Best Business Intelligence Software | 2020 Reviews of the Most Popular Tools & Systems

1. What is business intelligence software? Business intelligence (BI) software helps organizations to analyze data…

1. What is business intelligence software?

Business intelligence (BI) software helps organizations to analyze data from various sources to generate insights, which helps leadership with better decision-making. It collects the data from internal and external sources, runs queries to analyze the data, and then presents it within interactive dashboards and other forms of data visualization. BI software can analyze various types of data such as customer data, finance data, production data, human resource data, and contact data. 

2. The benefits of BI software

  • Accurate and fast decision making: Unlike the traditional way of getting key metric reports manually from the IT department, BI software provides real-time information from one centralized source. It allows management to make fact-based and real-time decisions to maintain a competitive advantage. 
  • Better visualization of data:  BI tools allow users to convert complex data into easily understandable data visuals such as charts, graphs, infographics, and animations. 
  • Get alerts and notifications of your KPIs: BI software constantly monitors all your critical key performance indicator (KPI) metrics using a specific measure and will alert users when they meet the target. 
  • Single source of truth for the data: When you share the dashboards to stakeholders, everyone gets the same, up-to-date version of the data. Unlike other methods of sharing data, BI dashboards provide data from a single source.

3. Typical features of BI software

  • Dashboard: Offers a compilation of graphs and charts for tracking statistics and metrics on a single page. 
  • Self-service data preparation: Provides end-users the ability to access, combine, transform, and store data without the help of an IT department.
  • Visual analytics: Allows users to play with data visualization elements such as charts and graphs to identify trends easily.
  • Collaboration tools: Provides a medium for users to share media files, communicate, and work together.
  • Security/user administration: Ensures secure access to reports using role-based permissions and logs of report access.
  • Extract, transform, and load: Extracts data from operational databases, transforms it into a normalized or aggregated format, and loads transformed data into a data warehouse. 
  • Advanced analytics: Performs predictive modeling, data mining, machine learning capabilities, and is compatible with R and other statistical languages.

4. The cost of BI software

Most products in the market are priced on a “per user, per month” basis and can be divided into three pricing tiers based on their starting price.

Price ranges*:

*The pricing included is for the entry-level/lowest-priced offering that was found on vendor websites on July 02, 2019. These ranges correspond to 25th, 75th, and 100th percentile of the pricing information gathered from the vendor websites of sample products.

The above list summarizes pricing for the base plans of most products. An enterprise or premium product, which is priced higher, may include some additional features such as advanced analytics including statistical language, scorecards, and predictive and profitability analytics.

5. Considerations when purchasing BI software

  • Friendly self-service options: Leadership tends to be the end-user of a BI tool, and they are generally not from an IT background. Therefore, the interface of BI software should consist of simple terminologies and intuitive features such as a drag-and-drop mechanism, drill-down options, and self-service data preparation which will help professionals easily understand and use the software. Buyers can check out the ease-of-use rating of individual BI tools on this page which can help them in investing in the right software for their business. 
  • Integration capabilities with multiple data sources: For a holistic report, BI tools can integrate with your existing data storage platforms. Organizations should research the compatibility of their BI tool with their internal key metrics data sources, as well as potential external data sources.

  • Using machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to handle high data volume:  With an increase in the amount of generated data, it becomes challenging for data operators to generate key insights from it. Augmented analytics helps to identify hidden patterns in large data volume through natural language processing (NLP), ML, and AI technology. Augmented analytics will be a favored driver for the purchase of analytics and BI software, as well as data science and ML platforms by 2020.
  • Present your data with compelling stories: Data storytelling is a new way to explain the “so what” analysis instead of just showing dashboards. The interactive analytical storytelling enhances story credibility and enables managers to obtain further insights from static, predefined analyses that might be harder to obtain.


Products evaluated for the pricing calculation were taken from Capterra’s top products. The pricing ranges exclude freemium versions of the products. The features highlighted were identified based on their relevance and the percentage of products in Capterra’s directory that offer them.

The following sources were used for this document:


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