The 11 Best Business Intelligence Tools to Boost Productivity in 2023

Introduction

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.

Improve Productivity

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.

Higher Revenue

Customer analytics uncovers sales opportunities. Business intelligence tools inform product improvements and marketing campaigns to attract and retain buyers.

Reduced Risk

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

1. Sisense

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

Use Cases

Sisense works across industries, including:

Use CaseDescription
MarketingTrack campaign performance.
SalesAnalyze customer metrics.
FinanceModel projections.
HealthcarePinpoint treatment efficiencies.

Pricing starts at $999/month. A free trial is available.

2. Tableau

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.

Key features:

  • Drag-and-drop report builder
  • AI-powered analytics
  • Real-time dashboard updates
  • Natural language querying
  • Mobile optimization

Use Cases

Tableau supports various scenarios, including:

Use CaseDescription
OperationsMonitor KPIs like production output.
MarketingVisualize campaign ROI.
ITTrack help desk metrics.
SalesAnalyze customer segments.

Tableau pricing starts at $42/month. A 14-day free trial is available.

3. Qlik

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

Use Cases

Typical Qlik applications include:

Use CaseDescription
SalesPipeline tracking and forecasting.
MarketingCampaign analytics.
FinanceBudgeting and scenario modeling.
Supply chainInventory optimization.

Qlik pricing starts at $15/month. A free trial is available.

4. ThoughtSpot

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.

Use Cases

ThoughtSpot supports use cases like:

Use CaseDescription
RetailOptimize locations based on demographics.
MarketingUncover campaign effectiveness drivers.
FinanceMonitor budgets in real-time.
ManufacturingIdentify 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.

Key features:

  • Interactive dashboards
  • Natural language queries
  • AI-driven insights
  • Broad data connectivity
  • Mobile optimization
  • Embedded analytics

Use Cases

Power BI enables:

Use CaseDescription
SalesPipeline and regional performance tracking.
MarketingCampaign and web analytics.
OperationsSupply chain and logistics monitoring.
FinanceBudget 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.

Notable features:

  • Mobile optimization
  • Natural language query
  • Predictive analytics
  • Augmented analysis AI provides insights
  • Data prep and cataloging
  • Hundreds of out-of-the-box data connectors

Use Cases

Oracle Analytics Cloud supports scenarios like:

Use CaseDescription
Sales and MarketingLead scoring, account profiling, campaign analysis
FinanceGeneral ledger reconciliation, cash flow forecasting
Supply ChainInventory optimization, demand forecasting
Human ResourcesWorkforce modeling, retention analysis

Pricing is customized per organization. A free trial is available.

7. Looker

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

Use Cases

Looker supports uses like:

Use CaseDescription
Digital MarketingWeb traffic and funnel analysis
SalesCRM analytics, lead management
SupportCustomer ticket monitoring
FinanceRevenue modeling, cost control

Pricing starts at $2,000/month. A 21-day free trial is available.

8. Yellowfin

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.

Notable features:

  • Automated Insights – AI/ML uncover insights
  • Data storytelling
  • Interactive dashboards
  • Collaboration tools
  • Customizable reporting
  • APIs for embedding

Use Cases

Yellowfin applies across:

Use CaseDescription
MarketingCampaign analysis, lead scoring
SalesPipeline tracking, forecasting
OperationsAsset monitoring, cost analysis
ExecutiveStrategic 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

Use Cases

Zoho supports uses like:

Use CaseDescription
SalesLead analysis, funnel tracking, forecasting
MarketingCampaign ROI, customer journey analysis
SupportService desk metrics monitoring
FinanceBudgeting, 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.

Notable features:

  • Customizable planning and modeling
  • Scenario comparison
  • Real-time reporting
  • Drill-down analysis
  • Excel integration
  • Automated workflows
  • Rolling forecasts

Use Cases

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.

11. Domo

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

Use Cases

Domo works across:

Use CaseDescription
MarketingCampaign analytics, web traffic, SEO/SEM
SalesPipeline and productivity tracking
FinanceCash flow, budget vs. actuals
ExecutivePortfolio 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:

ConsiderationDescription
Intended usersWill BI be limited to analysts, or made available to everyone? Options like Microsoft Power BI cater to broad usage.
Data sourcesWhat systems do your business intelligence tools need to connect to? Assess required connectors.
SecurityEspecially when enabling widespread access, ensure your BI platform has role-based permissions and governance capabilities.
Analytics needsDo users need self-service ad hoc analysis or standard recurring reporting? Prioritize accordingly.
Visualization and dashboardsInteractive dashboards can boost adoption. Evaluate graphical capabilities.
Mobile functionalityDetermine if accessing insights on the go is a priority. Not all BI is optimized for mobile.
BudgetBusiness 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:

PracticeDescription
Secure executive sponsorshipHave a senior champion to reinforce adoption and funding.
Phase deploymentsStart with a targeted proof of concept before expanding access more broadly.
Involve stakeholdersGet user input when shaping reporting and dashboards.
Clean and integrate dataInvest time in data preparation to ensure quality insights from your business intelligence tools.
Consider change managementPeople resist new tools. Market the benefits and train users.
Start with ROI focusTie 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:

StrategyDescription
Make analysis visual and interactiveStatic reports don’t inspire engagement. Interactive dashboards do.
Embed BI insights everywhereIncorporate analytics directly into daily apps and workflows.
Promote wins and ROIsPublicize how BI has saved money, driven revenue, etc.
Incentivize usageGamification, contests, targets, and bonuses can motivate participation.
Support usage with trainingFrom workshops to online tutorials, ensure sufficient learning resources.
Encourage peer sharingHaving users explain value to others reinforces adoption.
Monitor usageTrack logins, report viewing, and other metrics to spotlight adoption gaps.
Gather user feedbackIdentify pain points and enhancements that improve stickiness.
Phase rolloutsGet one team fully on board before expanding to the next group.
Executive visibilityHave 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:

StepDescription
Restrict data accessAllow users access to only the datasets required for their role.
Implement role-based permissionsCarefully control viewing and editing privileges.
Mask sensitive fieldsConfigure filters to exclude confidential personal or financial data.
De-identify data setsRemove personally identifiable information where possible.
Establish governance rulesSet policies for proper data manipulation.
Enable auditingLog queries, report views, and dashboard access.
Integrate with enterprise securityTie into existing protocols, including LDAP, SAML, and OAuth.
Penetration testingHire experts to probe for vulnerabilities from external attack vectors.
Staff security expertiseHire data and analytics specialists with security experience.
Encrypt in transit and at restLeverage TLS, SSL, and encryption schemes for maximum protection.
Consider on-premise deploymentFor highly sensitive data, avoid the cloud.
Isolate the BI platformSegment 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.

Conclusion

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.