The best business intelligence tool for small and big businesses is Sisense because of its scalable architecture and its extensive set of features that range from data consolidation and filtering to analytics and reporting. This platform’s interface is also simple to use for beginners and powerful enough to handle the requirements of professionals.
Small companies and large enterprises may have their fair share of differences, but there’s one thing they have in common: the need for actionable insights to improve their business. Luckily, business intelligence software tools are more accessible and flexible today. With these software solutions, companies of all sizes can now collect, analyze, and convert such data into understandable reports that can provide businesses with valuable insights, which in turn drive corporate profits.
However, with the plethora of BI tools on the market and the various ways that they are packaged, beginning the selection process can be quite confusing. In this article, we will take a look at the best business intelligence software for small and big businesses, as deemed by our experts, carefully assessing their features, functionalities, and pricing. This should make it easier for you to easily narrow down your options.
Business intelligence tools are currently being used for strategic corporate goals, which include KPI measurement, cost-effective deployment of resources, business health planning, and generation of insights to quickly make strategic decisions, among many others. What’s good about such solutions is that they help businesses employ business intelligence across their organizations. They are also easily deployed, utilized, and integrated with any company’s system.
So why use business intelligence tools? The benefits of business intelligence tools far outweigh the investments they entail. They can help businesses gain valuable insights to effect growth, resolve urgent concerns, collate marketing data more quickly, provide a real-time view of the organization and allow for the anticipation of future outcomes using predictive analytics and forecasting.
As more and more business organizations turn to business intelligence software for growth, the market for such tools is expected to expand further. In fact, the global BI software market is predicted to grow at a CAGR of around 7.1% through 2025. As shown above, the market is anticipated to surpass the $26-B mark in 2021. This market expansion is expected as the technology makes strides in helping businesses grow.
New business intelligence trends have been immensely providing organizations with new capabilities. Data discovery, which used to be the turf of experts in advanced analytics, is now made easy using these platforms. This is accomplished through visual analytics, allowing decision-makers to access and immediately act on data. Perhaps one of the most important trends in BI solutions is their provision of mobile support and cloud deployment, allowing users to access and analyze information from any device.
Let’s walk you through all the important aspects of each product, highlighting their unique strengths and features, pointing to specific applications, and discussing any drawbacks you should consider.
BI software Sisense enables businesses to collate, analyze, and view data, which can be used in making sound business decisions and to come up with strategic plans. The tool aggregates all needed information into a single dashboard with its drag-and-drop functionality and provides you with a granular view of your data. Users can come up with reliable analysis using visual reports as a basis, making the process far easier and hassle-free. The platform’s interface is easy to use, allowing users to learn system navigation quickly.
In addition to these features, Sisense also offers intuitive data crunching for beginners, making it a good option for those who are new to using BI solutions. On the other hand, if you are looking for scalability, extensibility, and flexibility, don’t worry. It also comes with API-first approaches for developers. If you’d like to learn more about what Sisense has to offer, the vendor offers an excellent free demo so you can see for yourself the key features of their tool. If you want to investigate the features closely, be sure to try Sisense free demo.
It is these functionalities and more that led Magellan Vacations to adopt Sisense. It took the luxury hotel chain but a short time to get a grasp of the system’s benefits. Management was looking forward to using a system that provides real-time feedback to agents, yet intuitive enough for non-technical users to be able to run analytical processes and reporting. With their service being phone-based and highly personalized, and their database unstructured and often modified, management found traditional methods for tracking sales metrics and closure rates simply inapplicable. It was at that point that CEO Andrew Vignuzzi gave Sisense a chance.
Sisense was not Magellan Vacation’s first choice, but rather the system that saved them from hiring staff and reporting at the rate of $80,000 per year. Ever since they deployed it, they’ve been reclaiming time and cost-effectiveness in their IT department, touting Sisense as the most user-friendly system they ever used. They are now able to manipulate data on the fly, provide real-time feedback to their agents, and coach and counsel them in line with the company’s goals. Better yet, they drill deep into the performance of each agent and department, share insights in a snap, and prepare custom reports instead of sticking to any inapplicable approach.
Detailed Sisense Review
Data discovery app Looker also made it to the top of our best business intelligence tools list for its intuitive data exploration approach. It has a web-based interface that can be used to exploit the expertise of companies’ analytics teams. Using the system, teams can build and share reports in an instant, helping their organizations use data to boost business decisions and actions.
Looker also lets users build their own analytic modules and design visualizations using a single code. Queries can be easily produced and optimized with the platform’s ML code. It can analyze both web-hosted and SQL data and can accommodate well over 25 data variations, including Vertica, Hive, and Google BigQuery. This piece of software has been helping companies boost customer satisfaction and convert site traffic into ecommerce data. To better appreciate this BI platform, be sure to try Looker free demo.
It is because of the need for insightful intelligence that DonorsChoose.org was drawn to Looker. Back in the day, no one at the nonprofit could have foreseen the popularity that their organization is experiencing now or assume that maybe, someday, they’ll have to rely on operable intelligence to make a decision. Becoming aware of their own success story, executives also understood the need to make data publicly accessible and to obtain real-time data insights pulling in info from a variety of sources. The very same system that would respond to their needs was also the one that ought to take care of their complex partnerships and help them develop useful decision-making practices.
The insights Looker provided were astonishing: The non-profit recorded a 65% increase in lifetime giving for donors who’ve been sent ‘thank you’ cards upon donating and discovered that transferring reporting to an automated system saves as much as 400 hours of manual reporting a year. The organization was also able to prepare a poverty breakdown pie by the school and redirected 80% of projects toward helping low-income educational institutions. Meanwhile, they received 292,000 new requests for school supplies and 227,000 requests for technology, as they were able to depict and pinpoint the hottest trends in US education.
Detailed Looker Review
Browser-based report designer Wyn Enterprise is a powerful enterprise business intelligence software designed to help businesses create intricate reports and dashboards. The platform offers out-of-the-box BI functionalities, including self-service BI, multisource data integration, data visualization, data reporting, and online document designing. These tools work in unison to streamline data modeling, data governance, schedule distribution, and data federation.
You can integrate Wyn Enterprise capability into your software products to reel in data from multiple formats like CSV, JSON, Excel, ODBC, OData, and more. Moreover, Wyn Enterprise provides a user-friendly interface that enables both technical and nontechnical users to capitalize on data opportunities with ease. You can use Wyn Enterprise free trial and get to know the features firsthand at no cost and without commitment.
Generally, Wyn Enterprise comprises three portals, namely the admin, document, and the resource portals. The admin portal helps administrators configure the server and manage account settings, whereas the document portal is primarily designed for end-users. On the other hand, the resource portal helps IT teams and administrators glean data through the server and manage the accessibility of data.
Detailed Wyn Enterprise Review
Cloud-based research software Qualtrics Research Core is a powerful solution designed for small to large-sized businesses. It’s a reliable online survey solution that is built to empower brand and marketing researchers across a wide range of verticals, including retail, media, automotive, B2B, travel, and hospitality. Boasting features like project management, multi-channel survey distribution, real-time analysis, and reporting, the platform streamlines online surveys and makes it easy to track customer engagement.
Being a trailblazer in enterprise survey technology, Qualtrics Research Core is easy to use, yet incredibly powerful. The platform outshines its peers in this category, thanks to its ability to help users create surveys in minutes. Not just that, Qualtrics Research Core facilitates the distribution of online surveys via multiple channels. Even better, it simplifies the analysis and visualization of data within a flexible research module. This way, it enables organizations to derive actionable insights that drive business growth, change, and momentum. If you want to investigate the features closely, you can easily do so using the Qualtrics Research Core free trial.
Under Armour knew that venturing into the sports apparel and shoe market was a tall order. The company was well-aware that with companies like Nike running the show, only high-performing products would help knock the behemoths off the perch.
Necessity — hailed as the mother of invention — prompted Under Armour to look for options to carve a niche in the competitive market. Upon rigorous scrutiny, the firm realized that the best weapon to take the giants head-on was concealed in experience data from target customers. As such, they needed powerful BI software to gather data that would later be analyzed to deliver actionable insights. This was when they turned to Qualtrics Research Core to streamline their product testing program.
With the platform’s powerful survey tools, Under Armour broke the technology barriers that hindered impactful product testing. Consequently, with a shortened feedback loop, Under Armour scaled its product testing program and went from 100 testers to more than 10,000 testers. The best part is that the Qualtrics platform simplified product testing, making it easy for employees to ship the product to testers/performance athletes and receive real-time feedback within days.
Detailed Qualtrics Research Core Review
Data discovery and analytics software CXAIR Platform is a robust, cloud-based BI solution tailored for healthcare, finance, and retail organizations. It is a reliable solution, allowing businesses to derive insights that drive change and spur business growth. Primarily, the CXAIR platform provides the tools that organizations need to consolidate information sets and connect data sets. Some of its salient features include self-service data preparation, data classification, contextual search, and visual analytics.
Unlike traditional BI suites that rely on OLAP and in-memory technology, the CXAIR platform leverages the Apache Lucene search engine system. With this powerful engine, the software gathers and turns unstructured, semistructured, and structured data into a single data view. This way, it provides a consolidated repository that businesses can use to generate accurate management reporting and actionable insights. You leverage the CXAIR Platform free trial to know more about its features.
Financial institutions looking to manage customer data, deliver compliance, or measure performance will marvel at CXAIR functionalities. Besides, healthcare businesses that are plagued by regulatory compliance issues, procurement problems, and fraudulent transactions can use this solution to wipe out these problems.
ResMed is a global company renowned for developing, manufacturing, and marketing medical (Sleep-Disorder Breathing) products. The firm had recently installed Dynamics NAV, Microsoft’s ERP solution, but apparently, the solution wasn’t self-sufficient. For example, the software didn’t offer access to update financial information reports, besides other drawbacks.
The firm wanted an easy-to-use tool that would help users of different skill levels to generate reports and run ad-hoc inquiries. Moreover, ResMed was in search of a solution to help pull in critical operational data from numerous 3rd party systems and consolidate them into a single repository. After numerous failed attempts to find the perfect solution, the firm stumbled upon the CXAIR Platform.
With the CXAIR Platform, ResMed was able to pull in financial reports from Dynamics NAV without impacting the front-end ERP system. Even better, the solution integrated seamlessly with the underlying 3rd party solution, allowing the firm to connect operational data into a single, consistent reporting environment.
Detailed CXAIR Platform Review
Next on our list is data analytics platform Zoho Analytics. As part of the Zoho productivity suite, this software packs several robust tools that are easy to use, highly configurable, and easily extensible. It allows you to streamline the aggregation of data from multiple sources, speeds up the generation of reports, as well as simplifies the visualization of data for presentations. Moreover, it has REST API capabilities that allow it to integrate with a multitude of third-party systems so that you can collect data from your existing software solutions automatically.
Another thing that makes Zoho Analytics a good business intelligence tool for both small and large companies is that it has a scalable interface. With this, it is easier for you to process data no matter how extensive or limited your datasets may be. Also, it has collaborative workspaces that can support teams with as little as 2 members to as big as 50 members in case you need to discuss data analytics reports. To learn more about this platform, be sure to check Zoho Analytics free trial.
A rewards and recognition company, nCentrix provides businesses with bespoke strategies that help them reinforce brand loyalty and drive growth for their company. However, they were having trouble meeting the demands of customers in terms of advanced reporting and database management. As a small business, they don’t have the financial capability to employ professionals solely for this task, so, as a compromise, they looked for a reporting software that can offer quality insights instead. This was when they stumbled upon Zoho Analytics.
With Zoho Analytics, they were able to compile datasets, set up dashboards, and publish reports within the day they started using the platform. They started becoming more responsive to clients’ needs, all while cutting off 20 hours per week on the time they spend on data analysis. Moreover, they were able to grow clients’ businesses by at least 30%.
Detailed Zoho Analytics Review
Built for businesses of all sizes, analytics tool Yellowfin offers end-to-end business intelligence tools. With this, you can easily bridge critical information from different data sources and get real-time insights to better understand how your business is doing. It comes with highly configurable dashboards that help you get access to all the information you need without hassle. More importantly, it can alert users via notifications whenever it detects relevant changes in forecasts so that you can adjust your plans ahead of time.
Yellowfin also offers machine learning and automated insights, so digging through your data for answers is much faster. You can use all the features for free for a period of time to see if the software matches your needs.
The difficulty of identifying discrepancies in processes was what pushed St.LukesHealth to look for a reliable business intelligence solution. They slowly realized that their workflow was no longer able to keep up with the demands of their clients. However, they were having trouble pinpointing the problems in their processes. This is when they first stumbled upon Yellowfin.
With the platform’s robust set of features, the company was soon able to find out what aspects of their processes are too time-consuming and which activities are putting a damper on productivity. St.LukesHealth was able to leverage automated reconciliation alongside its existing software ecosystem to find discrepancies in processes and resolve errors as quickly as possible. In fact, after rolling out the platform, they experienced 25% to 33% processing efficiency gains and reduced time-consuming processes that took up a whole afternoon to finish into tasks that only take half an hour or less.
Detailed Yellowfin Review
Comprehensive BI system Periscope Data was created by Sisense to help users perform quick connection, analysis, and visualization of data. It’s capable of securely connecting data from all your sources and then transforms them into a single source of truth. The platform is equipped with a data engine that can perform fast queries, regardless of the scale and complexity of the workload it’s processing.
Advanced analytics can be executed together with BI reporting under a single platform. For data experts, it’s a fast and powerful solution. For other business professionals, it can be learned with little difficulty. There’s a drag-and-drop interface that can be used for making basic calculations and combinations, as well as sharing dashboards and making visualizations.
Insights can be communicated easily and in a more organized manner as you can choose from a big roster of visualization options within Periscope Data. These include maps, plots, charts, graphs, and more. Aside from presenting insights, you can also share them with your colleagues, partners, and clients. This can be done through direct linking or sending them via Slack or email.
Detailed Periscope Data Review
BI and data visualization solution datapine connects all your data sources in a unified location and creates detailed visualizations to help businesses comprehend their data better. Its data integration capability makes it effortless for users to connect and analyze information across various sources, including CRM, ERP, various documents, and others. Even non-tech savvy users can fully take advantage of the software’s capabilities without experiencing a steep learning curve due to its drag-and-drop interface and a large selection of visual charts.
datapine comes equipped with modern data dashboards that help provide a clear picture of your goals, progress, and other information that can help you drive growth to your business. Thanks to its accessibility, all users can access pertinent information, display modern data dashboards, and create easily digestible data visualizations.
Kreditech, an online consumer finance company, was having trouble centralizing their decision-making process. They had difficulty combining their internal and external data, and they noticed that their dependency on IT personnel for day-to-day analytics was putting a damper on their overall operational productivity. This was when they decided to take advantage of the functionalities that datapine has to offer.
Upon incorporating datapine into their arsenal of business systems, they were able to reduce the time spent on reporting and analytics by 40 hours per week. They were also able to collect KPIs within minutes without the need for IT involvement. Moreover, the platform gave them real-time access to ad hoc analysis and reports, no matter what device they used, speeding up operations even more.
Detailed datapine Review
Cloud-hosted analytics tool AnswerDock leverages artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and data mining algorithms to provide users with accurate reports and analysis of their data. Using this, businesses of all sizes from various industries can conveniently collect data from different sources, get instant answers to their queries, and speed up the decision-making process. What’s more is that, because it uses more advanced BI tools, this platform can answer beyond the whats, whens, and hows of your data but also identify possible trends.
In addition to those, you can format these discoveries using their extensive set of report customization tools. In case you feel like the platform still offers basic functionalities for you, don’t worry. It supports third-party APIs so that you can extend its features according to the needs of your operations.
Detailed AnswerDock Review
Analysis and feedback tool Hotjar landed a spot on our list because of its ability to analyze user insights and visualize user behavior. It leverages heatmaps, behavior logic, one-on-one testing, cross-device surveys, and visitor recordings to help you identify the impact of your websites and landing pages so that you can improve it and yield better conversion rates. The platform even offers a one script implementation feature, so you don’t have to worry about lengthy installation processes that require technical knowledge. All you have to do is use the script on WordPress, Shopify, Squarespace, Weebly, or any other platform that you use to host your site, and you’re good to go.
HubSpot Academy has been providing marketing and sales education to entrepreneurs, but not a lot of people know about this yet. To boost their signup rate and help more businesses with their marketing and sales needs, the company decided to invest in Hotjar. By using its polling system, they were able to detect what issues are causing the visitors to abandon their course registration page. Among the many reasons they collected were a handful of users thought inbound marketing is different from digital marketing, some were unsure of how this will help their careers, and some believed that it is meant only for entrepreneurs and not job seekers. Upon getting these responses, they slowly fixed their site by addressing the mentioned issues and were able to boost signups by 10%.
Detailed Hotjar Review
Web-based platform ReportPlus is an analytics solution that primarily focuses on data visualization. This allows users to create interactive and accurate reports on financial performance, marketing campaign progress, social media analysis, and other operational processes without the need for an IT department or the services of an external consultant. It leverages drag-and-drop capabilities and intuitive swiping features, making it easy even for technologically-challenged individuals to create reports of their own. Moreover, while this platform is easy enough to use for freelancers and small businesses, it also comes with enterprise-grade tools for bigger companies. With this, you can merge data from various sources, process large amounts of datasets quickly, and even secure your database via encryption.
Detailed ReportPlus Review
Easy-to-use BI platform QlikView automatically generates personalized reports and custom dashboards. It uses associative data indexing to explore massive data and discover hidden trends and patterns that can be used to make sound business actions. This piece of software is suitable for any business size and even freelancers. With QlikView, users can collect valuable insights and even share them with relevant individuals. Its smart search and data discovery features allow for data analysis through interactions with charts and visualizations. Aside from these, the platform provides smart visualizations, information summaries, color gradient use, and responsive design.
The product has time and again been proven useful to many organizations, like in the case of Deloitte Netherlands. Finance and Control manager Frank Kneefel believes that in a 24/7 world driven by loyalty and transparency, accurate information is both free and scarce. Before he discovered QlikView and decided to give it a try, he was afraid of Deloitte’s highly complex reporting environment. He struggled to bring in a unified approach for audit, consulting, tax, and risk management analytics to save the company both time and money. For a worldwide service provider renowned for diverse, affordable, and unified productivity management reporting, the approach sounded like Utopia.
QlikView’s flexibility, user-friendliness, and analytic powers turned out to be just what Deloitte needed. With it, the company brought its multiple data sources under the same roof, including diverse Excel files and SAP warehouse data. Within a month, the new reporting app was set and ready to go, and consultants were able to save an average of 10 hours reporting hours per month. As time passed by, Deloitte’s upper management became more and more fascinated with the effects of QlikView that they ordered the creation of two new apps: One for tracking human resources, and the other for forecasting customer/market behavior.
Detailed QlikView Review
BI platform Tableau aids businesses in visualizing and making sense of data. It enables organizations to connect, visualize, and share data through PC or iPad. Users can easily create dashboards, publish, and even share them with colleagues, partners, and customers without the need for programming knowledge. The software can connect to numerous information sources and import and visualize information in a very short time. The software is intuitive, facilitating ease-of-use and for allowing data analysis using drag-and-drop functionality. It fosters collaboration, making way for group analytics and keeping all team members in the know at all times. Users can also accomplish tasks from virtually anywhere at any time as the app comes with a native mobile app.
These and more functionalities made Arby’s Restaurant Group decide to use Tableau. What the restaurant company was searching for then was a reliable retail analytics system. They imagined their ideal tool to map retail success from the field, focusing in particular, on trends for retaining customers in a time of renovation and casual closing. For the purpose, the system should be able to combine supply chain visualizations, maximize cost efficiency, and provide intelligence on sourcing and warehouse management. In short, they were looking for Tableau.
How did Tableau help the restaurant group? The system put in place improved decision making on material usage, as it integrated data across several applications. Thanks to the tool, the company was able to order supplies in line with its demand trends. Another invaluable benefit was managing risk and comparing their performance to internal and market expectations to wrap up a deficiency percentage and tackle it accordingly. Arby’s Restaurant Group also relied on Tableau’s warehouse management kit to gain visibility into the efficiency of individual employees and shift groups.
Detailed Tableau Review
While created for large enterprises, comprehensive BI system SAP BusinessObjects Lumira offers several functionalities that make it great for different business sizes. For one, it is built for self-service BI, which is why it provides an easily navigable interface that allows you to build accurate reports without the need for coding knowledge. Secondly, it provides users with a variety of pre-made visualizations so that you don’t have to design them from scratch. Moreover, it comes with a fast source manipulation tool that lets you consolidate your data even without dealing with complicated spreadsheets. The only downside to this system is that because it is deployed on-premise, SAP BusinessObjects Lumira is not capable of providing you with access to your data outside your office.
Detailed SAP BusinessObjects Lumira Review
Business intelligence software can indeed help you optimize your operations and drive growth for your company. However, not all BI tools will be able to reinforce your existing processes or provide you with the specific tools that you need. This is why it is important to have a structured selection process to help you pinpoint which ones will work best for your operations.
To help you choose the right business intelligence solution, here are some questions that you should ask yourself as you browse:
The first thing you should check out is what kind of functionalities are included in the BI platform you are interested in. Chances are, it will provide you with the basics such as data consolidation, visualization, and archiving. Perhaps, it also offers customizable dashboards and comes with both static and interactive reporting options. In addition to these, you might want to look for some more advanced functionalities such as encryption options for securing data, smart alerts for ensuring that you get real-time notifications on significant trend changes, scheduled report generation for simplifying the preparation of recurring analysis, and predictive modeling for discovering possible trends before they even materialize. You might also want to check if your prospective software offers sharing options that will let you distribute your findings on different platforms.
Next, determine who will be using the software. More often than not, these would be your in-house data analysts, IT experts, sales and marketing professionals, and managers. If it’s the first two, you’d easily get away with opting for developer-friendly platforms that use coding for customization as they have the technical expertise to handle it. Moreover, it gives them more control over the data collection and visualization process. However, your other employees might not have the same level of tech know-how. In this case, it is better to find tools with self-service BI options, drag-and-drop navigation, and no-code interfaces. By doing so, you reduce the learning curve for them and make the most out of your investment.
Lastly, you need to determine how adaptable you want your BI tool to be. Start with customization options. Do you want to be able to personalize visualizations and dashboard setups? Would you like to modify the types of reports that it will generate for you and program which reports should appear on your dashboard? If so, the vendor should tell you what kinds of visualizations you can choose from as well as the number of dashboard setups they have. After this, take a look at its system configuration. If you are looking for a platform that can grow alongside your business, you need to find one that offers ample or upgradeable storage space and is equipped with API capabilities. By doing so, you won’t have to worry about not being able to accommodate all of your data. Furthermore, you will be able to scale your software up or down, depending on the needs of your businesses.
To get a better idea of what you should be looking for in a BI platform, we also recommend that you take a look at our guide to what is BI software. With this, you will have all the data you need to make an informed decision.
So, there you have it, our 15 best business intelligence tools for small and big businesses and a short guide to choosing one. We highly recommend Sisense for its scalable architecture and powerful yet easy-to-use tools. In fact, we would suggest that you sign up for Sisense free demo so that you can try it for yourself. However, if you think that this solution is not the right fit for you, don’t hesitate to check out any of the other solutions we mentioned.
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