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If you are still managing and analyzing your data by hand… stop. The bots are smart enough to do that for you now, and you have better things to do with your time, like use AI-generated insights from your data to make big, bottom-line decisions.
Analytics Business Intelligence Software Application
Business intelligence (BI) software uses APIs, automation, AI, and other tools to simplify the process of data compilation, organization, analysis, and visualization. It takes data and basically does everything but the actual decision for you.
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There are hundreds of platforms out there that market themselves as BI or BI-adjacent tools, but not all of them help you extract actionable insights from your data while remaining accessible to businesses of all sizes. I spent several weeks testing dozens of BI tools, and based on my research and time testing the platforms, these eight stood out among the rest.
All of our best programs are written by people who have spent much of their careers using, testing, and writing about software. We spend tens of hours researching and testing applications, using each application as it is used and evaluating it according to the criteria we have set for the category. We never pay for placement in our articles of any app or for links to any website—we value the trust readers place in us to offer authentic reviews of the categories and apps we review. For more details on our process, read the full summary of how we choose apps to feature on the blog.
To test these business intelligence tools, I created an account with each platform, importing sample data and testing critical features such as data source linking, dataset linking, visualization and dashboard building, and AI-generated insights.
With the help of the above criteria, some extensive research on these programs, and my insights from testing them, here are my picks for the eight best business intelligence software solutions.
Cloud Bi Tools
Datapine’s ratings alone were enough for me to suspect it would earn a spot on this list, and trying it out only confirmed my hypothesis.
I was particularly impressed with the platform’s Smart Insights tab. You are greeted by a series of written information about your data along with annotated charts that speak to those insights. They’re divided by category, with tabs for growth and forecasting, value drivers, key segments, outliers, correlations, and even interactive what-if scenarios that let you see how results would be affected if certain factors changed.
I also found the app’s panels to be very flexible (and almost…fun?). You can drag charts anywhere in a dashboard, and they are highly customizable. Customize fonts, colors, gradients, drop shadows, titles and subtitles, and even brand your dashboard with hundreds of fun icons. Some visualizations, including maps, offer interactivity, allowing you to zoom into specific areas to get a closer look at your data.
When you create a new data visualization, you can implement various conditional formatting options. For example, you can assign meaning to colors, gradients, and more so that they reflect a quality, such as values or set boundaries.
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The app also integrates AI and intelligent forecasting. You can enable alerts that recognize anomalies in data and how you track to your KPIs, notifying you of any changes. You can even customize charts to predict how your data will trend over time.
There are more awesome features, including dashboard sharing with colleagues, automating reports to be sent on a specific schedule, and more—but you get the picture. datapine is a premium BI application that will almost certainly cover all your bases.
Granted, as a fairly comprehensive premium option, datapine comes at a really high price point compared to many other BI software options. Confirm that you need all of its features before shelling out the cash.
If you’re a solopreneur looking for a free BI tool to help you manage and analyze your data, Zoho Analytics has you covered. With its Personal plan, you can download the platform to your local server for free and access some powerful features that many BI tools would pay for – conversational AI, unlimited reports, predictive analytics and more.
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Not everyone can (or wants to) be a BI expert. For the newbies in the crowd, Zoho Analytics is also among the easiest options to pick up. It offers simple walkthroughs and demo videos to help you get up and running, and the interface is simple enough to navigate without much of a learning curve.
I used Zoho’s AI assistant Zia with the other apps in its suite of tools, but it was still the most impressive part of the app for me. Not only did Zia generate a formula to manipulate my data exactly how I needed it, but it was also able to perform predictive analytics based on natural language. I asked it what my income would be at a certain time, and it generated a written and graphical breakdown of its prediction.
Zoho products are quite notorious for having a relatively outdated interface, but in the case of BI software, it doesn’t really matter. Most platforms in this category haven’t quite nailed the sleek, modern interface of the mid-2020s, so Zoho fits the bill.
While it integrates seamlessly with other Zoho applications, if you can’t find the integration you need in the Zoho suite, Zoho Analytics integrates with , opening the door to tons of automations. Funnel leads from your ad directly into Zoho, or connect it to your favorite spreadsheet application so your newly entered data is automatically imported.
Five Reasons To Adopt A Business Intelligence Software
House shines all around as a great BI tool, to the point that it was hard to decide which superlative it most deserved. Overall, I’ve found it to be an incredibly solid choice for all your data management needs.
First, it supports more data connectors than any other platform I’ve tried, at over 440. And with its own app store, you’re almost certain to find the APIs you need to get the job done.
Once you have your data connected to the platform, managing it is just as easy. Its Magic ETL tool has a drag-and-drop interface and lets you prepare your data for analysis, establishing relationships in your data and automating data filtering without any SQL knowledge. With the help of the app’s Beast Mode feature, you can also do calculations with your data.
In addition to these whimsically named data management and manipulation, I was amazed at how quickly the application loaded. Whether I opened a sample dataset to look at the raw data or generate a new dashboard with custom insights, it took a few seconds at most to load.
Top 8 Business Intelligence Tools For 2023
As someone who has used Microsoft Word and Excel for over a decade, Microsoft Power BI felt extremely familiar. The interface is laid out very similarly to other Microsoft products – similar icons, menu placement and everything in between. I found this very helpful when using the app, as BI software in general has a notoriously steep learning curve.
It’s not just the layout that makes this program great for those experienced with Microsoft’s tools. Integrations with Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint and Teams are all just a click or two away on the top menu bar. This allows you to import data from Excel spreadsheets into Power BI, export Power BI data visualizations into PowerPoint, and more.
In addition, the program natively integrates with Power Automate, Microsoft’s platform for connecting and automating hundreds of software applications (including almost all Microsoft programs). Like many other Microsoft applications, the platform offers both desktop and web-based versions.
Besides all these Microsoft integration-related wins, I found the app to be really intuitive. Without doing any manual data modeling or connection drawing, the platform automatically recognized that two of my datasets were connected. After establishing that connection, a change to one automatically affected the other.
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I also appreciated the program’s Query Editor, which saves all historical changes to data. If I messed up and deleted some important rows in my dataset, Power BI would remove the time machine and bring us back to the good old way.
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