Tableau vs Power BI: Which is better?


Business intelligence (BI) tools have become an integral part of any organization.

Tableau and Power BI both are among the most popular BI platforms in the market.

Tableau is an excellent data visualization and BI tool used for reporting and analyzing large volumes of data.

Microsoft Power BI is an interactive data visualization software that primarily focus on BI.

If you are an analyst, CTO, or data scientist contemplating adapting the right BI tool, this article will help you make an informed decision.

What is Tableau?

Tableau is an interactive data visualization tool from Tableau Software, a data visualization company HQ in the USA. It was acquired by Salesforce in 2019.

Tableau helps organizations simplify data for easy analysis. It enables you to create compelling worksheets and dashboards.

Tableau has an active community of more than 220,000 users from the data science and data modeling world.

Tableau Features

  • Vector Maps
  • Nested Sorting
  • Data Highlighter
  • Workbook Formatting
  • Custom Territories
  • Data blending
  • Data collaboration and data notifications
  • Toggle view and drag-and-drop
  • Dashboard commenting

Which Companies Use Tableau?

  • Apple
  • Lenovo
  • Cisco Systems
  • LinkedIn
  • Box
  • GoDaddy
  • Seagate
  • Wells Fargo
  • JP Morgan Chase
  • Verizon
  • Honeywell
  • Lufthansa
  • Walmart
  • Deloitte
  • Nissan

Pros of Tableau

  • Great performance
  • A large number of visual objects
  • Ability to blend diverse data sets
  • Easy to learn and use
  • Centralized data repository
  • The active community of Tableau users
  • Many official resources available for knowledge and training

Cons of Tableau

  • Requires IT expertise for certain configurations
  • High-Cost

What is Power BI?

Power BI is a business intelligence and data visualization tool by Microsoft. It was unveiled by Microsoft in 2013. After a couple of years of internal usage, Microsoft only made Power BI available to the public in 2015. 

The Power BI tool allows users to create reports and dashboards through an intuitive interface. It helps non-technical users with tools in aggregating, analyzing, and presenting the data in a visual format.

Power BI can be easily integrated with other Microsoft products.

Power BI Features

  • Easy collaboration and sharing of reports
  • 360-degree view of data, natural-language query
  • Navigation pane
  • Ad Hoc reporting and analysis
  • Online Analytical Processing (OLAP)
  • Trend indicators
  • Real-time dashboards
  • Content Packs: for sharing dashboards with team.

Which Companies Use Power BI?

  • Metro Bank
  • Conde Nast
  • Aston Martin
  • Rolls Royce
  • Heathrow
  • Hewlett Packard
  • Adobe
  • Kraft Heinz
  • GE Healthcare
  • Rockwell Automation

Pros of Power BI

  • Easy to use
  • Constant updates with new features
  • A number of data source connections
  • Ability to create custom visualizations
  • Active user community

Cons of Power BI

  • Rigid formulas, it uses DAX as the language for calculations
  • Free versions have data handling limitations
  • Visualizations have limited configuration options

Tableau vs Power BI

1. Data Visualization

Tableau is known for its data visualization capabilities, whereas Power BI has numerous data points to offer data visualization.

Microsoft Power BI includes Column Bar/Stacked//Cluster charts, Area charts, Line charts, Ribbon Chart, Funnel charts, etc. 

Tableau include simple visualizations such as a Bar Chart or Pie Chart to complex visualizations such as Bullet Chart, Gantt Chart, Boxplot, etc. 

Tableau also has a lot of pre-installed information on geographical data such as Administrative Boundaries, Postal Codes, Cities, etc. 

This allows users to make detailed maps using Tableau. 

Tableau has various kinds of Maps such as Flow map, Heat map, Choropleth maps, Point distribution map,etc.

2. Products

Power BI and Tableau have launched various products for data analytics and the business intelligence market. 

Here is the list of each platform’s services and products.

Power BI’s Products And Services:

Power BI is a part of the Microsoft Business Intelligence MSBI Suite.

It offers a wide range of products and services:

  • Power BI Desktop: A free visualization and reporting tool.
  • Power BI Pro: A self-service Business Intelligence tool in the cloud.
  • Power BI Premium: Cloud-based advanced analytics and data visualization service.
  • Power BI Mobile: An app that lets you monitor and access Power BI dashboards anytime, anywhere.
  • Power BI Report Server: An On-premise enterprise reporting server. It is available in two licenses;
  • Power BI Premium
  • SQL Server Enterprise Edition

Tableau’s Products And Services:

  • Tableau Server: An enterprise-level online platform to manage data and data sources.
  • Tableau Online/Cloud: A fully-hosted, cloud-based, analytics platform that makes sharing and collaboration easy.
  • Tableau Desktop: A self-service business analytics and data visualization tool.
  • Tableau Prep: A visual tool designed to make preparing your data easy and intuitive.
  • Tableau Reader: A free desktop application to view and interact with data visualizations.
  • Tableau Mobile: An app for Tableau Online and Tableau Server, giving you access to your Tableau site on the go.

3. Cost

Power BI Pro – Starts at $9.99 per monthTableau Creator – $70 per user/month
Power Bi Premium :
– Per User: $20/user/month
– Per Capacity: $4995/capacity/month
Tableau Explorer $35 user/month

Power BI

Note: Users don’t necessarily need a subscription to Office365 to use Power BI. 

Power BI Pro, a self-service BI in the cloud costs 9.99 USD per month. 

Power BI Premium provides advanced analytics, on-premises and cloud reporting. 

Power BI Premium is licensed on 2 plans:
Per User: $20/user/month
Per Capacity: $4995/capacity/month

Power BI is highly affordable for companies that already use Microsoft software in their ecosystem.


Compared to Power BI, Tableau has a completely different pricing system.

The pricing structure is divided between individuals, teams, and embedded analytics. 

For teams, the pricing is further divided into Tableau Creator, Tableau Explorer, and Tableau Viewer. 

Tableau Creator costs 70 USD per month. 

It provides access to Tableau Desktop and Tableau Prep Builder.

It also offers a Creator license of Tableau Server or Tableau Online. 

Tableau Explorer provides one Explorer license of Tableau Server for 35 USD per month. 

It provides minimum 5 explorers and Tableau Viewer for 12 USD per month with minimum 100 viewers. 

Hence, Power BI is more cost efficient when compared to Tableau. 

4. Security

Power BI uses Azure BLOB storage and Azure SQL database for storing and managing data storage security. It also provides row-level security (RLS) for role-based data access.

Tableau has the following pre-set user roles:

  • Viewer
  • Interactor
  • Editor 

These roles are available for the publisher to set up access permissions. 

5. Dashboards – Ease of Use

Power BI is equipped with modern features to help convert raw data into interactive and visually appealing dashboards.

It is designed to let users visualize data insights even without prior knowledge or experience. 

Creating dashboards is simple, using Power BI’s tiles, or visible metrics, which link directly to reports and datasets.

Power BI Dashboard:

A Power BI Dashboard

Tableau features are as powerful as Power BI. However, compared to Power BI, many of the features are hidden behind menus. 

Tableau is known for its visually stunning dashboards that are easy to create using drag and drop. 

Tableau Dashboard:

A Tableau Dashboard

6. Data Sources

Companies use different means to store their data. 

Different departments might store data across BigQuery, Google Cloud Bucket, Amazon Redshift, and even CSV files. 

It is important that you choose a BI platform that supports multiple data sources. 

Both Tableau and Power BI support multiple data lakes and storage.

The table highlights all popular data sources that each platform supports. 

Note: Power BI, connection to some of the data sources require Data Gateways.

Data Source Power BI
Adobe AnalyticsYesNo
Amazon RedshiftYesYes
Alibaba Data Lake and AnalyticsNoYes
Google AnalyticsYesYes
Google AdsNoYes
R ScriptYesYes
Python ScriptYesYes
SalesForce ReportYesYes
SQL ServerYesYes
Azure SQLYesYes
Text FileYesYes

Tableau vs Power BI Comparison

Power BITableau
Parent CompanyMicrosoftSalesforce
Establishment Year20132003
The Pro plan starts at $9.99 per month per user.
Costly. The basic Creator bundle starts at $70 per month per user.
LicensingNo license keys required.License keys are required.
UsabilitySmall, medium, and large enterprisesLarge enterprises
PerformanceRich in data visualization, integration, and manipulation.Hypothetical visualization, ad-hoc analysis, capable to handle a huge volume of datasets
SecurityRow-level security and role restriction.Offers row-level security and set up filters.
Learning CurvePower BI can be utilized by both experts and beginners.Tableau is best suited for seasoned data analysts.
Underlying languagePower BI uses DAX (Data Analysis Expression) for calculated columns and measures. It affects speed and reporting capabilities.Tableau employs MDX (Multidimensional Expressions). for dimensions and measures.
Supported languageR language-based visualizations are supported. Fully integrated support for R and Python is provided.
Deployment– On Cloud
– On-premise
– Windows
– On Cloud
– On-premise
– On Linux
– On Mac
– On Windows
Supports SQLYesYes
PerformanceIt can handle a limited volume of data.It can handle a huge volume of data with better performance.
Data CapacityPower BI can handle only 10 GB of data. Anything more than that requires cloud services like Azure. Tableau can handle billions of data without any requirement for cloud services.
Easy to useEasier to learn and use.Takes time and expertise to master.

Which Is Better Power BI vs Tableau? What To Choose And When?

What Are The Advantages of Power BI Over Tableau?

Real-time streaming datasets can be created directly in Power BI.

It is also better at handling complex relationships between tables and data sources.

Power BI is faster and gives quick insights. It is user-friendly and comparatively cost-efficient than Tableau.

Power BI also brings the power of transformations to the table. It can even include machine learning algorithms through clustering as you load your data into your analysis.

What Are The Advantages Of Tableau Over Power BI?

Power BI tends to drag slowly while handling bulk data. Tableau can handle large volumes of data quickly. It is faster and provides extensive features for visualizing large data sets.
Tableau doesn’t limit the number of data points in visualization. Nor does it enforces row or size limitations. It provides a 360-degree view of your data.

Which one is better – Power BI vs Tableau?

So who wins our Tableau vs Power BI? Well, it depends on your requirements.

Both have their own set of features and strengths for data visualization and business intelligence. 

If you’re a beginner, Power BI is the more suitable choice as it is more user-friendly. Power BI also has the ability to work with multiple data points and is suitable for small teams with limited resources.

Tableau is capable of handling large datasets. It is best known for its visually attractive data visualizations and is suitable for medium and large enterprises.

Tableau and Power BI users can connect to Oracle BI & Analytics tools using a BI Connector.

OAC users can get started with BI Connector Desktop Edition for FREE!

Learn more about Power BI and Tableau.

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