Power BI Vs Tableau: Difference and Comparison

Power BI and Tableau are two important Business Intelligence (BI) technologies for the collection, integration, analysis, and presentation of business information. They help you perform data analysis, data manipulation, and data visualization to make sense of business data and draw insights. Often learners, practitioners, and researchers come into a dilemma to decide which one of the tools they should learn or use in their work. Let's jump on to the significant differences between Power and Tableau and help you overcome some of the challenges.

Power BI is a business analytics service provided by Microsoft that can analyze and visualize data, extract insights, and share it across various departments within your organization. While Tableau is a powerful Business Intelligence tool that manages the data flow and turns data into actionable information. It can create a wide range of different visualization to present the data and showcase insights interactively.

What is Power BI?

Power BI is a business analytics service by Microsoft. It provides interactive visualizations and business intelligence capabilities with an interface simple enough for end-users to create reports and dashboards. It allows users to connect to multiple data sources, clean and transform data, create custom calculations, and visualize data through charts, graphs, and tables. 

Power BI can be accessed through a web browser, mobile device, or desktop application and integrated with other Microsoft tools like Excel and SharePoint. With its powerful data modeling and analysis capabilities, Power BI enables organizations to make data-driven decisions and gain insights into their business performance.

The Ultimate Ticket to Top Data Science Job Roles

Post Graduate Program In Data ScienceExplore Now
The Ultimate Ticket to Top Data Science Job Roles

What is Tableau?

Tableau is a data visualization and business intelligence tool that enables users to connect, visualize and share data in a highly interactive and intuitive way. It allows users to quickly analyze and explore large and complex datasets using a drag-and-drop interface without requiring coding or programming skills. Tableau provides a wide range of chart types and visualization options, such as line charts, bar charts, maps, scatter plots, and many more.

Tableau can connect to various data sources, including databases, spreadsheets, big data platforms, and cloud services. It also allows users to perform data cleaning and transformation tasks, create custom calculations, and generate insights using advanced analytics features.

Tableau provides a suite of products, including Tableau Desktop for creating and publishing visualizations, Tableau Server for sharing and collaborating on data and visualizations across an organization, and Tableau Prep for preparing and cleaning data before analysis. With its user-friendly interface and powerful visualization capabilities, Tableau has become popular for businesses and organizations looking to make data-driven decisions.

Features of Power BI

Power BI is a comprehensive business analytics tool that offers a wide range of features to help users analyze, visualize, and share data. Some of the critical elements of Power BI include:

  • Data Visualization: Power BI offers a variety of visualizations, including bar charts, line charts, pie charts, maps, and many more, which help users to gain insights from data.
  • Data Exploration: Power BI allows users to explore deeply by drilling into data points, filtering data, and creating hierarchies.
  • Data Modeling: Power BI enables users to create and manage relationships between different data sources, define calculations, and develop measures and KPIs.
  • Data Transformation: Power BI includes tools that allow users to reshape and clean data for analysis.
  • Collaboration: Power BI allows users to share and collaborate on reports and dashboards with colleagues and integrate with other Microsoft tools like Excel, SharePoint, and Teams.
  • Mobile Access: Power BI provides a mobile app that allows users to access reports and dashboards from their mobile devices.
  • Natural Language Processing: Power BI includes natural language processing capabilities that allow users to ask questions in natural language and receive answers through visualizations.
  • Real-time data: Power BI can connect to real-time data sources like Azure Stream Analytics and Power BI streaming datasets and display real-time data in visualizations.

Features of Tableau

Tableau is a powerful data visualization and business intelligence tool that offers a wide range of features to help users analyze, visualize, and share data. Some of the critical features of Tableau include the following:

  • Data Visualization: Tableau offers a variety of chart types, including bar charts, line charts, scatter plots, maps, and many more. It also provides interactive dashboards and visualizations that allow users to explore data and gain insights quickly.
  • Data Exploration: Tableau allows users to explore data in depth by drilling into data points, filtering data, and creating hierarchies.
  • Data Modeling: Tableau enables users to create and manage relationships between different data sources, define calculations, and create measures and KPIs.
  • Data Preparation: Tableau includes a suite of data preparation tools that allow users to reshape and clean data for analysis.
  • Collaboration: Tableau allows users to share and collaborate on reports and dashboards with colleagues and integrate with other tools like Slack, Salesforce, and Google Drive.
  • Mobile Access: Tableau provides a mobile app that allows users to access reports and dashboards from their mobile devices.
  • Natural Language Processing: Tableau includes natural language processing capabilities that allow users to ask questions in natural language and receive answers in the form of visualizations.
  • Real-time data: Tableau can connect to real-time data sources like Amazon Kinesis, Apache Kafka, and Tableau Server extracts and display real-time data in visualizations.

Elevate Your Data Analytics Career in 2024

PL-300 Microsoft Power BI Certification TrainingExplore Program
Elevate Your Data Analytics Career in 2024

Advantages and Disadvantages of Power BI

Advantages of Power BI:

  • Integration with Microsoft products: Power BI is developed by Microsoft, which integrates well with other Microsoft products like Excel, SharePoint, and SQL Server.
  • Ease of use: Power BI has a user-friendly interface and intuitive drag-and-drop features, which make it easy to create reports and dashboards without needing extensive technical knowledge.
  • Fast data processing: Power BI can handle large amounts of data and provides fast data processing, so users can quickly get insights from their data.
  • Affordable: Power BI offers affordable pricing options, including a free version and a low-cost subscription plan for small businesses.

Disadvantages of Power BI:

  • Limited customization options: While Power BI offers a range of customization options, it may provide a different level of flexibility and customization than Tableau.
  • Limited data connectivity: Power BI may only connect to a few data sources as Tableau, which can be a disadvantage if you need to work with data from multiple sources.
  • Limited features in the free version: The free version of Power BI has limitations, such as a smaller data capacity and fewer features than the paid version.
  • Dependence on Microsoft products: Since Microsoft develops Power BI, it may require using other Microsoft products to utilize all its features fully.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Tableau

Advantages of Tableau:

  • Data visualization capabilities: Tableau is well-known for its advanced data visualization capabilities. It offers a wide range of charts, graphs, and other visualizations, making it easy to explore and communicate data.
  • Flexibility: Tableau provides flexibility regarding data sources, allowing users to connect to a wide range of data sources, including cloud-based data platforms.
  • High level of customization: Tableau offers a high level of customization, allowing users to customize the appearance and functionality of their reports and dashboards to fit their needs.
  • Strong community support: Tableau has a large and active community of users who share tips, resources, and best practices, making it easy to get help and learn from others.

Disadvantages of Tableau:

  • High cost: Tableau can be expensive, especially for larger organizations that need multiple licenses or access to more advanced features.
  • Steep learning curve: Tableau can be more difficult to learn than Power BI, especially for beginners or those without a technical background.
  • Performance issues with large data sets: Tableau may have performance issues with large data sets or complex calculations, which can slow the analysis process.
  • Limited support for real-time data: Tableau may not be as effective in handling real-time data or streaming data sources as other tools designed specifically for real-time data processing.

Future-Proof Your AI/ML Career: Top Dos and Don'ts

Free Webinar | 5 Dec, Tuesday | 7 PM ISTRegister Now
Future-Proof Your AI/ML Career: Top Dos and Don'ts

Key Differences between Power BI and Tableau

Power BI and Tableau differ primarily in their user interface and ease of use, data handling capabilities, and integration with other tools and platforms.

Power BI and Tableau are both powerful business intelligence tools that enable data visualization and analysis. While they have some similarities, there are key differences between the two:

  1. User Interface: Tableau has a more user-friendly and intuitive interface, with drag-and-drop functionality and easier-to-use visuals. Power BI can take a bit more time to learn but provides more robust functionality for advanced users.

  2. Data Integration: Power BI is more tightly integrated with Microsoft products, such as Excel and SQL Server, whereas Tableau can connect to a wider range of data sources, including cloud-based databases and web services.

  3. Pricing: Power BI offers a more affordable pricing structure, with a free version and lower-cost paid options. Tableau, on the other hand, can be more expensive, especially for enterprise-level solutions.
  4. Customization: Tableau provides more advanced customization options for dashboards and visualizations, whereas Power BI is more limited in this regard.

  5. Collaboration: Power BI has more collaboration features built-in, such as co-authoring and commenting, whereas Tableau requires third-party tools to achieve similar functionality.

  6. Ownership and Pricing: Power BI is a Microsoft product licensed on a per-user basis, while Tableau is owned by Salesforce and licensed on a per-user or per-server basis.

  7. Data Integration: Power BI is tightly integrated with other Microsoft products like Excel, Azure, and Dynamics 365, while Tableau has more options for integrating with third-party applications and data sources.

  8. Visualization Capabilities: Tableau is known for its exceptional visualization capabilities and has more advanced charting options. In contrast, Power BI has a more user-friendly interface for creating basic charts and visualizations.

  9. Data Modeling: Power BI has more robust data modeling and ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) capabilities than Tableau, making it a better choice for data manipulation and analysis.

  10. Collaboration: Tableau has more robust collaboration features, including creating and sharing interactive dashboards with other users, while Power BI is more focused on individual user analysis.

  11. Mobile App: Power BI has a more robust mobile app for iOS and Android devices, while Tableau's mobile app is more limited in functionality.

Ultimately, the choice between Power BI and Tableau depends on the specific needs of the user and their organization. Power BI may be a better fit for Microsoft-centric environments, while Tableau may be a better fit for organizations with more complex data integration needs or advanced customization requirements. Let us dig deeper to understand more abour Power BI and tableau from scratch.

    Tableau Products

    Tableau offers several products that can be used for data analysis and visualization. Here are some of the main products:

    • Tableau Desktop: This is the main product for creating data visualizations and dashboards. It is a desktop application that can connect to various data sources and allows users to create interactive visualizations using a drag-and-drop interface.
    • Tableau Prep: This product is used for preparing and cleaning data before analysis. It allows users to combine and transform data from multiple sources to create a clean and consistent data set.
    • Tableau Server: This product allows users to share their Tableau content securely within an organization. It provides a centralized location for storing and managing Tableau content and collaboration and governance features.
    • Tableau Online: This is a cloud-based version of Tableau Server that allows users to share their Tableau content securely over the internet. It provides a scalable and flexible option for organizations that want to use Tableau without setting up their own infrastructure.
    • Tableau Mobile: This product provides a mobile app for accessing and interacting with Tableau content on mobile devices. It allows users to view and interact with dashboards and visualizations on the go.
    • Tableau Public: This is a free platform for creating and sharing public data visualizations. It allows users to publish their visualizations to the web and share them with a global audience.

    Elevate Your Data Analytics Career in 2024

    PL-300 Microsoft Power BI Certification TrainingExplore Program
    Elevate Your Data Analytics Career in 2024

    Power BI Products

    Power BI is a suite of business analytics tools developed by Microsoft. Here are some of the main products offered by Power BI:

    • Power BI Desktop: The main product for creating data visualizations and reports. It is a Windows desktop application that can connect to a variety of data sources and allows users to create interactive visualizations using a drag-and-drop interface.
    • Power BI Service: This cloud-based platform for sharing and collaborating on Power BI content. It provides a centralized location for storing and managing Power BI content, as well as collaboration and governance features.
    • Power BI Mobile: This product provides mobile apps for accessing and interacting with Power BI content on mobile devices. It allows users to view and interact with dashboards and visualizations on the go.
    • Power BI Embedded: This product allows developers to embed Power BI visualizations and reports into other applications, such as websites or business applications.
    • Power BI Report Server: This is an on-premises version of the Power BI Service designed for organizations that need to keep their data behind a firewall. It allows users to create, publish, and manage Power BI reports on their own servers.
    • Power BI Premium: This is a paid version of Power BI that offers additional features and capabilities, such as increased storage capacity, more frequent data refreshes, and higher performance.

    Cost of Power BI and Tableau

    Power BI

    powerbi2

    Tableau

    tab-2

    Power BI is cheaper than Tableau software. Power BI professional version costs less than $10 per month per user. The yearly subscription comes around $100. Power BI Premium is licensed by dedicated cloud compute and storage resources and is priced at $4,995/month.

    Tableau is more expensive, where the pro version of Tableau comes at more than $35 per month per user. The yearly subscription costs around $1000. Tableau Creator costs around $70/ month, while Tableau Viewer is priced at $12/month. If you are a startup or a small business, you can opt for Power BI and then upgrade to Tableau if the need arises.

    Performance of Power BI and Tableau

    Power BI

    Tableau

    Power BI is easy to use. It is faster and performs better when the volume of data is limited. Power BI tends to drag slowly while handling bulk data.

    Tableau can handle large volumes of data quickly. It is faster and provides extensive features for visualizing the data. Tableau doesn't limit the number of data points in visualization or enforce row or size limitations, giving you a 360-degree view of your data.

    Become a Data Scientist With Real-World Experience

    Data Scientist Master’s ProgramExplore Program
    Become a Data Scientist With Real-World Experience

    User Interface of Power BI and Tableau

    Power BI

    powerbi-4

    Tableau

    tab-4

    The user interface of Power BI is intuitive, and it can easily be integrated with other Microsoft products. Power BI interface is easy to learn and understand. It is user friendly and allows you to operate better. Power BI Desktop provides three views that you can select on the left side of the canvas - the report view, the data view, and the model view.

    Tableau has an intelligent interface that enables you to create and customize the dashboards according to your requirements. It has an inviting workspace area that encourages you to experiment with data and get smart results. The workspace area has different cards and shelves, toolbar, sidebar, data source page, status bar, and sheet tabs. 

    Data Sources in Power BI and Tableau

    Power BI

    powerbi-5

    Tableau

    Power BI is that it supports various data sources but has limited access to other databases and servers compared to Tableau. Some of the examples are Microsoft Excel, Text/CSV, Folders, MS SQL Server, Access DB, Oracle Database, IBM DB2, MySQL database, PostgreSQL database, etc.

    Tableau Software has access to numerous data sources and servers such as Excel, Text File, PDF, JSON, statistical file, Amazon Redshift, Cloudera Hadoop, Google Analytics, dropbox, google sheets, google drive and others.

    Programming Support for Power BI and Tableau

    Power BI

    powerbi-7

    Tableau

    tab-7

    Power BI supports Data Analysis Expression and M language for data manipulation and data modeling. It can also connect to the R programming language using Microsoft revolution analytics, but it is available only for enterprise-level users. 

    Compared to Power BI, Tableau integrates much better with the R language. Tableau Software Development Kit can be implemented using any of the four programming languages - C, C++, Java, and Python. By connecting to these programming languages, you can build even more powerful visualizations.

    Data Visualization in Power BI and Tableau 

    Power BI

    powerbi-8

    Tableau

    tab-8

    Power BI provides an easy to use drag and drop functionality. It provides features that make data visually appealing. Power BI offers a wide range of detailed and attractive visualizations to create reports and dashboards. Using Power BI service, you can ask questions about your data, and it will give you meaningful insights.

    Tableau also allows its users to customize dashboards specifically for a device. It delivers interactive visuals that support insights on the fly. It can translate queries to visualizations and makes you ask questions, spot trends, and identify opportunities. You don't require any prior knowledge to work on Tableau since it provides in-built table calculations to build reports and dashboards.

    Elevate Your Data Analytics Career in 2024

    PL-300 Microsoft Power BI Certification TrainingExplore Program
    Elevate Your Data Analytics Career in 2024

    Customer Support in Power BI and Tableau

    Power BI

    powerbi-10

    Tableau

    tab-10

    Microsoft Power BI is relatively younger in the market than Tableau and hence has a smaller community.

    While Tableau has over 160,000 active users participating in over 500 global user groups and over 150,000 active customers participating in the Tableau online community.

    Power Bi vs Tableau: Which Is Better?

    Now that you know the difference between Power BI and Tableau's business analysis tools, you can always choose the right one based on your business requirement and budget.

    You can also enroll for Simplilearn's Caltech Post Graduate Program in Data Science course and advance your data analytics career, or join our Power BI Certification Training Course and master concepts like Microsoft Power BI Desktop layouts, BI reports, dashboards, Power BI DAX commands and much more.

    FAQs

    1. What is the major difference between Tableau and Power BI?

    Tableau can handle large amounts of data relatively easily, offers more visualization capabilities, has customizable dashboards, has a larger community, is slightly more complicated to use, requires R programming language knowledge, and is slightly more expensive.

    On the other hand, Power BI offers pre-built dashboards, real-time dashboard updates, new features added frequently, extensive database connectivity capabilities, quick deployment, and hybrid configuration and is also backed with AI and ML.

    2. What is better Tableau or Power BI?

    While there are fans of both Tableau and Power BI constantly bickering about which one is better, it depends on the user's needs. While Power BI is a more powerful and cost-friendly tool, Tableau offers ease of use and more visualization options.

    3. Can Power BI connect to Tableau?

    Yes, data models created in Power BI can now be consumed by Tableau.

    4. Is Power BI easier than Tableau?

    Power BI is considered to be easier to use for new users who aren’t data analysts. Tableau has a slightly steeper learning curve and is popular with seasoned data analysts.

    5. Does Tableau require coding?

    While Tableau does provide some scripting options through its Calculation Editor and Script Editor features, these are optional and not necessary for creating basic visualizations.

    Additionally, Tableau offers connectors to various data sources such as spreadsheets, databases, cloud platforms, and web-based applications that allow users to extract, transform, and load data without writing any code

    6. Should I learn Excel before Tableau?

    While you do not need to learn Excel before learning Tableau, having a basic understanding of Excel can be helpful when working with data in Tableau.

    7. Does Tableau have a future?

    Tableau has been a popular data visualization tool for many years and has established itself as a leader in the industry. It is widely used by businesses, organizations, and data professionals for creating interactive visualizations and dashboards. In addition, Tableau has been continually updating and improving its products and features to meet the changing needs of its users.

    Furthermore, as the amount of data generated continues to grow rapidly, the need for effective data analysis and visualization tools is only increasing. With its ease of use, flexibility, and powerful capabilities, Tableau is well-positioned to meet this demand and remain a popular tool for data analysis and visualization.

    While no prediction can be 100% certain, Tableau will likely remain in demand in 2023 and beyond.

    8. Is Tableau an ETL tool?

    Tableau is not primarily an ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) tool, although it does have some basic ETL capabilities.

    Tableau is primarily a data visualization and analysis tool, designed to help users explore and understand their data. It allows users to connect to a wide variety of data sources, including databases, spreadsheets, and cloud-based data services, and create interactive visualizations and dashboards to communicate insights.

    9. Is Tableau hard to learn?

    The difficulty of learning Tableau largely depends on your previous experience with data visualization and analysis tools. However, Tableau is one of the easier data visualization tools to learn and use.

    Tableau has a user-friendly interface and provides a drag-and-drop feature that simplifies creating visualizations. It also has a large online community with many resources and tutorials available.

    Tableau offers a variety of resources, including online courses, documentation, and a community forum, to help users learn the tool. With dedication and practice, most people can become proficient in using Tableau within a few weeks or months.

    10. Which is more powerful, Power BI or Tableau?

    Both Power BI and Tableau are powerful data visualization tools, but they have different strengths and weaknesses. Power BI is better at handling large datasets and is more tightly integrated with Microsoft products. Tableau, on the other hand, is better at creating interactive dashboards and provides more advanced customization options.

    11. Should I learn Power BI and Tableau both?

    Yes, learning both Power BI and Tableau can be beneficial. While they have some similarities in terms of data visualization and analytics, they also have unique features and capabilities. By learning both tools, you can expand your skill set and be equipped to work with a wider range of data analysis tasks.

    Additionally, some organizations may use one tool over the other, so having proficiency in both can increase your opportunities for employment and collaboration. Ultimately, the decision to learn both Power BI and Tableau depends on your specific goals, the nature of your work, and the industry you are in.

    About the Author

    Avijeet BiswalAvijeet Biswal

    Avijeet is a Senior Research Analyst at Simplilearn. Passionate about Data Analytics, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning, Avijeet is also interested in politics, cricket, and football.

    View More
    • Disclaimer
    • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.