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Best Self-Service BI Tools Shortlist

Here’s my list of the top self-service BI software options. Take a deep dive into each platform to learn more about what they can do for your organization.

  1. Networked BI - Best for delivering data as a service (DaaS)
  2. Einstein Analytics Platform -  Best for acting on data at the point of insight
  3. Alteryx - Best for upskilling employees in BI development
  4. Pyramid Analytics - Best for augmented consumer and business analyst use cases
  5. MicroStrategy - Best for accessing auto SQL generation
  6. AnswerRocket - Best for an AI assistant that’s powered by GPT-4
  7. Qlik Analytics Platform - Best for supporting developers with direct access to the Qlik Associative Engine 
  8. Cognos Analytics -  Best for web-based data modeling
  9. Power BI - Best for turning data into visualizations using AI
  10. Domo - Best for accessing insights in real time
  11. Looker - Best for delivering trusted data experiences from the cloud of your choice
  12. Oracle Analytics Cloud - Best for versatile implementation on-premise or in the cloud

Business Intelligence tools are a fast-growing section of the SaaS market that enables analytics teams to discover more actionable insights to ensure they’re catching new opportunities, jumping on trends, and optimizing their workflow. However, many BI tools are limiting, as you need technical experience to use and understand them.

With self-service BI solutions, you empower nearly everyone in your organization to access and analyze data without needing the help of a technical team or IT department. Use these tools to democratize data and ensure your sales, marketing, and business development teams have access to data manipulation, interpretation, and visualization capabilities.

What Are Self-Service BI Tools?

Self-service BI tools are software solutions designed to help your business analyze data and make informed decisions more quickly. These tools are termed “self-service” because they allow people without technical or programming experience to work with and understand large sets of data. Anyone can now create reports and dashboards easily with more access to organizational data.

Overviews of the 12 Best Self-Service BI Tools

Are you ready to learn more about why each of these self-service business intelligence tools made my list? Read each overview for a tool summary, a list of outstanding features, an overview of pricing and trial offers, and a few pros and cons that can help you narrow down your options.

1. Networked BI - Best for delivering data as a service (DaaS)

networked BI screenshot
Infor Birst offers you a customizable dashboard full of easy-to-read visualizations.

As a native cloud BI solution, Infor Birst offers you a platform to help you understand and optimize the most complex processes in your workflow. Their unique BI capabilities come together in Networked BI, which is a new approach to DaaS that’s based on enhancing speed and ease of use with data analytics. 

Why I picked Networked BI: I chose this platform because it combines the best aspects of both centralized and decentralized BI models for more agile end-user self-service. Use and reuse common business rules and definitions, get analytics sandboxes with self-service data prep, and enjoy enterprise-grade governance that’s fast and flexible.

Networked BI Standout Features and Integrations

Standout features include modern data architecture for a flexible, business-centric approach to data management and industry analytics that provides role-specific data models.

Integrations include AvaTax by Avalara, Acumen Group Bid Prep, Broad Jump Pharma Pricer, CADTalk ERP, D3 Bubble Chart, Decision365, Dragon Grid, GTreasure, Prophecy IoT, and VisualK.

Pricing: Pricing available upon request

Trial: Free demo available

  • Has processing and infrastructure capabilities
  • User-friendly report designing tools
  • Customizing measures and attributes is simple
  • Limited BQL functions
  • UI design could still be improved

2. Einstein Analytics Platform - Best for acting on data at the point of insight

einstein analytics platform screenshot
Salesforce Einstein offers a KPI and milestones dashboard for visual tracking of progress.

As an artificial intelligence-driven BI platform, Salesforce Einstein Analytics delivers a feature-rich data visualization and analysis solution with end-to-end capabilities. Utilize the power of AI to analyze billions of data combinations across marketing, service, and sales for smarter, faster decision-making.

Why I picked Einstein Analytics Platform: This tool made my list because it has a feature called Einstein Actions. Now, you can take action more quickly the moment you gain a new insight with built-in functionality for creating tasks, sharing insights, and updating records without having to wait for legacy technology to catch up.

Einstein Analytics Platform Standout Features and Integrations

Standout features include a mobile-first approach that makes Einstein accessible on any device, even smart watches, and contextual dashboards through Tableau to embed visualizations across the platform.

Integrations include Accounting Seed, Conga Grid, Oracle, RollUp Helper, SAP, SurveyMonkey, Tableau, Viostream, Wave, and Whatfix.

Pricing: From $75/user/month

Trial: Free trial available

  • Designed to be versatile across various industries
  • Easy to set up using a “Trailhead”
  • Friendly and accessible customer support
  • Requires a limited analytics license
  • Limited data that you can use

3. Alteryx - Best for upskilling employees in BI development

alteryx screenshot
Alteryx offers you a simple way to cleanse and prep data from a variety of different sources.

This cloud-based BI tool offers you the chance to automate every part of your analytics, from data prep to data science. Alteryx provides access to any data type or source, allowing you to blend all information through an intuitive drag-and-drop interface. This platform provides both no-code and low-code processes.

Why I picked Alteryx: What I really like about this platform is the focus on accelerating the time to value of BI tools by helping your team learn as much as possible about the program in the shortest amount of time. Whether it’s through built-in best practices, a learning program, or solutions shared by the Alteryx community, you have the tools to optimize implementation.

Alteryx Standout Features and Integrations

Standout features include automated machine learning with no coding required for non-technical users and data storytelling that explains insights in simple, clear language.

Integrations include Adobe Analytics, CARTO, DataRobot, Immuta, Microsoft Azure, Oracle, Syniti Matching, Tableau, UiPath, and Veritone Automate Studio.

Pricing: From $4,950/user/year

Trial: Free trial available

  • The interface is very easy to use
  • Comprehensive feature list
  • Academy and learning tools for new users
  • Can be slow with a bad internet connection
  • Platform is pretty high priced

4. Pyramid Analytics - Best for augmented consumer and business analyst use cases

pyramid analytics screenshot
Pyramid Analytics has a drag-and-drop interface to help you build unique charts.

Pyramid Analytics, also known as the Pyramid Decision Intelligence Platform, is designed for businesses and individuals to use and scale AI-powered solutions that transform complex data into actionable insights without the need to code. This business data app is ideal for IOT applications and data visualization at an enterprise scale.

Why I picked Pyramid Analtyics: One feature that caught my eye on this platform is the interactive analysis builder. With this tool, you can access six modules to analyze and visualize your data, including point-and-click graphical interface and slice, dice, and drill down for data discoveries.

Pyramid Analytics Standout Features and Integrations

Standout features include out-of-the-box machine learning libraries, R, and Python for training and testing, as well as PYRANA direct query engine for fast performance using any data source.

Integrations include AWS, Azure Synapse Data, CData, Datavard, Exasol, Google BigQuery, Kubernetes, SAP, and Snowflake. 

Pricing: Pricing is available upon request

Trial: Free demo available

  • A very easy tool to use
  • Simple to set up and implement
  • Experienced customer service representatives
  • Limited integration options
  • No mobile app accessibility

5. MicroStrategy - Best for accessing auto SQL generation

microstrategy screenhsot
MicroStrategy allows you to embed insights into every business app, available on any device.

This self-service BI platform is built to ensure you can make faster business decisions with tools that help explore data and share insights in minutes. With intuitive visualizations, mobile accessibility, unlimited data sources, and drag-and-drop functionality, anyone in your organization can analyze and showcase relevant metrics with versatile reporting tools.

Why I picked MicroStrategy: I chose this platform because it offers an easier way to query your data. Instead of dealing with SQL complexity, MicroStrategy can automatically generate accurate SQL queries to answer business questions. This feature uses natural language processing to translate plain text into SQL for you.

MicroStrategy Standout Features and Integrations

Standout features include versatile data connectors that can ensure you have access to unlimited sources and AI-powered chatbot that can help explain the data they’re seeing to your team.

Integrations include Amazon Redshift, Cloudera, databricks, Google, Microsoft 365, Microsoft Excel, MongoDB, Salesforce, Snowflake, and Vibe.

Pricing: Pricing available upon request

Trial: Free demo available

  • Easy to understand tools
  • Intuitive navigation and interface
  • Flexible and robust BI tool
  • Older interface designed years ago
  • Costs can be higher than average

6. AnswerRocket - Best for an AI assistant that’s powered by GPT-4

answerrocket screenshot
AnswerRocket offers an AI assistant named Max to help you understand data better.

This web-based, AI-powered BI software is designed to prioritize self-service for data analysts, category managers, and market researchers through the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques. These tools come from the proprietary RocketBots that scan and learn from your existing data to present you with new discoveries.

Why I picked AnswerRocket: I chose this platform for my list because of Max, AnswerRocket’s AI assistant. This tool has a built-in analytics toolkit that understands your business and data to turn raw information into insightful stories that can help you make faster, smarter business decisions. Chat with Max like you would a coworker, asking questions you need answers to.

AnswerRocket Standout Features and Integrations

Standout features include a natural language interface to explore data using plain English and purpose-built RocketBots that can help you automate analytics for common use cases.

Integrations include Apache Drill, Denodo, Google Analytics, Hive, MariaDB, Oracle, Salesforce, SAP Hana, Spark, and Teradata. 

Pricing: Pricing available upon request

Trial: Free demo available

  • Answers are always easy to understand
  • Simple to navigate the tools
  • Responsive customer support team
  • Not the most intuitive for beginners
  • Import features could be improved

7. Qlik Analytics Platform - Best for supporting developers with direct access to the Qlik Associative Engine 

qlik analytics platform screenshot
Qlik allows users to combine multiple data sources to augment, cleanse, and create new data elements.

The Qlik Analytics Platform is designed to accommodate your need for embedding analytics to extend the power of Qlik Sense throughout your enterprise. You can directly access the market-leading associative in-memory engine available in all Qlik products to get more flexibility to build the solutions you need.

Why I picked Qlik Analytics Platform: One reason this tool made my list is because of the way the APIs were built to work with today’s most modern web technologies. Your developers can access open, standard, and modern interfaces, including HTML5, CSS3, and Node.js to create visual analytics and integrate them into any application.

Qlik Analytics Platform Standout Features and Integrations

Standout features include no-code automation available at higher payment tiers and mobile-ready Big Data visualization capabilities.

Integrations include CARTO, CCH Tagetik, Falcony, MongoDB, Newbook, RowShare, Smartsheet, Snowflake, SysAid, and TOPdesk.

Pricing: From $20/user/month for a 10 user minimum

Trial: Free trial available

  • Easy to use as an admin and end user
  • Simple to get started
  • Helpful and supportive online community
  • Higher tiered plans are expensive
  • Data integration is affected by connectivity strength

8. Cognos Analytics - Best for web-based data modeling

cognos analytics screenshot
The Cognos Analytics dashboard can be customized to show you the metrics that truly matter.

As part of the IBM family of business intelligence products, Cognos Analytics is tailored to provide solutions to organizations of all shapes and sizes with standard BI features and advanced solutions, including ad hoc reporting, real-time monitoring, strategy management, performance scorecards, and forecasting. Use this tool to automate workflows and integrations.

Why I picked Cognos Analytics: The reason this platform caught my eye is because of its web-based versatility. With web access on any device, you can more easily upload, join, connect, and model data from a variety of sources using decision trees, predictive forecasting, and AI assistants.

Cognos Analytics Standout Features and Integrations

Standout features include built-in AI to accelerate data prep, automated data exploration to surface hidden insights, and collaboration tools to share data visualizations.

Integrations include CommandCenterHD, eCMS, Husky Intelligence, Key Survey, Limelight, LoginERP, MongoDB, SAP Fieldglass, Slack, and VisualCron.

Pricing: From $10/user/month

Trial: 30-day free trial available

  • No need to know SQL
  • Easy to automate and schedule tasks
  • AI-driven data visualization
  • Joining data sources can be clunky
  • Performance lag with large data sets

9. Microsoft Power BI - Best for turning data into visualizations using AI

microsoft power bi screenshot
Power BI uses artificial intelligence to help you streamline data visualization creation for reports and dashboards.

This suite of analytics tools from Microsoft is designed to help analyze and share business data through rich visualizations. You can use Power BI to customize pre-built dashboards and integrate with Microsoft’s Query engine to model data to unify and centralize your information into a single source of truth that’s viewable on any device.

Why I picked Power BI: One standout feature from this tool is the power of AI for visualization. You can take advantage of Power BI’s Copilot AI tool to uncover the potential of your data. Ask any question and Copilot can analyze and pull the correct data into a report, doing the visualizing for you and providing actionable insights along with the appropriate charts and graphs.

Power BI Standout Features and Integrations

Standout features include a growing library of over 500 free data connectors, end-to-end data protection that ensure security even when data is coming in from third-party applications, and cloud storage capabilities to share and access data more easily.

Integrations include Asana, MATLAB, OptiSigns, Quickbooks Online, REACH, Salesforce, Smartsheet, UpKeep, Xereo, and Yodek.

Pricing: From $9.99/user/month

Trial: Free trial available

  • Easy to learn with Microsoft experience
  • Incredibly customizable reporting and dashboards
  • Robust collaboration and sharing tools
  • Charts sometimes break when editing source materials
  • Steep learning curve for beginners

10. Domo - Best for accessing insights in real time

domo screenshot
Domo offers comprehensive real-time data visualizations to provide you with the big picture.

With its self-service reporting and analytics features, Domo can multiply the impact of analytics on your business by getting everyone involved with this cloud-native platform. It goes beyond traditional BI to make data more visible, actionable, and user-friendly through intuitive dashboards and apps, helping you optimize business processes at scale.

Why I picked Domo: While this should be an industry standard, this tool caught my eye because it prioritizes the shift from static data to real-time data with automated reporting that constantly gets fed a stream of fresh information to ensure accuracy no matter when or where you’re looking at your reporting.

Domo Standout Features and Integrations

Standout features include drag-and-drop ETL tools that make it easier to pull data from multiple sources and automated report scheduling to send updates to key stakeholders.

Integrations include Basecamp, DocuSign, Dropbox Business, GitHub, Google Analytics 365, Google Drive, Mailchimp, Microsoft Excel, SurveyMonkey, and Trello.

Pricing: Customized pricing available upon request

Trial: Free trial available

  • Easy to build visualizations
  • OOB connector is simple to use
  • Customizable user interface
  • No ability to link data sets
  • Non-technical customer support

11. Looker - Best for delivering trusted data experiences from the cloud of your choice

looker screenshot
Looker makes it easy to build and customize dashboards to track your most important KPIs.

Now a part of Google Cloud, Looker is a BI platform that strives to ensure an intuitive approach of data exploration to end users. With the web-based interface, Looker enables you to build and share reports so that your organization can develop insight-powered workflows.

Why I picked Looker: This tool seemed to be particularly valuable for its close association with Google. The platform is built on Google Cloud infrastructure and is available as a service to integrate with any existing cloud portfolio in the Google Cloud console to ensure you have an accessible place to start and manage Looker instances.

Looker Standout Features and Integrations

Standout features include LookML that creates SQL queries on behalf of users and Looker Studio that connects you to a semantic model for analysis, exploration, and visualization.

Integrations include Asana, Dropbox Business, Google Analytics 360, Google Workspace, HubSpot, Mailchimp, Microsoft Excel, Rippling, Salesforce, and Slack.

Pricing: Pricing available upon request

Trial: Free plan available

  • User-friendly design and interface
  • Intuitive navigation and learning process
  • Free tools are available
  • Delayed performance for large data sets
  • Mostly online support through forums and FAQs

12. Oracle Analytics Cloud - Best for versatile implementation on-premise or in the cloud

oracle analytics cloud screenshot
Oracle Analytics Cloud offers custom image and map layering for unique reports.

This cloud native BI service is designed to help your organization discover and unlock actionable insights from your data through powerful data preparation and enrichment, as well as data visualization and embedded machine learning. Oracle Analytics Cloud provides on-premise, cloud, and hybrid deployment strategies.

Why I picked Oracle Analytics Cloud: I like this platform because it offers flexible implementation options to meet your needs. While many smaller businesses that can’t afford hardware costs may prefer cloud implementation, enterprise organizations who prefer more control over their data can opt for on-premise deployment.

Oracle Analytics Cloud Standout Features and Integrations

Standout features include machine learning capabilities to surface hidden insights, autonomous data warehouse to optimize analytic workloads, and a mobile app that can learn from your behaviors and make recommendations.

Integrations include Accountagility ORYX, DataTerrain, Espresso, iOS14, Kodiak Hub, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft PowerPoint, Rayven, TSM, and VKS.

Pricing: From $162.30/month for up to 10 users

Trial: 30-day free trial available

  • You need minimal training to use it
  • Very accessible with limited coding requirements
  • User-friendly interface design
  • Limited customization options
  • Limited scaling up and down instances

Other Options

I’m a bit of an overachiever, and I just couldn’t complete this list without at least mentioning these other powerful BI options, including: 

  1. SAP Analytics Cloud - Best advanced analytics tools with smooth access to heterogeneous data sources
  2. Sigma Platform - Best for GPT-powered self-service analytics that is seamlessly integrated within Sigma
  3. Sisense - Best versatile solution for all teams with pro-code, low-code, and no-code options
  4. Tableau Desktop - Best for building a data-driven culture with decision-making inspired by analytics
  5. TARGIT - Best business intelligence platform with solutions tailored for every industry and platform
  6. ThoughtSpot - Best business intelligence software for an intuitive, Google-like search user interface
  7. Yellowfin BI - Best for interactive visualizations and action-based dashboards based on AI-assisted analytics
  8. Zoho Analytics - Best platform for helping end users turn raw data into easily digestible reports and dashboards

Selection Criteria For Self-Service BI Tools 

Here’s a short summary of the main selection and evaluation criteria I used to develop my list of the best self-service BI tools for this article:

Core Functionality

As a self-service solution, the BI platforms on this list need to have slightly different functionality than more traditional BI solutions, including:

  • Easy-to-use interface to quickly explore, analyze, and build
  • Single source of truth to provide accurate data sets for every need
  • Updates and analysis in real-time for quicker decision-making
  • Limited need to invest in additional hardware for less overhead 

Key Features

To deliver on the core functionalities that I’ve listed above, you’ll see that most of the tools on my list have similar key features, including:

  • Drag-and-drop editing: Instead of needing to code in order to create reports or organize dashboards, your team can simply click to drag the charts and graphs they need and drop them into place.
  • Data visualizations: Visualizations are an essential part of BI tools because they make data more digestible for the layman. Whether it’s graphs, pies, or charts, most of these tools allow you to customize your creations.
  • Data storytelling: Another tool for translating data analysis, this feature interprets complex information as a narrative that adds value to your reports and presentations by highlighting key points for your stakeholders.
  • Predictive analytics: This type of data analytics is based on historical data, using it to forecast future trends in customer behavior, market change, and other potential industry scenarios so you can plan ahead.
  • Dashboards and reporting: To ensure your team isn’t building new reports or customizing dashboards from scratch, BI tools provide editable templates you can embed nearly anywhere.
  • Cloud-based accessibility: This feature is designed to provide expanded accessibility to your team so they can connect to your BI tools on any device from anywhere with an internet connection. You also don’t need to provide on-premise hardware for storage.
  • Data mining capabilities: Specifically built to identify patterns and correlations throughout large volumes of raw data, this feature runs automatically using clustering algorithms and neural networks to unearth new insights.


Since self-service is the driving motivation behind BI tools, making them as usable as possible is a priority. In addition to drag-and-drop functionality, user-friendly interfaces, and visual data interpretations, most of these tools offer intuitive navigation, guided onboarding, and a knowledgeable customer support team that can get you up and running in no time.

Software Integrations

Since data is king, you’ll need software that can integrate with the other tools in your tech stack, such as your CRM or ERP. Through these integrations, your BI tools can leverage even more data from existing data stores for up-to-date insights. I’ve listed the most popular integrations for each platform above.


The cost of self-service BI tools will vary depending on the specific features you need. You can expect to spend anywhere from $75/user/month to $3,000/user/month. Most tools offer monthly subscriptions, but there are some that operate on a yearly subscription or one-time licensing fee.

Basic analytics capabilities with bare-bones functionality are ideal for solo users or small businesses just learning how to use BI. If you’re looking for enhanced features, like machine learning algorithms or natural language processing (NLP), you can expect a much higher price tag.

People Also Ask

If you have a few more questions about BI tools, I can help you learn more with answers to the most commonly asked questions.

Other Revenue Operations Software

If you’re looking for other intelligence platforms to drive revenue operations needs, check out this roundup of my favorite tools:

Next Steps

It may take you some time to sort through the best BI tools for your business, but once you’ve narrowed down your own list, make sure to sign up for those trials and demos to see how these platforms perform in the context of your business.

And if you want consistent updates and insights from the experts, make sure to sign up for the RevOps newsletter to get reports directly to your inbox.

By Phil Gray

Philip Gray is the COO of Black and White Zebra and Founding Editor of The RevOps Team. A business renaissance man with his hands in many departmental pies, he is an advocate of centralized data management, holistic planning, and process automation. It's this love for data and all things revenue operations landed him the role as resident big brain for The RevOps Team.

With 10+ years of experience in leadership and operations in industries that include biotechnology, healthcare, logistics, and SaaS, he applies a considerable broad scope of experience in business that lets him see the big picture. An unapologetic buzzword apologist, you can often find him double clicking, drilling down, and unpacking all the things.