Business Intelligence Tools: Power BI vs. Tableau

In .Data & applied AI, Blogfest-en by Baufest

Software product comparisons are not always beneficial, as they very seldom help to understand the specifics of a tool, as much as who could make good use of it, and who could not.

Thursday 25 - November - 2021
personas de negocios reunidas

Here, we will try to clarify exactly that: the focus of two outstanding solutions in the field of Business Intelligence (BI) such as Tableau and Power BI.  

Business intelligence and data analysis tools are important because they enable companies to analyse commercial and client´s data with the purpose of making more informed and intelligent decisions. Besides, they facilitate a clear visualization of data, as panels, which help detect trends and patterns.

Power BI is a Microsoft solution, very well known by organizations which adopt this supplier´s ecosystem. It is available in three categories: desktop, mobile and as a service. It could be defined as a company data analysis tool, used to analyze the business and obtain insight from it.  

At an integration level, as it admits an important number of data sources –from Cloud storage services (or data cloud) to files without a connection, such as Excel – it enables companies to centralize their data in just one place.

In one of its versions, Power BI is a Cloud based platform that companies can benefit from to consolidate data from different sources into just one set that could afterwards be visualized or analyzed creating custom made panels and shareable reports. Nevertheless, users also have the possibility of implementing this tool in their installations. 

At present, this solution offers a very good capacity to generate, transform and model data. It has an easy-to-use interface with interesting abilities of data visualization after the cleaning and integration process, which go from simple panels to analyze e commerce metrics to other very complex ones.

Business Intelligence

Power BI allows for the generation of reports on request. It also helps in data analysis, to identify trends and patterns. It can be used by beginners and skilled users as well.

It is a tool that is updated and incorporates innovations frequently. As well, it has an ample community of employees and users that can collaborate in different cases of use. On the other hand, their prices can be attractive for small scale companies with reduced teams, who need to analyse a limited amount of data.  

Among the cons of Power BI, it could be mentioned that it has a more or less pronounced learning curve, and its capacity to deliver data is limited. The desktop application is very good, but it needs performance improvements and it does not have a MacOS version.

Data visualization

Tableau, on the other hand, is well known for its excellent capacities of information visualization. It allows for the creation of complex control panels with an outstanding interactivity to understand data and obtain information. It offers a friendly interface that enables a quick start to producing analysis and useful data visualization. With Tableau, users can easily transform unprocessed data to a format anyone can understand.

This tool enables users to understand data without the need of technical knowledge, and enables the understanding of any complex process through a simple and efficient approach.

At a configuration level, this solution allows for sharing the results generated in Tableau Desktop through Tableau Online or Tableau Server. It is available in house as well as on the Cloud. It enables the integration of uneven data – including spreadsheets and SQL bases. It counts with proper assistance and discussion forums.

Essentially, Tableau is a data analysis and business intelligence tool to generate reports and data visualization with great flexibility. Regarding costs, it is billed according to the case of use, number of team members and user roles. It is more costly than Power BI and its licensing modality is more complex.

When it comes to handling large volumes of data from various sources, to extracting statistics and visualizing data, this solution offers a great number of functions and options for breakdown. It can easily manage great volumes of data without performance issues and with ample functions to visualize massive data.

Besides being costly, among the cons of Tableau, it should be said that it lacks some BI capacities, as producing large scale reports, generating data spreadsheets and static designs.

Actually, the selection of a BI tool often depends on the needs and commercial requisites of each company. Even at the risk of a generalization, it could be concluded that “if the volume of data analysed is limited, Power BI could be the right tool; however, if we are dealing with the analysis of massive data, probably Tableau could be a better option”. Nevertheless, if, for example, the case of use requires the implementation of complex machine learning tasks (the artificial intelligence technique), PowerBI will offer more solutions.