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Top 5 BI Tools: Business Intelligence Software Guide

Best BI Software 2021 - ScienceSoft

ScienceSoft BI consultants help businesses choose optimal platforms for business intelligence solutions since 2005.

What Is BI Solutions?

Business intelligence (BI) solutions serve to retrieve, process, analyze and report data for making informed business decisions. BI solution key features are integration of multiple data sources, AI-driven data prep and analysis, controlled data access, scheduled & ad-hoc reporting, interactive visualization.

Features to Look For in a Robust BI Platform

General features

  • Cloud and on-premises deployment.
  • Personal and team workspaces.
  • Collaborating on and sharing analytics results.

Data ingestion

  • Structured and unstructured data.
  • Big data.
  • Operational data.
  • Streaming data.
  • Self-service data ingestion.

Data management

  • Self-service data preparation.
  • Pre-built ETL.
  • Support of complex data models.

Reporting and visualization

  • Interactive dashboards.
  • Pre-built and customizable visuals.
  • Scheduled and ad-hoc reporting.
  • Embedded reporting.
  • Mobile-optimized reporting.
  • Geospatial data mapping.
  • Data storytelling.


  • Online Analytical Processing (OLAP).
  • Data mining.
  • Predictive analytics.
  • Automated insights based on ML and AI.
  • Real-time data analysis.


  • Report-level security.
  • Workspace-level security.
  • Row-level security.
  • Flexible authentication options.
  • Application activity auditing.

Top 5 BI Tools on the Market

Power BI

ScienceSoft recommends


Number one on the Gartner 2020 Magic Quadrant for Analytics and BI platforms and the leader among enterprise BI platforms in the Forrester Wave.


Pre-built connectors with 100+ data sources, support for DAX, Power Query, SQL, R and Python, big data, self-service data preparation and analysis, rich visuals and advanced security capabilities, AI-powered data modeling using AutoML, Cognitive Services, and Azure Machine Learning (for Power BI Premium).

DEMO: Watch our Power BI demo.


  • Power BI Desktop – free.
  • Power BI Pro – $9.99/user/month.
  • Power BI Premium –$4,995/dedicated cloud storage and compute resources/month with annual subscription.



Tableau is recognized as a Leader in 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and BI Platforms.


Native connectors to 75+ data sources, support for ‘no-code’ data queries, predictive analytics, a wide range of visualizations, interactive reports and dashboards, collaboration and sharing insights, robust security.


  • Tableau Creator – $70/user/month.
  • Tableau Explorer – $35/$42*/user/month.
  • Tableau Viewer – $12/$15*/user/month.

* - depending on the product deployment model.

SQL Server Reporting Services


An on-premises set of tools and services for creating, deploying and managing mobile and paginated reports.


Regular and on-demand reports based on data retrieved from relational, multidimensional and XML-based data sources, automated alerts on vital business events, content access from a web browser, mobile devices, or email, content access control.


Included in SQL Server license:

  • Enterprise edition - $13,748.
  • Standard – Client Access License - $209.
  • Standard – per core - $3,586.
  • Standard – server - $899.



One of the leading BI platforms with strong ML and AI capabilities according to Gartner and Forrester.


Broad data connectivity (including big data streams, file-based data, on-premises or cloud data), advanced data preparation, associative analytics engine, suggested insights, natural language interaction, self-service visual data discovery capabilities, mobile and embedded analytics, deployment flexibility (on-premises, cloud, multi-cloud).


  • Qlik Sense Business – $30/user/month.
  • Qlick Sense Enterprise SaaS from $40/user/month to $100/user group/month.
  • Qlik Sense Enterprise Client-Managed from $35/user/month to $95/user group/month.
  • QlikView Pricing is by request.



Highest scores for Enterprise Analytics and Embedded Analytics according to Gartner's 2020 Critical Capabilities for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms report.


HyperIntelligence (embedded BI), heterogeneous data access, a library of interactive visuals, self-service data preparation, predictive analytics and R modeling, real-time reports and dashboards, mobile analytics and reporting.


Not available publicly.

Bring Business Analytics to Your Company with ScienceSoft

As a vendor with 19 years of experience in BI consulting and hands-on practice, we know how to ensure maximum ROI from your BI investments. We have established project management practices to drive projects to their goals regardless of time and budget constraints and changing requirements.

BI consulting

We help firms to:

  • Define business objectives and elicit the requirements for a BI solution.
  • Draw up a BI solution’s architecture.
  • Outline the optimal technology stack.
  • Establish data quality program and security procedures.
  • Design implementation and user adoption strategies.
Explore more

BI implementation

Our team:

  • Defines BI software configurations.
  • Delivers PoC for complex projects.
  • Integrates BI software systems with the required data sources, sets up ETL processes, OLAP cubes, etc.
  • Runs QA.
  • Provides user training and support, if required.
Go for implementation

About ScienceSoft

Since 1989, ScienceSoft has been providing a full range of data analytics services. We advise our customers on the BI platform implementation and offer a full cycle of relevant services, including BI as a service, BI consulting and support. If you need assistance with BI-related issues, explore our BI services offering. Being ISO 9001 and ISO 27001-certified, we rely on a mature quality management system and guarantee cooperation with us does not pose any risks to our customers’ data security.