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Power BI vs. Tableau: A Dashboard Duel

In a new world where data is king, there are many business intelligence tools that help companies utilize the data they constantly generate to make more optimal operational and strategic decisions. Data analysis and visualization are key steps in making seemingly-endless amounts of raw data useful; therefore, it’s especially important to choose the right tools to help your business make the right decisions. So, between two industry leaders, Microsoft Power BI and Salesforce’s Tableau, who ultimately comes out on top?



Feature Lineup:


Power BI boasts both a cloud-based service and a free-to-use desktop interface. The platform can connect directly to a plethora of data sources and has scalable dashboards and reports, along with advanced data modeling capabilities that allow for easy data transformation.


On the other hand, Tableau offers worksheets and dashboards that make data visualization a smooth process, providing real-time actionable insights for even an inexperienced user to follow. Users can leverage up to 24 different out-of-the-box visualizations within Tableau. It also offers best-in-class customer service and a large community forum that helps users work through difficulties.



Application Ecosystems:


As a Microsoft product, Power BI integrates seamlessly with the rest of the Microsoft suite. Businesses can connect with Excel to access data, Powerpoint to present visualizations, and Teams to share analysis, among others. In addition, users can connect with cloud data warehouses and processing engines under the Microsoft Azure umbrella.


Users can also connect Tableau with many business applications they already know and love. For example, you can embed dashboards in other apps and easily pull data to visualize. However, integration with a suite of leading applications like Microsoft Azure is not as seamless as with Power BI. This integration is slightly more complicated and is better achieved after selecting exactly which data you want to connect.



Price Points:


PowerBI has a tiered pricing model with Desktop, Pro, and Premium models. After a 60 day free trial, Pro costs $9.99 per month. Beyond that, the Premium model costs $20 per month for one user, or $4,995 per month to license an entire enterprise organization. They also have a price calculator to help buyers decide.


Tableau also has three user levels, but they each have two price options depending on whether you want it locally (on-premise) or in the cloud. The Viewer plan is $12 per month locally ($15 on the cloud), the Explorer is $35 (or $42 on the cloud), and the Creator plan is $70 either way. The Viewer plan also requires 100 viewers, aptly, before it can be purchased, although there is a 14-day free trial available. Lastly, there is a $500 per user per year plan for more in-depth usage without a data limit. Generally, Tableau is slightly more expensive all-in for end users, especially for small to mid-sized businesses.



Advantages and Disadvantages:


Power BI has a lot to offer for both experienced and novice users, and is an easy interface to learn. However, it does struggle to work with large data files and has less developed customer service, which may be frustrating.


Tableau has a massive amount of visualization tools, allows for easy viewing of raw source data, and can handle a larger volume of data. On the other hand, it has higher costs and is harder to integrate into other programs, such as the robust Microsoft suite of applications and cloud technologies.



So Who Wins?


Both business intelligence tools have their advantages and disadvantages, and either could be the right choice for your company. It’s important to analyze your own needs and resources to choose the best option to utilize your data to make better business decisions in the long run. Generally, Power BI makes sense for smaller and mid-sized companies, while Tableau shines in booming enterprise environments.



Resources:

Getting Started with Power BI

Why Tableau


The Astral Consulting Group brings together the analytical thinking of an engineer and the holistic business acumen of a management consultant to build data-driven cultures. Through cloud infrastructure, Astral Analytics, and real-time data visualization, we empower our clients to make the right decision at the right time. As engineers first, we developed The Astral Framework to build workflows unique to each business case, which incorporate both the “first-principles” and Agile methodologies. We pride ourselves on working closely alongside our clients throughout each engagement, offering virtual and in-person expertise every step of the way.

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