Top Business Intelligence Tools In 2021


“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” 

John Wanamaker, marketing pioneer.

The emergence of social media has changed marketing for good. Today, businesses spend five to 12 percent of their total revenue on marketing, with B2Cs spending more than B2Bs. 

Business intelligence (BI) refers to extracting actionable insights from data to inform decision-making. It lies at the heart of the marketing efforts of forward-looking companies. BI tools help businesses identify market trends, the effectiveness of their campaigns and also uncover new growth opportunities.


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We have collated a list of leading BI tools used in 2021. 

Microsoft Power BI 

Microsoft’s BI suite provides interactive business intelligence capabilities to help marketers create dashboards and reports. Released in 2011, Power BI comes with a cloud-based BI service, aka the Power BI Services, and desktop-based interface Power BI Desktop. In 2016, Microsoft released Power BI Embedded on its Azure cloud platform.

 Microsoft Power BI comes with built-in AI capabilities, tight Excel integration and pre-built data connectors. It offers end-to-end encryption of data and real-time access monitoring.

Zoho Analytics

Indian multinational tech company Zoho released its BI suite Zoho Analytics in 2009. The self-service BI and analytics solution is used for enterprise reporting and dashboard creation. 

It comes with an automated data sync feature, allowing businesses to analyse data from any source. Companies can upload data from spreadsheets and flat files or online storage services. Additionally, users can connect to a wide range of relational databases, whether hosted in-house or in the cloud. It is powered by a smart analytical assistant Zia, which uses NLP and ML to help marketers gain insights in minutes. 

Zoho Analytics’ clientele include the likes of Dell, Tesla, HP, Ikea and Canon. 

Google Data Studio

Google’s Data Studio allows businesses to convert data into informative reports and dashboards. It was launched in 2016 as a part of the Google Analytics 360 suite. 

Google Data Studio offers easy-to-use features, including transforming data into charts and graphs for more meaningful insights; tweaking existing reports to provide visualisation and custom solutions; and democratising data by allowing sharing and collaboration. It comes with multiple built-in marketing templates. 


A product of Qlik, QlikView was launched in 1994, as the company’s first-ever eponymous product. It enables businesses to build dashboards and guided analytics applications. 

Qlik is easy-to-use and enables marketers to consolidate, search, visualise and analyse available data sources to generate meaningful insights. Marketers can use the product from anywhere. 


Tableau offers marketing dashboards for businesses to unify all marketing data in one place and provide actionable insights on social media presence, customer journey, website performance, and spending. 

Tableau’s products include Tableau Prep, Tableau Desktop, Tableau Server and Tableau Online, and Tableau Mobile. Tableau Desktop offers data exploration through an intuitive interface. It also employs AI-driven statistical modelling using natural language.

Freshworks CRM 

Freshworks claims to help businesses increase website conversions by over 40 percent. The Chennai-based startup was founded by Girish Mathrubootham and Shan Krishnasamy in 2010. 

The cloud-based customer engagement service provider allows businesses to get an end-to-end view of customers, understand customer activities, and segregate customers into segments and lists. It also offers conversion rate optimisation, web forms, chat campaigns, event tracking, email campaigns, and customer segmentation. 


HubSpot enables easy creation of custom reports by connecting all CRM contact, company and deal data, and marketing, sales and service data. It was founded in 2006 by Dharmesh Shah and Brian Halligan.

Companies can import data into HubSpot using custom objects and integrate their apps via HubSpot App Marketplace. It works as an all-in-one inbound marketing software and helps attract visitors through blogging, social media, and ads. It also helps in customer conversion with landing pages, email, marketing automation, and ABM. Additionally, HubSpot allows the tracking of ROI with revenue attribution reporting. Its client list includes the likes of VMware, Trello and SurveyMonkey. 


Founded in 2011 by Lloyd Tabb and Ben Porterfield, Looker enables businesses to centralise their marketing data sources. It allows enterprises to gain deeper insights into their customers by combining multiple data sets, tracking cross-channel customer behaviour, and segmenting customers by attributes. 

Looker helps businesses to track KPIs like CPC, CTR and CPA; understand the spend and revenue generated by every campaign and medium of marketing; and set up custom rules to receive email alerts when a tactic or ad goes wrong. Additionally, it lets marketing managers identify trends in customer behaviour by enabling cross-channel attribution analysis; allows A/B testing of campaigns by analysing how the business’ variations influence critical user behaviour based on statistically significant results; and provides a holistic view of users’ experience– from every click to conversion. Looker helps businesses track where new leads and customers are coming from and monitor and optimise conversion rates by channel, content and audiences. 

Google Cloud acquired Looker in 2019 in an all-cash deal worth $2.6 billion. 


Founded by Eoghan McCabe, Des Traynor, Ciaran Lee and David Berrett in 2011, Intercom allows marketing teams to segment attributes, send targeted in-app or email messages to generate new leads. 

Intercom helps businesses by enabling the segmentation of users based on location, revenue, industry etc. It assists businesses with outbound messages, automated answers, and account-based marketing. 

Intercom offers intelligent bots to enhance customer experience and provides conversational support to businesses of all sizes across  financial, e-commerce, education and healthcare sectors. 


Germany-headquartered Databox was founded in 2011. It provides free-to-start and easy-to-setup options for businesses to track performance metrics. 

DataBox helps marketing teams monitor trends in acquisition sources with visualisations; provides automated morning briefing to know how campaigns are performing; and access all metrics in one place, irrespective of data origin. 

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Debolina Biswas
After diving deep into the Indian startup ecosystem, Debolina is now a Technology Journalist. When not writing, she is found reading or playing with paint brushes and palette knives. She can be reached at

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