If you’re evaluating Tableau vs. QlikView vs. Microsoft Power BI, read on. We highlight the key pros and cons of each and include a comprehensive business intelligence software leaderboard showing how each stacks up across 20 key business and functional requirements.
Tableau Software leads the industry in data visualizations. The user-friendly interface allows non-technical users to quickly and easily create customized dashboards to provide insight to a broad spectrum of business information. Tableau can connect to nearly any data repository, ranging from MS Excel to Hadoop clusters. The drag-and-drop capabilities of the solution, paired with its extensive data source connections, make Tableau a front-runner in the realm of data visualizations.
This focus on visualizations does come at a cost: Tableau is not a full-fledged BI solution, and does very little beyond the front-end. So if powerful data visualizations are all that you need, Tableau is the way to go. However, if you need deeper analytics capabilities, you may need to look into Power BI, QlikView, or pairing Tableau with a back-end engine (a common solution, but generally requires consultants or outside expertise).
Often, potential users wonder what the difference is between Tableau Desktop and Tableau Server. Simply put, Desktop is used for creating and formatting reports/charts and publishing them into a dashboard. Server shares the dashboards.
Unlike Tableau, QlikView does not specialize in a particular facet of business intelligence. It offers self-service BI and visualization tools, Qlik Sense, and a full BI platform for extensive analytics (Qlikview). Of particular note is the speed at which QlikView can provide data insights. Due to its powerful in-memory analytics capabilities, the system can deliver information in a surprisingly rapid manner (provided, of course, you have sufficient computing resources). QlikView also presents a powerful reporting engine, which offers data analysis beyond visual dashboards. One additional benefit is that QlikView can plug into almost any data source, making it the most versatile of the modern intelligence tool offerings.
That being said, QlikView does have a somewhat steep learning curve. The vast range of QlikView’s BI tools can take a while to master. Fortunately the product comes bundled with numerous tutorials, how-to guides, and other self-help resources.
Microsoft Power BI
Microsoft’s Power BI is a relative new-comer in the business intelligence realm. Originally created as a set of add-ons for Excel, Power BI has emerged as a serious contender. The use of Power BI does require buy-in to the Microsoft stack, but for companies who already rely on MS setting up the analytics is trivial. Power BI is currently best suited for companies who need simple visualizations or deep reporting capabilities. If you want to know how older components like Power View, Power Pivot compared to Power BI, here’s a useful comparison.
In conjunction with other Microsoft offerings, including Azure, SQL Server Analysis, real-time data streaming, and R-analytics, Power BI provides a broad analytic landscape. As of early 2016 Power BI does not provide extensive analytics or visualizations, but the platform is rapidly being enhanced. So if you are in it for the long-haul, Power BI may prove to be a good investment.
Find out how these vendors stack-up in our in-depth Top 10 BI Leaderboard.
Tableau, QlikView, and Power BI are all solid business intelligence tools. Which one is the best fit for your company depends upon your analysis needs. If connecting to existing internal databases, data warehouses and other data sources is critical to your operations, you must individually analyze these solutions against those requirements/configurations.
If visualizations are the core focus, Tableau is far and away the best answer. There is a reason the company & product consistently rank as #1 in intelligence visualizations.
QlikView is highly adaptable and provides wide-ranging deep analytics. It also has hooks for Deltek products, so if you utilize rely on Deltek for time & expense or earned value management (EVM) reporting, QlikView is a natural choice. Overall, QlikView also continues to have one of the industry’s highest customer satisfaction ratings.
Microsoft’s Power BI is inexpensive and plugs-in seamlessly with MS Office. It is a solid option if you need quick access to specific analytics or intensive reporting (and have personnel who are skilled in MS-based data queries). In the long run it may challenge QlikView or Tableau in their respective specialties, but at the moment it is not as advanced as the other options.
If you’re consider other solutions like Cognos or Crystal, we have that comparison report for you here. If you’re looking to evaluate these BI solutions and more, view the full BI software leaderboard report.