We are constantly striving to find the most effective way to analyze and present our data. In recent years, two software programs have emerged as leaders in the field of data visualization: Tableau and Power BI.

So, which one is right for you? In this article, we will compare and contrast Tableau vs Power BI to help you decide which tool is best suited for your needs.

What is Tableau?

Tableau is a data visualization platform from Salesforce that helps you to create and share interactive data visualizations. It makes it easy to connect your data, has a drag and drop function to create visualizations, and is easy to share with others. Tableau is used by businesses and organizations of all sizes to visualize their data.

Tableau can be used for a variety of purposes, such as finding insights and telling stories with your business’s data, among others. It offers a variety of products, including Tableau Desktop, Tableau Server, Tableau Online, and Tableau Public.

What is Power BI?

Power BI is a suite of business analytics tools from Microsoft that enables you to visualize your data, track your progress, and share insights across your organization. With Power BI, you can turn data into actionable insights, get answers to questions you didn’t know to ask and make better decisions faster.

Power BI has many powerful features and has similar features to Tableau, but it also includes built-in connectors to popular data sources like Salesforce and Dynamics CRM. It also has a built-in collaboration tool that allows team members to work together on reports.

Features of Tableau

Tableau has a lot of features that make it stand out from the other data visualization tools available in the market. Some of the key features of Tableau are as follows:

  • Tableau has the AskDate function, which allows the user to type in questions in common language and provides answers in the form of data visualizations
  • It gives you the ability to connect to a wide range of data sources, including Excel files, SQL databases, and Hadoop clusters
  • Tableau comes with a wide range of templates that you can use to get started quickly. You can also create your own templates if you want to.
  • It provides a lot of flexibility in terms of how you can visualize your data. You can create graphs, charts, maps, and dashboards with Tableau.
  • It comes with a map feature that provides information on cities, postal codes, etc.
  • It has robust security and data connections.

Features of Power BI

As mentioned earlier, Power BI has many powerful features. They include but are not limited to:

  • Data visualization tools that allow users to create interactive charts and graphs
  • A simple user interface
  • Auto-search – ask Power BI questions and it will answer them
  • Data Analysis Expressions (DAX), which are used to perform analytics specific functionalities
  • Compatibility with a wide range of data from sources like Power BI dataflows, Power BI datasets, SQL servers, etc.
  • Customizable tiles in the dashboard for personalization

Key Differences Between Tableau and Power BI

Tableau Power BI
  • Is for experts and experienced professionals
  • Is for both beginners and experts
  • Is best for large volumes of data
  • Handles a limited volume of data
  • Uses MDX for measurements and dimensions
  • Uses DAX for measurements and columns
  • More than $35 per month
  • Less than $10 per month
  • Runs on Windows and Mac
  • Runs on just Windows (Microsoft Application)
  • Has built-in machine learning
  • Integrates with Microsoft Azure

Benefits of Tableau vs Power BI

Tableau Power BI
  • High-performance visualization and data transformation capabilities. It also operates fast with large volumes of data.
  • Is much cheaper than Tableau – For under $10 a month, users get access to a full suite of features.
  • Connects to many data source connections like DB technologies, Google BigQuery, Hadoop, and more
  • MSFT integration – Easily integrates with any Microsoft program and ensures smooth operation
  • Huge community and forum that gives users valuable insights and resources. This helps with any troubleshooting.
  • Easy to use for beginners – Power BI has an intuitive learning curve, similar to Excel, which makes it easy for beginners to pick up.
  • Has a well-built mobile app that allows users to have all of their data and statistics on the go. Compatible with both Android and iOS.
  • Robust set of tools for ETL capabilities – Data preparation is around 90% of a reporting requirement. Power BI can take care of this with third-party integration.

Disadvantages of Tableau vs Power BI


Tableau Power BI
  • Hard to learn – Tableau is notorious for its steep learning curve. Users have to be trained in data analysis and programming to use it.
  • It is not compatible with any Apple products
  • Staff training needed – Employees have to undergo training in order to operate Tableau when complex operations are being carried out. This increases the cost of Tableau, as time and money are spent on training staff
  • Only 150,000 rows can be downloaded to Excel, which is a major limitation for those working with large amounts of data.
  • Difficult integration with Microsoft products – In comparison to Power BI, the single sign-on process for Tableau is exhausting.
  • The user interface is cluttered with icons blocking the dashboard and reports.

Tableau or Power BI: Which one is better?

Tableau and Power BI are both great tools for data analysis. They have their own unique features that make them stand out from the rest. However, Power BI wins on different levels related to its ease of use, similarity to Excel and its reasonable pricing that makes it a great fit for many types or organizations.

But if you’re looking for a comprehensive data analytics tool with a lot of features, then Tableau is probably your best bet.

So, which one is better? It really depends on your needs and what you want to get out of your data analytics tool.

Contact Softlanding now if you want to learn more on how Power BI can help your organization leverage data.

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Softlanding is a long-established IT services provider of transformation, professional services and managed IT services that helps organizations boost innovation and drive business value. We are a multi-award-winning Microsoft Gold Partner with 13 Gold Competencies and we use our experience and expertise to be a trusted advisor to our clients. Headquartered in Vancouver, BC, we have staff and offices in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary to serve clients across Canada.

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