Power BI vs Tableau 10.x: Which One is Right for Your Business?



How a business visualises its data can transform the way it operates forever. The best way to explore your data is by using a specialised software solution that helps you analyse what it’s telling you, so you can make better decisions based on these insights.

Implemented and used correctly, these specialised platforms can help your company operate more efficiently and profitably. Power BI and Tableau are two of the most popular of these Business Intelligence (BI) solutions on the market.

But how do you know which one is the best fit for your business? To help you make the right choice, we’ve outlined five comparison points below for you to consider.

1. Price

One of the most important factors to consider is how much each product will cost your business. This is where Power BI really stands out. As you’ll see, it’s much more affordable on a per user basis.

Power BI is a cloud-based solution and has three simple pricing options: Power BI Desktop which is free, Power BI Pro which costs $9.99 U.S. per user/month, and Power BI Premium which varies based on what features your business needs.

Tableau positions its products a little differently to Power BI, with desktop, cloud, and on-premise server options available. Tableau Online (which is the counterpart to Power BI Pro) costs $42 U.S. per user/month.

2. User Interface

The next important aspect to consider is what do employees see when they sit down and start working with these two different platforms? Are they going to be able to hit the ground running, or will they need time to get up to speed?

Power BI looks and feels familiar to anyone who has used Microsoft products like Excel before - and let’s face it, that’s pretty much everyone. It’s very easy to use and its range of features are presented in an intuitive way.

Tableau is intuitive and easy to navigate once users become familiar with the platform’s layout. Reports suggest that the marks menu takes time to master.

3. Depth of data discovery

Businesses need the capability to explore data in-depth so they can quickly understand its potential. Both these products analyse data in different ways, with Tableau focusing more on the front end, and Power BI having greater depth in the back end. Tableau has more options for visualisations, but can’t be used to manipulate data as well as Power BI.

Power BI provides fast analyses of a familiar data sets and has the deep functionality to create relationships between data sources. This lets users manipulate data in ways that Tableau cannot match.

Tableau has a strong focus on visualisations and does this better than any other product in its class, but it doesn’t have the same data manipulation capabilities as Power BI.

4. Integration and sharing

Another important consideration you must make before choosing between these two solutions is their ability to connect to data from different sources. This is particularly important when you first change to a platform and must import all your existing data in its present format.

Power BI is a Microsoft product and therefore integrates perfectly with the Office 365 Suite and all its applications such as Excel and SharePoint. It also integrates with a wide variety of other popular software products like SalesForce and more. It also includes powerful sharing options which let you selectively display or hide information you don’t want certain users to see.

Tableau does not integrate directly with Microsoft Office but does integrate with other software programs and has some inbuilt sharing options available to users but is lacking when it comes to customisation abilities.

5. Custom Visualisations


And finally, data visualisation is the key to providing actionable insights. The ability to create custom visualisations lets you highlight your data in dynamic and engaging ways.

Power BI lets you create your own custom visualisations so you can explore and display your data in captivating ways. You can also access many useful custom visuals that have been created by the community and by Microsoft, which you can download and use in your Power BI reports

Tableau’s built-in visuals are best in their class, but if you want something different, you are out of luck: Tableau doesn’t currently have the capability to create custom visuals.

The Verdict

When you look at the features each solution provides, and its cost effectiveness, there is simply no comparison between Power BI and Tableau - Power BI is the clear winner.

If your business is looking for a platform that has a broad range of analytic capabilities, like predictive modelling, optimisation, and reporting, then the Power BI suite is the best choice.

To find out more out about Power BI and how AgileBI can help you use it to make better business decisions, click here or the button below. 


Get in touch with us to find out more!


Topics: Agile BI, Business Intelligence, Power BI, Power BI Desktop, PowerBI Service, Tableau, Azure Analytics