The top BI tools of 2023 are Tableau, Microsoft Power BI, Qlik, Sisense, Zoho Analytics, Google Looker, Domo and Sigma. Compare their pricing, pros and cons to determine which is the best tool for your business.
Business intelligence tools are increasingly vital in the modern business landscape, as they provide crucial insights from data to inform strategic decisions. These tools enable organizations to process and analyze great amounts of data and transform it into actionable insights.
With the growing complexity and volume of business data, the right BI tool can significantly enhance an organization’s ability to make informed decisions, streamline operations and maintain a competitive edge.
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Top business intelligence software comparison
Here’s a quick comparison of the top business intelligence tools, focusing on their most significant features and pricing information, which should give you a concise overview to assist in identifying the tool that best suits your business needs.
|Software||Data visualization||Ease of use||Real-time analytics||Cloud-based||Starting price|
|Zoho Analytics||Yes||High||Yes||Yes||$22 per month|
|Tableau||Yes||High||Yes||Yes||$15 per user per month|
|Microsoft Power BI||Yes||Moderate||Yes||Yes||$10 per user per month|
|Qlik||Yes||High||Yes||Yes||$20 per user per month|
|Sisense||Yes||Moderate||Yes||Yes||Contact for quote|
|Looker Studio||Yes||Moderate||Yes||Yes||Contact for quote|
|Domo||Yes||High||Yes||Yes||$300 per month|
|Sigma||Yes||Moderate||Yes||Yes||Contact for quote|
Zoho Analytics: Best for small to midsize businesses
Zoho Analytics is a BI software tool particularly favored by small to midsize businesses. Its appeal lies in its affordability and ease of use, which makes advanced analytics accessible to organizations with limited resources or technical expertise.
Zoho Analytics offers a thorough suite of tools that includes data visualization, reporting and analytical capabilities. It also integrates seamlessly with other Zoho products and many external data sources. This paints Zoho Analytics as a great solution for teams looking to leverage data analytics without a significant investment in IT infrastructure.
Zoho offers a 15-day free trial for its cloud-based Analytics service and a 30-day free trial for its on-premises option. Pricing for Zoho Analytics’ cloud deployment is as such:
- Basic: $24 per month, billed annually, or $30 billed monthly for up to two users.
- Standard: $48 per month, billed annually, or $60 billed monthly for up to five users.
- Premium: $115 per month, billed annually, or $145 billed monthly for up to 15 users.
- Enterprise: $455 per month, billed annually, or $575 billed monthly for up to 50 users.
- Custom: Custom pricing.
For businesses wanting an on-premises deployment, Zoho Analytics offers a free plan for personal use as well as the following paid plans:
- Local server: $30 per user per month, billed annually.
- AWS: $0.25 per hour, plus AWS usage fees.
- Azure: $0.40 per hour, plus Azure infrastructure fees.
- Docker: $30 per user per month, billed annually.
- Comprehensive data visualization and reporting tools for insightful analytics.
- Seamless integration with other Zoho applications and various external data sources.
- Automated data sync and smart alerts to keep users informed of critical data changes.
- User-friendly interface with intuitive navigation, ideal for users with limited technical expertise (Figure A).
- Affordable pricing, offering great value for small and medium-sized businesses.
- Easy to use, requiring minimal technical skills.
- Strong integration capabilities, enhancing its versatility.
- Automated features for efficient data management and alerts.
- Limited advanced analytics capabilities compared to premium BI tools.
- Some limitations in customization options for dashboards and reports.
- Data processing may be slower for very large datasets.
SEE: Discover how Zoho Analytics compares to other top data analytics tools.
Tableau: Best for advanced data visualization
Tableau is a leader in the BI tool market, renowned for its advanced data visualization capabilities. With it, users can produce detailed and interactive visualizations, making complex datasets not only understandable, but also actionable.
With its integrability with a wide range of data sources and great mobile support, Tableau is a versatile choice for all sorts of businesses. It also delivers a user-friendly interface that’s supported by powerful back-end analytics.
Tableau offers a 14-day plan users can take advantage of to test out one of its three paid plans:
- Viewer: $15 per user per month, billed annually.
- Explorer: $42 per user per month, billed annually.
- Creator: $75 per user per month, billed annually.
Pricing and feature availability may differ depending on whether businesses choose a cloud or on-premises deployment. Contact Tableau’s sales team for more information.
- Seamless integration with a variety of data sources for comprehensive data analysis.
- User-friendly interface with drag-and-drop functionality for ease of use.
- Robust mobile support, allowing access to data and insights on the go.
- Advanced visualization (Figure B) tools for creating detailed and interactive data representations.
- Superior data visualization capabilities.
- Intuitive and user-friendly design.
- Strong community support and regular updates.
- Scalable for businesses of various sizes.
- Higher cost for premium features.
- Some learning curve for advanced functionalities.
- Limited in-built data preparation tools.
SEE: For more information, explore our in-depth Tableau cheat sheet.
Microsoft Power BI: Best for seamless integration with Microsoft products
Microsoft Power BI is a business intelligence tool known for its seamless Microsoft integration. It offers a vast feature set that caters to both beginners and advanced users, balancing simplicity with powerful analytics capabilities.
Power BI’s ability to integrate effortlessly with various data sources, especially Microsoft applications, streamlines the data analysis process and enhances productivity and efficiency. Businesses heavily invested in the Microsoft ecosystem should definitely consider Microsoft Power BI.
Microsoft offers a 60-day free trial for the paid versions of Power BI. Pricing for Power BI is broken down as such:
- Free: No cost.
- Pro: $10 per user per month.
- Premium: $20 per user per month, or $10 per user per month for Microsoft 365 subscribers.
- Deep integration with Microsoft applications, including Excel and Azure, for a unified analytics experience.
- User-friendly interface with intuitive controls, suitable for users at all skill levels.
- Advanced data analytics capabilities, including AI-driven insights and machine learning.
- Extensive customization options for reports and dashboards (Figure C).
- Excellent integration with Microsoft products.
- Affordable pricing, offering great value for money.
- User-friendly interface, ideal for beginners.
- Strong data processing and analytics capabilities.
- Limited functionality in the free version.
- Can be resource-intensive, requiring a robust system for optimal performance.
- Some complexities in advanced features, requiring a learning curve.
SEE: For more information, read the full Microsoft Power BI review.
Qlik: Best for democratizing data
Qlik stands out in the BI tool market for its focus on promoting data literacy among users. It’s designed to make data analysis accessible to everyone in an organization, not just data professionals. This approach democratizes data, empowering all users to make data-driven decisions.
Qlik’s associative engine uniquely enables users to explore data connections in multiple directions, uncovering insights that might be missed in traditional linear data exploration.
Qlik offers a 30-day free trial for its paid tiers, which are broken into categories for Analytics and Data Integration. Pricing for Qlik Cloud Analytics is broken down into three tiers:
- Standard: $20 per user per month, billed annually.
- Premium: $2,700 per month, billed annually.
- Enterprise: Contact sales for pricing details.
Qlik’s Data Integration and Quality pricing is organized into three categories:
- Stitch Data Loader: Pricing is based on Talend’s Stitch product, starting at $100 per month.
- Qlik Data Integration: Contact sales for more information.
- Talend Data Fabric: Contact sales for more information.
- Associative engine for exploring data connections in multiple directions, revealing hidden insights.
- User-centric design, promoting data literacy across all levels of an organization.
- Flexible data integration, supporting a wide range of data sources and formats.
- Advanced analytics (Figure D) capabilities, including predictive and prescriptive analytics.
- Unique associative engine for comprehensive data exploration.
- Focus on data literacy, making it accessible to non-technical users.
- Strong support for a wide range of data sources.
- Advanced analytics features for deeper insights.
- Steep pricing.
- Steeper learning curve due to its unique approach to data exploration.
- Requires significant resources for optimal performance.
SEE: Check out our comprehensive comparison of Qlik and Tableau.
Sisense: Best for embedding analytics
Sisense is a BI tool that’s exceptionally capable of embedding analytics into various applications. Its approach to BI is to make data insights more accessible and actionable within the context of daily business operations.
Sisense’s platform is designed to handle complex data from multiple sources, making it a robust solution for businesses dealing with large and varied datasets. The tool’s emphasis on embedded analytics makes it worth considering for businesses that require embedded analytics in their operations.
Pricing information isn’t publicly available, so users need to contact Sisense for a quote. Businesses interested in Sisense can check out its available demo.
- Advanced embedding capabilities, allowing integration of analytics into various applications and workflows.
- User-friendly interface with drag-and-drop functionality.
- Ability to handle complex, large-scale data from multiple sources.
- Natural language query features (Figure E).
- Superior embedding analytics capabilities.
- Scalable and robust, suitable for handling complex datasets.
- Intuitive user interface, facilitating ease of use.
- High customization options for dashboards and reports.
- Custom pricing may seem opaque.
- Can be resource-intensive.
- Some complexities in setup and customization can introduce a learning curve.
SEE: Explore how Sisense compares to Power BI.
Looker Studio: Best for data-driven business culture
Google’s Looker Studio is a business intelligence tool that integrates seamlessly with the Google Cloud Platform to offer solid data analytics and visualization capabilities. It stands out for its ability to provide real-time insights and enable businesses to swiftly make informed decisions.
Looker’s approach to BI is centered around making data universally accessible and useful, empowering all levels of an organization to engage with data analytics. With its powerful data modeling language, Looker allows for the creation of sophisticated data models that can cater to the specific needs of different business departments.
Google offers a 30-day free trial to those interested in trying Looker Studio before committing to a contract. Pricing for Looker Studio is broken down like so:
- Standard: $5,000 per month, or contact sales for a custom quote for an annual contract.
- Enterprise: Contact sales.
- Embed: Contact sales.
- Seamless integration with Google Cloud Platform, enhancing data processing and analytics.
- Real-time data insights, enabling prompt and informed decision-making.
- Customizable data models with LookML, Looker’s modeling language.
- A template gallery (Figure F) to ease reporting for various Google products.
- Strong integration with Google Cloud services.
- Real-time data analytics for timely insights.
- Advanced customization with LookML for tailored data models.
- User-friendly interface for accessible data analytics.
- Premium pricing may be unsuitable for smaller businesses.
- Requires familiarity with LookML for advanced data modeling.
- Integration primarily focused on Google Cloud services, which may limit options for some users.
SEE: For more information, check out our beginner guide for Looker.
Domo: Best for collaboration
Domo optimizes business operations through data by offering a unique blend of features that cater to both technical and non-technical users, making it a versatile choice for various business sizes and types.
Domo’s platform is designed to connect, transform and visualize data from multiple sources, providing a unified view of business performance. Its real-time data processing capabilities enable businesses to react swiftly to market changes. Additionally, Domo’s collaborative features foster a data-centric culture within organizations that improves decision-making processes across departments.
Domo offers a 45-minute expert-led demo for interested businesses. Businesses that like Domo can choose between four tiers:
- Free Forever: No cost with limited features. Users upgrading from the free tier can gain a discount on paid plans based on the frequency of use.
- Standard: Starts at $300 per month for 100 credits.
- Enterprise: Contact sales.
- Business Critical: Contact sales.
- Real-time data processing for up-to-date business insights.
- Collaboration tools to enhance data-driven decision-making across teams.
- Extensive integration options with various data sources and business applications.
- User-friendly interface with drag-and-drop functionality for easy data visualization (Figure G).
- Real-time data updates for timely insights.
- Strong collaboration features, promoting a unified approach to data analysis.
- Versatile and user-friendly, suitable for a wide range of users.
- Comprehensive integration capabilities, enhancing data accessibility.
- Premium pricing may be a barrier for smaller businesses.
- Vast feature set can be overwhelming for new users.
- Some customization options may require technical expertise.
Sigma: Best for cloud data exploration
Sigma stands out for its excellent cloud data exploration. It’s designed to make the most of cloud data warehouses, providing users with the ability to explore, analyze and visualize data directly in the cloud. With this approach, there’s no need for traditional data extraction processes, which enables faster and more efficient data analysis.
Sigma’s user-friendly interface, similar to familiar spreadsheet applications, makes it accessible to a broad range of users, from business users to data analysts.
Businesses interested in Sigma can take advantage of its seven-day free trial, but they will need to contact sales for pricing information.
- Direct exploration of cloud data warehouses, enhancing efficiency and speed.
- Advanced data visualization tools for creating insightful reports and dashboards.
- Seamless integration with major cloud data platforms, ensuring compatibility and ease of use.
- Intuitive spreadsheet-like interface, making it accessible to nontechnical users (Figure H).
- Efficient cloud data exploration without traditional extraction processes.
- User-friendly interface, lowering the barrier to entry for data analytics.
- Affordable pricing, offering great value for cloud-based data analysis.
- Strong integration with major cloud platforms, enhancing its versatility.
- Focused primarily on cloud data warehouses, which may limit its use for non-cloud data sources.
- Some advanced features may require a learning curve for new users.
- Limited offline capabilities, relying heavily on cloud connectivity.
How do I choose the best business intelligence software for my business?
To choose the best BI software for your business, you need to understand the needs, challenges and goals of your business. Some of the factors that you need to prioritize include ease of use, data processing capabilities, integration with existing systems and cost. A great BI tool should seamlessly integrate with your existing data sources, regardless of whether they are on-premises, cloud-based or both. It should also be easy to use, especially if your users are nontechnical. Organizations should consider cost, which cuts across licensing, implementation and maintenance.
SEE: Explore these tips for developing a business intelligence strategy.
Tools like Tableau and Qlik are excellent for businesses needing advanced data visualization, while Microsoft Power BI and Zoho Analytics offer more affordable options with comprehensive features. Assessing how each tool aligns with your business goals and the support provided by the vendor is crucial.
Our review of these eight business intelligence tools was based on their features and pricing, which helped us compare them to determine their benefits and drawbacks. Through the information on their respective websites, datasheets and their blogs, we arrived at a comprehensive understanding of how each tool delivered its features.
We compared this information to reviews from real-world users to understand how users interact with the software and their experiences with each tool. We then tested the tools where possible to see whether they lived up to what they stated on their websites, and to compare our own experience to that of other users.