In 2019, Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms provides a surprise for both buyers and providers of BI Consulting. For the first time, Microsoft Power BI, a business intelligence tool always lagging a little behind its main competitor Tableau, has finally surpassed it.
So what has made Microsoft Power BI rage ahead in this fierce race to the top? Is it Microsoft’s constant investment in the tool or is it an affordable price?
Or could it be Tableau’s uncertain future with Salesforce’s acquisition for a hefty $15.7 billion?
Whatever the reasons behind these market positions, you can be sure that this rivalry is set to continue.
In this fast-paced data-driven world, everyone needs the help of some visual data analysis tools. So comes the question, what is the best tool for you?
While Power BI is the less expensive of the two, its scaled features and additional users make up for the lower price.
Tableau on the other is a data analyst’s dream, while Power BI is more in tune with the needs of the general public.
The key parameters for using such tools are ease of use, brand recognition, power, and price. So what makes Tableau and Power BI the market leaders in the business intelligence space. Let’s have a deeper look.
Tableau makes more bang for the buck by offering beautiful visualizations with extensive capabilities targeted for data engineers and companies with bigger budgets whereas Power BI is a prime option for quick access to specific analytics or intensive reporting. It has extensive R and big data related to integrations that are better for smaller companies looking for more affordable solutions.
Comparison between Power BI & Tableau
|More easy to use for the end-users with a simple interface and intuitive drag and drop features that help you build visualizations||More for Data Analysts with a more intuitive interface relying on the user’s ability to clean and transform the data into visualizations|
|– Power BI Desktop: This offering is free to any single user and includes data cleaning and preparation, custom visualizations and the ability to publish to the Power BI service|
– Power BI Pro: The Pro plan costs $9.99/user/month. It includes data collaboration, data governance, building dashboards with a 360-degree real-time view and the ability to publish reports anywhere
– Power BI Premium: The Premium plan starts at $4,995 a month per dedicated cloud compute and storage resource
|– Tableau Viewer: It costs $12/user/month. View and interact with dashboards and visualizations in a secure, easy-to-use platform|
– Tableau Explorer: It costs $35/user/month. Explore trusted data and answer your questions faster with full self-service analytics
– Tableau Creator: It costs $70/user/month. Discover insights with a powerful suite of products that support your end-to-end analytics workflow
|Users can try it for free for 60 days before purchasing the subscription||– Users can try it for free for 14 days before purchasing the subscription|
– Get a 1-year free license if you are a student or teacher
|Power BI is a prime option for quick access to specific analytics or intensive reporting. It has extensive R and big data related to integrations that are better for smaller companies looking for more affordable solutions||Tableau makes more bang for the buck by offering beautiful visualizations with extensive capabilities targeted for data engineers and companies with bigger budgets|
|Has API access and pre-built dashboards for ready insights from popular technologies such as Salesforce, Google Analytics, and other Microsoft products||Tableau’s connection is more involved as you need to identify which data to pull into the tool when you make a connection.|
|It is a SaaS-based model||It has got both on-premise and Cloud|
Data Sources and Data Access
|– Can connect to external sources such as Oracle, SAP, HANA, MySQL and more|
– It enables users to connect to Microsoft Azure databases, third-party databases, files and online services like Salesforce and Google Analytics
– Does not connect to Hadoop
|– Offers support for HUNDREDS of data connectors including big data (NoSQL, Hadoop), Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) and cloud options|
– The new data engine (Hyper Extract) which handles opening, creating, refreshing, and querying your extracts available in the Tableau 10.5 version
|– Numerous visualization types donut charts, combo charts, gauge charts. Real-time access to data with drag and drop facility.|
– Utilizes many of the same functions as Excel for visually appealing and informative reports
|– Tableau lets you create various visualizations such as line chart, Gantt chart, scatter plot and more.|
– It provides opportunities for visualizing geographical data with maps including graphics in tables and also allows using different forecasting models
– Having invested heavily in advanced data federated, clustering, segmentation and powerful analytics function Tableau is the clear leader
|Datapoint limit for Power BI is 3,500, for drilling down into datasets and conduct analysis||It does not have any limit for data points so users can create dashboards of any size|
Analytics and Reporting
|– Power BI can do much better with predictive modeling, reporting, and optimization when broad analytics needed|
– Power BI is equipped with predictive features for simple data management and trend interpretation. Besides standard data analysis Power BI hosts integration with location-based data –programs such as SQL Server, Geospatial, BING, and ESRI ArcGIS
|Committed to providing analytical requirements with enhancements in data federation, streamlined interfaces, advanced analytics and support for complex data workflows and data mashups more reusable|
|It can be used as a financial analysis tool with fraud protection, compliance monitoring. Collaborated with companies like DELL, Avande Inc. for the Power BI-partner program. A Team of over 300 organizations is bringing solutions and expertise to users||Assist in data analysis interpretation with Fraud detection tools and self-service data preparation. More control over governance and metadata management. Also, there is an addition to embedded advanced analytics|
|– Each workspace/group could handle up to 10 GB of Data. For more than 10 GB, data needs to be in Cloud(Azure)|
– To have more, a user can upgrade to a Premium account and get the maximum storage of 100 TB
|Tableau works on the columnar based structure. It stores unique values for each column making it possible to fetch billions of rows|
|– Has a basic setup with Azure tenant that connects to your Power BI through an Office 365 admin interface. It can quickly connect to existing spreadsheets, data sources, and apps via built-in connections and API.|
– Users needing to use Power BI independently of the Microsoft stack can become a stumbling block. However, Power BI does offer an on-premise solution albeit at a higher price requires installing Power BI Server and SQL Server regardless
|– Can install Tableau on any Windows-run device and use it without Microsoft SQL Server|
– Has a list of available connections on display. Can start connecting to your data sources and build your visualizations. You can also share them via Tableau Server or Tableau Online
|Customer support functionality is limited for users with a free Power BI account||Direct support is available by phone and email as well as logging into the customer portal to submit a support ticket|
Similarities between Power BI & Tableau
|Has a basic setup with Azure tenant that connects to your Power BI through an Office 365 admin interface. It can quickly connect to existing spreadsheets, data sources, and apps via built-in connections and API.||It also has a basic setup with a list of available connections on display. Can start connecting to your data sources and build your visualizations. You can also share them via Tableau Server or Tableau Online.|
|This tool allows you to ask questions of the data such as “how often are sales promotions needed?” or “which geographic area has maximum sales?”||It also has a similar feature to Power BI’s natural language query tool that Tableau calls “Ask Data”. Additionally, it has the “What if question” feature that enables users to ask questions like “what if the ratio is X, not Y?”|
Online resources and Community forums
|Power BI also offers robust support resources and documentation. It also includes guided learning, a user community forum and samples of how partners use the platform.||Offers support resources tailored to their version of the software, including getting started, best practices and how to optimally use the platform’s top features. Users can also access the Tableau community forum and attend training and other events.|
Live Data Access
|Live data Access: has real-time data access and easy to use drag and drop features. Changes fed into Power BI from CRM, Project management, Sales or financial tools are instantly reflected.||Live Query capability: Also features drag and drop to ask questions of the data. It gives you live query capabilities and extracts that are helpful for data analysts.|
|Power BI is more user-friendly with its drag and drops functionality||Easy to use also coming with Drag and drop functionality|
To put it simply, you cannot isolate the comparisons between Tableau and Power BI. While Power BI offers more compatibility within the Microsoft ecosystem, Tableau’s advantage lies in self-containing data visualization and its advanced capabilities and scalability.
If Data visualization is your priority then Tableau is the clear winner. Power BI, on the other hand, is a better choice when it comes to predictive modeling and reporting with superb serviceability and a lower cost of ownership.
However, Tableau is a better option. Though Power BI is narrowing the gap with significant investments of Microsoft in its enhancements and updates. This is reflected in the latest Gartner report of 2019. The report states “Microsoft Power BI as a market leader” of the business intelligence platforms.
Power BI and Tableau remain the close competitors. Both deserve the user’s trust, so it’s too soon to comment on a clear winner yet.
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