In this report, we define and compare business intelligence software and reporting software to help you decide which one suits your business needs.
Both business intelligence software and reporting software help businesses analyze their performance based on data-driven insights. But despite overlapping features and functionality, the two tools belong to distinct software categories. This report will identify the similarities and differences between the two software tools to help you understand which one is better suited for your requirements.
Business intelligence (BI) software helps organizations make operational decisions by analyzing historical performance data and other data sources. A BI tool collects raw data from internal and external sources and analyzes it via queries to get actionable insight. It uses interactive dashboards and other forms of visualization to present the data.
BI tools allow performance management teams to use descriptive analytics and convert complex data into easily understandable visuals such as charts, graphs, infographics, and animations. BI reporting helps analyze data from various categories, including customers, finance, production, human resources, and contacts.
Reporting software allows real-time access to administrative and operational data to help build multidimensional reports, such as financial statements, operational reports, and progress reports, from diverse data sources. It assists in tracking the success of sales strategies, monitoring responsiveness to regulatory compliance concerns, and managing internal controls or security audits.
Reporting software also supports the creation of custom reports per a business’s reporting needs. It allows managers and business leaders to measure and track performance metrics from departments such as sales, finance, human resources, and marketing. The software integrates with apps such as customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), and business intelligence to create data summaries, dashboards, and data visualizations.
There are a few similarities between a business intelligence tool and a reporting tool. Both help operational teams create ad hoc reports, visualize data, and forecast business performance for strategic planning. The data reports generated by business intelligence and reporting tools include various similar elements such as charts, tables, key performance indicators (KPIs), images, hyperlinks, and drilldowns.
If your business needs to collect, track, publish, and share performance metrics, real-time updates, benchmarking, and visual data analytics, then a business intelligence platform is a better option. BI tools offer advanced insights for analyzing data, benchmarking, and analyzing business performance, thus facilitating data-driven decisions.
A reporting tool, on the other hand, is a good option for micro-reporting requirements, such as reports on how many candidates appeared for an interview or how much revenue your business generated last month. Reporting tools can handle standard volumes of data and can draw limited data streams to produce the final reports.
A BI platform is commonly used by teams that influence business decisions. Therefore, it might have a more targeted end-user base than reporting software, for which the audience is more general.
Once you decide which software to use, head to our business intelligence software and reporting software category pages where you can find a sortable list of products, software reviews from verified users, and comprehensive buyers guides.
If you wish to narrow down your search to only the most popular and highest-rated solutions, visit Capterra’s Shortlist reports for the top business intelligence software and reporting software tools—our reports are based on an analysis of thousands of user reviews.
These 13 products, listed in alphabetical order, are among the top rated in both software categories.
To be included in the list, the products must:
- Be listed under Capterra’s 2022 Shortlist report for business intelligence and reporting software. Learn more about the Capterra Shortlist methodology here.
- Meet our software market definition for business intelligence and reporting software:
- Business intelligence: “Business intelligence (BI) software helps organizations to analyze data from various sources to generate insights, which helps leadership with better decision-making. It collects the data from internal and external sources, runs queries to analyze the data, and then presents it within interactive dashboards and other forms of data visualization. BI software can analyze various types of data such as customer data, finance data, production data, human resource data, and contact data.”
- Reporting: “Reporting software applications allow real-time access to essential data and facilitate rapid generation of reports from multiple data sources. Reporting software can be used to create financial statements, track the success of sales strategies, monitor regulatory compliance, manage internal controls, and conduct security audits.”