Tableau vs. Power BI – A Comprehensive Comparison

The world of data analytics and visualization is in constant flux as new players keep entering the market, giving tough competition to existing players. The high demand for data analytics is attracting these new players. Companies are increasingly turning to business intelligence tools like Tableau vs. Power BI to achieve business goals and remain competitive.

But how do you know which tool to opt for? A good data analytics tool has brand recognition, offers ease of use, and is price competitive. Well, Tableau and Power BI fit the bill, but there are key differences between the two.

This article offers a comprehensive comparison of the two leading business intelligence tools. Let’s dive into Tableau and Power BI’s key features, benefits, products, and differences.

What is Tableau?

Tableau is a robust, fast-growing business intelligence tool known for rendering beautiful data visualizations. It enables you to report and analyze vast volumes of data and organize it into actionable insights. Tableau creates data visualizations in the form of worksheets and dashboards. Thus, your employees can easily comprehend how data is generated with Tableau.

Tableau targets corporations with deep pockets and skilled data engineers. It has a free version available but with limited features and capabilities. With Tableau, the more you pay, the more features and capabilities you get.

Tableau Features

Some of Tableau’s features and benefits are:

  • It is highly flexible and lets you connect different types of data using data connectors for various databases. So, you can connect to a JSON file, text file, Excel file, etc.
  • Tableau lets you connect to various servers like Microsoft SQL Server, Tableau Server, etc.
  • It is an intuitive platform that lets you represent data in creative ways using Gantt charts, histograms, boxplots, motion charts, etc.
  • Tableau offers a map feature which comes with pre-installed information like administrative boundaries, postal codes, cities, etc. This enables you to create very useful maps on Tableau.
  • It facilitates setting up live data connections, thus enabling you to use data directly from its source(s).
  • Tableau offers excellent data and user security by using permission systems and authentication features for data access and connections.
  • It has an amazing feature called Ask Data. This feature enables you to type data-related queries in a common language and it answers with automatic data visualizations.

Tableau Products

  • This platform offers you all the things you need to access, analyze, and visualize your data. Tableau Desktop gives you a great drag-and-drop feature that empowers you with crucial business insights. You can use these insights for faster and more effective decision-making.
  • Tableau Prep Builder – The Prep Builder helps you prepare data by enabling you to combine, shape, and clean it. It is an intuitive product that automates your data prep flows and allows you to analyze your data faster. Furthermore, the Tableau Prep Builder encourages collaboration and gives you a complete picture of your data.
  • Tableau Server – It serves as the main repository for data visualizations, data sources, and users. Tableau Services provides you with a secure environment where you can explore your data. Moreover, it is known for its easy deployment, integration, and scalability.
  • Tableau Cloud – Formerly called Tableau Online, Tableau Cloud is an enterprise-level, cloud-based analytics tool. It is an easy-to-use, fast, and flexible self-service platform that streamlines your company’s data for you. Using Tableau Cloud, you can author, prepare, analyze, and publish your data.
  • Tableau Embedded Analytics – It arms you with integrated visual analytics to drive customer and product engagement. Plus, it saves you time, money, and resources so that you can focus on building your product(s).
  • Tableau Mobile – Tableau Mobile enables you to make data-driven decisions wherever you are using your Android or iOS device. Thus, it becomes very convenient for users to access and monitor data.

What is Power BI?

Microsoft Power BI is a leading business analytics tool developed by Microsoft. It is used for data analytics, data visualizations, and for making ad-hoc reports that give a comprehensive view of the dataset. Power BI allows you to manage your data from multiple sources after the cleaning and integration processes are completed.

Power BI is part of the Microsoft Power Platform. It employs dynamic compression algorithms to import data in the form of.PIXB files. Moreover, Power BI has over 100 connectors and a powerful drag-and-drop feature. The dashboards you create using Power BI are easy to understand and practical.

Another thing you should know about Power BI is that it is perfectly compatible with all the other Microsoft products and uses Azure, Excel, and SQL. Power BI is the perfect business intelligence tool for you if you already use Microsoft products.

Let’s explore some of its features, benefits, and products.

Power BI Features

  • It can figure out trends in real-time, thus helping you identify issues and improve performance.
  • Power BI has a simple interface, which makes it very easy to use.
  • Its Q&A feature answers your questions and enables data exploration.
  • Power BI has advanced data visualization features that let you visualize data in many different ways. It offers a wide range of data visualization options like bar charts, column charts, area charts, decomposition trees, funnel graphs, donut charts, etc.
  • Power BI Get Data feature which lets you choose data from various data sources like Power BI dataflows, Power BI datasets, SQL servers, and others.
  • It offers flexible tiles which can be easily adjusted and managed. A tile in Power BI is a single block used in dashboard visualization.
  • Power BI gives you DAX (Data Analytics Expressions) features which are predefined codes used for performing data analysis.

Power BI Products

  • BI Desktop – This is a free platform that enables connection with multiple data sources. You can turn the collected data into a data model for sharing reports and visuals.
  • Power BI Service – It is a SaaS-based product of Power BI, also known as Power BI Online. You can use it for collaborating and distributing reports.
  • Power BI Mobile – This is Power BI’s mobile application. It lets you connect to your cloud and on-premises data, thus giving you access to up-to-date information at all times.
  • Power BI Report Server – This is an on-premises, enterprise-grade tool used for reporting that has the flexibility to move to the cloud. It gives users access to interactive reports and enables the quick discovery of trends and patterns. Moreover, you can use Power BI Report Server to generate paginated reports.
  • Power BI Embedded – It embeds interactive reports, visuals, and dashboards into an application without requiring you to build and maintain the analytics.


Differences Between Tableau vs. Power BI

Tableau Power BI
It can handle large volumes of data with high performance. It can handle a relatively smaller amount of data compared to Tableau.
Tableau offers 24 different types of visualizations and is known for it. Power BI offers over 3500 data points for data visualization.
It has a large community of users and offers great customer support service. It provides limited customer support for the free version but fast customer support for the paid version.
Tableau is best suited for experienced IT professionals like data analysts. Both beginners and experienced professionals use Power BI.


Slightly difficult to learn and use. Relatively easier to understand and use.
Suitable for medium and large-sized organizations. It is suitable for all sizes and types of organizations.
Uses MDX for measuring dimensions. It uses DAX for measuring and calculating columns.
Can connect to various data sources. Lets you increase its data source connectors through monthly updates.
Isn’t easy to embed reports in Tableau. Easy to embed reports in Power BI.
Tableau has a high cost. Power BI is more economical.
Isn’t easy to import custom visualizations. Cannot accept files larger than 1 GB.


Tableau vs. Power BI – Which tool is better?

When deciding which tool is better, it all boils down to ascertaining who will use it. Tableau has been designed to facilitate data analysts specifically. On the other hand, Power BI is designed to serve the common stakeholder, not necessarily an expert data analyst or scientist.

Both tools are very robust. Tableau is a bit difficult to learn and use because its interface is not that user-friendly. Experienced users and data analysts, however, have no issue using it. It’s only slightly problematic for users who are new to the field of data analytics.

Power BI tools have an interactive interface that uses the drag-and-drop feature to help your team create data visualizations. You don’t need a degree in data analytics to be able to use it. But that does not mean it is better or worse than Tableau.

The key takeaway for you is that both tools are excellent but serve different kinds of users and stakeholders. If you’re a small company without a strong IT team, go for Power BI. It’ll be easier for your resources to use. However, go for Tableau if you’re a medium or large company with a good IT team and enough budget.

We hope this article will help you make an informed decision about which business intelligence tool to go for. Tableau vs. Power BI?

If you need any further information or assistance regarding either of these platforms, feel free to contact us at [email protected].

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