Business intelligence (BI) refers to the processes, tools, and techniques used to collect, analyze, and extract actionable insights from raw data. Business intelligence tools help organizations visualize trends, patterns, and metrics to inform business strategies and boost productivity.
The global BI market reached $22.8 billion in 2020 and continues rapid growth as companies realize the competitive edge such solutions provide. With so many options now available, selecting the right business intelligence tools can feel overwhelming.
This guide examines the top 11 business intelligence tools in 2023 based on features, analytical capabilities, ease of use, scalability, and cost. Read on to determine which business intelligence tools best fit your business needs and budget.
What Are the Benefits of Business Intelligence Tools?
Implementing robust business intelligence tools provides organizations several advantages:
Identify Cost Savings
Business intelligence tools condense raw data from across departments into digestible dashboards, helping management pinpoint redundancies and inefficiencies. Companies can then implement targeted changes to reduce expenses.
Data analysis reveals workflow bottlenecks and performance gaps. Teams can then optimize processes for greater speed and output using business intelligence tools.
Enhanced Decision Making
With data-driven insights from business intelligence tools, leaders can make strategic decisions to outmaneuver competitors. BI enables pivoting based on real-time market conditions.
Customer analytics uncovers sales opportunities. Business intelligence tools inform product improvements and marketing campaigns to attract and retain buyers.
Tracking KPIs enables preemptive action when metrics deteriorate. Companies avoid threats by responding quickly to changing dynamics using business intelligence tools.
Top 11 Business Intelligence Tools for 2023
Sisense empowers users to prepare, analyze, and visualize complex data with minimal IT support. The end-to-end platform utilizes artificial intelligence to simplify workflows. Users praise Sisense as one of the top business intelligence tools for its flexibility and ease of use.
Notable features include:
- Drag-and-drop interface for building dashboards
- Broad connectivity to data sources
- Machine learning for advanced analytics
- Natural language querying
- Live dashboard updating
Sisense works across industries, including:
|Marketing||Track campaign performance.|
|Sales||Analyze customer metrics.|
|Healthcare||Pinpoint treatment efficiencies.|
Pricing starts at $999/month. A free trial is available.
Tableau pioneered self-service BI with its intuitive visual interface. Users can quickly connect to data, then analyze and share interactive reports across the organization with this top-rated business intelligence tool. Advanced functionality caters to experienced data experts.
- Drag-and-drop report builder
- AI-powered analytics
- Real-time dashboard updates
- Natural language querying
- Mobile optimization
Tableau supports various scenarios, including:
|Operations||Monitor KPIs like production output.|
|Marketing||Visualize campaign ROI.|
|IT||Track help desk metrics.|
|Sales||Analyze customer segments.|
Tableau pricing starts at $42/month. A 14-day free trial is available.
Known for its associative engine, Qlik offers user-driven BI accessible to employees at all skill levels. Qlik’s standardization on a single backend platform enables scalable deployment across the enterprise, making it one of the top business intelligence tools.
Notable aspects include:
- Associative analysis – Reveals hidden data relationships
- AI augmentation – Provides smart recommendations
- Cloud-native architecture
- Active Intelligence – Refreshes dashboards based on user behavior
- Governed self-service – Scales usage while ensuring data quality
Typical Qlik applications include:
|Sales||Pipeline tracking and forecasting.|
|Finance||Budgeting and scenario modeling.|
|Supply chain||Inventory optimization.|
Qlik pricing starts at $15/month. A free trial is available.
ThoughtSpot differentiates itself with a search-driven interface that leverages natural language and AI. Business users can execute queries and instantly visualize results. ThoughtSpot can scale analytics across the enterprise as a leading business intelligence tool.
Notable aspects include:
- Conversational analytics – Ask questions using natural language.
- SearchPlay – Recommends insights based on user behavior.
- Live analytics – Instantly updates dashboards and graphs.
- Embrace – Ingests and analyzes raw data.
- SpotIQ – Provides predictive capabilities.
ThoughtSpot supports use cases like:
|Retail||Optimize locations based on demographics.|
|Marketing||Uncover campaign effectiveness drivers.|
|Finance||Monitor budgets in real-time.|
|Manufacturing||Identify quality issues.|
ThoughtSpot pricing is customized per organization. A free trial is available.
5. Microsoft Power BI
Power BI makes BI accessible to every employee through its low-code interface. Users can create reports, dashboards, and visualizations with minimal training using this popular business intelligence tool. Power BI integrates tightly with Microsoft’s cloud ecosystem.
- Interactive dashboards
- Natural language queries
- AI-driven insights
- Broad data connectivity
- Mobile optimization
- Embedded analytics
Power BI enables:
|Sales||Pipeline and regional performance tracking.|
|Marketing||Campaign and web analytics.|
|Operations||Supply chain and logistics monitoring.|
|Finance||Budget variance reporting.|
Pricing starts at $9.99/month. A free trial is available.
6. Oracle Analytics Cloud
Oracle Analytics Cloud combines enterprise-scale capabilities with an intuitive interface. AI-powered experiences enable access to insights for every skill level using this robust business intelligence tool. Tight integration across Oracle’s cloud platform enables advanced analytics.
- Mobile optimization
- Natural language query
- Predictive analytics
- Augmented analysis -AI provides insights
- Data prep and cataloging
- Hundreds of out-of-the-box data connectors
Oracle Analytics Cloud supports scenarios like:
|Sales and Marketing||Lead scoring, account profiling, campaign analysis|
|Finance||General ledger reconciliation, cash flow forecasting|
|Supply Chain||Inventory optimization, demand forecasting|
|Human Resources||Workforce modeling, retention analysis|
Pricing is customized per organization. A free trial is available.
Looker empowers users with self-service analytics at scale as a leading business intelligence tool. The platform interfaces with common data tools to deliver dashboards, reports, and applications through a web UI and APIs. Looker integrates with Google Cloud Platform.
Key aspects include:
- Intuitive UI – Drag-and-drop visualization
- LookML modeling language – For advanced analysis
- Looker Blocks – Reusable report components
- Embedded analytics – Integrates insights into apps
- Granular access controls
Looker supports uses like:
|Digital Marketing||Web traffic and funnel analysis|
|Sales||CRM analytics, lead management|
|Support||Customer ticket monitoring|
|Finance||Revenue modeling, cost control|
Pricing starts at $2,000/month. A 21-day free trial is available.
Yellowfin differentiates itself with augmented analytics to automate insight generation. The vendor also emphasizes storytelling, collaboration, and accessibility for all users of this business intelligence tool. APIs and embedding support distribution.
- Automated Insights – AI/ML uncover insights
- Data storytelling
- Interactive dashboards
- Collaboration tools
- Customizable reporting
- APIs for embedding
Yellowfin applies across:
|Marketing||Campaign analysis, lead scoring|
|Sales||Pipeline tracking, forecasting|
|Operations||Asset monitoring, cost analysis|
|Executive||Strategic planning, competitive intelligence|
Pricing starts at $600/month. A free trial is available.
9. Zoho Analytics
Zoho Analytics prides itself on an intuitive interface enabling self-service BI for every employee with this business intelligence tool. The tool connects to a variety of data sources to deliver reports, dashboards, and ad hoc analysis.
Key features include:
- Conversational analytics
- Interactive report builder
- Scheduled report delivery
- Data preparation
- APIs for embedding and extension
- Affordable pricing
Zoho supports uses like:
|Sales||Lead analysis, funnel tracking, forecasting|
|Marketing||Campaign ROI, customer journey analysis|
|Support||Service desk metrics monitoring|
|Finance||Budgeting, cost optimization|
Pricing starts at $15/month. A 15-day free trial is available.
10. Adaptive Insights
Specialized for finance, Adaptive Insights offers intuitive planning, consolidation, reporting and analytics tailored for the office of the CFO using this business intelligence tool. The solution scales to support large, global enterprises.
- Customizable planning and modeling
- Scenario comparison
- Real-time reporting
- Drill-down analysis
- Excel integration
- Automated workflows
- Rolling forecasts
Adaptive Insights applies to:
- Financial planning and analysis
- Workforce planning
- Sales and revenue forecasting
- Operational budgeting
- Balance sheet and cash flow reporting
Pricing is customized per organization. A demo is available.
Domo focuses on connectors to ingest and mash up data from virtually any source with this business intelligence tool. The tool enables collaboration and runs anywhere. Domo aims to deliver value rapidly through prebuilt solutions.
Key aspects include:
- Hundreds of connectors
- Customizable dashboards
- Interactive reporting
- Alerts and notifications
- Mobile optimization
- Package solutions for specific functions
Domo works across:
|Marketing||Campaign analytics, web traffic, SEO/SEM|
|Sales||Pipeline and productivity tracking|
|Finance||Cash flow, budget vs. actuals|
|Executive||Portfolio project status|
Pricing starts at $83/month. A free trial is available.
Choosing the Right Business Intelligence Tool
With so many options on the market, it can be challenging to determine the best business intelligence tools for your needs. Here are key considerations when evaluating solutions:
|Intended users||Will BI be limited to analysts, or made available to everyone? Options like Microsoft Power BI cater to broad usage.|
|Data sources||What systems do your business intelligence tools need to connect to? Assess required connectors.|
|Security||Especially when enabling widespread access, ensure your BI platform has role-based permissions and governance capabilities.|
|Analytics needs||Do users need self-service ad hoc analysis or standard recurring reporting? Prioritize accordingly.|
|Visualization and dashboards||Interactive dashboards can boost adoption. Evaluate graphical capabilities.|
|Mobile functionality||Determine if accessing insights on the go is a priority. Not all BI is optimized for mobile.|
|Budget||Business intelligence tools range dramatically in price. Be realistic about costs.|
Getting Started with a BI Implementation
Once you select a business intelligence platform, follow best practices for successful deployment:
|Secure executive sponsorship||Have a senior champion to reinforce adoption and funding.|
|Phase deployments||Start with a targeted proof of concept before expanding access more broadly.|
|Involve stakeholders||Get user input when shaping reporting and dashboards.|
|Clean and integrate data||Invest time in data preparation to ensure quality insights from your business intelligence tools.|
|Consider change management||People resist new tools. Market the benefits and train users.|
|Start with ROI focus||Tie initial projects to high-value KPIs with clear ROI potential.|
Driving User Adoption of Business Intelligence Tools
A significant challenge with any new software is getting employees to actually use it. Business intelligence platforms often fail to deliver expected value simply because people stick with old habits and don’t leverage the new analytics capabilities. Consider these strategies to drive adoption of business intelligence tools:
|Make analysis visual and interactive||Static reports don’t inspire engagement. Interactive dashboards do.|
|Embed BI insights everywhere||Incorporate analytics directly into daily apps and workflows.|
|Promote wins and ROIs||Publicize how BI has saved money, driven revenue, etc.|
|Incentivize usage||Gamification, contests, targets, and bonuses can motivate participation.|
|Support usage with training||From workshops to online tutorials, ensure sufficient learning resources.|
|Encourage peer sharing||Having users explain value to others reinforces adoption.|
|Monitor usage||Track logins, report viewing, and other metrics to spotlight adoption gaps.|
|Gather user feedback||Identify pain points and enhancements that improve stickiness.|
|Phase rollouts||Get one team fully on board before expanding to the next group.|
|Executive visibility||Have leadership model data-driven decision-making.|
Securing Your Business Intelligence Environment
As business intelligence democratizes data access, it also expands the attack surface for potential security breaches. Take the following steps to lock down your business intelligence platforms:
|Restrict data access||Allow users access to only the datasets required for their role.|
|Implement role-based permissions||Carefully control viewing and editing privileges.|
|Mask sensitive fields||Configure filters to exclude confidential personal or financial data.|
|De-identify data sets||Remove personally identifiable information where possible.|
|Establish governance rules||Set policies for proper data manipulation.|
|Enable auditing||Log queries, report views, and dashboard access.|
|Integrate with enterprise security||Tie into existing protocols, including LDAP, SAML, and OAuth.|
|Penetration testing||Hire experts to probe for vulnerabilities from external attack vectors.|
|Staff security expertise||Hire data and analytics specialists with security experience.|
|Encrypt in transit and at rest||Leverage TLS, SSL, and encryption schemes for maximum protection.|
|Consider on-premise deployment||For highly sensitive data, avoid the cloud.|
|Isolate the BI platform||Segment your analytics environment from other infrastructure.|
Key Takeaways and Recommendations
Business intelligence solutions empower companies to tap deep insights from their wealth of internal data. Key highlights:
- Modern business intelligence drives cost optimization, improved decision making and faster user self-service. Cloud solutions democratize access.
- Leading solutions like Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, Qlik and Sisense offer robust analytical functionality with accessible interfaces.
- Approach implementations in phases, tying BI to strategic KPIs with clear ROI upside, and encouraging user adoption through training and promotion.
- Maintain diligent data security, access controls and governance to keep confidential information protected. Test for vulnerabilities.
- Trends like augmented analytics via AI and widespread embedding into workflows will continue enhancing how businesses leverage data-driven intelligence.
For any organization lacking a unified, easy-to-use view into its data, implementing a modern business intelligence platform is a strategic imperative. The technology now exists to empower employees across all departments to access insights that drive performance, mitigate risks, serve customers better and outpace the competition.
Businesses today live or die based on data-driven decision making. Selecting the right business intelligence tools provides a competitive advantage through improved productivity, cost reduction, managed risks, and data-informed growth strategies.
Through an agile, user-focused deployment process, organizations can rapidly start realizing value from their business intelligence tools. The difficult part lies in choosing from the multitude of capable solutions now available.
This guide presented 11 top-ranked options based on critical factors like functionality, analytics power, and ease of use. Weigh these elements against business objectives, resources, and culture. Contact providers for demos and pricing details on short-listed options.
With the massive size of the BI software market, new solutions constantly emerge. Revisit evaluations periodically to take advantage of innovation in business intelligence tools. A modern, future-proofed platform enables leveraging data for maximum business impact both today and tomorrow.