The concept of using pictures to understand patterns in data has been around for centuries. From existing in the form of graphs and maps in the 17th century to the invention of the pie chart in the mid-1800s, the idea has been exquisite. The 19th century witnessed one of the most cited examples of data visualisation, when Charles Minard mapped Napoleon’s invasion of Russia. The map depicted the size of Napoleon’s army along with the path of Napoleon’s retreat from the city of Moscow – and tied that information to temperature and time scales for a more in-depth understanding of the event.

Read more about data Visualisation in our previous blog – Practices on Data Visualisation.

In the modern world, when it comes to the search of a Business Intelligence (BI) or Data Visualisation tool, we come across two front runners. They are Power BI and Tableau. Both of these products are equipped with a set of handy features like drag-and-drop, data preparation amongst many others. Although similar, each comes with its particular set of strengths and weaknesses. Let us understand the differences between these two tools.

The tools will be compared on the following grounds:

  • Cost
  • Licensing
  • Visualisation
  • Integrations
  • Implementation
  • Data Analysis
  • Functionality

Cost
Cost remains a significant parameter when these products are compared. This is because at one end PowerBI is priced around 100$ a year while Tableau can be rather expensive up to 1000$ a year. PowerBI is more affordable and economical than Tableau and is suitable for small businesses. Tableau on the other hand, is built for data analysts and offers in-depth insight features.

Licensing
For a fact, the final choice depends on whether one wants to pay upfront cost for the software or not. If yes then Tableau should be the first choice else one should opt for PowerBI.

Visualisation
When it comes to visualisation, both the products have their strengths. PowerBI can prove to be better if the desired outcome is data with better visuals. PowerBI lets you easily upload datasets. It gives a clear and elegant visualisation. However, if the prime focus is visualisation, Tableau leads by a fair margin. Tableau performs better with more massive datasets and gives users efficient drill-down features.

Integrations
PowerBI has API access and pre-built dashboards for speedy insights for some of the most widely used technologies and tools like Salesforce, Google Analytics and Microsoft Products. On the contrary, Tableau has invested heavily in integrations and widely-used connections. A user can view all of the connections included right when he/she logs into the tool.

Implementation
This parameter is primarily dependent on factors like the size of the company, the number of the users and others. Power BI comes out to be fairly more straightforward on the grounds of implementation and requires a low level of expertise. However, Tableau, although is a little more complex, offers more variety. Tableau incorporates the use of quick-start applications for deploying small scale applications.

Data Analysis
Power BI offers speed and efficiency, and establishes relationships between data sources. On the other hand, Tableau provides more extensive features and helps the user in hypothesising data better.

Functionality
For the foreseeable future, any organisation which has users spending more than an hour or two per day using their BI tool might want to go with Tableau. Tableau offers a lot of features and minor details that are unmatched.

Feature Power BI Tableau
Date Established 2013 2003
Best Use Case Dashboards & Ad-hoc Analysis Dashboards & Ad-hoc Analysis
Best Users Average Joe/Jane Analysts
Licensing Subscription Subscription
Desktop Version Free $70/user/month
Investment Required Low High
Overall Functionality Very Good Very Good
Visualisations Good Very Good
Performance With Large Datasets Good Very Good
Support Level Low (Or through partner) High

It all depends upon who will be using these tools. Microsoft powered Power BI is built for the joint stakeholder, not necessarily a data analyst. The interface relies on drag and drop and intuitive features to help teams develop their visualisations. It’s a great addition to any organisation that needs data analysis without getting a degree in data analysis or any organisation having smaller funds.

Tableau is more powerful, but the interface isn’t quite as intuitive, which makes it more challenging to use and learn. It requires some experience and practice to have control over the product. Once this is achieved, Tableau can prove to be much more powerful for data analytics in the long run.

Learn PowerBI & Tableau today!

As an organization, we believe these technologies are of the utmost importance and every other organization should have their employees upskilled to know them. If you are looking for your employees to be trained, we can help you with that! Contact us today and we will be happy to chat with you and know your requirements!