Tableau vs Power BI – Which is the best tool for you?

Tableau vs Power BI

The two top business intelligence and data visualization tools are Power BI and Tableau. The products are similar, and the decision between the two is dependent on the specific needs of the company including budget, organization, and intended use. The impact of the coding language or maps supported is minimal for most businesses.

Tableau vs Power Bi which is the best tool for you


Tableau for Data Science A-Z for $10 Bundle. Become a Tableau Expert.

Tableau Software Quick Summary

Tableau was founded in 2003, and is considered the gold-standard for data visualization. In 2013 the company went public, and they have a ten-year head start on Power BI.

The Key Strengths of Tableau

Tableau is the cream of the crop. They have spent a decade dedicated to data visualization, and this is evident in their product usability, flexible deployment options, product support and the Tableau community. Tableau has an edge over Power BI due to their visualization sharing, range of visualizations, intuitive data exploration capabilities and user interface layout. Tableau is more flexible for designing dashboards, and the functionality far exceeds Power BI.

Tableau’s product was built with the idea of limiting the user  exploring data through visual means. The engineering of Tableau is in the creation of interactive visuals. The way the product capabilities were implemented enables the user to ask their data a question, and receive a nearly immediate answer. All that is required is manipulating the available tools. Tableau stopped aggressively perusing everyday and position itself as an enterprise level tool.  Therefore it has a high learning curve. Tableau is overkill for any company only interested in generating reports.

Tableau has a more flexible deployment than Power BI. The purchase can be made by subscription or a perpetual license up-front. The installation is either on an on-premise server or in the cloud. Tableau understands the communities needs regarding all-in on data visualization. The expectation is they will provide significant improvements in the future for new visualization options, loading large datasets and additional ETL functions.

The Weaknesses of Tableau

Tableau is a more expensive investment, and costs a lot more than Power BI.  Although Tableau has great data cleansing and some analytics capabilities, its primary strength is visualization.  Its not a statistical or business intelligence tool in the traditional sense. So many of the data modeling needs to be done in another tool . Also scaling Tableau across large organization can be very expensive.  implementation budget of a minimum of due to additional to the cost of the Tableau licenses.  A  data warehouse is not required. Tableau connects to more systems when purchased than Power BI, and users have reported connecting to less data sources than with most of the competing tools. Also many visual require a hacks and optimization to create which takes time away from analysis. Power BI allows easy implementation of custom visuals. .  There are my other option and   Tableau Alternatives

Power BI Quick Summary

Power BI is a data visualization and business intelligence tool  from Microsoft, and was released in 2013. In terms of functionality, Microsoft and Tableau are equal. Power BI outpaces Tableau in the completeness of vision. The most prominent advantage to Power BI is it is part of the Microsoft stack, and this is a contributor to the strength of Microsoft’s position within the quadrant.

The Key Strengths of Power BI

 Power BI is both used for analysis and visualization while Tableau is mainly used for visualization. Many individuals in the industry regard Tableau as the gold standard, but Power BI has its strengths. It is comparable to all the bells and whistles of Tableau. Big time data viz artist may see visual features offered in Power BI as inadequate, but has an robust custom visuals gallery that can be imported into reports. . Power BI is becoming more integrated in the Microsoft stack, and is included with Office 365. Microsoft is encouraging using Power BI for visualizing data coming from their cloud services. Power BI connects to external sources extremely well.

Originally, Power BI was mainly an Excel-driven product, and technical users are generally the first to adopt to Microsoft products. Power BI is extremely suitable for displaying and creating  quick basic reports and dashboards. KPI’s can be accessed from the Office portal, and the creation, interactivity and sharing of reports does not take much time.

The biggest strengths of Power BI are the fantastic value and very low cost. Considering Power BI is comparable to the leader in the category, the costs are impressive. It is included free for basic use in Office 365, and a Pro license is just $10 per user each month. This makes the product more adaptable since Power BI can be used risk-free. Power BI is very attractive for companies unable to afford a substantial Business Intelligence project including dedicated analysts, a data warehouse, and a few months for implementation. Many of the companies ready to invest in Power BI are adding Tableau to their future options. Microsoft has made heavy investments in Power BI, and are quickly closing the little gaps in functionality. There have been reports of entity relationship issues  experienced  when joining data. Also sampling when  exporting large files with Power BI are expected to disappear in the near future versions.

The Weaknesses of Power BI

When it comes to product functionality, Tableau has an edge on Power BI. This is mainly because they had a ten-year head start. The Biggest weakness of Power BI is the lack of flexibility in deployment. SaaS is the only model Power BI is available with. Power BI must be in the cloud, and rented through a per month, per user licensing agreement. If the business intelligence project will not allow this because a more customizable solution is required, or there are concerns regarding data security, Power BI will not work. Tableau is excellent for users with on-premise systems, and large amounts of data, but Power BI is adding new features to Power BI Premium that will decrease the gap in these capabilities. These features are new, and the cost of Power BI Premium is significantly higher.

The Summary of Tableau vs Power BI 

Due to the similarities in the products, there are specific factors influencing the choice between Tableau and Power BI.

  • Power BI is the best product for companies with a small budget.
  • Tableau is a superior data visualization tool, and a integration in a large Business Intelligence system.
  • Power BI is a superior analytics tool than Tableau
  • For companies wanting to pay up-front, and not interested in renting software monthly, the choice is Tableau. Company willing to higher tech savy users s who have more than  couple hours per day using this tool, the choice is Tableau.
  • The range of visualizations are better, and there are more bells and whistles is better Tableau
  • User looking for an true business intelligence and analytics tool with visual capabilities, then Power Bi is a better option.


  • February 10, 2018
  • Blog

About the Author

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of