Power BI vs Tableau

Updated on April 11, 2024
Article byJeevan A Y
Edited byAshish Kumar Srivastav
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

Difference Between Power BI and Tableau

If we look in a general way, Power BI and Tableau are both tools for data visualization. So, what could be the difference between them? Of course, some limitations exist, such as Power BI being used to make reports and predict a certain growth or decrease in the data output. But on the other hand, a Tableau is used to give much more detailed versions of the visualization.

The key difference is that Power BI, a product from Microsoft since 2013, is a business intelligence tool that one can use for data visualization and predictive modeling. At the same time, Tableau has been a tool since 2003 and is primarily used to convert raw data into beautiful dashboards and obtain creative insights.

Power BI

Power BI is the modern product of Microsoft to visualize the data and was launched in 2013. So, when you say 2013, you can sense that it is a current product. It is a business intelligence tool used for data visualization with various available visualizations. It will convert the raw data into meaningful insights and provide beautiful dashboards for our data.

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Tableau

Tableau is also a data visualization tool but has been there since 2003 and is now the number one visualization tool. This tool also helps us to convert the raw data into meaningful insights and provide beautiful dashboards for our data.

Key Differences

The key differences are as follows –

  • Cost: To acquire Tableau, you need to break the bank and expensive product, but on the other hand, Power BI is less expensive and cheap.
  • Free Versions: Power BI Desktop is a free version with enough resources and tools to visualize the data, but Tableau’s free version has very few limited access to all the advanced tools.
  • Data Capacity: Power BI can handle only 10 GB of data, and anything more than that requires cloud services like Azure. Tableau can handle billions of data without any problem and requirement of cloud services.

Power BI vs Tableau Comparative Table

ItemsPower BITableau
AvailabilityIt is a Microsoft product and comes with the Office 365 version. The Power BI Desktop version comes free of cost with enough features to build the dashboard.It has been there for a long time. Most data analysis people are aware of this visualization tool as well.
LearningSince Power BI is a product of Microsoft, almost all the DAX formulas are identical as we apply in Excel and seem a little easy to learn and apply.Many people do not use Tableau formulas. As a result, you may find it difficult to learn and apply.
Cost to AcquireIt doesn’t need to break the bank to acquire it. It comes at the cost of $10 per user per month. This tool costs almost ten times less than what Tableau costs.Tableau costs around $1,000 per year subscription.
Data SourcesPower BI uses most Microsoft systems like Azure, SQL, and Excel.Tableau also supports most things and fetches data from everywhere.
Size of the DataEach workspace of Power BI can handle up to 10 GB of data, and anything more than that requires data from Cloud-based services like Azure.Tableau stores unique values for each column, making it possible to store billions of rows.
User InterfacePower BI has an intuitive interface and is easy to handle and learn.Tableau’s intelligence interface allows the user to dig deep and create insights.
IntegrationPower BI uses easy integration, most of which are third-party data sources.Tableau also has the same feature but has the edge over Power BI in this category because Tableau can integrate the data out of the box.
VisualizationIt has an easy way of uploading the data, and visualization types are much better than Tableau.Tableau can handle large volumes of data, has much better drill-down options, and allows the user to switch between visualizations on the go.
Customer CommunityIt is a modern product with a lesser customer community but will catch up with Tableau soon.Tableau has been there for a long time and has a large customer community.
DeploymentPower BI uses the SaaS model i.e. Software as a service.Tableau is available as both software and cloud.

Conclusion

Both are excellent products. There is no clear winner here. Tableau has been there for a long time, which is key for their larger customer database. But Power BI is not too far behind in the customer base.

As a normal stakeholder, you can choose Power BI over Tableau, but those who are data scientists need Tableau because no product has the edge over others. We can conclude that Power BI is user-friendly. Tableau is known for its speed and capacity to handle data size.

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