Top 5 BI tools (and 3 MI tools) for 2024

Published Apr 1 2024 Last updated Apr 9 2024 10 minute read
Top BI Tools
  • Sean Dougherty
    Written by Sean Dougherty

    A copywriter at Funnel, Sean has more than 15 years of experience working in branding and advertising (both agency and client side). He's also a professional voice actor.

All rivers meet at the ocean. Those beautifully clear ocean waters gently lulling at the edge of a sunny island are made up of thousands of rivers from across the world... amazing. 

Back on land, there's business intelligence (BI) tools instead of oceans and hundreds of data sources instead of rivers. Daydreaming about business intelligence tools might not be as fun, but these tools certainly make the world your oyster (when it comes to growth and success, that is).

Being able to collect and analyze data is key to long-term success. But in this hyper-connected era, there are so many data sources to monitor at any given time. It can be tricky to gain real value from the mountains of data available to you, especially if you're working with different metrics or multiple forms of business data. 

What's more, different departments may be using different data points that offer contradicting results. Marketing may be using social media platform reporting tools that show high customer engagement and interaction. Meanwhile, the sales data the finance team is using suggests otherwise. To make informed decisions about your business, you need a holistic view of your data. And that's where business intelligence tools come in. 

But what exactly are business intelligence tools and how can your business reap the benefits from them? We've curated a list of the best business intelligence software solutions on the market and three marketing intelligence tools to use alongside them. An ipad with a series of hexagons coming out of it. This is to represent the connectivity of business intelligence tools


What is business intelligence software?

As big data continues to take precedence, taking a siloed approach to data analysis no longer works. Data from all departments needs to be analyzed succinctly. As a result, the popularity of business intelligence software is snowballing. In fact, the BI industry is predicted to be worth $40 billion by 2026.

Business intelligence reporting tools handle data from various areas like sales, finance, operations and marketing – combining both marketing data with enterprise data. 

Typically, BI tools work with a data integration tool to pull your data into one place and give you insights into overall business performance, trends, and KPIs. With visualization and dashboards, BI tools help you get an overview of what’s really going on in your business and make data-backed decisions.

These advanced and powerful analytics tools offer the ability to look at data on a granular level, and perform in-depth analysis. They’re also scalable, so are ideal for enterprise-sized businesses that have a dedicated data team who can help get the full benefit out of the tool.

There are four core capabilities of BI Tools:

  • Data exploration: Data discovery and consolidation from various sources.

  • Data transformation: Data mining, cleaning, and structuring.

  • Data visualization: Creating imagery, charts, and more to identify data trends.

  • Reporting: Providing smart data alerts, custom reports, and interactive dashboards.

All business intelligence tools have these elements, but each tool has its own range of bonus features and USPs. Once you've found the right tool with the right capabilities opens up endless opportunities for your business.

Why use business intelligence tools? 

The best business intelligence software accelerates enterprise resource planning and allows you to harness data to drive success. But how?

They merge data to provide a single source of truth

Using modern data connectors, business intelligence tools offer data blending for otherwise disparate data. They collect data into a single source, providing a comprehensive view of the truth. Instead of trying to put together a jigsaw of figures from different departments, these tools create cross-functional reports for all teams to access. It's worth noting that some BI tools will need another solution, such as an ETL (Extract, Transform and Load) to collect and unify data ready for use in the BI tool.

In-depth data analysis for data-driven decisions

Say goodbye to gut feelings and guestimation. BI tools visualize data, highlight patterns, identify growth opportunities, and provide actionable insights. From here, businesses can optimize costs, and improve margins. 

Using predictive analysis, a business intelligence tool helps you to understand your customers' needs and sales trends throughout the year. Diving into new product launches or switching up your advertising is no longer a shot in the dark. You'll know exactly what your customers need, when they need it, and how to reach them as effectively as possible.

Less manual handling, higher productivity

BI tools reduce manual handling and detect inaccurate data, improving data integrity and increasing productivity. And, with fewer fingers in the pot, more fingers can work elsewhere.  Harness the power of advanced analytics tools and optimize your team's productivity.

A self-service experience for all departments

Not all BI tools are created equal, and some are will suit your business better than others, and some will require expert support from data engineers. The best business intelligence software is designed to be easy to use for non-technical users and data analysts alike. Self-service BI tools create interactive visualizations that allow the whole team to understand the data within minutes. Natural language processing (NLP) enables users to explore data using conversational queries. You can ask things like 'How much time did the team spend in team meetings last month?' or 'Where in the country do our engineers get called out to the most?' 

Top 5 business intelligence tools 

With the need for data analysis increasing, you're probably itching to get started. But how do you find the best BI tools when there are so many to choose from? Below, we've highlighted our top 5 BI software tools based on countless online reviews, pricing, and capabilities.

1) Microsoft Power BI

Created by Microsoft, Power BI offers data visualization, predictive analytics, and the highest level of data security. The software allows business users to create custom reports through a drag-and-drop interface. It combines Azure Synapse Analytics and Microsoft's cloud-based data analytics service to create the powerful OneLake data hub.

Microsoft Power BI is the industry standard for Windows-heavy enterprises as the software offers full integration with Microsoft 365. Reports and data visualizations are easy to share cross-department or even cross-enterprises in formats that are accessible to most.

The software's Power Query feature cleans, shapes, and transforms raw data, completing tasks like joining tables together.

Another great feature is CoPilot, Microsoft's generative AI tool that simplifies performance management. Simply ask the tool a question, and it will create visualizations and summarize data to answer it.

Microsoft Power BI can be used via the Cloud or through a reporting server, offering flexibility for businesses.


  • Built-in AI for ad hoc analysis and data discovery
  • Seamless integration with Microsoft 365
  • Mobile-friendly reporting
  • Free training resources


  • Difficult to set up and maintain for those with little time
  • Slow loading times
  • Incremental updates instead of real-time data analysis
  • Only works with Microsoft stack


  • 60-Day free trial
  • Power BI Desktop: Free
  • Power BI Pro: $9.99/month per user
  • Power BI Premium: $20/month per user or $4995/month per capacity

2) Tableau

Tableau, part of the Salesforce brand, is one of the best business intelligence tools for usability. This solution offers a huge range of data connectors, allowing you to integrate just about any data source. Whether you want to quickly throw together a report for a stakeholder or need to create a dashboard for day-to-day use, Tableau's embedded analytics capabilities enable you to do just that.

The drag-and-drop interface makes creating reports and interactive dashboards incredibly easy, so you can drill deep into your raw data from day one.

Tableau is perfect for collaborative work. You can share data visualizations and reports with up to 25 people and discuss the data with live commenting.

While Tableau is primarily a data management tool, it also offers free resources to help both data analysts and beginners improve their BI skills.


  • Great for collaboration
  • Live data analysis
  • High level of customization
  • Fully responsive on mobile, desktop, and tablet


  • One of the more expensive platforms
  • There is some debate on whether it is easy or difficult to learn


  • Viewer: $15/month per user
  • Explorer: $42/month per user
  • Creator: $75/month per user (Packages billed annually)

3) Qlik

QlikSense is a comprehensive data modeling and business intelligence BI tool. It is responsive to any device and optimized for touchscreens, allowing you to access your data analytics on the go via mobile, tablet, or workpad.

With its NLP search and embedded analytics, the software ensures everyone can access data and gain valuable insights.

Pre-made dashboards make it easy to get started as soon as you integrate your data, and AI quickly provides the most relevant insights. 

One useful feature of this data management tool is the ability to have reports delivered to your team's inboxes or shared folders on a set schedule.


  • Sophisticated Conversational Search
  • The Connector Factory offers easy integration with 150+ connectors


  • Requires technical expertise to get the most out of the software
  • Large data sets can slow the system
  • Pricey for smaller companies


  • Standard: $20/month per user (Minimum requirement of 10 users)
  • Premium: $2,700/month

4) Looker

Formerly Google Data Studio, Looker is another data analytics tool that makes it into our top 5. It offers easy usability, insightful data visualization, and a dedicated support team. Looker seamlessly integrates with Google products like Google Sheets and Google Analytics, making it an ideal choice for businesses of all sizes.

Looker prioritizes simplicity and speed. Even beginners can create data visualizations or reports and leverage Google's ecosystem. The software is platform-independent and can be embedded into websites, workflows, and other applications such as BigQuery.

The basic tool, Looker Studio, is free to use, with plenty of features to explore. Advanced users can opt for the Pro plan, which offers more interactive reports and fully customizable dashboards.


  • Seamless integration with Google products
  • Easy-to-use drag-and-drop report builder
  • Real-time collaboration


  • No OLAP (online analytical processing)
  • Expensive for large use cases
  • Dependency on developers and data engineers


  • Pricing is based on usage as Looker is part of the Google Cloud.

5) Domo

Domo is a cloud-based business intelligence tool that brings together data from various sources (from spreadsheets to social media channels) to offer micro and macro-level analysis. With over 1000 data connectors, Domo provides extensive data management capabilities.

In addition to data integration and reporting, Domo's Beast Mode uses predictive analytics to show you how to improve and scale your business based on historical data.

Domo supports collaboration with in-context chat and task tracking, facilitating teamwork to find insights, create content, and boost productivity. Plus, Domo's predictive AI engine is called Mr. Roboto. What's not to love? 


  • No need to learn SQL thanks to Domo's Magic ETL drag-and-drop feature
  • Fast loading times
  • Mobile app available for admins


  • Steep learning curve
  • Dated interface
  • Expensive


  • Start with the free version
  • Standard: $300/month
  • Enterprise and Business Critical packages available on a consumption-based price structure

Marketing intelligence vs. business intelligence  

A nervous lego man at a deskImage source

To complicate matters further, we're also going to share our top three marketing intelligence tools. So what's the difference between the two?

Marketing Intelligence tools are specifically designed to address the complexities of marketing data. They offer features like automated data gathering, cleaning, and harmonization from various marketing sources. Some tools even have marketing-specific analytical capabilities (like attribution modeling). They help marketers streamline analysis and create dashboards tailored to marketing needs.

Business Intelligence (BI) tools have a broader focus. They can contain data from various business functions like sales, finance, and operations, in addition to marketing. While powerful, BI tools may require more technical expertise to set up and customize for marketing-specific analysis. Many companies using enterprise BI-tools rely on a dedicated data team to help other departments get insights from their data.

Both categories of tools can help organizations make data-driven decisions, but Marketing Intelligence tools offer more specialized features and ease of use for marketing teams. 

Top 3 marketing intelligence software tools 

Below, we've highlighted the best marketing intelligence software tools on the market. Alongside Funnel, there are two other top contenders to consider.

1) Funnel

Funnel automates marketing data collection from various channels. You can connect to more than 500 sales and marketing platforms to track your campaigns. Funnel also offers automated data mapping, currency conversion, data transformation and data visualization.

Try our free plan or book a demo and discover why many brands trust us as their single source of truth for marketing performance. Pricing is consumption-based, from our free starter package to custom enterprise packages.

2) Salesforce Marketing Cloud Intelligence

The Salesforce Marketing Cloud is likely to appear in every top 10 marketing intelligence tools list. This intuitive platform uses AI and machine learning to predict customer behavior and market trends. It helps personalize marketing campaigns and drive engagement and loyalty. Marketing Cloud pricing starts at $1250/month.

3) Adverity

Adverity is an integrated data platform that brings together sales, marketing, and advertising data. It allows teams to uncover valuable insights quickly. The tool has a user-friendly interface and processes data within minutes. Adverity also provides excellent support to assist when needed. Pricing is consumption-based and requires a custom quote.

How to choose the right business intelligence tool 

Not every BI tool is suitable for your business. And it's the same for marketing intelligence tools. When choosing software, consider these factors.


Marketing roles are no longer just about making a pretty ad. More often, marketers are expected to wear several hats, one of which is data analyst.  Utilize free trials and demos to find a tool that matches your capabilities. A steep learning curve can hinder productivity, so choose a tool you find easy to use from the get-go.

Integration options

Ensure that the BI tool offers data connectors that can integrate with the various systems and processes used in your company. Comprehensive integration will provide a total view of your business.


Consider your budget. Small businesses may want to find a tool that offers a monthly payment option, as annual billing is a big investment to add to the budget. Similarly, when starting out with business intelligence, it's difficult to know how many rows of data you'll use, or how many executions you'll expect the tool to perform. This makes consumption-based or credit-based packages difficult to navigate.

Data security and compliance

IBM's 2023 data breach report found the global average cost of a data breach is $4.45 million. But when a data breach occurs, you lose more than money; you can lose your brand reputation and loyalty, which can take years to regain. It's safe to say that data security is crucial. 

Use a tool with encryption as standard and one that offers features like role-based accessibility (with admins able to control this in-house). Depending on where you're based, you'll need to ensure the BI company has GDPR or HIPAA compliance in place, too. 

Customization and flexibility

Most BI tools offer out-of-the-box (OOTB) templates and dashboards for you to use. Which is great! However, to really deep dive into your specific business data, you need a tool that has plenty of room for customization. Some business intelligence companies are willing to create custom data connectors for businesses if they don't already have a solution. If you've found a tool you like, but one that doesn't cover every data source you have, don't be afraid to get in touch with the support team to see what they can do.

Support and training

Great customer support is an aspect we've seen praised time and time again while curating our list of the best business intelligence tools. Around-the-clock customer support is invaluable to global brands with employees in different time zones. You also want to make sure the support team is on hand to help with implementation, troubleshooting and day-to-day issues. 

Alternatively, a tool with an active community can be just as good. You'll find other users are happy to share templates, tips, and advice. Brands that offer readily available, free resources like video tutorials or blog posts are also good to bear in mind. 

Scalability and performance

For businesses anticipating rapid or significant growth, make sure to use a future-proof tool with scalability. Regardless of business growth, if you expect to increase the number of users on the platform, or data sources, you need to assess the tool's capabilities for these changes. Additional data loads or users shouldn't compromise the tool's performance.  

User feedback and reviews

Scour the web for varied feedback about your chosen software. Feedback from genuine users will offer insight into the day-to-day usability of the tool, the level of support available, and any hidden weaknesses. Use feedback from multiple sites and sources to gain a more trustworthy perspective. Bonus points if you can find case studies or testimonials from businesses in the same industry as yours. 

Leverage data for future success

Both business intelligence and marketing intelligence tools help businesses optimize their operations and drive success. By harnessing the power of these tools, businesses can analyze data, make data-driven decisions, increase productivity, and scale their operations. With advancements in AI, these tools are becoming smarter and faster every day.

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