Organisations working in analytics use data visualisation extensively to get actionable insights out of data and make decisions. In this article, we will compare two of the most popular data visualisation tools — Tableau and Microsoft PowerBI.
In analytics, Tableau is the leading visualisation tool. Its rich analytical features and attention to data details are the reason behind its popularity. Power BI, on the other hand, is preferred by professionals who are more comfortable with Microsoft Office365. The users can connect Excel queries, data models and are able to report to the dashboard. While the usage of both these tools might depend on many factors, here is a quick comparison of the two popular tools on various functionalities.
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One of the crucial differences between Tableau and Power BI is that Tableau is an extensible platform which not only provides visualisations but also helps in gaining a better understanding of the data. Both the tools are excellent in visualisation but when it comes to the depth of data, Tableau helps an analyst to dive deeper into the data by performing “what-if” analysis on the data.
A user can deploy tableau on-premises, on the public cloud on Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, or Google Cloud Platform, or on Tableau Online. While PowerBI, an upgradation of Microsoft Excel can be said as not so flexible as it serves only as a software-as-a-service model.
3| User Interface
Tableau is mainly designed keeping data analysts in mind. The richer analytical capabilities for visualisation helps an analyst gain insight into large datasets. It allows the user to create customised dashboards which can be considered as more of a pro-level. Microsoft PowerBI is simpler than Tableau and offers a better intuitive interface, especially for the beginners. This tool can be used by a coder as well as a non-coder.
PowerBI focuses on data modelling and offers features of data manipulation and then provides data visualisation while tableau strictly focuses on data visualisation.
PowerBI tool with its Microsoft Flow and its AI builder tool can help in building apps with a layer of intelligence. With the advantages of Microsoft AI, the user can prepare data, build machine learning models and gain insights from both structured and unstructured data. On the hand, Tableau is working on natural language capabilities to simplify analytics and help the users who have no prior data analysis experience, known as Ask Data. Recently, Tableau has also announced the beta version of Explain Data, a new AI-powered feature to help users understand the “why” behind unexpected values in their data.
PowerBI offers two subscription offerings, Power BI Pro and Power BI Premium. Power BI Pro is priced at $9.99 per user per month which is a self-service BI where user can collaborate, publish, share and perform ad-hoc analysis. Whereas Power BI Premium is priced at $4,995 per month per dedicated cloud compute and storage resource. Here, the user can perform big data analytics, advanced administration and more.
Tableau, on the other hand, offers three subscriptions — Tableau Creator, Explorer, and Viewer. Tableau Creator is priced at $70 user per month and it includes Tableau Desktop, Prep Builder and one creator license of Tableau Server. Tableau Explorer is priced at $35 per user per month where they can explore the trusted data with self-service analytics and the Tableau Viewer is priced at $12 user per month and here the user can view and interact with dashboards and visualisations in a secured way. These pricings are for teams and organisations where multiple users/viewing is required.
The tools that an analyst is going to pick depends on the analytical tasks that they are going to perform. If you need to take a deep dive into your data, Tableau serves as a fair option as it has richer analytical abilities. If you are new to this platform and familiar to tools such as Excel, you can try your hands on Power BI as it has familiar and simple user interfaces.