Business Intelligence

Top 3 Free Business Intelligence Software

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Business intelligence software helps businesses collect and analyze data for actionable insights.

Are you a sales or marketing manager struggling to analyze customer buying patterns and identify potential revenue streams? Do you work with large amounts of business data on a daily basis?

Business intelligence (BI) software can help you convert structured and unstructured data from a variety of sources into a ready-to-use format. From there, BI software can help you analyze your data to gain actionable insights (most BI tools do this using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities).

You can use a business intelligence tool to create interactive dashboards and compelling reports, which you can then share across your organization in multiple formats.

This article highlights three top-rated free business intelligence software options, presented alphabetically (read our full selection methodology here).

See the full list of free business intelligence tools in Capterra’s software directory.
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Top 3 free business intelligence software
1

Cluvio: Provides SQL editor for syntax highlighting

Cluvio is a cloud-based data analytics platform that uses SQL and R programming languages to analyze data. This tool allows users to create interactive dashboards and present data via charts and graphs. Cluvio supports major SQL databases and warehouses, including MySQL, Google Cloud SQL, Microsoft SQL, AWS Aurora, and Oracle.

Cluvio’s key features include an SQL editor that facilitates SQL queries, syntax highlighting, and eliminates the need for repetitive coding.

This tool also offers collaboration functionality; users can share dashboards with their team via link or email, and automate dashboard sharing for specific team members. Cluvio also has a feature that allows users to directly access the dashboard without having to log in every time.

*Analysis accurate as of November 2021
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Key Features:

  • Ad hoc queries
  • Application development
  • Benchmarking
  • Collaboration tools
  • Customizable dashboards
  • Data visualization
Trial/Free Version:
Free Trial
Free Version
Starting price:

$279 per month

Support options:

phone, email, chat

Device Compatibility:

Screenshot:

<p style="text-align: center;"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Query editor in Cluvio (</span></i><a href="https://www.capterra.com/p/162332/Cluvio/"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Source</span></i></a><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">)</span></i></p>

Query editor in Cluvio (Source)

2

Mode: Offers Helix data engine to develop engaging reports

Mode is a collaborative BI platform that helps users extract data from multiple sources and review critical business segments with the help of custom reports, presented in the form of charts or pivot tables.

This business intelligence platform allows collaborative report editing and offers granular permissions so users can manage access across their organization. It offers a built-in memory data engine—Helix—that facilitates an SQL editor, R notebooks, and CSS so users can develop reports that are automatically updated.

Mode’s features include an interactive dashboard with options for internal and external sharing via URL and Slack. The dashboard includes calculated fields and drag-and-drop analysis.

Mode integrates with third-party tools such as Impala, Amazon Services, MemSQL, MySQL, Oracle, and Google BigQuery.

*Analysis accurate as of November 2021
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Key Features:

  • Ad hoc reporting
  • Application development
  • Customizable dashboard
  • Data connectors
  • Data visualization
  • Forecasting
Trial/Free Version:
Free Trial
Free Version
Starting price:

Not publicly available

Support options:

phone, email, chat

Device Compatibility:

Screenshot:

<p style="text-align: center;"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dashboard view in Mode (</span></i><a href="https://www.capterra.com/p/160585/Mode-Analytics/"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Source</span></i></a><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">)</span></i></p>

Dashboard view in Mode (Source)

3

Tableau: Facilitates automatic data visualization with its Ask Data feature

Tableau is an integrated data visualization and BI solution that allows users of all data literacy levels to create visualizations and gain actionable insights from complex datasets. The reporting functionality allows users to present business data in the form of stories and deploy filters to create custom dashboards.

Users can copy a dashboard or specific elements from one workbook to another. Data source options in Tableau range from on-premise files to spreadsheets, relational databases, and cloud data.

In addition to basic data visualization options such as a bar or pie chart, Tableau offers advanced visualization options in the form of Gantt charts, bullet graphs, histograms, and treemaps. Users can conduct data analysis from both mobile devices and their desktop.

Tableau’s Ask Data feature allows users to submit queries without requiring programming language knowledge. The tool generates responses in the form of automatic data visualizations.

Tableau Public—the freemium version of the software provider’s main offering—provides a variety of resources, including videos and a visualization library.

Tableau offers a mobile app for both Android and iOS devices.

*Analysis accurate as of November 2021
Best functionality
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Key Features:

  • AI/machine learning
  • Annotations
  • Association discovery
  • Behavioral analytics
  • Benchmarking
  • Collaboration tools
Trial/Free Version:
Free Trial
Free Version
Starting price:

$12/user per month

Support options:

phone, email, chat

Device Compatibility:

Screenshot:

<p style="text-align: center;"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Daily sales dashboard in Tableau (</span></i><a href="https://www.capterra.com/p/208764/Tableau/"><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Source</span></i></a><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">)</span></i></p>

Daily sales dashboard in Tableau (Source)

How to choose the right business intelligence software?

Here are some important considerations to keep in mind when looking for free business intelligence software:

  • Select a BI tool based on your business requirements: Before you select BI software, evaluate the functional requirements of your business, including your need for globalization support, collaboration, and information sharing. If you are looking for a department-level tool, you want software that allows you to present and analyze big datasets using multiple visualization formats, along with speed to ensure quick analysis. However, if you need to handle a large amount of complex data, look for a tool that is not only easy-to-use but also offers robust functionality, such as extensive integration capabilities.
  • Select a tool that offers API integration: While BI tools generally provide a great front-end display, not every tool offers a robust application programming interface (API). BI software with API capabilities facilitates seamless integration with your IT infrastructure and existing tools (such as CRM software). Easy-to-use API integration also facilitates user adoption and an enhanced ROI for your BI tool.
  • Select a tool that integrates with multiple data sources: Businesses require a unified view of data from numerous sources to comprehend, analyze, and derive meaningful insights. Therefore, the BI tool that you select should offer powerful integration capabilities with various data sources, such as relation database, XML, and flat files (CSV).

Common questions to ask when choosing free business intelligence software

Choosing a free BI tool isn’t easy, but asking the right questions helps. Here are some key questions to ask software providers before making your final decision:

Does your BI software offer visualization capabilities?

Data visualization is an important feature of any business intelligence tool. You need software that allows you to present your findings to stakeholders using a wide range of visualization options. Interactive visual representations ensure easy interpretation of data and a better understanding of patterns and risk metrics, as well as analysis of future growth opportunities.

Does the software require SQL or other programming knowledge?

Self-service BI tools are meant to help business experts analyze data without seeking help from IT professionals. However, not all self-service tools follow through on this promise and still require some programming knowledge to effectively access and analyze datasets. Make sure that the software you select actually allows limited or no programming knowledge if needed, and offers a short learning curve.

Does the software provide access to BI reports from anywhere?

Mobile access to reports can be a game-changer, especially for stakeholders and employees who are always on the go. Having data on the cloud facilitates quick data discovery and effective decision-making whenever and wherever it’s needed.

How did we choose these products? We didn’t—you did

To find your ideal software match, you need information you can trust so you can save time, stay on budget, and focus more energy on growing your business. It’s why we vet and verify all our user reviews and recommend only the tools endorsed by people like you.

In other words, our product recommendations are never bought or sold, or based on the opinion of a single individual—they’re chosen by your peers, reflecting the views and experiences of our independent base of software reviewers.


​​At Capterra, we objectively select and rank products based on a methodology developed by our research team. Some vendors pay us when they receive web traffic, but this has no influence on our methodology.

​​To be considered for this list, products have to:

  1. Have at least 20 unique product reviews published on Capterra within the past two years, with an average rating of 3.0 or higher. We selected 3 products with the highest ratings to feature in this article.
  2. Offer a free, stand-alone version of the software-not a trial version you have to purchase after a certain amount of time to get the full experience.
  3. Meet our definition of business intelligence software: “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.”

Note: The content in this piece that provides opinions and points of view expressed by users does not represent the views of Capterra.

The “Best functionality” tool is identified based on the highest user ratings for functionality that a vendor received based on publicly available reviews (as of November 22, 2021).

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

About the Author

Shephalii Kapoor

Shephalii Kapoor

Writer @ Capterra with a focus on small business market trends, software requirements, and all things tech. Member of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India. Has a keen interest in music and reading books. When I am not working, you can find me talking to my friends with a mug of coffee in hand.

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Comments

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Comment by Tirena Dingeldein on

Thanks for pointing this out Lucas! When we looked at the information that Metabase provides on Capterra, it indicated that they only provided native installation on Macs. We’ll dig a little deeper to see if this has changed.

Comment by Lucas C. on

One small correction should be made on an otherwise nice list: Metabase is *not* just for macOS. It can be self hosted from a JAR on any machine that runs Java 8 or higher and will work on either the OpenJDK or Oracle JRE. They also have a Docker container that can be deployed instead of running the JAR on bare metal. They also *offer* (not require) a macOS version.

(I’m not affiliated with Metabase in any way, I just have a copy deployed – on a Pine64 running Debian Linux – to run metrics on the computers in my lab.)

Comment by carolyna on

Nice information, thanks for sharing this blog, i saw one more blog in internet, thethreatreport relevant for data mining concepts, which is very helpful for me.

Comment by Yogesh Deshpande on

Yet another opensource report generator https://sourceforge.net/projects/query2report/ worth trying

Avatar

Comment by AK on

Also want to add one more free tool, that can be a part of a powerful BI solution. So if you need to enhance your web application or website with data analytics you can embed WebDataRocks Free Pivot Table (https://www.webdatarocks.com/). It will work for all who need to visualize data in smart pivot grid, manage this data and create reports on the fly.

Avatar

Comment by Hardik Porwal on

Hi,
The article was informative and exciting to read. I now know some of the top BI applications that can help me make more informed decisions. Some of them have interactive and easy to use dashboards and user interfacesmaking them extremly easy to use. One of such amazing tool is Innertrends. The application is extremely powerful and easy to use. to know more about it, check: http://toolowl.com/bi/bi-tools-product-review-innertrends

Comment by Gandalf on

Finally!!!!!!!!!1 I found Zoho Reports and I can collect data with Zoho Survey and they’re both FREE!!! Thank you for this list!

Avatar

Comment by Prashant on

Very good article. Just to mention there is no software at third. I mean after 2 which is Jaspersoft, it goes to 4 with Knime.

Comment by Armando Busto on

One that is missing from this list is MicroStrategy desktop.

Comment by JB on

clicdata.com is not free anymore. Only a trial.

Comment by Andrew Rudy on

Here are some good open source web based platforms:
http://www.metabase.com/
http://airbnb.io/projects/superset/

Avatar

Comment by Bob Smiley on

Do any of the free versions allow for importing data from a website? My main objective is to merge data from multiple providers, such as my power bill (daily usage), automation system (HVAC and other system notifications) and other things and merge them into a single consolidated BI warehouse. Today I manually download them and import them using scripts; I’d like to find a single solution that can be scripted to log in as me to those sites and download data on a scheduled basis…

Avatar

Comment by Mariusz on

Well done!
There is also Abixen Platform ( http://www.platform.abixen.com ) which is not a clear BI tool, but contains a module for dashboards and charts creation. It’s a startup for now, but grows quickly on GitHub.

Comment by Mike Saliter on

Recommend adding Qlik Sense (which is the newer offering from Qlik) to your list: http://www.qlik.com/us/products/qlik-sense

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