13 Best Reporting Tools and Software Of 2021 [Free & Paid]

A reporting tool is a system that takes different types of data from different sources and presents it in charts, tables, and other visualization formats. In simple terms, it converts raw data into knowledge.

These tools have become increasingly indispensable in various industries and business environments. Not only can they generate useful reports, but also provide decision-making and business intelligence capabilities.

Below, we have listed some of the best reporting tools that present live visuals of where your business stands. The list covers everything you need, from financial and marketing reporting platforms to the business intelligence suite with advanced reporting capabilities.

9. SolarWinds Security Event Manager

SolarWinds Security Event Manager

Pros
  • Tracks IT security risk issues and system health
  • Automated threat detection and response to common issues
  • Filtering and Sorting: narrowing down logs is powerful
  • Provides repository storage for log files
Cons
  • Some logs are not parsed well
  • Dashboard and reports load relatively slow

Best for: Compliance reporting and forensic analysis
Price: Starts at $2,600 | 30-day free trial available

SolarWinds Security Event Manager collects and correlates log data from tens of thousands of sources. Specially designed for auditing authorities, it provides real-time log analysis and cross-event correlation from all different types of sources throughout the entire infrastructure.

The tool makes it easy to detect policy violations and threats and streamline your IT compliance reporting. It comes with several pre-designed templates for external and internal regulatory compliance, such as HIPAA, NERC CIP, SOX, and PCI DSS.

You can use the reporting console to build custom reports with information tailored to specific users. There is an option to generate reports at regular intervals. Each report can be printed and exported into different formats.

Overall, the tool helps you set all the application servers under one maintenance umbrella.

8. ThoughtSpot

Pros
  • Create truly interactive dashboards
  • Natural Language query formulation
  • Granular user access control
  • Offers cross-source analysis and drill anywhere capability
  • Excellent customer service
Cons
  • Doesn’t have recurring revenue dashboard samples
  • Cloud option is quite expensive

Best for: Finding hidden insights using AI
Price: Depends on data capacity needs in 250 GB increments | 30-day free trial available

ThoughtSpot is a modern analytics cloud software for generating more fact-driven reports. It utilizes artificial intelligence and natural language processing technology to find valuable information from the cloud data ecosystem.

This tool constantly monitors for changing patterns or trends. It has the capability to analyze billions of rows of data to quickly detect anomalies and everyday opportunities to improve your business.

In order to ensure that only members with proper authorizations can view reports, ThoughtSpot allows you to strictly control who can access particular rows and columns and sections of intelligence. It also protects search suggestions as per your configurations.

Big companies like Walmart, Workato, BT, Royal Bank of Canada, and Daimler use ThoughtSpot to allow their workers and customers to take advantage of data.

7. Zoho Analytics

Pros
  • Wide range of visualization options
  • Apply filters to view underlying data
  • Segregate reports based on types and related views
  • Integration with google sheets works perfectly
Cons
  • Setting up dashboard could take time

Best for: blending data from various sources to create meaningful reports
Price: Starts at $30 per month | 14-day free trial available

Zoho Analytics is a self-service Business Intelligence and data analytics software that allows you to convert large volumes of raw data into actional reports and dashboards. You can extract data from many different sources and blend them together to build cross-functional reports.

Zoho tracks your key business metrics and helps you identify outliers, uncover hidden insights, and see long-term trends. It comes with an AI-powered assistant named Zia, whom you can ask questions in natural language and get answers in the form of reports. It also forecasts trends based on historical data. 

Zoho’s mobile application makes it easier to track data remotely and collaborate with your colleagues. The app can crunch hundreds of millions of rows of data creating mobile analytics dashboards.

All in all, Zoho gives you real-time access to data that matters. Having that available means your colleagues make better decisions and respond faster to threats and opportunities to grow business faster.

6. Supermetrics

Pros
  • Easy to integrate with Google Sheets, Excel, Azure, and Amazon S3
  • Plenty of pre-designed templates
  • Share reports with clients with no manual interfere
Cons
  • Poor customer support
  • A bit of a learning curve to build queries

Best for: digital marketing agencies to blend data from multiple sources
Price: Starts at $40 per month | 14-day free trial available

Whether you’re looking to build dashboards in a data visualization tool, do some serious number crunching in a document, or move your marketing data into a single platform, this is the tool for you. Just select your data destination to get started.

Supermetrics supports all metrics and dimensions you need and brings them to your analytics or storage platform. It compiles data from PPC tools, social and website analytics, and eCommerce and SEO tools.

Once you have uploaded the data, you can start filtering and organizing it quickly. Dive into your numbers to find out what is and isn’t working, and then get straight into optimization.

Perhaps automation is the best-selling feature of Supermetrics. It regularly scrubs each connected source to pull real-time data, and emails you weekly or monthly reports based on your needs.

The platform is currently used by more than 400 marketers across the globe. Its top clients include Accenture, BisLenz, Nestle, 15000Cubits, and Dentsu.

5. Whatagraph

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Add custom data
  • Includes interactive graphs
  • Ready-to-go templates
  • Automatically delivers reports to your clients
Cons
  • You may find some bugs when creating reports
  • Quite expensive for what it offers

Best for: digital agencies to create marketing reports
Price: Starts at $120 per month | 7-day free trial available

Whatagraph is designed for marketing professionals to easily track campaign results across various channels. It allows you to accurately monitor and compare the performance of different channels and campaigns — all within a single dashboard.

The platform now supports integration with more than 20 popular sources, including Google Ads, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn Ads, YouTube, MailChimp, Microsoft Ads, Google Ad Manager, TikTok Ads, Semrush, and more. Import data from multiple sources and let insights lead the way.

What’s really impressive about this tool is it lets you generate marketing performance reports in minutes. There are plenty of pre-designed templates, so you don’t have to start from scratch. Add, modify, or delete widgets to create the report the way you want.

You can make client-specific reports by adding custom domains and logos. Whatagraph can automatically send these special reports to clients at selected intervals. Clients can access the report at any time without having to ask repeatedly.

4. Knime

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to isolate and fix specific workflow steps
  • Integrate various machine learning frameworks and methods
  • Several options for text parsing like CoreNLP and OpenNLP
  • Cross platform interoperability
Cons
  • Steep learning curve
  • Cumbersome UI

Best for: for putting data science workflows into production
Price: Starts at $14,500 per year | Free version available

KNIME (short for Konstanz Information Miner) is an open-source data analytics and reporting tool. While it can serve as a business intelligence resource, it is specially designed to configure data science workflows using predictive analytics.

The major advantage of this tool is its ability to create visual data flows. It allows you the selectively execute the steps of analysis and review the output with the interactive view. KNIME’s core version has hundreds of modules already incorporated. These modules are built for text mining, image mining, time series analysis, and much more.

KNIME makes it easier for you to leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning. For example, you can build machine learning models for classification, regression, clustering, using logistic regression, deep learning, and tree-based methods.

It offers both classic (scatter plot, bar chart) and advanced charts (network graph, heat map, parallel coordinates) for data visualization. All of them can be customized as per your requirements. Once the report is ready, you can download it as PowerPoint, PDF, or store it in common file formats or databases.

3. Cyfe

Pros
  • Fast data synchronization
  • Automated reports and widget alerts
  • Colored visualizations of stats
  • Priced well for the budget-conscious users
  • Unlimited data exports in all plans
Cons
  • Documentation is sparse and confusing
  • Widgets lack individual settings

Best for: running advanced analytics to get the specific insight
Price: Starts at $29 per month | 14-day free trial available

Cyfe is an all-in-one solution for monitoring and analyzing business data in one organized place. It allows you to connect and pull data from email, advertising, social media, finance, sales, and web analytics accounts.

The platform integrates with more than 100 services, including Google Ads, Salesforce, Mailchimp, Twitter Ads, Microsoft Ads, and much more.

Setting up a dashboard is incredibly easy: find the suitable dashboard template, connect your data, and start monitoring your KPIs. All of this can be done within 5 minutes. You can then slice and dice unrelated metrics from completely different services to create new, meaningful insights.

Set alerts via SMS or email, so you can monitor important metrics even when you are away from your desktop. Cyfe also gives you the flexibility to share your business data security on your terms with in-depth customization and white-label options. Authorized members can download reports in JPEG, PNG, CSV, and PDF formats.

2. Wrike

Pros
  • Intuitive user interface
  • Create project timelines and Gantt charts
  • Snapshots of project progress and reporting
  • Excellent documentation and built-in help centers
Cons
  • Accounts with large amounts of data may experience ocassional lags

Best for: running advanced analytics to get the specific insight
Price: Starts at $10 per month | Free version (with task limitations) available

Whether you are looking to better understand how your business is doing or presenting information to upper management, Wrike Analyze gives you access to some incredible tools to build detailed analytics and powerful visualizations and reports on critical KPIs.

It is designed to provide task-related data in easy-to-understand infographics. There are more than 15 ways to represent your data visually. Every pivot table, calendar heatmap, pie chart, and pivot table is shown in the most meaningful way.

Charts are automatically updated at regular intervals with the most recent data, so you don’t have to pull new information or recreate reports every time.

You can apply filters based on your project, folder, time log, and task parameters. To create more customized dashboards, there are options to add custom fields and write formulas to transform data.

1. Google Data Studio

Pros
  • Connect to almost any data source
  • Real-time data integration
  • Fast and Reliable
  • Easy to share reports
  • Seamless integration with Google services
Cons
  • Limited data merge options

Best for: Visualizing and sharing large data
Price: Free

Google Data Studio is a part of the enterprise Google Analytics 360 suite. It takes data from almost all major sources, including Google Ads, Bing, LinkedIn, MySQL, and Facebook, and transforms it into customizable informative reports.

It allows you to filter, combine, explore, and convert all your data the way you want without creating SQL queries or writing complex code. Create charts and graphs with drag-drop, add images and shapes, insert dynamic controls, and customize every small element, like logos and colors, as per your needs.

You can grant individual or group access to reports with permission to view or edit. Authorized members (either employees or customers) can edit and collaborate on your dashboard and view the changes made in real-time.

This tool is incredibly helpful for web publishers and app developers. It can help you understand how your audience is navigating your website or app, and identify any potential gaps for product marketing and growth.

Read: 13 Best Configuration Management Tools

More Reporting Tools 

10. DashThis

If you are looking for a digital marketing reporting tool with no complicated ‘extra’ functionality, DashThis is for you. With over 34 connected integration and custom-data manager, all your data and KPIs will be at your fingertips.

DashThis saves hours of work by automating your digital marketing report distribution. What’s more interesting is its pricing structure: no matter what plan you choose, you will get access to unlimited data sources and unlimited users. You will only be charged by the number of dashboards you need. If you are a beginner, setting up three dashboards will cost you $39 per month.

11. SAP Crystal Reports

SAP Crystal Reports can turn almost any data source into valuable, interactive information that can be accessed online or offline from web portals and mobile apps.

It helps you create pixel-perfect invoices, statements, sales and operations reports, promotion campaigns, loyalty card reports, and share them in the most efficient way. You can configure security settings for your reporting environment by defining user rights to view, refresh, export, and print reports.

12. Yellowfin

Yellowfin effectively merges action-based dashboards with industry-leading automated analysis and data storytelling. It provides users with unique ways to engage with and act on their data, addressing the needs of marketers, data analysts, and developers.

Key functionalities include predictive analytics, online analytics processing, interactive reporting, and user profile management with support for standard and custom roles.

Yellowfin is browser agnostic and is accessible from desktops as well as smartphone apps.

13. IBM Cognos Analytics

Cognos Analytics is a business intelligence platform that supports the entire analytics cycle, from discovery to operationalization. It offers smarter, self-service capabilities so you can accurately identify and act on insights.

Unlike conventional analytics solutions that only show what’s happing across your business, IBM Cognos Analytics uses artificial intelligence to gain insights and figure out why it happened.

Overall, it will help you bring together advanced analytics and data science into everyday operations, make informed decisions, and grab growth opportunities.

Read: 9 Helpdesk Software For Small Business

Frequently Asked Questions

How many types of reporting tools are there?

Reporting tools can be categorized into five groups:

  • Self-service tools: let you create your own reports based on internal information.
  • Visualization tools: use charts and maps to show data in a meaningful way.
  • Application performance tools: show how an application performs, who are the most revenue-generating users, and other similar parameters that can help you grow your business.
  • Business Intelligence tools: collect massive and process massive amounts of unstructured data from internal and external systems. They provide users with detailed information about the state of the business and helps in making informed decisions.
  • Data science tools: extract, manipulate, pre-process and generate predictions out of data. They often require additional statistical tools and short scripts to perform in-depth analysis.
What are the benefits of using reporting tools?

Report tools enable you to conceive the true standing of your business in the current market. It makes it easier to utilize real-time data to make vital business decisions. There are many other reasons to love the data generated by advanced report and visualization tools.

  • Gauge the health of your business
  • Manage constantly changing workloads and focus on marketing efforts
  • Strategiize future plans
  • Create “what-if” scenarios
  • Share crucial information with your employees and clients
What to consider when choosing a reporting tool?

In order to select the best reporting tool, you need to first figure out your business goals to see what kind of information and report could actually help you in the future.

In general, a good reporting tool comes with numerous advanced charts and graphs, predesigned templates, and the capability to extract data automatically (from connected sources) on short intervals.

Read: 15 Best Test Data Generation Tools

The other crucial aspect of a reporting tool is the levels of customization it offers. Those that force you to stick with a one-size-fits-all reporting approach have a limited design and thus will be of limited use.

Before spending any money, we would recommend you to use the tool for at least a week. Almost all reporting platforms offer a free trial.

Written by
Varun Kumar

Varun Kumar is a professional science and technology journalist and a big fan of AI, machines, and space exploration. He received a Master's degree in computer science from GGSIPU University. To find out about his latest projects, feel free to directly email him at [email protected] 

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