Microsoft Power BI vs Spotfire: A Detailed Comparison Guide

A suitable business intelligence software contributes significantly to your company’s growth and efficiency. Business intelligence tools provide robust access control, secure sensitive data, and share insights on what businesses (including small businesses) need. But it can be pretty challenging to find the right tool in a sea of business intelligence tools in the market.

Out of the different tools available, Microsoft’s Power BI and TIBCO’s Spotfire are two of the most well-known business intelligence software with unique features and functionalities.

Power BI is a business analytics tool that evaluates data and shares insights allowing you to observe your business from every device, anytime. Learn more about what Power BI can actually do for you. While TIBCO Spotfire product offers a visual and interactive experience to discover new and actionable insights from data. So, when it comes to choosing a single tool between Power BI vs Spotfire, it becomes difficult.

Here is an in-depth comparison between two of the top business analytics tools—Microsoft Power BI vs TIBCO Spotfire to help you make the right software choice.

4 Key Differences Between Microsoft Power BI vs Spotfire Tools

Here are the core differences between Spotfire and Power BI to help quickly figure out the right tool to use.

Factors Microsoft Power BI TIBCO Spotfire
Pricing Microsoft Power BI offers multiple packages in the form of a Desktop, Pro, and Premium. The price starts at $9.99 per user/month—quite reasonable compared to other tools. However, the company has to pay a minimum licensing fee of $4995. Similarly, TIBCO Spotfire offers Analyst, Consumer, and Business author packages. The library package offers 25 GB of storage for $25 per month. No minimum licensing fees. Companies get some extra free months in return for annual payments.
Predictive analytics Microsoft Power BI uses its AutoML feature to offer pre-built ML models for predictive analysis. The three most commonly used models are the Binary, Regression, and Classification models. TIBCO Spotfire has in-built advanced machine learning capabilities to identify data trends. It also supports open-source ML models from R, SAS, and MATLAB.
Streaming analysis Users can set streaming dataflows and provide a continuous data inflow to the tool. Microsoft Power BI continuously refreshes and updates itself with new data within specified intervals. Thanks to this feature, users can create dynamic visualizations. Data preparation and transformation are also easier to handle in Power BI. On the other hand, TIBCO Spotfire uses a query engine to draw data from 50 different data sources. Combined with predictive analysis, users can identify threats, weaknesses, and opportunities in real-time. Most importantly, users can juxtapose the current data flow against the historical data trends. Whenever there is a change in the trend, Spotfire alerts the users.
Data discovery and data visualization Microsoft Power BI is the leading tool in the data visualization sector. Its library is regularly updated to include new formats, and charts. Microsoft is also providing monthly updates to add new features and APIs for data rearrangement. TIBCO Spotfire offers a limited number of tables, heat maps, pie charts, and other template customization. In addition, all Spotfire reports are mobile-friendly; you can access them from the cloud via multiple devices.

An In-Depth Comparison Between Microsoft Power BI vs Spotfire

  1. Factor: Pricing

    Microsoft Power BI:

    Power BI Desktop
    Power BI Desktop is free to download; you can use it without a subscription. This software version is most suitable for individual users and users who have just started learning the software. But it lacks some crucial features available in the Pro and Premium version. For instance, you are not able to share reports with other BI users, use Office 365, and view reports from dashboards.

    Power BI Pro
    The Pro version has a subscription fee of $9.99 per user/month. The Pro offers multiple features that help data analytics and visualization business professionals. It also comes along with the Microsoft 365 package.

    Power BI Premium
    The premium version is the most potent version of Power BI. To begin with, all the users get access to the mobile version that allows them to make changes and view reports on the go. Sharing any report becomes more accessible given the accounts integration with Microsoft’s Azure cloud. The analysts can import data from 100 different sources and use multiple APIs to streamline them.

    TIBCO Spotfire:

    The Consumer edition is the cheapest version, priced at $25. But there is a catch. Any company wanting to purchase this version must have a Business Author or Analyst account. The consumer edition mainly provides viewer-only access.

    Business Author
    This version costs around $65 per month and comes with 100 GB of data storage. The clients can also subscribe to the Library Storage edition, which offers an expansion of 25 GB for $25 per month.

    The Analyst edition is the most powerful and expensive version of TIBCO Spotfire. The package costs around $125 per month and offers 250GB of storage space. Furthermore, if the client pays annually, TIBCO offers extra two months of use for free.

    Winner: Microsoft Power BI

    For the price you pay, Power BI’s offerings are more diverse and feature-rich compared to those of Spotfire.

  2. Factor: Predictive Analytics

    Microsoft Power BI:
    Power BI offers multiple APIs and machine learning features to help analysts with predictive analysis. Users can also access Power BI’s proprietary Automatic Machine Learning (AutoML) feature. The AutoML makes predictive analysis more manageable and accessible for people not well-versed with complex coding.

    The user must input big data sets and select the preferred machine learning model. The binary model computes the big data and predicts events with binary outcomes. The finance and retail industry mainly uses regression analysis to compute future cash flow and understand customer sentiments. Finally, the classification model separates the datasets into multiple groups and offers various outcomes.

    TIBCO Spotfire:
    TIBCO Spotfire does not offer pre-built models like Power BI. But the platform’s machine learning functionality identifies complex data trends and makes predictions on them. Spotfire Data Functions and TIBCO Data Science Platform provide more advanced calculations and visualize the predictive data for their reports. In addition, TIBCO Spotfire also supports open source coding from SAS, R, and MATLAB.

    Winner: Tie

    Microsoft Power BI offers pre-built ML models and the ability to create new models with the Azure platform. Contrarily, Spotfire supports open-source coding from other platforms and can identify more complex trends. Hence, both are neck and neck in this comparison.

  3. Factor: Streaming Analysis

    Microsoft Power BI:
    Microsoft Power BI users can operate streaming dataflows that continuously analyze and process data without interruptions. As a result, data preparation and transformations become easier for analysts. Power BI continuously refreshes after the user sets the streaming data flow; users can also adjust the frequency of the refreshes. Creating dynamic visualizations utilizes streaming dataflows.

    TIBCO Spotfire:
    The TIBCO Spotfire Data Stream Platform has a query engine to continuously draw data from 50 different data sources, including Internet of Things technology (IoT). Real-time data streaming allows users to identify opportunities and issues comparatively faster. Another feature allows the user to overlay the current data on top of historical data. TIBCO Spotfire alerts the users whenever the current datasets break the historical trends.

    Winner: TIBCO Spotfire

    Power BI and Spotfire recently integrated this feature into their platforms, so they are still updating it. But Spotfire’s ability to combine current and historical data makes it the better of the two.

  4. Factor: Data Discovery and Data Visualization

    Microsoft Power BI:
    Microsoft Power BI is one of the best data visualization tools currently available in the market that also allows you to connect, explore, and interact with your data. Thousands of users have praised the drag-and-drop tool for effective data management. Microsoft offers multiple templates to make it easier for analysts to design them. You also have the option to create and import your templates from third-party software. The Power BI charts and reports are also mobile-friendly. You can easily create good reports using Power BI. Power BI Premium users can easily share the reports with their peers. And colleagues can write comments and reviews on these reports.

    TIBCO Spotfire:
    TIBCO Spotfire helps users to explore data, create visuals, and gain data discoveries and actionable insights, thanks to its AI-powered analytics engine. You can also create data visualizations using tables, heatmaps, pie charts, and other custom customizations. Then the users can export these reports in PowerPoint, PDF, and numerous other file formats. You can access all these customizable dashboards and reports through mobiles, tablets, and laptops, as long as you have an active license.

    Winner: Microsoft Power BI

    Spotfire and Power BI have similar features in data visualization and dashboard creation. But Power BI’s Microsoft connection offers near unlimited templates and customization.

So, to choose a business analytics tool, there are several factors you need to consider. Check the following FAQs about Power BI vs Spotfire.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is better between Microsoft Power BI vs TIBCO Spotfire?

More analysts prefer Power BI to Spotfire given its intuitive UI and smart tools. The reputation of other Microsoft products also adds up. But Power BI struggles when it comes to compiling large data sets. Hence, businesses that only want to analyze large datasets always choose Spotfire over Power BI.

What are the drawbacks of TIBCO Spotfire?

Compared to Power BI and some of the top visualization (business intelligence) tools available in the market, Spotfire is expensive. The screen resolution for the charts and graphs is not as straightforward as on Power BI. Lastly, TIBCO does not provide in-depth training videos to prepare the users for the advanced features of Spotfire.

What is the market share of Power BI vs TIBCO Spotfire in the business intelligence market?

Power BI has a business intelligence market share of 15.71%, while Spotfire only has a share of 0.60%.

Which One to Choose Between Power BI vs Spotfire?

Declaring one business intelligence software is better than the other will be unfair to both. Therefore, the best business intelligence tool is the one that fulfills all your company’s objectives without affecting your budget.

If you are looking for more advanced functions and technological advancement, then Power BI stands at the top. Whereas, if you are looking for a tool that can easily handle larger data sets effectively, then Spotfire is often preferred.

Although, Spotfire is still playing catch-up to match the quality standards. But Spotfire comes in handy with its wide range of product offerings and exceptional computational capabilities to handle larger datasets.

Gaurang Bhatt

Written by

Gaurang Bhatt

Gaurang has 15+ years of experience solving complex business problems and enabling businesses with data-driven decisions using data analysis and predictive modeling tools like Tableau, Power BI, Looker, and Google Data Studio. His expertise lies in data visualization, reporting, and creating ETL pipelines. In addition, he is passionate about exploring different technologies like machine learning and AI. He shares his knowledge and learnings on the LabsMedia platform.