Power BI vs Tableau

Data visualisation and analytics have been evolving at a rapid pace in the last few years with the focus on data analytics to drive growth increases year on year. Below we compare Power BI and Tableau so that your organisation can make the best decision between the two.

The author of this page: Conor Reynolds
Conor Reynolds, Marketing Intern Jan 17, 2022

Power BI and Tableau are two important business intelligence (BI) technologies for the collection, integration and analysis of business information. Often business leaders find that they have to choose between the two tools. Therefore, it is important for them to understand the significant differences in terms of pricing, integrations, dashboards and productivity features.

Pricing

Power BI comes in at a lower price point than Tableau, and as it is set up within the Microsoft eco-system, it is even more affordable for organisations that are already deeply invested in Microsoft software. There is a free version, a monthly subscription and a scalable premium version.

Tableau’s pricing is more complex. They use a tiered system that charges a different rate for different user types. To export data from third party apps, the pricing for Tableau is higher. Also, if you are looking for a connection to third party apps such as Microsoft through Tableau, you will need to pay for the professional edition.

Integrations

Integration with third party apps is more seamless with Power BI than it is with Tableau. Power BI users talk about the ease of use of working with Office 365, SQL and R Integration. Power BI also offers access to many API’s with new connectors unveiled every month. Power BI also has pre-built dashboards for speedy insights for technology such as Salesforce, Google Analytics and email marketing.

Users of Tableau are more likely to mention SQL and R integration and although Tableau’s Connector is generally considered more advanced than Power BI, the user is required to identify the data they want to analyse before making the connection.

The two BI tools can also be connected together as some companies like to examine Power BI models and datasets in Tableau. However, you may run into some issues if you have multi-factor authentication enabled.

Dashboards

Power BI offers real-time data access along with intuitive drag and drop features. These features enable novice users to access powerful data analytics without the need for much prior experience using BI tools. Live-data access is where most SaaS products are moving towards and Power BI has an advantage over Tableau in this regard.

The Tableau interface is less intuitive as their approach lies somewhere between query based data visualisation and drag and drop. Due to this, it takes some time to become familiar with.

Productivity Features

Power BI has native apps. This means that the user can access data from anywhere. There is another feature called publish to web. This allows the user to publish data visualisations directly to the website. There is also a natural language query tool. This allows the user to ask questions of their data such as “how much should we invest per customer?” and Power BI will find an answer.

Tableau has extensive support software that helps the user with basic setup and initial data analysis. There is also a Tableau mobile app and users can collaborate through shared dashboards. Tableau doesn’t have a natural language query like Power BI although since it was taken over by Salesforce, the tool integrated Einstein AI for data discovery.

Verdict

In summary, it depends on the needs of the user and their organisation's business objectives. Tableau suits creative data analysts who are skilled and focussed on the creative aspect of a visual. However, Power BI is a more practical tool with a more intuitive interface and it is easier to adopt for many organisations and teams, especially if the organisation is already invested heavily in the Microsoft stack.

If you would like to learn more about how your organisation can benefit from business intelligence (BI) tools such as Power BI, get in touch today.

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