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If you are managing and analyzing your data by hand…stop. Robots are smart enough to do that for you now, and you have better things to do with your time, like using AI-generated insights from your data to make big, bottom line-impacting decisions.
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Business intelligence (BI) software uses APIs, automation, AI, and other tools to simplify the process of data collection, organization, analysis, and visualization. It takes data and basically does everything but the actual decision making for you.
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There are hundreds of platforms out there that market themselves as BI or BI-related tools, but not all of them can help you draw actionable insights from your data while remaining accessible to businesses of all sizes. . I’ve spent several weeks testing several BI tools, and based on my research and time testing platforms, these eight stand out above the rest.
All of our best apps roundups are written by people who have spent most of their careers using, testing, and writing about software. We spend hours researching and testing apps, using each app as it was intended to be used and evaluating it against the criteria we set for the category. We are not paid for placing our articles from any app or for links to any site—we trust the readers who have given us to offer genuine reviews of the categories and apps that we checked. For more details on our process, read the full rundown on how we choose apps to feature on the blog.
To test these business intelligence tools, I created an account on each platform, imported sample data and tested critical features such as data source linking, dataset linking, view and build dashboards, and AI-generated insights.
With the help of the criteria above, some extensive research on these apps, and my insights from testing them, here are my picks for the eight best business intelligence software solutions.
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Datapine’s ratings alone are enough for me to suspect it will earn a spot on this list, and testing it only confirms my hypothesis.
I am very impressed with the Smart Insights tab on the platform. You’re greeted with a series of written takeaways about your data along with annotated charts that communicate the insights. They are divided by category, with tabs for growth and forecasting, value drivers, key segments, outliers, correlations, and even interactive what-if scenarios that allow you to see what the impact will be. of the results if certain factors change.
I also found the app’s dashboards to be very flexible (and almost…fun?). You can drag charts anywhere on a dashboard, and it’s highly customizable. Customize fonts, colors, gradients, drop shadows, titles, and subtitles, and even mark your dashboard with hundreds of fun icons. Some visualizations, including maps, offer interactivity, allowing you to zoom in on specific areas to examine your data more closely.
When creating a new data visualization, you can implement various conditional formatting options. For example, you can define colors, gradients, etc. so that they reflect a quality, such as values or set limits.
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The app also integrates AI and intelligent prediction. You can enable alerts that identify data anomalies and how you track your KPIs, notifying you of any changes. You can even customize the charts to predict how your data will evolve over time.
There are more awesome features, including sharing the dashboard with colleagues, automating reports to be sent on a specific schedule, and more—but you get the picture. Datapine is a premium BI app that is almost sure to cover all your bases.
Admittedly, as a relatively comprehensive premium option, datapine comes at a steep price point compared to many other BI software options. Confirm that you need all its features before dropping the money.
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 charge for—conversational AI, unlimited reports, predictive analytics, and more.
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Not everyone can be (or want to be) a BI expert. For those new to the crowd, Zoho Analytics is also one of the easiest options to get. It offers simple walk-throughs 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’ve used Zoho’s AI assistant Zia through other apps in its suite of tools, but this is still the most impressive part of the app for me. Not only did Zia create a formula to manipulate my data exactly how I needed it, but it also created predictive analytics based on natural language. I asked it what my income would be at a certain point in time, and it generated a written and graphical breakdown of its prediction.
Zoho products are somewhat notorious for a somewhat old-fashioned feeling interface, but in the case of BI software, it doesn’t matter. Most of the platforms in this category haven’t focused too much on the chic, modern interface of the mid-2020s, so Zoho fits right in.
While it seamlessly integrates with other Zoho apps, if you can’t find the integration you need in the Zoho suite, Zoho Analytics comes with , which opens the door to tons of automations. Funnel leads from your ad tool directly to Zoho, or connect it to your favorite spreadsheet app, so your newly inputted data can be imported automatically.
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Domo shines around as a great BI tool, to the point where it’s hard to decide which superlative best suits it. Overall, I found it to be an incredibly solid choice for all your data management needs.
For one, it supports more data connectors than any other platform I’ve tested, over 440. And with its own app store, you’ll almost certainly find the APIs you need to get the job done.
Once you have connected your data to the platform, managing it is easy. Its Magic ETL tool has a drag-and-drop interface and allows you to prepare your data for analysis, establish relationships in your data and automate data filtering without any knowledge of SQL. With the help of the app’s Beast Mode feature, you can also make calculations using your data.
Aside from the oddly named data management and manipulation features, I was amazed at how easy the app loaded. Whether I’m opening a sample dataset to view raw data or creating a new dashboard with custom insights, it takes a few seconds max to load.
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As someone who has used Microsoft Word and Excel for over a decade, Microsoft Power BI feels very familiar. The interface is very similar to other Microsoft products—same icons, menu placement, and everything in between. I find this very helpful when using the app, as BI software often has a notorious learning curve.
It’s not just the layout that makes this app great for those familiar with Microsoft’s suite of tools. Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, and Teams integrations are just a click or two away from the top menu bar. It allows you to import data from Excel spreadsheets into Power BI, export data visualizations from Power BI to PowerPoint, and more.
In addition, the app integrates natively with Power Automate, Microsoft’s platform for connecting and automating hundreds of software (including almost all Microsoft apps). Like many other Microsoft apps, the platform offers desktop and web-based versions.
Aside from 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 that connection is established, a change in one automatically affects the other.
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I also appreciate the app’s Query Editor, which tracks all changes to the data history. If I mess up and delete some important rows in my dataset, Power BI will undo the time machine and bring us back to the good old days.
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