If you’re evaluating Tableau vs. QlikView vs. Microsoft Power BI, read on. We highlight the key pros and cons of each of these vendors. Plus, we included 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 visualization software, and in Version 10, the company is investing heavily in advanced data federated, clustering, segmentation and more powerful analytics functions. PCMag described the interface as one of the most user-friendly in the self-service BI space, as it allows non-technical users to easily create customized dashboards that provide insight to a broad spectrum of 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. And in the latest release, the company’s commitment to providing a roadmap to enterprises that reflect their urgent analytics requirements is evident in the enhancements to data federation, streamlined interfaces to advanced analytics routines, and improvements to mobile exploration and authoring.
Tableau Version 10 first introduced in August, 2016 with the latest release (10.1.3) on December 28th, 2016 reflects the requirements of large-scale enterprises who have requested advanced features found on Microsoft Power BI and other enterprise-grade analytics platforms. Tableau has added in data federation that scales across their platform, enhanced mobility support including enhancements for responsive mobile app design and development, and streamlined workflows for advanced analytics.
Tableau’s roadmap now reflects the needs of organizations that want to move beyond the data visualization aspects of their applications and get more advanced analytics work done. Support for more complex data federation workflows, making data mashups more reusable and making improvements to mobile app development to support all mobile screen sizes is now available in Version 10. Tableau has also provided a streamlined user interface that makes advanced analytics for segmentation and data clustering possible.
Tableau’s roadmap reflects the company’s efforts to move beyond data visualization to more advanced analytics. Included as part of this focus on broader analytics support are improvements to self-service data preparation, more control over data governance and metadata management, additions to embedded advanced analytics. Tableau has also included support for publishing analytic content on a variety of publishing platforms.
Often, potential users wonder what the difference is between Tableau Desktop, Tableau Online and Tableau Server. Simply put, Desktop is used for creating and formatting reports/charts and publishing them into a dashboard. Server shares the dashboards. Tableau Online is their cloud service BI solution.
Tableau also provides a free data visualization tool called Tableau Public, which uses the same interface and has many of the basic features available in other Tableau modules.
Qlik relies on sophisticated analytics that enables data discovery using an in-memory engine to analyze data for patterns not visible via SQL data structures or queries. The companies’ two most popular apps are QlikView and Qlik Sense. Both of these apps are often used in core business areas including sales, marketing, operations, service and the most common areas of analytics use in organizations, accounting and finance.
Qlik has one of the most advanced Application Programming Interface (API) command sets in the analytics industry, and has continually been improving its functionality over the last several years. With many enterprises requesting API support, Qlik has also provided APIs to control functions previously accessible only through the user interface. The result has been rapid adoption of the Qlik Analytics Platform (QAP), which is being used today by developers to embed analytics queries into reporting and analytics apps.
Qlik is looking to create a scalable, API-driven platform that gives content developers and line-of-business analysts a more rapid approach to defining, executing and saving queries.
QlikView, QlikSense and QAP have improved implementation processes which streamline onboarding. As PCMag adds, this is helped along by being “deceptively easy to get started,” thanks to drag-and-drop setup capabilities. Because of this, customers can get greater use out of the in-memory engine that is capable of handling complex data sources and applications. In many respects, Qlik’s platform is starting to evolve into a viable option for data mart and data warehouse integration. Add to this their extensive partner network of more than 1,700 software companies across multiple geographies, and it’s clear Qlik is a viable enterprise analytics platform.
In addition to the above strengths, the speed at which QlikView can provide data insights using its powerful in-memory analytics capabilities is gaining new enterprise accounts for the company. QlikView also offers 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.
QlikView has a reputation for having a somewhat steep learning curve the company has worked hard to address in the current release. The vast range of QlikView’s BI tools ca be learned quickly using their online tutorials and learning systems. The product comes bundled with numerous tutorials, how-to guides, and other self-help resources.
Microsoft Power BI
Microsoft Power BI offers one of the lowest per-user pricing options to companies looking for cloud-based analytics and business intelligence (BI) apps. One of the easiest tools to integrate according to PCMag thanks to its large support ecosystem, companies selecting Microsoft Power BI do so because of the low Total Cost Of Ownership (TCO), ease of use, and availability of skilled resources.
In addition to these advantages, the Microsoft Power BI roadmap has made good on the promises to enterprise customers to deliver data preparation, data discovery and data dashboards in the most recently release. Microsoft also continues to support the first Excel-based add-ons that were initially shipped in Power Query, Power Pivot, Power View and Power Map. Microsoft has said these Excel add-ons will stay in the product for the foreseeable future as they become native3 in Officer 2016. One of the more innovative features of Microsoft Power BI is the ability to use browser- and desktop-based authoring with apps and platforms that are both on-premise and in the cloud. This hybrid integration strategy is based on Microsoft Azure Cloud APIs.
Microsoft is very focused on being the leader in analytics and BI from a TCO standpoint. Companies interested in licensing and using Microsoft Power BI will be able to get access for as little as $9.95 per user per month.
As of January, 2017 Microsoft is offering a feature-limited version of Power BI to individuals for free that includes 1GB per user of data storage, daily scheduled data refresh and 10K rows per hour streaming data. As of today, Microsoft claims to have over 100,000 organizations running Power BI today globally.
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 your 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 integrations to Deltek products, so if you use 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. Microsoft Power BI is the only one of these three data visualization and analytics apps that have extensive R and big data-related integrations, ensuring this specific apps’ scalability for larger projects.
Here’s more info on Tableau competitors, too.
If you’re considering other solutions like Cognos vs. Crystal, we have that comparison report for you here.