Top 25 Reporting Tools And How To Choose The Best Option

 

Reporting tools play a vital function in business operations, allowing analytics teams to generate constantly updated snapshots of vital areas of the business, which can then be passed to other parts of the team for monitoring, making adjustments or just generating an overall “sixth sense” about how things are going. But the line between “reporting tools,” “analytics tools,” and “business intelligence tools” can get murky fast, especially when some software packages let users do a little bit of all threeor when their marketing teams get a little loose with the categories! So before we lay out a list of our favorite reporting tools, let’s start by comparing reporting tools to business intelligence tools, their closest cousins.

Reporting tools vs business intelligence tools

Like we said above, the distinctions here can be a bit fuzzy, especially when you’re talking about the tools themselvessome analytics tools let you do both! But it’s helpful to understand the difference between reporting and business intelligence. We like to think of reporting as a way of generating the kind of “snapshots” of business activities described above. A reporting tool will let you put together a picture of the relevant data for a specific, narrow subset of your business. Want to see monthly sales figures broken out by product category? You’ll probably do that with a reporting tool. A business intelligence tool, on the other hand, will let you integrate data from different sides of the businessor data that’s entirely external to your businessfrom larger time windows to help get a better sense of what might be driving trends. In other words, reporting tools will show you what is going on at certain points in time, where business intelligence tools will start to help you figure out why.

Now that we’ve got our definitions out of the way, let’s look at some of the top reporting tools and how you can use them in your data stack. We’ve put together a list of 25 reporting tools across a range of price points and levels of complexity, from free and open source reporting tools to enterprise-scale solutions that will let you build reports for 10,000-person operations. Take a look below:

Top paid reporting tools

  1. Zoho Analytics
  2. Izenda Embedded Analytics
  3. Host Analytics
  4. BOARD
  5. Adaptive Insights
  6. ClicData
  7. Sisense
  8. Chartio
  9. Panoply
  10. ReportPlus
  11. Holistics.io
  12. Vena
  13. Looker
  14. Tableau
  15. DBxtra Report Designer
  16. Prophix Software
  17. TapClicks
  18. Windward Studios
  19. AgencyAnalytics
  20. Klipfolio
  21. AnswerRocket
  22. SAP Crystal Reports
  23. Pentaho Reporting
  24. Mode Analytics
  25. Metabase

1. Zoho Analytics

Zoho offers Zoho Analytics (previously Zoho Reports), a self-service business intelligence and reporting tool that puts an emphasis on usability and automation. Those two things come together best in Zoho Analytics automated reporting function: after collecting and automatically checking your data for errors, gaps and other issues, the package will give you the option of automatically generating reportswithout the user having to construct a single query. And with the highly configurable report access settings, you’ll be able to control exactly who sees what parts of the resulting reports (“one report, multiple views”) and change the rules on the fly. The system also comes bundled with a number of tutorials, videos and other helpful add-ons, so new users shouldn’t find it too difficult to get up to speed with Zoho Analytics. This is a particularly good tool for a team with a democratized BI approach, where multiple approaches and levels of technical sophistication might come into play.

Integrates with Panoply: Yes

Zoho Analytics pricing: $25-$495/month depending on number of users and amount of data

2. Izenda's Embedded Analytics

Izenda’s Embedded Analytics platform is a web-based reporting tool that is designed to integrate seamlessly into an existing framework. The software is designed to be embedded, and allows engineers to add data analysis/visualization and reporting tools to their products, but it can also be used as a standalone reporting tool. True to its embeddable nature, Izenda doesn’t require deployment of a new or proprietary data warehouse, and is instead designed to use its automated query building engine to build reports from existing databases. Izenda’s offerings will probably appeal to you if you’ve already got much of your data stack in place and want to add a reporting tool on top.

Integrates with Panoply: Yes

Izenda Embedded Analytics pricing: Available upon request.

3. Host Analytics

Host Analytics offers a range of products in the enterprise performance management space, including Reporting Cloud, which is designed to help financially-inclined business users generate automated reports. Reporting Cloud is, just like it sounds, a cloud-based component of the Host Analytics ecosystem, and puts a lot of emphasis on high presentation quality. The system also has built-in support for reporting modes that require strict compliance oversight, like US GAAP and IFRS-compliant balance sheets and other financial data. Host should be on your list if you’re looking for an enterprise-scale reporting tool that’s designed with finance in mind.

Integrates with Panoply: No

Host Analytics pricing: Available upon request

4. BOARD

BOARD bills its self-service reporting tool as a “unified decision making platform,” because it combines both standard business intelligence tools and the ability to use advanced analytics approaches in a single platform: in addition to the now-standard suite of dashboard and data visualization tools, BOARD also offers extensive forecasting, planning and decision support tools to help extend your analyses. BOARD can be deployed either on-premise or in the cloud, and offers a wide variety of data import options. The interface is designed to be entirely visual and easy to use, but BOARD maintains a strong community of supportive users who can assist new users in getting up to speed if they get stuck. BOARD is pitched to small-to-midsize organizations looking to do a wide range of analytics tasks, but some may find it overpowered for relatively small and straightforward data operations.

Integrates with Panoply: Yes

BOARD price: Available upon request

5. Adaptive Insights

Adaptive Insights makes a web-based SaaS suite designed to help you in forecasting, budgeting and reporting tasks. The interface is designed to be familiar to users of Microsoft Excel, and its drag-and-drop report builder can integrate directly into Microsoft Office, allowing new users to start working with the product without leaving the comfort of the Office ecosystem. Adaptive Insights’ reporting tools are highly regarded, so if your team already works well in an MS Office environment, this straightforward tool might be the one for you.

Integrages with Panoply: Yes

Adaptive Insights price: Available upon request

6. ClicData

ClicData is a cloud-based business intelligence platform that functions as a combination reporting tool and data warehouse. ClicData lets users pull all their data together into a personal data warehouse, clean and process it through a proprietary ETL system, and generate reports and dashboards using its simple drag-and-drop interface. ClicData’s report sharing functionality offers a high amount of flexibility, allowing reports to be sent by email, attached as PDFs, published on company intranets, or pushed to the web and social media sites. ClicData also offers mobile integrations for both iOs and Android, allowing users to view their reports almost anywhere. ClicData should be of interest to anyone looking for an all-in-one reporting and warehousing system with an easy interface.

Integrates with Panoply: No

ClicData price: $25-$439/month, depending on license type

7. Sisense

Sisense is a relatively new offering in the drag-and-drop analytics space that aims to be an end-to-end reporting solution. Sisense uses an in-chip (as opposed to in-memory) architecture to speed up data tasks from ingestion and cleaning to visualization and dashboard construction, making it easy to work with large datasets that might choke other data analytics platforms. Sisense offers both on-premise and in-cloud installation options, and reviews indicate that installation is quick and simple, though the application can be somewhat heavy for certain on-premise deployments. Sisense could be a great option for you if your organization deals with large, evolving datasets, but its web-only reporting can make delivery of reports in other formats somewhat difficult.

Integrates with Panoply: Yes

Sisense pricing: Available upon request, but some reviewers have quoted a starting price of $21,000 for 5 users.

8. Chartio

Chartio’s web-based business intelligence tool offers two different ways to interact with your data: a drag-and-drop web interface or a more code-heavy SQL editor. This gives it a lot of options for a team with a mix of comfort levels with writing code, so power users can jump right in and write complex queries, while less-technical team members can still explore your data, generate visualizations and create dashboards.

Chartio comes with over 20 pre-built data connectors for common sources like Google data, Azure, Amazon Redshift and social media data sources. Through its partners, Chartio offers over a hundred other possible integrations, so you’ll be able to jump in and work with a pretty wide swath of your data from the moment of signup.

If you don’t already have a data warehouse, Chartio has partnered with Panoply to offer the automatic cloud data stack which provides all the data integration and speed benefits of an automated cloud data warehouse without having to setup and tune it yourself.

If you want a speedy web-based interface that lets you build dashboards and visualizations with GUI and code-based options, Chartio might be the choice for you. Chartio is also known for its documentation and tutorials, so if you have people on your team that might need a bit of extra studying to get up to speed, this could also be a differentiator for you.

Integrates with Panoply: Yes

Chartio pricing: starting at $400/month

9. Panoply

Panoply may not fit the mold for typical reporting tools, but our suite of pre-built data integrations, built-in SQL editor and automated data warehouse make managing your data so breezy that you’ll be able to build reports directly from the data you’ve stored with us. If you don’t like the idea of tinkering with raw SQL and building your reports that way, though, our modular design makes it easy to link your data to any other reporting tool you might like to use. If you prefer to build your own reports by hand in, say, R using Shiny, that’s simple toojust pull your data from your Panoply warehouse and hack away.

Integrates with Panoply: Yes (it is Panoply)

Panoply price: $249/month

10. ReportPlus

Infragistics makes ReportPlus, a data visualization-focused reporting tool that bills itself as a “true” self-service BI tool, presumably because of its easy-to-use interface and light IT footprint. Infragistics really did put an emphasis on usability in their development process, working closely with UX designers on every aspect of the interface. ReportPlus has the standard selection of native data connectors and a suite of 30+ data visualization and dashboard options that can be served on any device, including iOS and Android mobile devices. You can set ReportPlus up in either an on-premise or cloud-based deployment. The main selling points here are low price, usability and easy setup, so consider ReportPlus if you’re looking to start generating reports right away with a new tool.

Integrates with Panoply: Yes

ReportPlus pricing: $99 user/month

11. Holistics.io

Singapore-based Holistics.io makes a business intelligence and reporting tool that cuts against the grain in a lot of ways. Instead of aiming to make their reporting tool more user friendly, hiding the underlying SQL code from users’ sight, the company has decided to put SQL front and center in the interface’s design. The idea here is that Holistics is for data professionals who already know their way around SQL, data manipulation and data analysis, but want a decent visualization and reporting library to connect their SQL queries to. Holistics is designed to work with existing data infrastructure, so this reporting tool will be a good fit if you’re looking for something that you can bolt onto your existing data warehouse and have a relatively technical team to work the controls.

Integrates with Panoply: Yes

Holistics.io price: $50 - $500/month

12. Vena

Vena is another cloud-based reporting tool that comes bundled with a data warehousing solution. It allows users to do the standard set of FP&A tasks by building reports from data stored in their personal databases. After the reports have been designed, they can be dropped right into the standard, familiar Microsoft Office suite for sharing and distribution. Here again, the idea is to make the end product as accessible as possible for users who are already comfortable in an Excel-Powerpoint flow.

Integrates with Panoply: No

Vena price: Available upon request

13. Looker

Where other reporting tools put data visualization at the forefront of their offerings, Looker is more interested in letting its users explore their data in any way they want. That may mean writing a lot of SQL queries for some users, but those interested in generating dashboards and visualizations will still find plenty to work with here as well. In general, Looker is geared toward a slightly more tech-savvy audience than some of the other tools here, with a built-in data modeling language (LookML) and git integration to extend and enhance SQL-based analysis. As a reporting tool, Looker puts an emphasis on generating real-time snapshots rather than static reports. Consider Looker if you’ve got a big budget, a mix of skill levels on your data team, and you want to do complex analyses with big data sets and generate on-the-spot reports from real-time data.

Integrates with Panoply: Yes

Looker pricing: $3,000 - $5,000 per month for 10 users.

14. Tableau

If you’ve been working in business intelligence for any time at all, you’re probably familiar with Tableau. It’s one of the most popular data analysis and visualization tools, and its low-code interface makes it easy to generate a wide range of attractive visualizations and interactive dashboards. Tableau also offers a set of over 150 built-in functions for calculations and data analysis and a wide range of pre-built data connectors. Tableau shines on reporting and shareability, allowing users to share analyses easily within their organization while maintaining control over who has access. Tableau has one of the most robust mobile experiences of any of the data analytics tools on this list, so if your business intelligence team does a lot of its work on the go, Tableau might be the tool for you.

Integrates with Panoply: Yes

Tableau pricing: $35-$70 per user per month.

15. Report Designer

DBxtra makes a collection of ad hoc business intelligence and reporting tools, including Report Designer. Report Designer was designed to require no programming or database experience, with a helpful step-by-step report building interface that walks users through the entire process from end to end. For those who don’t feel comfortable jumping right in, DBxtra also ships with an extensive set of tutorials, sample data sets and report templates for new users to help familiarize themselves with the reporting tool. Reports generated with Report Designer can be exported as HTML, CSV, Excel, PDF and XML, and can be easily embedded into personalized emails for easy sharing. Report designer can connect to a wide variety of database types, making it easy to bolt onto your existing data stack. You will probably like DBxtra’s offerings if you’re looking for something that will make it easy to onboard new users with a low/no-code interface and get them generating easily shareable reports.

Integrates with Panoply: Yes

DBXtra price: $3500 - $7900 for perpetual license

16. Prophix Software

Prophix is a finance-oriented corporate performance management suite that includes robust reporting tools. This is another tool that is designed to be as familiar as possible to Excel users, with a spreadsheet-based interface that adds on support for multiple concurrent users and built in modeling, analysis, forecasting and reporting modules. As a reporting tool, Prophix is designed for timely, accurate financial reporting with an eye toward peace of mind for the end useryou definitely want to be able to trust your automated reporting when it comes to the highly regulated world of financial statements. But Prophix isn’t only for generating external-facing reports, it’s also good for making internal performance reports and ad hoc data analysis. Choose Prophix if you need help doing regulated financial reporting and your team loves Excel.

Integrates with Panoply: Yes

Prophix price: Available upon request

17. TapReports

TapClicks offers TapReports, a streamlined reporting tool from a crew who spends a lot of time thinking about and working with marketing data. Though TapClicks bills itself as a marketing operations company, TapReports is more of a data-agnostic tool for generating dashboards and automatic reports. With a large library of data connectors, you won’t have trouble pulling in data from a wide variety of sources using ImportWizard, which makes guides nontechnical users through the process of ingesting data. TapReports is also designed for easy setup and use, with an onboarding wizard that the company claims can get new users up and running in 30 seconds. TapClicks’ platform has good support for white-label custom branding, so if you’re generating a lot of customer-facing reports, you’ll find it easy to keep them true to your brand identity.

Integrates with Panoply: Yes

TapClicks price: Available upon request

18. Windward Studios

Windward Studios makes “data document” software that allows users to add dynamic data to visually appealing documents. That’s not to say that they don’t make reporting toolsthey do, they just don’t like to think of themselves as a company that only makes reporting tools. Windward’s enterprise-scale reporting tool is actually built from two separate tools, Windward Engine and Windward Autotag. Engine provides a set of libraries designed to integrate directly into familiar tools like the Microsoft Office suite, while Autotag is the actual plug-in that users can install directly into Microsoft Word and Excel. Windward’s reporting tools also support viewing and editing reports on mobile platforms, so if you need an enterprise-scale reporting tool that delivers visually attractive reports through familiar MS Office interfaces, check out Windward Studios.

Integrates with Panoply: Yes

Windward Studios price: Starting at $219/month

19. AgencyAnalytics

AgencyAnalytics is a marketing campaign-focused reporting tool that is designed to help marketers show their clients how their campaigns are unfolding. In that sense, it’s more narrowly focused than some of the other reporting tools listed here, but its power as a client-facing reporting tool makes it worth talking about. Because it’s focused on marketing data, AgencyAnalytics offers a relatively small set of data integrations (~30) compared to other reporting tools, but its easy interface and report scheduling features make it simple to generate regular, white label campaign reports to send to your clients. Compared to similar tools, AgencyAnalytics is also fairly cheap, so keep this one in mind if you’re in marketing and need a cheap tool for sending reports out to your clients.

Integrates with Panoply: No

Agency Analytics price: $49 - $499/month

20. Klipfolio

Klipfolio’s ReportBuilder is a web-based reporting tool that puts an emphasis on quality visualizations and layout. It works with over 500 individual data sourcesincluding your data warehouse of choiceand can integrate real-time analytics into your reports. The data visualization package offers a wide range of standard visualizations, but it also allows users to create custom visualizations in Klipfolio’s easy drag-and-drop interface. Reports can be shared by email, PDF, or custom URL and easily automated with a customizable scheduler. Klipfolio is a good option for groups with a high interest in design quality and a desire to share easily across organizations.

Integrates with Panoply: Yes

Klipfolio price: $29-$99/month

21. AnswerRocket

AnswerRocket is a natural language processing-powered BI and reporting tool that allows users to enter queries in normal-sounding questions like, “what were last year’s sales figures for our size 10 widgets?”. Once you’ve typed your question in, AnswerRocket will automatically find the best data source based on data you’ve already ingested using its set of various data connectors. If it can’t figure out what data you’re looking for, it will suggest some possible data sources from the data you have available. As an enterprise tool, AnswerRocket should be a hit for large companies seeking to make their accessible to everyone who can type a question and follow some basic prompts.

Integrates with Panoply: Yes

AnswerRocket price: Available upon request

22. SAP Crystal Reports

Data services giant SAP makes Crystal Reports, a Windows-based, on-premise reporting tool built for small-to-medium sized business. Crystal Reports isn’t the most accessible reporting tool on this list, as it uses a proprietary language to build out its reports, but teams that have the patience and technical know-how to get the hang of it will be able to build visually appealing reports that can be embedded into all sorts of applications for presentation. Another bonus is that Crystal Reports has support for over 20 languages, so if you have an international presence that will require reporting in languages other than English, this could be a differentiator for you. If you’re looking for a relatively inexpensive reporting tool and don’t need it to be business user friendly, check out Crystal Reports.

Integrates with Panoply: Yes

SAP Crystal Reports price: $495

23. Pentaho Reporting

Hitachi Vantara’s Pentaho Reporting is a suite of open source reporting tools designed for building lightweight embeddable reports for existing applications. Accessible to both business users and IT professionals, the Pentaho Reporting suite includes Pentaho Report Design Wizard, which can walk less-technical users through the process of building reports that can be delivered as PDF, Excel, HTML, Text, Rich-Text-File, XML and CSV. The resulting reports can be shared as files to a pre-defined list of recipients or viewed using Pentaho’s web-based WebViewer. Pentaho should be on your list if you’re looking for a free and open source reporting tool or if you’re particularly interested in integrating your reports into existing applications.

Integrates with Panoply: Yes

Pentaho Reporting price: Free and open source

24. Mode Analytics

Mode Analytics offers a web-based business intelligence and reporting suite aimed more at data scientists than business-minded analysts, but it has a strong focus on collaboration and sharing. It’s designed to make it especially easy to connect your data sources to their built-in SQL editor and visualization platform, so if you prefer to work in an R or Python notebook, Mode will be particularly attractive for you and your team. The notebooks you create through can then be shared super easilyyou don’t need to worry about replicating development environments when you can share the data, analysis and resulting dashboard all through Mode. In terms of data visualization, Mode makes it easy to make auto-updating dashboards whose styles and themes can be tailored on the fly, with a wide variety of built-in chart types. Definitely consider this tool if you’ve got a team of data scientists who love to get knee-deep in code but want to be able to share dashboards and reports and collaborate more easily.

Integrates with Panoply: Yes

Mode Analytics pricing: available upon request.

25. Metabase

Metabase is a free, open source business intelligence tool designed to address the “dark matter” of business intelligence, meaning the vital, but less complex questions that make up the majority of day-to-day data analytics operations. It’s easy to install, has a graphical interface, and makes it easy to generate visually appealing charts of your data with a few clicks. Advanced SQL users may find it tricky to learn the SQL-but-not-quite style data interface, but it’s not designed for them. Metabase’s focus on the more quotidian aspects of business data makes it a perfect fit for a team that is looking to keep their costs low while generating easy, attractive reports.

Integrates with Panoply: Yes

Metabase pricing: Free and open source

How to decide what reporting tool to use

We know these lists can get pretty longwe’re going for comprehensivebut that can also mean that, even after reading through them, you might still be overwhelmed with the array of choices. We’ve boiled the decision making process down even further here to help make your decision as easy as possible.

If you’re primarily working with financial data: Try Host Analytics or Prophix

If you want to do reporting but are also analytics-curious: Try Chartio, Looker, Mode, and Tableau

If you want something free: Try Metabase or Pentaho

If you’re looking for an enterprise-scale solution: Try SAP, Host Analytics, AnswerRocket, or Windward Studios

Get a free consultation with a data architect to see how to build a data warehouse in minutes.
Request Demo
Read more in:
Share this post:

Work smarter, better, and faster with weekly tips and how-tos.