This or That: Tableau or Microsoft Power BI?

If you’re looking for a business intelligence and data visualization platform, Tableau and Microsoft Power BI are two of the best. So, which platform is better for your business? We provide key features for each that will help you decide.

What is Tableau?

Tableau, the first BI platform to add data visualization, is focused on creating visuals in the form of dashboards, reports, and worksheets. Behind Tableau’s visual renderings is VizQL, a translator of SQL queries. VizQL automatically turns data into visuals as it translates your actions and expresses the response graphically. Tableau can be deployed with Tableau Online or Tableau Server (on-premises or public cloud). Packages include Tableau Viewer ($15/user/month), Tableau Explorer ($42/user/month), and Tableau Creator ($70/user/month).


Tableau is geared toward corporate environments that produce large volumes of data. It’s known for its high performance and efficiency in handling big datasets, which is where Power BI might run slower. Users can also make ‘live’ connections to different data sources and retrieve real-time data.

Speaking of sources, Tableau has the ability to establish connections with multiple data sources such as SAP, Hadoop, and Google Analytics. If you need to perform complex calculations, Tableau can use Python and R languages without affecting performance.

The Tableau community is quite extensive with a large data scientist following and over 500 global user groups. They host conferences around the world and virtual discussion panels.

What is Power BI?

Essentially, Power BI allows organizations to prepare, discover,  visualize, and share data that will help them improve operations. Microsoft says that the program bridges the gap between data and decision-making. The cloud-based suite is a collection of software services, apps, and connectors that transform your data into visual insights. The three basic elements of Power BI include Power BI Desktop (Windows desktop application), Power BI Service (an online SaaS), and mobile apps for your devices.

Power BI Strengths

When it comes to ease of use, Power BI is said to be more popular with newer users and those who are not experts in analyzing data. The user-friendly user interface and drag-and-drop functions enable employees across the organization, not just the analysts, to create visualizations. Power BI also has customizable dashboards with ’tiles’ that separate your visuals.

Since Power BI is one of the many Microsoft applications, users can easily integrate other Microsoft programs to increase functionality. It already uses Excel, Azure, and SQL, which makes it much easier for existing Microsoft users.

Power BI also offers pretty competitive pricing. Users can pick between the free version, Power BI Pro ($9.99/user/month), and Power BI Premium ($20/user/month). You can also get access to Power BI with a Microsoft 365 subscription. Tableau’s equivalent package to Power BI Pro starts at $70/user/month.

To summarize, corporate organizations with more money to spend on their large amounts of data would be best suited for Tableau. Small and mid-sized organizations that want an easy-to-use, functional platform for business intelligence would benefit most from Power BI.

Is your business leaning toward Power BI? Set up a consultation with Opal Business Solutions, a trusted Microsoft Gold Partner. We’ll provide you with the information you need and answer your questions along the way. Click below to get in touch with our team of specialists today!

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