Power BI vs. Tableau – Choose the right visualization tool for your need

What is Power BI?

Power BI is the world’s most trusted and robust data analytics solution that lets businesses manage copious amounts of data to derive usable, actionable insights. Although initially developed as an add-on to Excel, Power BI has quickly grown into a comprehensive cloud-based data analytics tool.

“Forrester identified Microsoft Power BI as a leader in the augmented BI platforms space with stronger offerings, strategy, and greater market presence.”

What is Tableau?

One of the world’s most popular modern analytics platforms is a Salesforce product called Tableau. This vendor added data visualization to its BI tool for the first time. Known for its stunning data visualizations within the industry, it can handle large volumes of data with better performance. Their free tool, Tableau Public, is one of several pricing options available to suit various corporate budgets.

Power BI vs. Tableau—a comparison

 PropertyPower BITableau
DeploymentDeploy Power BI on-premise in Windows machines and on the cloud in Windows and Mac.Tableau works on desktop deployment mode in Windows and Mac.
User Interface The UI follows the same signature as all the other Microsoft products, making it familiar and intuitive.The learning curve is mildly steep. However, with a little training, it becomes easier to use.
Data Sources IntegrationsAccess data from a wide range of sources.  Connect spreadsheets and text files to user data with a personal license. Users of professional licenses have access to a large number of data sources.
SecurityWith Azure BLOB storage and Azure SQL database, Power BI manages data storage security.  
Row-level security (RLS) is also available in Power BI for role-based access to data. 
A publisher may set access permissions for Tableau’s pre-set roles: viewers, interactors, and editors.  
Publishers can also create user filters to add row-level security to Tableau. 
User CommunityPower BI’s user community has significantly grown.  Tableau has a well-established user community and a prolific amount of online content. In addition, public dashboards and training materials are readily available as well as how-to answers.
CollaborationThe Power BI Service lets users share reports for free. In addition, other Power BI users can view shared BI content if they have Power BI accounts and report URLs.Using the Tableau Server allows users to share dashboards and publish them, which can be done on a paid basis. 
Data VisualizationPower BI has an extensive base of data visualizations such as bars/columns, charts, pies and area diagrams, radial charts, various maps, combination charts, key influencers charts, and even KPIs and cards.
Visualization tools are easy to use.
Tableau offers its users a variety of chart options, including bar charts, line graphs, scatter plots, and heat maps. In addition, latitudes and longitudes are automatically generated by Tableau from location data. 
Data ManipulationPower BI can modify the default properties of each data field and create custom data fields.  Tableau can create calculated fields and modify default properties.  
Pricing / AffordabilityOffice 365 users are eligible for free access. The Power BI Service allows users to publish reports for free. There is a monthly fee of $9.99 for Power BI Pro. 
Generally, affordability is better with Power BI for all its analytics and data visualization capabilities.
A Tableau license ranges from $12 to $70 per user per month, depending on the license type (personal or professional). Additional add-ons are available for a fee. 
Affordability may be lower, considering its relatively steeper learning curve and higher costs.
Target AudiencePower BI is simple to use and thus can be used by practiced and unpracticed users.Tableau has a learning curve which makes training necessary.

Power BI vs. Tableau: Features comparison

FeaturesPower BITableau
Query EditorThis unique feature lets businesses edit a data file before pushing it to Power BI, making other processes much simpler.Tableau does not support this feature yet.
Analytics and Machine LearningPower BI is integrated into Microsoft Azure for data analytics and machine learning operations. This helps expand the scope of operations a business can perform on its data.The machine learning and analytics capabilities of Tableau are built into its systems.
ReportsMultiple visualizations represent one or more insights. Additionally, businesses can embed data reports into internal portals (web-based) for easy access.Reporting with visualization is equally good, but Tableau needs to provide a more straightforward embed-report process—it is complicated.
Data capacityEach module in Power BI can manage up to 10 GB of data simultaneously, which might be limiting.Tableau can process a significantly greater amount of data within its systems.

Wrapping Up

Choosing between Power BI and Tableau depends on your business needs. However, Power BI is the best choice compared to Tableau for the following reasons:

Power BI enables access to critical business data and insights at your fingertips and caters to the needs of distributed teams and businesses with multiple locations through its mobile app. This innovative solution simplifies data analysis and makes collaboration seamless, allowing teams to work on files simultaneously, regardless of their physical location. By connecting with other essential applications like Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Dynamics, Power Apps, and Power Automate, Power BI enhances data accessibility and efficiency. Its ability to process almost any data source further solidifies its position as an indispensable tool for businesses striving for agility, streamlined operations, and better-informed decision-making processes.

Moreover, Power BI is more affordable and provides the power of the Microsoft Azure platform for analytics and machine learning. On the other hand, while Tableau has equivalent capabilities, it may need more investment and training time to assimilate into business processes and workflows.

Power BI is ideal for businesses seeking straightforward and robust, capable data analytics and BI solution. PreludeSys, the trusted Microsoft Gold Partner, can help implement this comprehensive platform hassle-free. To learn more, visit Business Intelligence Services.