Power bi Vs tableau
Updated on 05th Dec, 23 9.1K Views

The analytics field is dynamically changing everyday making it difficult for the vendors to offer better and customized business intelligence tools. Till now this field was led by several technology vendors like IBM, Oracle, Microstrategy, etc. But now it is not just about the rich set of features but the ease of use and efficiency that is driving the BI analytics domain.

Two of the most popular business intelligence tools are Tableau and Microsoft Power BI which are leading the analytics field in present times. While the former pioneered this field with its user-friendly features, the latter came with similar set of visualization tools giving a tough competition to its rivals.

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Tableau vs. Power BI: Which one is better?

Both the technologies are rich from the perspective of functionalities but there is a huge difference between them:

CriteriaPower BITableau
 DescriptionA cloud-based business intelligence platform providing full view of critical data A collection of intuitive business intelligence tools used for data discovery
 VisualizationProvides various visualizationsProvides a larger set of visualizations than Power BI
 OS supportOnly WindowsWindows and Macintosh OS
 Graphical features Regular charts, graphs and mapsAny kind of charts, bars and graphs

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Though both the technologies were considered as leaders by the Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms in the year 2016 but the companies still prefer Tableau over Power BI. What is the reason behind this?


Microsoft is one of leading technology players having mass presence in various different geographical locations which recently entered last year into the field of BI analytics, i.e., Power BI, while Tableau was already in the market gaining immense popularity and adoption by most of the companies. But Power BI failed to address the requirements of analysts as pointed out by the CEO of Tableau Software Francois Ajenstat by saying “Just creating a picture, anybody can do that. For us the picture is the means of communicating the data and a way of asking questions of the data”.

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Where is Power BI falling short?

Tableau comes out to be a clear winner if we compare it with Power BI in terms of data visualization abilities, graphical measures, cost, etc. But are these the only reasons behind the downfall of Power BI? If no, then where is it falling short?

Tableau released few loopholes that weaken the Power BI platform:

  • BI visualization is limited to only 3,500 data points exceeding which the data gets filtered automatically. Because of which the outliers may get missed. Unlike this Tableau does not limit the data points
  • Difficult to perform regular calculations as it requires a new language DAX to be learned. In contrast to this Tableau allows performing complex calculation with just a click
  • Limited graphical abilities restrict the users to perform complex analyses. Also forecasting is not supported by Power BI
  • Comparing the data in various categories gets complicated as Power BI does not allow you to examine more than two categories at a time
  • Lesser customizations does not allow the analysts to edit the pop-ups due to which misinterpretations may happen
  • Another lagging factor is inability to analyze offline. In order to do a research you will have to go online
  • Absence of narration of the data story
  • Inability to perform ‘What-if’ analysis as it is not supported by Power BI.

This is a reason that despite being cheaper with a cost of $152.40, enterprises are ready to pay much higher price of $999 to use Tableau.
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An article by IDC predicts the Market of Tableau to go north of $59.2 billion by 2018.


Both the tools have their own strengths and user base. Though many new technologies like Qlikview and Spotfire are coming into existence, Tableau has driven a heavy crowd towards it and hence has achieved a great ROI over the years.

“Customers are turning to Tableau for fast, agile, visual analytics that provide people with the ability to ask and answer their own questions,”-Christian Chabot, CEO of Tableau

Fundamentally it is the unbeatable value that this technology has efficiently provided to its users though its interactive, user-friendly and comprehensible interface. Nevertheless Power BI has tried to cover its shortfalls with recent upgrades, we can only look forward to what is more to come in both the technologies.

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7 thoughts on “How Tableau is better than Power BI for enterprises?”

  1. Difficult to perform regular calculations as it requires a new language DAX to be learned > once you’ve reach a certain point in learning curve of DAX lots of calculations are possible including what if scenarios.
    Forecasting is not support in Power bi ? Have you ever heard of Analytics pane in Power BI Desktop including Enable Forecasting (Preview) apparently not..
    ‘Another lagging factor is inability to analyse offline’ > definitly wrong with power i desktop if you chose import mode you can analyse your dataset offline
    Furthermore you can customize visualizations with dual Y-axes for instance

    1. Well said Alberto!

      Hate to say it, but it looks like Tableau is scrambling when they come out with stuff like this…

      Stating that Power BI is “cloud based” is a bit of a red herring, as it can be installed within a contained environment as well.

      The visualizations and chart comparison – Hate to say it, but users only use a “handful” of visualizations at best and the latest version of Power BI has some pretty slick visualizations and graphical capabilities – more so than most other BI tools out there.

      Kodak and Fujifilm used to compare how vivid the colors were and the multitudes of film types they carried compared to other vendors too – how relevant is that today, when only a handful of users still use film cameras?

      In the end, it gets down to what your customers/clients are going to be doing with the product, ease of use, support, and licensing costs. Honestly, I think “all” vendors need to be taking notice of Microsoft’s Power BI product and their end-to-end support and licensing package. The heyday of some of these niche players with expensive and complex licensing with little to no support for what you pay are GONE and if they don’t start changing with times, they’re going to find themselves on the nearest street corner flogging their polaroid camera wares. One just compare the past few Gartner charts to see who’s out of touch with their user base and going to be the next dodo bird…

  2. the Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms for 2017 is available. The situation is very different !!!!

  3. My organization uses Tableau over PowerPivot (Power BI analytical engine) so basically we get the best out of two worlds. IMO, Power BI is better in creating complex data models and allows calculations which Tableau doesn’t. The more complex the data is, the more Power BI analytic engine shines. Tableau however, does allows nicer vizualization.

  4. Can you show me your Power BI expertise ? Quick search only shows courses for Tableau, and some other products. Who did the comparison?

    The comparisons are embarrassing ill formed, worded to make Tableau “look” better “A cloud-based business intelligence platform” So there is no on-premise server version? There are other comments, this is not a comparison, at best an advert for the course offered by this company. Based other “articles” leading to this company on before on LinkedIn are at best misleading.

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