Business Intelligence

Category Compare: Business Intelligence vs. Reporting

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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.

What is business intelligence software?

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.

What is reporting software?

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.

What do they have in common?

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.

Business intelligence software features

Reporting software features

Which tool is right for you?

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.

13 top-rated business intelligence and reporting software

These 13 products, listed in alphabetical order, are among the top rated in both software categories.

Domo logo


193 reviews
Grow logo


233 reviews
Mode logo


84 reviews
Swydo logo


56 reviews
Note: Reviews and ratings data in the product cards is as of Jan. 25, 2022. New reviews may have been added since the publication of this article, so the reviews data in this piece may not reflect current conditions.
The products in the category comparison images are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations by Capterra. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.


To be included in the list, the products must:

  1. Be listed under Capterra’s 2022 Shortlist report for business intelligence and reporting software. Learn more about the Capterra Shortlist methodology here.
  2. 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.”

Looking for Business Intelligence software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Business Intelligence software solutions.

About the Author

Barkha Bali

Barkha Bali

Barkha Bali is a writer at Capterra, providing expert insights to help small businesses identify the right software for their needs by analyzing user reviews data for the highest rated products in relevant software categories. She has worked in finance, lifestyle, education, and medical. With expertise in marketing and content strategy, Barkha’s work has been featured in Medium and educational websites. When not working, she can be found re-watching “The Office” or “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”

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