Pricing your products and services effectively can be a challenging undertaking in these uncertain times full of unpredictable market forces, supply chain disruption and a range of uncontrollable events like pandemics and regional conflicts. To be more targeted and reactive in your pricing, your business may be looking to new technology to assist you in implementing a modern pricing strategy and protecting the pathways to profit you’ve worked so hard to establish. Along the way, you’ve no doubt learned that getting pricing analytics tools to provide you with deep insights will be key. But how do you choose the software that will be right for your business and provide you with the deepest analytics and best pricing insights? That’s why in this article, we supply you with a head-to-head comparison between Pricing Software vs Business Intelligence Software.
At Pricefx, we have spent a decade analyzing the requirements of each individual client and customizing their technology solution accordingly.
We’ve found that to really help our customers make the most of our tools, they need to understand whether we are a right fit for them or not.
With this article, you will arm yourself with the best possible information to make a wise decision on taking up pricing software for your company, or potentially discovering that business intelligence software is more the type of tool your business may require.
So, let’s dive straight in and define the two different software systems before analyzing the Top 10 comparison features between pricing software and business intelligence software.
Pricing Software vs Business Intelligence Software – Defined
Let’s begin by defining the two software types we are going to compare in this article:
Pricing analytics software allows you to better perceive, interpret and predict the impact of the prices on your strategic business goals. This software falls under the umbrella of pricing software which is loosely defined as any commercially available application containing tools to automate pricing analytics, optimization, and execution to help business organizations in their efforts to make efficient, effective pricing decisions. At its core, pricing (analytics) software assists companies to determine the optimal price for their goods and services. It uses advanced methods to process substantial amounts of historical data to quickly supply you with an optimal price recommendation. For the sake of this article, the two, pricing software and pricing analytics software can be used interchangeably.
Pricing analytics can lead the way in unearthing your profitability. Facing a multi-channel business environment plus growing complexities, you need to be able to answer top-of-mind business questions— such as “Who is my most profitable customer?” and “What is my most profitable product or region?” quickly, efficiently and easily. With pricing analytics, you can create a customized mechanism that functions as both a catalyst and a metrics engine for managing your company’s profitability.
Pricing software usually factors in market conditions, competitive analysis, promotions, product availability and revenue goals to make the best competitive pricing strategy according to your unique set of business circumstances.Leading pricing software vendors include Pricefx, PROS, Zilliant, Vendavo, Vistex and Epicor (among others).
BIS tools are types of application software that collect and process large amounts of unstructured data from internal and external systems. BIS tools provide a way of amassing and preparing data to find information primarily through queries, so that you can use the accompanying data visualization software to create reports and dashboards. The results give both employees and managers the power to accelerate and improve decision making, increase operational efficiency, pinpoint new revenue potentials, identify market trends, report KPIs, and identify new business opportunities. Leading business intelligence software vendors include:
Tableau provides data analysis and visualization from all types of data sources. The user interface allows for interactive visual analysis.
Microsoft Power BI
Much like Tableau, Microsoft Power BI provides tools to quickly analyze, transform and visualize data, and share reports.
Qlik Sense offers guidance and automation for data visualization by actively recommending suitable visualizations to users based on their selected data fields.
Sisense can query your databases to analyze any data to get significant forward-looking information and create data models and dashboards.
And many more besides………
Which is best for you – pricing software vs business intelligence software – will depend on your company’s use case.
If you’re looking for tool that you can use to collect, organize, visualize, and analyze data accumulated through your business operations to highlight trends and patterns to allow for actionable data-based decision-making, across a range of contrasting functions then a business intelligence software solution will be just your cup of tea.
On the other hand, if you are seeking a precision tool with which you will be able to surgically analyze your optimal prices so you can explore your pricing at a granular level to identify drivers for value and uncover segments, patterns, and opportunities you never knew you had, with built-in CPQ (Configure Price Quote) capabilities that can support your sales team in understanding, communicating, and defending your prices during negotiation, then pricing software is for you.
Let’s continue by exploring the differences between pricing software and business intelligence software in detail.
Pricing Software vs Business Intelligence Software – The Top 10 Comparison Features
Conditional upon what your company will require, and your specific software needs to assist you with your pricing, there are a distinct set of “features” that you can use as a guideline when comparing pricing software vs business intelligence software head-to-head.
Each of the two software types has a different range of functionality and their strong or weak points, and it might be argued that even a direct comparison itself is a little unfair. Like comparing apples with oranges.
However, we have heard your requests for a direct head-to head comparison between the two different software types and look forward to providing valuable insight as to the differences between pricing software vs business intelligence software below.
Let’s move forward and examine the Top 10 comparison features between the two.
Wherever possible, we also provide a clear winner in each category for your company’s decision-making purposes;
Self-Sufficiency/Training/Ease of Use – Which comes out on top?
Which option provides the best Business & Decision Support?
Which option best solves multiple top line pricing problems?
Breath of Capability & Number of Visualizations?
Shortest time to ROI?
Which integrates best with my existing system?
Which has the best data science?
Which has the best AI (Artificial Intelligence) capabilities?
Which provides a comprehensive solution based on innovation?
Which solution works best for my industry?
1. Self-sufficiency/Training/Ease of Use – Who Comes Out on Top?
Winner – Business Intelligence Software
In terms of getting started without training and simplicity of use straight out of the box, business intelligence software will be more of an intuitive tool to set up and become accustomed with.
With many BIS systems, you can simply download a free version to your desktop (or pay a small for a cloud-hosted version with Tableau for example) and start building reports, graphs, or dashboards straight away. However, if you are looking for more detailed pricing answers than BIS can provide, you may want to consider a pricing software solution.
With pricing software, if you are looking to set a basic pricing analytics solution and your data set is clean, you may be able to have a system set up quickly through the accelerated solution that many pricing software vendors offer.
However, if you are looking to set up a complete pricing software system that covers the whole gamut of pricing functions such as;
Generating customized pricing strategies for certain customer groups
Putting place regional and international pricing strategies
Determining seasonal strategies for your products
Identifying product features that add perceived value
Determining the optimum number of units to produce
Developing insights for marketing campaigns, store placement and packaging
Analyzing product variants to determine which should be offered in a collection or specialized product line
Calculating and managing list prices
Detecting Pricing Opportunities
Manage Deals with Configure – Price – Quote (CPQ) systems
………then you’re looking at more set-up time, more training and a system that is inherently more complex.
2. Which Option Provides the Best Business & Decision Support?
Winner – Pricing Software
In terms of decision support analytics, the ability to set a target price, see how profitable each deal can be or what your competitors have paid for identical products, all these groups of business functionalities are baked into every business process than pricing software enables.
So, with price optimization software, price setting, rebate management, quoting contracts, sales compensation, it is all part of a built-in package that you can use to support your business decision-making processes. And it is all available to any user at the click of a button as a part of your pricing software. It is a vastly different set of potential visible outcomes than if you are running a standalone BIS system.
This is a key differentiator where pricing software has a distinct and overwhelming advantage over BIS systems.
Certainly, if you have a BIS system, you can build reports and they are going to look better, and they may be easier to work with (other than a price waterfall – which will only be possible in pricing software).
For example, you’ll be able to build a fantastic looking map and associated graph in Tableau that provides a visual representation as to how your sales are performing across the countries of the European Union (EU). However, what it will not be able to do is provide a detailed analysis of what pricing decision you need to make in Italy to drive sales volume at low profit margins there while maintaining a 25% profit margin across your entire product line in the other 26 EU nations.
In short, dazzling-looking BIS reports, graphs and dashboards will not provide you with the same level of granularity and visibility of your pricing logic that a pricing software system can provide.
Sure, the BIS reports will look better, but in the case of pricing, it is simply style over substance. And when it comes to pricing, it is all about the substance.
3. Which option best solves multiple top line pricing problems?
Winner – Pricing Software
If you’re on the lookout for a tool that can help you solve all manner of competing top-line business problems, then you might be better off with a business intelligence software system. BIS is a modern business tool that can collect data on every aspect of a business, from sales and marketing to workflows and productivity, to hiring and HR procedures, to overall performance.
Many of these data points exist in isolation and BIS connects the dots together well. But what it does not do is analyze your pricing pain points and provide you with a firm path of pricing action to prevent profit and margin leakage or make smart decisions on optimizing your prices to deliver whatever your unique set of business objectives happen to be.
That is precisely what pricing software does day-in/day-out 24/7/365.
4. Breath of Capability & Number of Visualizations Possible?
Winner – Business Intelligence Software
Pricing software does pricing, period, (albeit with an entire range of functionality as we discussed earlier).
On the flip side, if you are looking for a business tool that has a wide range of applications and breadth of uses and easy-to-display visualizations of your outcomes, then Business Intelligence Software will be the winner for you.
To all intents and purposes, a BIS system is more like a Jack-of-all-trades for the functionality options it provides, while pricing software is a specialist pricing surgeon.
For example, use Tableau or another BIS tool to set up a map to show your company’s profitability by customer, by region in the United States and how that has changed over the last four quarters and get a quick easy-to-see visual snapshot. You will not be able to get that level of visualization in pricing software (yet). And that is just one simple use case. BIS supports a breadth of use cases.
5. Shortest Time to Return-On-Investment (ROI)?
Tie – Pricing Software & Business Intelligence Software
If for no other reason than it really depends on what your company’s business objectives are, we have scored this section a tie between pricing software and BIS.
It is quite difficult to compare the two software systems and what they do when you’re looking at ROI comparisons.
Certainly, you can download a free version of some BIS systems and that’s great. However, there are also BIS systems that also require implementation and infrastructure set-up like that of the complexity of modern pricing software solutions.
In short, the ROI comparison between pricing software vs business intelligence software will ultimately depend upon your business objectives.
That said, if your comparison is purely centered on pricing and profitability analysis, it will be a slam-dunk win to pricing software due to the better returns made possible by the actionable insights and the purpose-built nature of the pricing and profitability and the associated time to value.
Tie – Pricing Software & Business Intelligence Software
When it comes to choosing a winner in the integration category between pricing software and BIS, this is another category here it really depends what kind of level of pricing you are looking to incorporate into your business.
For example, if you operate a retail business with only a single bricks-and-mortar store or two and you have a limited number of products with minor variation in their prices, you may simply not require the functionality of a pricing software system. Maybe all you want to do is run a simple transaction graph or dashboard that you can generate out of Tableau or Microsoft BI or whatever BIS system you use. Chances are that you may be able to get started at least with downloading a free BIS system that will integrate just fine with your existing system. Theextract, transform, load (ETL) data integration process of BIS means that the data warehouse schema is known, which makes it easy for business users to use analysis tools to generate reports.
On the other hand, if you are a large-scale enterprise business with tens of thousands of products on your product list, it’s an entirely different story. It is an extract, load, transform (ELT)data integration system. With this data integration method, data can be transformed at the time of your query. Because the query can be customized to meet the requirements of the specific analysis without being locked into a specific schema, ELT is well-suited for data science applications like that used in most pricing software systems.
If you’re operating thousands of stores plus online shopfronts across multiple jurisdictions, taking 4-6 weeks in integrating a pricing software system in co-operation with an experienced pricing software vendor will be far less painful at the end of the day than trying to perform that level of pricing manually.
These two categories are both slam-dunk wins for pricing software over BIS. It’s not even close. To draw an analogy, pricing with pricing software vs a BIS system is like having your fashion leather shoes personally handcrafted to your foot size by an Italian artisan vs picking up whatever fits off the shelf at Target.
And here is why. Perhaps the easiest way to differentiate is to think of data science of pricing software in terms of the future and of BIS in terms of the past and present. Pricing Software’s data science deals with predictive analysis and prescriptive analysis, while that of BIS deals with descriptive analysis. Other factors that differentiate the two are scope, data integration, and skill set.
In other words, the scope of the data science of pricing software is simply wider and you can do more with it.
And what’s more with AI also driving your pricing possibilities, there’s simply more practical functionality possible with pricing software.
For example, imagine you operate a tire company, and you sell three types of tires: high performance tires for sports cars, tires for tractors, and winter tires for most standard cars.
Having determined your pricing strategy for each of your three products, you have decided that you want to:
Increase Sales volume on your high-performance tires to lower their cost of production
Implement a standard 10% profit margin on your tractor tires
Implement a standard 20% profit margin on your winter tires and;
You want to apply all these rules in every market you sell in except for Alaska and Hawaii, where a standard 25% profit margin applies across all your tires.
With the AI of pricing software, these four business outcomes can be built into a single pricing rule to automatically calculate your prices nationwide.
9. Which Provides a Comprehensive Solution Based on Innovation?
Winner – Business Intelligence Software
For this category, it is necessary to define how the word ‘comprehensive’ is used here.
In addition to helping with your pricing, we will assume that ‘comprehensive’ in this case also refers to producing customized reports and visualizations without engaging your tech teams, creating order from chaos in your everyday business operations, and saving time consolidating your data in a single source rather than in competing multiple siloed systems.
In this case, your winner in this category is Business Intelligence Software.
For example, Tableau can take your sales pipeline data to build an excellent sales pipeline data dashboard to quickly visually identify and pivot business opportunities in order to act appropriately.
To go that extra step further and unearth what acting appropriately will mean for your business in terms of setting a price for your products, you will need more pricing functionality, a comprehensive and innovative pricing software tool to assist you with your pricing.
10. Which Solution Works Best for My Industry?
Tie – Pricing Software/ Business Intelligence Software (depending on your company’s industry and the size and scope of your company)
In general, both pricing software and BIS systems will be of assistance across several key vertical industry sectors such as:
Chemical and Process Industry
Food and Beverage
And many more besides
However, getting back to your expected outcomes in using either of the two forms of technology, it really depends more on the size and scope of your organization rather than what industry you are doing business in.
Remember, if you’re a small company with few products and little diversity in your regions or customer base, regardless of what industry you’re involved in, you may not need pricing software at all.
That leaves the rest of you – large enterprise companies full of complexity at almost every level – regardless of your industry type, you are all perfect fits for pricing software.
I Now Know the Difference Between Pricing Software vs Business Intelligence Software – What’s Next?
Now you have the lowdown on Pricing Software vs Business Intelligence Software, you have the information needed to help you select the best software needed to achieve your unique set of business objectives.
Business Intelligence Software and Pricing Software both fit any number of business cultures and these days, all software of these types are exceptionally reliable experiencing little down time, otherwise, they would not be in business.
Both are great options; and as we mentioned several times above, which software choice will be best for you will depend on the size and scope of your company and the precise problems that you are looking to solve.
At Pricefx, we have spent more than a decade listening to different organizations on how difficult it can be to decide on a pricing software package that is best for their business.
That’s why we compiled these in-depth pricing software comparison articles:
Idrissa Diop has over a decade of experience in pricing. As a Solution Strategist at Pricefx, Idrissa helps companies to improve their pricing processes, profit and growth with software. His expertise ranges from defining a pricing strategy to pricing strategy audits and competitive analysis.
Gabriel Smith is the Chief Evangelist at Pricefx. He has 20 years experience in CPQ, enterprise software, SaaS, with particular expertise in lead to order, pricing, incentives, product management and solution sales. He has worked with market leading companies like 3M, Anda, Avery Dennison, Cisco, CertainTeed, Cox, IBM, Seagate, and Sonoco to improve their profit and processes through digital transformation of their pricing and CPQ processes and using AI to optimize pricing. He is a father of 2, attended UC Berkeley and lives in San Francisco.