In-depth Comparison of Power BI vs Tableau Pros and Cons

If you’re thinking about utilizing data visualization software, you’ve probably heard about the long-running battle between Microsoft Power BI vs Tableau’s pros and cons.

Power BI has many data analysis features, and Microsoft makes it even more user-friendly by adding new value every month. On the other hand, Tableau is a fantastic data visualization tool due to its quick insights and drag-and-drop capabilities.

While we have expertise with both products and use them for our Data Analytics service, we recognize that you must have a thorough grasp of both to make an informed selection.

They share several functions, but we’ll concentrate on the advantages and disadvantages of each software separately. Earlier, we had discussed Tableau vs Minitab, now is the time for Power BI vs Tableau.

As you go through this blog, you’ll be able to compare the benefits and drawbacks of Power BI vs Tableau to see which is ideal for your business.

What is Power BI by Microsoft?

Microsoft Power BI was introduced in 2014 as a fantastic alternative to Excel. Power BI makes creating basic dashboards much easier than any other tool, and it also has a severe learning curve.

It offers a cloud-based as well as a desktop interface. It comes with the Office 365 Enterprise E5 version pack because it is a Microsoft product. Power BI includes a plethora of visual options and simple themes to download and use.

Power Bi service is the most trusted solution for small to medium businesses, both in capability and cost, and it doesn’t sacrifice the capacity to create impressive dashboards.

Which are the core features of Power BI?

Here is a list of Power BI features:

  • Dashboards with a lot of options
  • Perform complex table calculations
  • Non-IT users will like the drag-and-drop features
  • DAX formula that looks like an Excel formula
  • It uses the M formula language to manipulate datasets and analyze data
  • File sizes aren’t enhanced by calculated measures
  • Natural language processing with the QnA feature
  • Buttons for feedback and assistance
  • Analytical processing in real-time (OLAP)
  • Graphs and charts for certain industries
  • Authoring interactive reports
  • Dashboards that are updated in real-time using Microsoft Azure and Power BI’s streaming capabilities
  • Power BI desktop is available for free
  • Dashboards are accessible from any place and device
  • Mobile dashboards can be customized
  • Data exploration
  • Bookmarking and filtering options
  • Dashboards can be embedded in SharePoint and web apps
  • Connects to a variety of data sources, including most Microsoft portfolios as well as LinkedIn, Marketo, IBM DB2, Hadoop, and others

Check this table to get a quick overview of the advantages and disadvantages of using Power BI.

Comparison of Advantages and Disadvantages of Power BI

Advantages of Power BI Disadvantages of Power BI
Microsoft’s digital ecosystem is integrated The beginning of your Microsoft system integration
Lower cost A cloud-based software
Excellent data analysis programs Learning curve is steep
Setup for effective collaboration

Now, we will understand the core points in detail.

Benefits of Power BI

  1. Excellent data analysis software

    If you’ve ever used Microsoft Excel, Power BI is a more advanced version. It has advantages over Tableau, such as correlating data from many sources.

  2. Collaboration setup that works

    Power BI has a lot of features, and one of them is its collaborative setup. If you commit to any Power BI packages, you can exchange and update reports in real effort and time on projects at the same time.

  3. Microsoft’s digital ecosystem is fully integrated

    If your company is already a part of the Microsoft digital ecosystem, integrating Power BI will be a breeze. Microsoft has developed it to be effortlessly integrated into its apps, so it will use familiar layouts and be inconspicuous.

  4. Lower pricing range

    Tableau is more expensive than Microsoft Power BI. Power BI Desktop is available for free, and a paid membership unlocks more features. Power BI is also less expensive than Tableau in terms of actual costs.

Cons of Power BI as Compared to Tableau

  1. Cloud-based application

    Power BI isn’t a one-time purchase that you can forget about; it’s a subscription-based product that primarily relies on cloud features, especially if you focus on cooperation between different features.

    If you don’t need to collaborate with other users, Microsoft Power BI includes a free license to use the application locally; these licenses are sometimes included with some Office 365 subscriptions.

    The features of Power BI are limited depending on the license you purchase, so make sure to get the proper one for your business.

    If you want to concentrate on shareable insights, but your company’s connection is intermittent, and there’s no need to upgrade your equipment, you may well not get the most out of this software.

  2. Significant learning curve

    Just because the design is familiar does not mean that creating reports from databases is simple.

    It’s supposed to make it easier for people to read and comprehend reports, but developing them requires technical knowledge, which you’ll have to either master or subcontract to a professional team.

  3. Beginning of your Microsoft system integration

    Once you’ve subscribed to Power BI, your entire firm is soon integrated into the Microsoft digital ecosystem.

What is a Tableau?

Tableau was founded in 2003 and acquired by Salesforce in 2019. Because of its agile features and head start over Power BI, this analytical tool has a greater reach in large enterprises.

You can conduct a critical analysis with Tableau online using data points. It’s a powerful data visualization program with drag-and-drop capabilities. As a result, non-IT clients will find it simple to use.

Tableau is a versatile tool, and if you’re comfortable with numbers and statistics, you’ll like analyzing and presenting your data.

Which are the core features of Tableau?

  • Unification of data preparation without regard to data points
  • Knowledge of coding is not required
  • Create visualizations and do data analysis in real-time
  • Collaboration and notification of data
  • Efficient cleaning and integration process
  • Cohort, what-if scenarios, and other types of sophisticated analysis
  • VizQLTM is a proprietary technology developed by Stanford University
  • There is a major difference between measures and dimensions
  • Option to highlight and filter
  • Incorporate dashboards into cloud-based applications
  • Mobile-friendly interactive dashboards
  • View data dashboards using the free Tableau reader
  • Dashboard feedback
  • Convert queries into data visualizations
  • Import data from Hadoop, Kognitio, flat files, Google Sheets, and other popular data sources

After checking the core features, here is a table that will help you to understand advantages and disadvantages of using Tableau.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Tableau

Advantages of Tableau Disadvantages of Tableau
Data visualization is more intuitive and useful It’s more expensive than Power BI.
Simple language is used to construct data associations Reports aren’t generated automatically.
Weakness in analyzing data from several sources

Now, we will explore all these advantages and disadvantages of Tableau in detail.

Benefits of Tableau

  1. Data associations created using simple language

    Tableau has many data connectors that allow you to type plain language into a search field (for example, “average of sales July-August”) and have the computer automatically insert that command into the visual you’re generating.

    In contrast to Microsoft Power BI, there is an additional step if you want people to be able to do this. Before users can ask English queries, the report designer must assign ‘tags’ to data entries.

    You may need a deeper technical understanding to set this up in Power BI.

  2. Data visualization is more natural and functional

    As a result of being around longer than Power BI, Tableau has greater data visualization features that you may take advantage of.

    Instead of Power BI, which focuses on data analytics with simple visuals later, it prioritizes having beautiful yet useful visualizations.

    Some individuals find it easier to use than Power BI, although it still requires technical knowledge. Your mileage may vary since familiarity with the Microsoft digital ecosystem will make learning easier.

    Overall, it is still important to devote time to learning the software or hiring a technical team.

Cons of Tableau as Compared to Power BI

  1. It is more expensive than Power BI

    Tableau’s plans are seven times more expensive than Microsoft Power BI’s.

    The pro plan for Power BI is $9.99 per month per user, while Tableau’s equivalent is $70 per month per person. Tableau Public, like Power BI, includes a free platform you may use to explore its features.

  2. Data analysis from many data sources is lacking

    Tableau is less capable of analyzing data from numerous databases than Microsoft Power BI. Microsoft Power BI now includes more back-end features for enterprises, such as assessing the correlation between various data sources.

  3. No reports are generated automatically

    Unlike Power BI, Tableau has no automated or scheduled reporting. As there will always be manual work placed into preparing reports, this creates the possibility for human error.

Power BI Vs. Tableau: A Differentiation

Power BI Vs. Tableau: A Differentiation

  1. Sources for data


    Tableau supports many data interfaces, including OLAP (online analytical processing), big data (NoSQL, Hadoop), and cloud solutions.

    Tableau automatically determines relationships when users enter data from numerous sources. Tableau also allows customers to customize data linkages or manually establish them based on their company’s preferences.

    Power BI:

    Power BI may also link to external sources such as SAP HANA, JSON, MySQL, and other databases.

    Power BI automatically determines associations when users enter data from numerous sources. Users can also link to Microsoft Azure databases, third-party databases, files, and internet services such as Salesforce and Google Analytics.

    Who is a winner between Tableau and Power BI on the basis of sources of data?

    Users using Tableau and Power BI can connect to various data sources.

    On one hand where Tableau is better at connecting to a separate data warehouse, Power BI on the other is tightly linked with Microsoft’s portfolio, including its Azure cloud platform.

    Winner: Tableau

  2. Customer service


    Direct help is provided by phone or email, and submit a support ticket through the customer portal.

    Tableau also has a large knowledge library divided into three subscription categories: Desktop, Server, and Online.

    Users can find helpful information suited to their software version, such as getting started, best practices, and how to make the most of the platform’s best features.

    Users can also join the Tableau community forum and participate in training and other activities.

    Power BI:

    Users with a free Power BI account have restricted customer support options. Any user can send a support ticket; however, users with a paid account receive faster assistance.

    Power BI also has a wealth of documentation and support resources, including guided learning, a user community forum, and examples of how partners use the platform.

    Who is a winner between Tableau and Power BI on the basis of customer service?

    While both platforms provide powerful digital tools for clients to self-serve, Tableau provides more direct contact alternatives for customers.

    Users with a free Power BI account receive little help, whereas those with a Pro or Premium subscription receive speedier assistance.

    Winner: Tableau

  3. Pricing


    Tableau’s subscription plans cater to certain customer requirements. Creator, Explorer, and Viewer are their names. The Creator plan costs $70 per user per month and provides full Tableau capability.

    The Explorer plan costs $35 per user per month on-premises and $42 per user per month in the cloud. Tableau Viewer is $12/month per user.

    The 14 days free trial offers users to try out the platform before buying it.

    Power BI:

    It is available in three versions: Desktop, Pro, and Premium. Individual users can utilize the Desktop level for free.

    The Pro plan costs $9.99 per user, while the Premium per capacity plan costs $4,995 per month for each dedicated cloud compute and storage resource.

    Who is a winner between Tableau and Power BI on the basis of pricing?

    When it comes to price, Power BI is typically less expensive.

    Power BI offers a strong 60-day Pro trial for users who prioritize free trial capabilities, while Tableau’s free trial is only 14 days.

    Furthermore, Power BI costs $9.99 per person each month, whereas Tableau Explorer costs $35.

    Winner: Power BI

What to Choose Between Tableau and Power BI?

Tableau is the way to choose if your company values strong visualization and has more money to spend on data analytics. Power BI is a better option if you want a more cost-effective alternative and are already part of the Microsoft digital environment.

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.