The Cost of Business Intelligence Software: Is It Worth the Investment?

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What’s the actual cost of business intelligence software? According to Capterra, the average cost for BI tools is around $3,000 per year, with many other solutions ranging higher: “Within that $3,000 average, the prices range from $600 per year on the lower end, to $6,000 per year at the top. Two are on the lower end ($504, $600), five are in the middle ($1068, two at $1,200, $2,000, and $2,800), and four are high ($5,195, $5880, and two at $6,000). It’s worth noting that tech research giant Gartner’s take on buying BI software is that ‘cost should be a secondary consideration to the achievement of business benefits.’”

Anyone investing in platforms at this price point will want to ensure that it pays off. But if you want to know whether or not that industry-staple BI platform actually paid off and delivered true ROI, you need to factor in more than the pricing.

The key to getting business intelligence ROI is finding a modern BI solution that matches your budget and fits your analytical needs. Otherwise, you may discover that your chosen software was a spending waste that created inefficiencies and led your team off-track.

Many team leaders are discovering that their BI solutions aren’t paying off or are inhibiting performance. This situation can happen because the platform:

  • doesn’t deliver the exact analytics needed,
  • generates analytical insights that are wide but don’t go deep enough where required,
  • gives answers that can’t be trusted and need to be verified or rechecked, 
  • or is overly technical and can’t be adopted by everyone on the team or used regularly.

Once these factors are considered, you may find the cost of your analytics to be much higher than anticipated.

Another thing to factor in is the administrative burden that many business intelligence tools generate. Implementing multiple business intelligence tools requires heavy investing in employee training, IT infrastructure, the software itself, setup services, integrations, and complementary tools.

This circumstance makes it incredibly difficult for small-to-medium-sized businesses to invest in, making it difficult for them to scale out.

The cost of business intelligence software shouldn’t cripple your business. And, thanks to newer approaches to analytics, modern BI doesn’t have to be this way.

As said above, the critical issue is to find the solution that matches your budget while fitting your organization’s needs and current capabilities.

Let’s look over some of the BI options available and the required investments. Then we’ll look at how you can alleviate your costs with a comprehensive modern BI that delivers ROI.

Related: 2 Steps to Using Predictive Sales Analytics for More Accurate Forecasting

What’s the Real Cost of Business Intelligence Software?

These tools are known to require heavy investments. Here’s a rundown of typical costs organizations end up paying for – whether they expected to or not.

Some Traditional Solutions

There are plenty of traditional BI solution. That is for certain. However, they don’t provide you insights to make decisions. They just show you previous results. Among them, you can find:

Tableau has several plans. The pricing to access its end-to-end team-level analytics starts at $70 per month per user.

Looker BI keeps its pricing under wraps. However, the SMB Guide places its starting plan at $3,000 per month for ten users, with $50 per user after that.

Microsoft’s Power BI can be licensed to individual users for around $20 per month. However, that’s a bare-bones version. If you want anything more than that and would like to give your organization access to analytics rather than a select user or two, this will cost you $4,995 per month.

Domo also keeps the pricing under wraps. But this solution is reported to cost anywhere from $83 to $190 per month.

Are You Paying for Unneeded Analytics?

Most of these solutions are priced based on computing power. So, if you simply go for the most prominent and worst thing out there, you will likely end up paying for unused reporting capacity. But on the other hand, the smaller plans usually heavily restrict the features and type of analytics you can get.

What you need isn’t less power. It’s deep power that’s concentrated on your specific goals. So, you might want to get AI analytics directed purely towards generating more revenue from an ideal buying group. But you might not want AI incorporated into your HR operations or accounting.

You can’t escape this problem if you limit yourself to traditional BI tools.

An Alternative Approach: Ease of Use, Data Accessibility, and Learning Time

Most teams aren’t comprised solely of data analysts, engineers, or programmers. The solution’s ease of use is critical if you want to bring analysis into your marketing and sales operations. It can’t cater to or require a lot of legwork.

Can your sales team use your business intelligence platform as easily as they can use Salesforce? Or can your marketing or creative team find it as simple as they find Marketo or HubSpot?

Solutions that go unused or require significant training time represent spending waste and further costs.

Related: What Is Revenue Analytics and Why Every Business Needs It

Other Features to Look For

What other characteristics should you consider when browsing for more modern approaches to BI?

Data Infrastructure

Hardcore business intelligence tools require serious data architecture and IT infrastructure. Building out your own BI system based on these can mean investing in a data warehouse, facilitating data modeling, plus a series of other developmental steps.

These costs can eat into any budget, no matter how big. McKinsey has an article on how professional firms can lower their data architecture costs without jeopardizing growth. In their experience, mid-size organizations can pay hundreds of millions of dollars while the largest companies spend billions in data infrastructure costs.

If you don’t want to invest in your own data sourcing, architecture, governance, analysis, and report generation, you need a specialized solution that will do this for you.

Setup and Services

Business intelligence is only smart once it’s been set up uniquely for your organization. Some solutions include free setup within their primary pricing. Others have a setup fee. And others don’t provide this service at all, leaving you to DIY things or bring in an outside consultant.

Software review sites will let you know how much setup your BI tool requires. Read through it carefully and prepare to bring in outside help.


Are you looking for a BI tool that can integrate with other solutions to evaluate performance in those areas? Prepare for further integration costs.

Accurate business intelligence gets even better when you feed it plenty of data from several sources. However, this takes using third-party tools or building out expensive custom integrations. Then after this, there are organizational costs related to data hygiene, organization, and report compilation.

Solution Management, Updates, and Reinvestment

Here’s something most people don’t consider. Over time, business intelligence solutions can get overwhelmed with data, bloated, backed up, and slow.

Many professionals are trying to figure out why their BI platform is slow, lagging behind, and just not working. This is a significant risk if you consider a standard business intelligence solution that pulls information into a database for processing.

How much will it cost to maintain your database and streamline things when necessary? This may not be a direct cost, but it’s still something to consider.

What’s Your Final Tally?

What will it take for your organization to implement one of these solutions? Can your organization afford the cost of business intelligence software?

And can you sustain these investments without taking from other critical areas or impeding daily workflows? Do you have the budget to throw thousands of dollars at a platform without sacrificing other growth-driving areas?

Can you afford the organizational bloat that comes with bulky, generic tools even if you have the budget?

There is an alternative to traditional business intelligence software that delivers targeted analytics without high costs or useless reporting.

The Modern Business Intelligence Solution

Many of the business intelligence tools on the market are powerful enough to provide analytics for the world’s biggest companies. In order to get real ROI out of these platforms, many smaller organizations are left to either:

  • work around the limits of bare-bones entry-level offerings
  • or throw everything they have into the platform to try and make massive enterprise-sized plans worth it.

You don’t have to choose between paying for the same plan as a global enterprise or limiting yourself to what a solopreneur or hobbyist might need.

You can switch to a new approach to business intelligence. This comes through an all-in-one innovative data processing solution that connects to your core application stack and analyzes the data flow in real-time.

There’s no lengthy integration strategy involved or heavy, long-term data infrastructure investments. It’s an affordable, accessible way for any organization to get started with business intelligence and operational analytics.

Find Affordable, Scalable Business Intelligence

There’s an old business saying that “nobody ever gets fired for choosing IBM.” This means that no one will blame you for going with a trusted provider or a solution with a longstanding name, even if it’s tired, old, and a little dated.

But is a sluggish, bloated industry giant really what’s best for you? Or would a sleek, all-in-one, modern BI tool be a better fit?

If sleek, code-free, scalable, and modern is for you, then Vertify’s RevOptics is the solution you’re looking for. RevOptics is an intelligent data integrator that connects to your tech stack for real-time, targeted analytics. It’s customized to your operations, delivering prescient analytics and predictive guidance.

Request a demo and assess it for yourself.

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About Wayne Lopez

CPO at Vertify