing model
- Broad adoption and large community
- Flexible self-service BI functionality
- Limited advanced analytics features
- Less flexibility for complex data modeling
- Steep learning curve for advanced use cases
- Limited custom visualizations compared to some tools
For companies using Microsoft products, Power BI is a leading choice as an intuitive, flexible, and cost-effective BI platform with strong data visualization capabilities.
Qlik offers a unique associative analytics engine along with a full platform of data integration and BI tools. This includes Qlik Sense for self-service BI needs as well as QlikView for managed reporting.
Some of Qlik Sense’s key features include:
- Associative search and filtering
- AI-powered natural language search and insight suggestions
- Drag-and-drop interface for creating visualizations
- Interactive dashboards with mobile optimization
- Broad connectivity to data sources without transformation
- GeoAnalytics with built-in mapping capabilities
- Enterprise scalability and governance
- Collaboration features for data literacy and sharing
Qlik Sense delivers interactive data exploration, guided analytics, and AI-powered features for both technical and non-technical users. It combines self-service flexibility with the governance needed for enterprise-wide deployments.
Qlik uses a named user subscription model that scales across the organization.
- Speed and flexibility enabled by associative engine
- Smart capabilities driven by AI and ML
- Scales from individuals to large enterprises
- Strong data integration and cataloging
- Governance for managing data access and quality
- Complex data modeling and scripting language
- Less focus on formatted/pixel-perfect reporting
- Upfront investment for full capabilities
- Steep learning curve beyond basic features
For organizations seeking an analytics platform focused on exploration and insight, Qlik brings unique capabilities. Its associative engine and AI features empower users across skill levels to analyze data and make discoveries.
Sisense focuses on providing user-friendly analytics and simplified data preparation for complex data environments. It aims to make BI accessible to more users with its easy-to-use visualization features. You can try Sisense for free here.
Some of Sisense’s key highlights include:
- Intuitive drag-and-drop interface for analytics
- AI-assisted data modeling and preparation
- In-chip technology for fast query performance
- Live database connectivity and real-time dashboards
- Broad range of data connectors and scalability
- Embedding and white-labeling capabilities
- Options for cloud, on-prem or hybrid deployments
Sisense is well-suited for organizations with large, complex data environments. It simplifies data prep and empowers non-technical users to perform self-service analytics.
Sisense offers flexible licensing options including a free trial and usage-based pricing.
- Excellent performance with large, complex data
- User-friendly analytics for non-technical users
- Multiple deployment options to meet needs
- Usage-based pricing model
- Broad third-party integrations
- Less personalized support on lower tiers
- Additional costs pile up for premium features
- Steep learning curve for advanced configuration
- Less optimized for pixel-perfect reporting
For organizations seeking to scale BI and democratize analytics across a large user base, Sisense delivers strong capabilities through its simplified user experience.
Domo focuses on ease of use, data integration, and delivering BI in the cloud. It offers a business-user friendly platform for connecting to and visualizing data.
Some key features of Domo include:
- Intuitive drag-and-drop interface
- Curated datasets, dashboards, and reports
- Cloud-based delivery optimized for mobile
- Real-time streaming data connectivity
- Natural language search and recommendations
- Hundreds of native connectors and integration
- Developer tools and APIs for extensibility
Domo aims to deliver an integrated analytics platform bringing together data, reporting, and collaboration features for the enterprise. It’s designed for business users accustomed to consumer apps.
Pricing for Domo is based on a monthly subscription model.
- User-friendly design optimized for business users
- Strong data integration capabilities
- Real-time data connectivity and streaming APIs
- Cloud delivery with mobile optimization
- Blanch pricing structure
- Limited advanced analytics functionality
- Requires heavy involvement of Domo for setup
- Can become expensive for larger deployments
- Steep learning curve for administrative tasks
Domo is ideal for organizations seeking an easy-to-use, mobile-centric BI platform focused on beautiful visualizations curated data delivered as a service.
Looker offers a unified data platform that delivers data modeling, reusable data content, and customizable analytics applications. It’s optimized for large enterprises with technical users.
Some of Looker’s core capabilities:
- Sophisticated data modeling using LookML
- Curated reusable content and templates
- Custom analytics apps and dashboards
- Granular permissions and data governance
- Flexible APIs for embedding and extending
- Works with major cloud data platforms
- Scalability across the enterprise
Looker excels at very large scale implementations with technical users responsible for configuring data access and modeling. Looker is a great fit for companies with data stored on Google BigQuery, AWS Redshift, or Snowflake.
Pricing is subscription-based per user.
- Advanced data modeling capabilities
- Enterprise-scale delivery and governance
- Optimized for cloud data platforms
- Developer-focused extensibility
- Granular access control and security
- Substantial learning curve and technical acumen needed
- LookML modeling creates vendor lock-in
- Less optimized for business users and self-service
- Limited native third-party connector support
For large enterprises with standardized data in the cloud, Looker provides a customizable analytics platform with robust data modeling capabilities that can scale across the organization.
Zoho Analytics offers an affordable self-service BI solution for smaller companies delivered through the cloud. With an easy-to-use interface, it makes BI accessible for non-technical users.
Key features of Zoho Analytics include:
- User-friendly drag-and-drop report builder
- Interactive dashboards with filtering and drill down
- Built-in connectors to databases and apps
- Browser-based report designing and viewing
- Mobile optimization for viewing and sharing
- Scheduling and alerts for reports
- Access control and user management
- Affordable subscription pricing
Zoho Analytics is ideal for small companies that want an intuitive, self-service BI option without the complexity of enterprise platforms. It’s also suitable for teams with straightforward reporting and dashboarding needs.
Pricing is very affordable compared to other BI tools.
- Intuitive self-service interface
- Comprehensive connected offering with Zoho apps
- Significantly lower cost of ownership
- Fast and easy to create reports and dashboards
- Accessible BI capabilities for small companies
- Very limited advanced analytics functionality
- Not built for large enterprise deployments
- Moderate learning curve for administrative tasks
- Primarily useful for standard reporting needs
For an affordable self-service reporting and simple dashboarding solution, Zoho Analytics is a leading choice with an easy-to-use interface.
SAP Analytics Cloud
Part of SAP’s intelligent suite of solutions, SAP Analytics Cloud offers unified BI, planning, and predictive capabilities. It delivers self-service analytics across the enterprise scaled to all data sizes.
Key features of SAP Analytics Cloud include:
- Customizable dashboards with augmented analytics
- Natural language visualization and search
- Integrated planning functions and simulation
- Predictive analytics and machine learning capabilities
- Broad connectivity across data sources
- Collaborative stories and boardroom presentations
- Governance and security measures
- Scalability from small teams to global enterprises
With SAP Analytics Cloud, SAP provides a full-stack business intelligence platform suitable for complex analytics needs at scale. It brings together self-service BI, enterprise reporting, planning, and predictions.
Like most SAP solutions, SAP Analytics Cloud has enterprise-level pricing with a named user licensing model.
- Full range of governed enterprise BI capabilities
- Integrates with other SAP solutions
- Scaling from small ops to huge global enterprises
- Augmented analytics and ML-driven insights
- Sophisticated data modeling and visualization
- Very complex with steep learning curve
- Requires heavy involvement of IT and administrators
- Expensive licensing costs and professional services fees
- Limited appeal beyond existing SAP customers
For current SAP customers with complex analytics needs, SAP Analytics Cloud offers enterprise BI capabilities that integrate natively with existing SAP solutions and data.
IBM Cognos Analytics
IBM Cognos Analytics delivers enterprise-class business intelligence and performance management capabilities. It provides extensive options for governed reporting, dashboarding, analysis, planning, forecasting, and predictive analytics.
Some key features include:
- Interactive dashboards with conversational AI
- Customizable reporting with pixel-perfect output
- Financial planning and real-time predictive analytics
- Data discovery and auto-modeling capabilities
- Broad governance policies and security
- Open and embeddable BI architecture
- Integrates with IBM Cloud Pak offerings
- On-prem or cloud deployment options
IBM Cognos caters to large enterprises with sizable IT staff to implement and maintain the environment. It handles complex analytics requirements across an organization.
As an enterprise-scale platform, Cognos has licensing fees to match.
- Full range of governed enterprise BI capabilities
- Extensive options for large-scale deployments
- Integrates with other IBM data and AI solutions
- Flexible on-prem or cloud deployment
- Handles complex data sources and models
- Very expensive licensing fees
- Steep learning curve across all components
- Requires significant IT resources to maintain
- Less optimized for agile, self-service analytics
IBM Cognos brings together extensive enterprise BI, planning, predictive analytics, and performance management components under one umbrella. It offers huge customization potential at enterprise scale.
Oracle Analytics Cloud
Oracle Analytics Cloud combines self-service analytics, enterprise reporting, augmented analytics, and ML in a unified SaaS platform.
Key features include:
- Interactive dashboards with natural language navigation
- Pixel-perfect reporting and document narration capabilities
- Conversation-driven analytics and insight recommendations
- Advanced analytics integrating Oracle ML tools
- Broad data connectivity and real-time data sources
- Embedded analytics options for apps and portals
- Security, administration, and governance controls
- Available standalone or coupled with Oracle’s data cloud
Oracle Analytics Cloud caters to both business users and data scientists, allowing collaboration under one roof. It aims to deliver a comprehensive cloud platform for a breadth of analytics needs.
As an enterprise-focused SaaS platform, Oracle Analytics Cloud pricing scales per user accordingly.
- Unified self-service BI and enterprise reporting
- Incorporates machine learning and advanced analytics
- Natural language and conversational navigation
- Integrates well with broader Oracle Cloud ecosystem
- Strong administration, governance, and security
- Steep learning curve for most users
- Works best for existing Oracle customers
- Potentially complex integration and setup
- Requires involvement of IT/administrators
For organizations invested in Oracle’s technology stack, Oracle Analytics Cloud offers a full range of analytics capabilities that leverage Oracle’s ML strengths and seamlessly interoperate with Oracle data clouds.
Key Evaluation Criteria for Selecting BI Tools
With so many powerful options, choosing the right BI platform is critical and depends on your organization’s specific needs. Some key criteria to evaluate include:
|Data Visualization Capabilities||The ability to create dashboards, charts, graphs, and other visuals that provide business insights.|
|Data Preparation and Modeling Features||How intuitive it is to connect to data sources, join data, clean it, and prepare it for analysis.|
|Advanced Analytics and ML Integration||The capability to embed statistical models, forecasting, predictive analytics, machine learning algorithms, and advanced techniques.|
|Flexibility and Customization Options||The ability to cater to different analytics needs with APIs, developer tools, coding capabilities, and custom extensions.|
|Scalability and Governance||Handling large data volumes, accommodating a high number of users, and the ability to manage data access, security, policies, and system resources at scale.|
|Ease of Use and Learning Curve||How intuitive the interface is for users and how easy it is to learn, especially for non-technical business users.|
|Mobile Support and Accessibility||Providing a responsive design and functionality across mobile devices and various platforms.|
|Security and Compliance||Meeting enterprise standards regarding data security and compliance requirements.|
Conclusion and Key Takeaways
The top 10 BI tools highlighted in this guide represent the leading options for data visualization, reporting, interactive dashboards, and advanced analytics. Key takeaways include:
- Tableau remains the clear market leader, providing industry-leading visualization capabilities along with a user-friendly interface.
- Microsoft Power BI offers an intuitive, affordable BI option tightly integrated into Microsoft’s ecosystem.
- Qlik brings unique associative analytics and AI-driven insights accessible to a wide range of users.
- Sisense simplifies complex data environments for scalable, user-friendly analytics.
- Domo focuses on beautiful, consumable analytics and curated data delivery in the cloud.
- Looker excels at large-scale data modeling, analytics, and governance optimized for the cloud.
- Zoho Analytics provides an easy-to-use, affordable self-service BI solution.
- SAP Analytics Cloud delivers the full range of enterprise BI capabilities expected from SAP.
- IBM Cognos targets complex analytics needs across BI, planning, forecasting, and predictive analytics.
- Oracle Analytics Cloud combines self-service BI, augmented analytics, and ML in a unified platform.
Determining the right BI tool depends heavily on your specific needs in areas like data sources, user profiles, use cases, scalability requirements, and budget. Using the evaluation criteria provided, you can determine which leading BI software is the best fit to empower data-driven decisions for your organization.
What are the leading BI tools?
Based on market share and leadership, the top BI tools are Tableau, Microsoft Power BI, Qlik, Sisense, Domo, Looker, Oracle Analytics Cloud, SAP Analytics Cloud, IBM Cognos Analytics, and Zoho Analytics.
What BI tool is best for small businesses?
For small businesses, top options to consider are Zoho Analytics for its affordability and intuitive interface, Tableau for its broad functionality, and Microsoft Power BI for its accessibility.
What BI tool does not require coding?
Leading no-code options include Tableau, Microsoft Power BI, Sisense, Domo, Looker, Qlik, Oracle Analytics Cloud, and Zoho Analytics. Each provides drag-and-drop interfaces, requiring no coding for basic data modeling, reporting, and dashboards.
What BI tool is easiest to use?
Some of the most user-friendly options are Tableau, Microsoft Power BI, Domo, Sisense, Zoho Analytics, and Qlik Sense. Each offers intuitive drag-and-drop interfaces for self-service analytics.
What BI tool has the best data visualization?
Some leaders in powerful data visualizations include Tableau, Sisense, Microsoft Power BI, Qlik Sense, Domo, Looker, Oracle Analytics Cloud, and SAP Analytics Cloud.
What is an open-source BI tool?
Popular open source platforms include Apache Superset, Redash, Metabase, and Jupyter Notebook. These provide free, community-driven tools for data visualization, exploration, and dashboards.
What BI tool is best for large enterprises?
Leading enterprise BI tools include Qlik, Tableau, Sisense, Microsoft Power BI, Oracle Analytics Cloud, SAP Analytics Cloud, IBM Cognos, and Looker. Each offers scalability, governance, and capabilities to meet large complex needs.