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Power BI vs. Tableau: Data Visualization & Analyzing Data

With the world of data visualization and data analyzation constantly growing, companies need to stay ahead of the game to produce quality analytics; not only for customers but for themselves as well. Microsoft’s Power BI and Tableau are two of those tools at the forefront of Analytics & Reporting… Keep in mind these are not the only two; rather just the two we are going to cover for now!

To begin, here are some things that you may want to consider when choosing the correct tool; who is your audience, and who are the users of these tools?

• Tableau is designed for data analysts, while Power BI is better suited for a more general audience. While both will greatly enhance analytics, tableau isn’t as intuitive.
• Power BI will come at a much lower price point when compared to Tableau, however additional features and users will change that.

Deciding factors: 

Being familiar with Microsoft will only increase the ease of use and integration of Power BI, as it uses like systems of Azure, SQL, and Excel to construct and enhance your visualization game! Even better is that you don’t have to purchase the whole Microsoft Suite in order to use Power BI, so this is a great point to start for smaller or start-up businesses.

Tableau specializes more in larger corporations and like environments, those that have a bigger budget and a team or teams of data engineers that can keep up with the demands of the customers and business needs. There is a free version of the Tableau, but it comes with fewer features and capabilities. With Tableau, the more you pay for, the more you get! It also has the ability to access third party data, specialized tool for non-profits, and custom versions for academic settings.

Being a Microsoft product, Power BI users don’t have to pay directly for Microsoft 365 to gain access to the tools and interface. Nevertheless, there will be charges for subscription and users. The way Power BI is set up within the Microsoft network makes it affordable, especially for those companies who are already acutely devoted in Microsoft software.

Tableau’s pricing is a little more mystifying, in part because they just moved from a bulk purchase to subscription model (middle to late of 2019). Utilizing a tiered pricing system that differentiates between connections to files vs. third party apps. If you already have a lot of data on spreadsheets and want to spend the time exporting your data from third party tools before uploading to Tableau, the pricing per user is fairly reasonable but still higher than what you get with Power BI. However, if you want direct connections to your third-party apps like Hadoop or Google Analytics, you’ll need to pay for the Professional edition.

In general, the Power BI vs Tableau duel is a draw, and it all comes down to the needs of your teams and organizations. Power BI wins for ease of use, but Tableau wins in speed and capabilities. Those with data analysis experience will have less trouble cleaning and transforming data into visualizations, while using Tableau, but those just getting their feet wet will likely feel overwhelmed with the uphill battle to learn some data science before making visualizations.

Small businesses with limited financial and human resources should start out with Power BI, especially if they already invest in Microsoft products. However, medium and enterprise companies that prioritize data analytics and have the human capital to support them will be better off with Tableau.

RECAP:

Power BI-

  • Ideal for Small businesses with limited financial and Human Resources
  • Companies and teams already invested in Microsoft products
  • Organizations with no or newly formed “Analytic Shops”
  • Those looking for the “Plug and Play” ease of use

 

Tableau

  • Organizations with developed “Analytic Shops” and the supporting cast
    • Having both the human & financial capital
  • Those more experienced in Data Analysis & Engineering
  • Medium sized (and larger) enterprise companies that prioritize data analytics