Tableau and Power BI are the two most popular Business Intelligence (BI) technologies used for collecting, integrating, analyzing, and presenting business information. They are used to perform tasks like data analysis, data manipulation, data visualization, etc., to make sense of business data and gather insights. However, there is a dilemma among learners, practitioners, and researchers about which of these two tools is better suited for their work. In this article, we discuss the significant differences between Power and Tableau to help you overcome this confusion. We will also briefly look at an amazing Power BI basic course to help you get started with the wonderful technology.
Introduction to Power BI
Power BI was initially developed by Ron George in the summer of 2010; however, the initial release wasn’t available for the public to download until 11 July 2011. Power BI consists of critical components such as Power BI Desktop, Power Bi Service, Power BI Gateway, Power BI Mobile Apps, and Power BI Report Server. It has an easy and attractive drag-and-drop functionality and other features that let you copy all formatting across similar visualizations.
Introduction to Tableau
The data visualization tool Tableau was founded in 2003 in Mountain View, California, and the first version – Tableau Desktop 1.0, was released in 2004. Later, Salesforce acquired Tableau on 1 August 2019. It has a drag-n-drop feature, which allows users to create interactive visuals in no time. It also has the capability to build interactive dashboards with only a few clicks. Popular Tableau products include Tableau Desktop, Tableau Online, Tableau Server, Tableau Public, Tableau Vizable, and Tableau Reader.
Comparison: Power BI vs. Tableau
Now that we have mentioned some basic facts about these Data visualization tools, let us go in-depth to understand them in detail. For this, let us compare various factors to determine which of these tools is better.
Slintel’s data, as of June 2021, shows that Tableau has a larger market share of 12.97%, and 31,568 companies are currently using it. On the other hand, Power BI has a market share of only 5.43% and 13,201 user companies. However, we must bear in mind that Power BI was launched 12 years after Tableau. Due to its ease of use and Microsoft credentials, PowerBI has gained market share rapidly and may soon outgrow Tableau at this rate. Sensing this change in tides, several companies are offering PowerBI free course materials to employees to train them n this new technology.
Better Visual Dashboard
Tableau and Power BI are both useful for creating visual dashboards that display data visualizations from different reports. However, Tableau is better known for its visually attractive dashboards, which can be easily built using a drag-and-drop option. PowerBI, on the other hand, uses tiles or visualized metrics to create dashboards, which link directly to reports and datasets. This process is fairly simple too, wherein users can easily pin tiles from a specific report to appear on a dashboard.
Ease of use
Generally, for newer users and non-data analysts, Power BI is considered easier to use. Whereas, Tableau is more popular among experienced data analysts. This is because PowerBI can be learned and understood quickly compared to Tableau, which has a steeper learning curve.
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Tableau is significantly more expensive compared to Power BI. Tableau’s package for professionals starts at $70 per month per user. In comparison, the PowerBI Pro paid plan costs only $9.99 per month per user. They even have a free version available for individual use.
Expert Reviews on Power BI vs. Tableau
Now that we have looked at some of the factors determining which among Tableau and PowerBi is the superior Data visualization tool, let us listen to what expert tech reviewers and bloggers say about this.
Technology Advice reviewed both Tableau and PowerBI and concluded that “Tableau wins in speed and capabilities, but Power BI wins for ease of use.”
However, Tableau has a few additional advantages over Power BI with its live query capabilities and extracts. These features are particularly helpful for data analysts when they are stopping all work for the query process.”
The 2018 Microsoft PowerBI review from PCMag was highly supportive, giving the tool a whopping overall score of 4.5/5, along with the Editors’ Choice honor. The analysis showered praises on Power BI’s “user-friendly user interface (UI) combined with remarkable data visualization capabilities.
The 2018 Tableau review by PCMag gave the tool an excellent score of 4.5/5 and the editor’s choice award. It was mentioned as one of the most mature products on the market in the segment, with a huge collection of data connectors and visualizations.
In 2021, Better Buys raised criticism of Power BI’s interface, stating that it is challenging for new users. However, they stated that, overall, the platform was similar to Excel, with the additional ability to create and import simple visuals. Moreover, they lauded it for giving full visibility of business performance and also bringing together disparate data.
On a similar note, a 2021 Tableau review on Better Buys described the steep learning curve of Tableau as a hindrance for executives aspiring to work on it. Moreover, it also criticized that the system slows down at times while dealing with large datasets on Tableau. However, on a positive note, Better Buys also reported that Tableau’s amazing visualization tools make data approachable for all users, especially because of its simple drag-and-drop features.
So, whether you choose Power BI or Tableau will ultimately depend on for what purpose or in what context you use these tools in your business. The overall winner in the Power BI vs. Tableau debate has to be Power BI, as it is easy to use, similar to Excel, and more affordable, making it a great option for several types of businesses. However, Tableau still has unique benefits sought by many businesses and data analysts. It is better for handling larger volumes of data and offers beautiful data visualizations and greater customization options compared to Power BI. If you wish to learn more about PowerBI or free online courses, check out the Power BI free course linked at the beginning of this article for tutorial videos.