While Tableau, QlikView and Microsoft’s Power BI are all competitive market leaders in the BI sector, each specialises somewhat differently. Tableau’s user friendly drag and drop capabilities allow non-technical users to easily create and develop their own dashboards. QlikView’s powerful scripting language allows users to take advantage of its in-memory analytics capabilities, transform their data, and create highly customised reports and dashboards. And as a relatively recent entry to the BI sector, Power BI offers a competitive edge with its profound reporting and sharing capabilities, simple visualisations, and integration into the Microsoft stack.
Power BI comes in at the lower end of the three, offering both a free individual version and an relatively inexpensive pro version that has both sharing and reporting capabilities. Tableau lies in the middle, though they do offer a public option which allows dashboard and report publishing to the Tableau online community. The costs of pairing Tableau with an ETL or pre-processing tool also have to be considered. While QlikView can be a slightly larger investment, it is well worth the price if users are well trained and able to use its scripting capabilities.
Tableau and Power BI are the more user friendly tools of the trio, both offering simple online training courses and without the need for extensive user training. In addition, Power BI has natural language querying capabilities, which Tableau are also looking to release as a feature in an upcoming update. QlikView high level of customisability comes at the price of an increased learning slope.
With Power BI you have to select a chart type before selecting your fields, requiring some forethought, whereas Tableau allows you to select your data first and switch between visualisations to find the right fit. QlikView lies in-between, with users navigating through various menus to create their highly customisable charts.
Tableau and QlikView both offer the ability to do statistical analysis and forecasting, though not to the degree that Alteryx, R, or scientific computing libraries such as Scikit-Learn do. Power BI has yet to add this capability.
When considering the right tool for your company, it is imperative to base your decision on both the complexity of the data that will be analysed and user experience required. For extensive data transformation and analysis, QlikView may well be a solid investment. As an incredibly reasonably priced tool, Power BI is a fantastic asset for quick insights, great user experience, and sharing within your company. And if you require a simple interface and beautiful visualisations, Tableau might be your preferred choice.