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If you’re still managing and analyzing your data by hand… stop. The 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 decisions that affect your bottom line.
Business Intelligence (BI) software uses APIs, automation, AI, and other tools to simplify the process of data collection, organization, analysis, and visualization. It requires data and basically does everything except the actual decision making 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 derive actionable insights from your data while still being accessible to businesses of all sizes. I spent several weeks testing dozens of BI tools, and based on my research and time spent testing the platforms, these eight stood out from the crowd.
All of our top app roundups are written by people who have spent much of their careers using, testing, and writing software. We spend dozens of hours researching and testing apps, using each app as it was intended to be used, and evaluating them according to the criteria we set for the category. We never get paid for the placement in our articles of any app or for links to any website – we appreciate the trust our readers place in us to provide authentic reviews of the categories and apps we review. For more information on our process, read the full breakdown of how we choose apps to feature on the blog.
To test these business intelligence tools, I created an account with each platform, imported sample data, and tested critical features such as data source connection, dataset connection, visualization and dashboard building, and AI generated insights.
Using 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 reviews alone were enough to make me suspect that it deserves a place on this list, and the test only confirmed my hypothesis.
I was particularly impressed with the platform’s Smart Insights tab. You are greeted by a series of written tips about your data along with annotated charts that speak to these insights. They are divided by category, with tabs for growth and forecasts, value drivers, key segments, outliers, correlations, and even interactive what-if scenarios that allow you to see how results will be affected if various factors change.
I also found the app’s dashboards to be very flexible (and almost…fun?). You can draw charts anywhere in a dashboard and they are highly customizable. Customize fonts, colors, gradients, shadows, titles and subtitles, and even label your dashboard with hundreds of fun icons. Several visualizations, including maps, offer interactivity, allowing you to zoom in on specific areas to take a closer look at your data.
When you create a new data visualization, you can apply various conditional formatting options. For example, you can assign colors, gradients and more meaning so that they reflect a quality, such as values or fixed boundaries.
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The app also incorporates AI and smart predictions. You can activate alerts that detect discrepancies in data and track your KPIs, and notify you of any changes. You can even customize charts to predict how your data will evolve over time.
There are several amazing features, including dashboard sharing with colleagues, automated reports to be sent on a specific schedule and more – but you get the picture. datapine is a premium BI app that will almost certainly cover all your bases.
Granted, as a fairly comprehensive premium option, Data Pain comes at a very high price compared to many other BI software options. Confirm that you need all the features before releasing 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 get access to some powerful features that many BI tools require – conversational AI, unlimited reports, predictive analytics and more.
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Not everyone can (or wants to) be an expert on BI. For the newbies in the crowd, Zoho Analytics is also one of the easiest options to pick up. It offers simple walkthroughs and demo videos to help you get started, and the interface is easy enough to navigate without much of a learning curve.
I used Zoho’s AI assistant Zia over the other apps in the toolkit, 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 as I needed it, but it was also able to perform predictive analytics based on natural language. I asked what my income would be at a certain time and it generated a written and graphical overview of the forecast.
Zoho products are quite notorious for having a relatively outdated interface, but when it comes to BI software, that doesn’t matter. Most platforms in this category don’t quite have the sleek, modern interface of the mid-2020s, so Zoho fits the bill.
Although it integrates seamlessly with other Zoho apps, 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 tool directly into Zoho, or connect it to your favorite spreadsheet app so newly entered data is automatically imported.
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Domo shines all around as a great BI tool, to the point that it was hard to decide which superlative it deserved the most. Overall, I found it to be an incredibly solid option for all your computing needs.
First, it supports more data connections than any other platform I’ve tested, with over 440. And with its own app store, you’re almost sure to find the APIs you need to get the job done.
Once you have linked your data to the platform, management is just as 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 SQL knowledge. With the app’s Beast Mode feature, you can also perform calculations with your data.
Aside from these whimsically named data management and manipulation features, I was surprised at how quickly the app loaded. Whether I opened a sample dataset to look at the raw data or generated a new dashboard with custom insights, it took a few seconds at most to load.
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As someone who has used Microsoft Word and Excel for over a decade, Microsoft Power BI felt incredibly familiar. The interface is laid out very similarly to other Microsoft products – similar icons, menu placement and everything in between. I found this very useful when using the app, as BI software in general has a notoriously steep learning curve.
It’s not just the layout that makes this app great for those experienced with Microsoft’s suite of 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 data visualizations from Power BI to PowerPoint, and more.
Additionally, the app integrates with Power Automate, Microsoft’s platform for connecting and automating hundreds of software (including virtually all Microsoft apps). Like many other Microsoft apps, the platform offers both desktop and web-based versions.
Besides all these Microsoft integration-related gains, I found the app very intuitive. Without doing manual data modeling or connection drawing, the platform automatically recognized that two of my datasets were connected. After making this connection, a change to one automatically affected the other.
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I also appreciated the app’s query editor, which keeps track of all historical changes to data. When
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