In order to succeed in the rapidly changing the business world, today’s organizations must use data as the driving force to promote the establishment of a data-driven culture. Therefore, leaders need a modern business intelligence platform (BI platform) to help people view and understand their own data.

This article is going to clarify the most basic questions of business intelligence platform (BI platform) to help you learn about it and choose the most suitable business intelligence platform (BI platform) for the prosperity of your business.

What is a Business Intelligence (BI) Platform?

Business intelligence platform is where people can import, clean, and analyze data from sources such as databases, emails, videos, and survey responses. After basic operations, the platform can provide real-time business intelligence that supports mobile and desktop devices, allowing decision makers to take actions based on insights, thereby improving the efficiency of their organizations.

Moreover, BI platform allows users to customize BI dashboards, create beautiful data visualizations, build scorecards, and compare them with key performance indicators (KPIs). In addition, BI platform provides capabilities in three categories: analysis, information delivery and platform integration.

BI Platform Interface (by FineReport)

What are the Necessary Functions of a Business Intelligence (BI) Platform?

A BI platform should assist companies in acquiring, comprehending, and presenting their data. The primary objective is to instill a data-driven environment that equips each employee with the capacity to recognize and act on insights.

Acquire Data

According to IDG, an average company employs 400 data sources throughout their organization to support their BI capabilities. BI platforms should amalgamate data from all these sources to comprehend and visualize the ongoings.

When scrutinizing BI platforms, consider their ability to:

  • Integrate a multitude of data sources, such as databases, data warehouses, and CSV files. For instance, FineReport supports RDB, MDDB, NoSQL DB, JSON Dataset, Excel files and so on to satisfy nearly all the enterprise data source integration needs.
  • Clean and manage data quality. BI platforms should facilitate cleaning and maintaining the quality of dissimilar data sets, thus speeding up the process.
  • Blend data. After importing and cleaning data, it should be merged into a single operational data set. BI platforms should offer an uncomplicated approach to blending data and gaining an all-inclusive perspective across all sources.
  • Ensure data compliance and security. BI platforms should provide robust security features, such as encryption, user authentication, and access control to prevent unauthorized access to data. Additionally, compliance regulations, such as GDPR or HIPAA, should be taken into consideration to ensure that data is being handled in accordance with legal requirements. By ensuring compliance and security, businesses can leverage the full potential of BI platforms while minimizing the risk of data breaches or non-compliance.

Comprehend Data

With numerous data sets centralized and reachable from one place, it becomes feasible to understand the meaning behind it all. A BI platform allows for sifting through, organizing, and querying data.

When assessing BI platforms, consider their capability to:

  • Model and organize data efficiently. A way to optimize the data relationships to fit your business needs, such as using data stores for the marketing team’s specific requirements.
  • Query data quickly and easily. Users of the BI platform should be able to retrieve answers without hassle, such as by using SQL to query data.
  • Perform exploratory data analysis (EDA). BI platforms should allow analysts and data scientists to go deeper into testing hypotheses, including drilldowns, data pipeline control, and data stores for common transformations.

Present Data

It is not enough for data to be comprehensible, it needs to be usable as well. BI platforms should make it simple to collaborate and act upon insights that the team identifies after acquiring and understanding the data.

When assessing BI platforms, consider their capability to:

  • Share discoveries using dynamic data dashboards. After modeling, cleaning, and querying the data, BI platforms should facilitate the creation of customizable, dynamic dashboards that present the real-time status of your data. Bonus points if manipulation and interaction with these dashboards don’t require coding knowledge.
BI Platform Interface (by FineReport)
BI Platform Interface (by FineReport)
  • Have rich data visualizations effects. These visualizations help users to understand complex data sets quickly and identify trends, patterns, and anomalies that may not be immediately apparent from raw data. With the help of these visualizations, users can explore and analyze data in a more intuitive and interactive way, gaining deeper insights into their business operations.

For example, FineReport supports more than 50 chart styles, covering basically all basic and high-level charts on the market, and also has excellent dynamic effects and a powerful interactive experience. Various features can be set according to the needs during use, and can also be self-adjusted and displayed on the mobile terminal and large LED screen.

  • Collaborate and communicate. Given that numerous individuals across the organization use the BI platform, the ability to comment and collaborate within the platform and dashboards is essential. Custom alerts could also keep teams and leaders up-to-date with significant developments.
  • Work with other technologies. BI platforms are a crucial part of your tech stack, which means they must work well with other tools, including data sources and where the dashboards are sent.
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Business Intelligence Platform Examples

Here are examples of how various teams and departments use business intelligence platforms. The examples of BI reports in this article are all built-in templates made by FineReport.

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BI platform for Sales

Sales analysis is one of the most important examples that business intelligence platforms provide value to the company. With the BI platform, the sales team can automatically generate sales reports and gain business insights.

Take the following figure as an example. The BI platform can compare monthly and annual sales targets with completions, further calculate the completion rate for each time period, and judge the sales progress every month and every year. Through the platform, users could conduct horizontal comparisons of various departments and branches to provide supports for the company’s strategic decision-making.

an interface of sales analysis of Fanruan’s BI platform FineReport
Sales Analysis (by FineReport)

BI platform for Cost 

Cost is vital to business operations. In business operations, costs are mostly presented in the form of reports, and it is difficult to achieve real-time updates. Therefore, in business operations, the formulation of cost strategies may lag behind.

Take the following figure as an example. By using the BI platform, users can realize real-time updates of dynamic cost data through data reporting, and can see the cost distribution. In addition, the BI platform can also judge the completion status according to the purchasing plan, and provide a reference for subsequent cost decisions.

an interface of cost analysis of Fanruan’s BI platform FineReport
Cost Analysis (by FineReport)

BI platform for Transportation Monitoring

BI platform is not only for business analysis and strategic decision-making, but also for government departments.

Take the transportation monitoring system in the following figure as an example, the BI platform can be used to observe the road traffic status in real time. Through real-time observation of road speed and congestion, the transportation department can act quickly to prevent traffic congestion. In addition, the platform can also observe the conditions of the surveillance cameras, and the relevant departments can ensure the normal use of the cameras based on the observations.

an interface of intelligent transportation monitoring system of Fanruan’s BI platform FineReport
Intelligent Transportation Monitoring System (by FineReport)

Top 8 Business Intelligence Platforms Comparison

Here I will briefly introduce the top 8 BI platforms in the market. Furthermore, you can refer to my another article on BI features to get more information.


FineReport is a fully functional and professional BI platform. It was honorable mentioned in Gartner 2023 Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms.

Software companies use FineReport report, in the process of software development, can accelerate the development speed, improve the stability of software. After delivering the software, it can greatly reduce the maintenance difficulty and improve the satisfaction of the end user. Enterprises and institutions are the end users of FineReport, which can simply apply multi-business system data and centralize data into a single report, so that business analysis and business control can apply more data. There are many templates built in the software in FineReport Demo, and you can download them and apply them directly.

Moreover, FineReport is free for personal use, with no time or feature limits. For enterprises, it offers a quote-based plan that charges according to the function module and concurrent users. FineReport is price-friendly to customers.

an interface of Fanruan’s BI platform FineReport
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Power BI

Power BI is a set of business analysis tools, providing insights in an organization. With the platform, hundreds of data sources can be connected to simplify data preparation and provide instant analysis. Users can create personalized dashboards to get a full range of unique insights into their business. In addition, through this platform, expansion can be achieved within the enterprise, with built-in management and security.

As for price, Power BI costs for $9.99/user/month,which is suitable for a small budget.

a photo explanation of Power BI
Power BI


Tableau provides an analysis platform in pursuit of the vision of helping people view and fully utilize data. Tableau’s patented underlying technology, VizQL, transforms drag and drop operations into data queries through an intuitive interface for visualized presentation of data. Moreover, Tableau combines crunching with beautiful graphics and charts, which could be made within a short time, and all you need to do is to drag and drop large amounts of data onto digital “canvases”.

The price of Tableau is based on the number of users and Tableau is primary the choice of large enterprises.

a photo explanation of Tableau
Tableau(from Google)


Yellowfin is an advanced business intelligence and analytics platform that offers a range of powerful features alongside an exceptional user experience. One of the platform’s standout features is its no-code/low-code infrastructure, which enables users to switch seamlessly between visual and code modes when creating visualisations. This not only saves time for experienced visual creators, but it also makes the platform accessible to non-coders.

Additionally, Yellowfin allows users to add Action Buttons to their dashboards, which lets them take specific actions based on the reports they receive. Examples of these actions include navigating to sub-tabs, resetting filters, jumping to reports, or even linking to external websites.


Sisense is a cloud-based platform that is built to help you collect data, create visually appealing visualizations, and develop analytical applications that can be integrated anywhere. With its API-first approach and SaaS-based infrastructure, Sisense provides enterprise-grade applications at a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) enriched with advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities.


Qlik, a software provider for data intelligence, offers two main products: QlikView, a standalone analytics tool, and Qlik Sense, an integrated platform for analytics and business intelligence. QlikView utilizes the Associative Engine technology to provide complete data control, while Qlik Sense incorporates advanced AI technology to deliver an augmented intelligence system. This platform offers context-aware suggestions, emerging trends alerts, and data-driven predictions with machine learning. The conversational analytics feature allows users to ask the platform questions using natural language and receive insightful responses.

TIBCO Spotfire

TIBCO Spotfire is an analytics platform that is search-oriented and is equipped with an AI engine. This engine is capable of providing recommendations, performance forecasting, and predictive analytics to visualize data and reports. Despite being an enterprise-level platform, it has an intuitive UI design and an excellent drag-and-drop builder that makes it much easier to use.

However, the cloud version of TIBCO Spotfire has a major drawback, which is the lack of documentation. This issue is surprising given the platform’s excellent design and ease-of-use compared to other alternatives. If the platform had an extensive library of online documentation, such as user guides, FAQs, and troubleshooting guides, TIBCO Spotfire could easily become the go-to analytics tool for non-data scientists.

Oracle Analytics Cloud

Oracle Analytics Cloud is a top-tier analytics platform that utilizes artificial intelligence to offer powerful augmented analytics. The platform features a natural-language discovery system that facilitates conversational inquiries and returns insightful answers. With its predictive analytics models, Oracle’s AI technology enables users to forecast future trends with precision. This functionality is particularly useful for identifying emerging trends and addressing performance issues proactively.

Additionally, Oracle Analytics Cloud has a data publishing feature that streamlines the process of sharing and embedding reports in a variety of settings. This enables users to produce data-driven content for stakeholders, investors, or journalists by easily integrating insights into documents.

In this regard, I wrote an article on business intelligence software comparison, if you are interested, you can take a look to understand how to choose the most suitable tool for yourself.


Business intelligence platform should adapt to the current technology and the innovation of its users. You should choose a platform adapting to the development of the company. FineReport knows that business realities are changing at any time, so we will keep an eye on new trends in the business intelligence field and let BI users understand these trends. Download and use FineReport now!

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Feel free to make an appointment for a live demo with our product experts. We will be more clear about your needs and see how FineReport can help you and your organization to transform data into value.

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