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Self-service BI software comparison: Tableau vs. Power BI, Qlik Sense

Three software vendors have taken the lead in the market for self-service BI tools. This chart can help you sort out the differences between these common software applications.

During the past couple of years, a handful of major players have dominated the self-service business intelligence...


Microsoft's Power BI, Qlik Sense and Tableau Software offer features and functionality that put them ahead of the competition in a number of key areas. But, when compared, these three vendors offer very different pros and cons. While these vendors lead the pack in the crowded self-service BI market, each enterprise will have to decide which offering is best for them, as they are not interchangeable.

Tableau has led the way on functionality and design, but it has recently started seeing strong competition, particularly from Power BI, which offers somewhat less functionality for a significantly lower price. And Qlik's software excels at producing interactive graphics using complex data.

The self-service BI software market has become crowded over the past few years, and what once was innovative -- supporting business users in getting insights from data -- is now the industry standard. This means that vendors are competing over increasingly narrow differences.

Things like support for advanced analytics functionality and cloud options have become bigger deciding factors than in the past. And now the trend of smart data discovery -- which involves using machine learning algorithms to detect meaningful insights in data, rather than forcing a person to find correlations -- is playing a role in the ability of self-service platforms to deliver ROI.

Self-service BI vendor comparison
Self-service BI vendor comparison

Going forward, whichever vendor can most successfully take advantage of these trends will dominate the self-service BI software market. But, for now, these three vendors have distinguished themselves from the competition. If you're evaluating Tableau vs. Power BI and Qlik Sense, review the chart to see which tool best fits your needs.

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Why did you choose your current self-service BI software vendor?
Interesting article, but I miss one self-service BI tool that in my view beats all of those on your list - TIBCO Spotfire?
Good point. There are definitely some other great vendors out there, TIBCO being one of them. This chart isn't meant to be definitive or to suggest that people should only consider the three included. It's mainly to look at the three most talked about vendors with comparable functionality right now. 
Great post Ed and great attempt in trying to simplify the complex!  The reality is that the average organization has tens of BI tools deployed.  Many (if not most) are justified as their teams (business and IT) have determined the best tools for their use cases.  The issue that hurts companies the most is consistency in data access and semantics.  It doesn't help anyone to have a great visualization if users can't get the right data they need and in time for them to use it for insights. Gartner has 24 tools in their latest quadrant.  G2 Crowd has even more than that! The space is getting more (not less) crowded, so that's why focusing on what impacts the business the most is probably the most important debate!
It's one thing to be Self-services and have advanced feature for end users.
But does not mean that they fulfill Platform gap.

In my eyes, PowerBI, Tableau and Qlik are User Drivern (individual) self-service BI Desktop tools.
BI Office of Pyramid Analytics (also co-developers of Power BI) are Organization Driven BI Platform with stronger platform Enterprise functionalities.

PowerBI is not possible to run on-premise and if an Enterprise is not willing to go Cloud, the desktop and group possibilities are not Enterprise Platform ready.
Tableau tries to beat an Enterprise platform on PRICE not functionality. A core based concurrent users server. However forgets to mention that they also need to upgrade their IT infrastructure and hardware to get an optimal performance.
Qlik is just like Tableau also heavy on hardware requirement for corporate to enterprise companies.
Qlik also doesn't have a license model that caters to Enterprise customers.

Tableau and Qlik also have a partner model that keeps the customer dependent on a Qlik or Tableau developer which you mostly need to pay for if you are locked into a partner agreement for $1500 a day.
Last but not least both tableau and qlik put your data in a propitiatory patented cube. So replication, compression and in a cube that is not yours and owned by the vendor and their investors and the country where the HQ resides.

This is based on my last 15 years of experience.

Try Pyramid Analyticsand compare it's Enterprise functionalities; Governance, Security, Scale-ability and Use-ability.

  • Native connectivity to data sources via a distributed data schema
  • Performance at Scale
  • Enterprise scale Administration, Unquestionable Security & Governance
  • Self Service; confidence to allow unsupervised access to all data assets as appropriate to the user role.
  • Mobile Analytics - Tight intgration from Mobile device to back-end data sources.

Nice article, although would be great if we could get some more insights on main features comparing each of these. According to some websites, Tableau is the best, but also the more expensive. I would go for Power BI, since is the one that is developing faster adding more and more features and it is easy to implement, besides is free.
hello , 
Nice article, although would be great if we could get some more insights on main features comparing each of these.And also can you please self-service a little more explain. Thank you for good article
Thank you for good article