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Power BI vs Tableau – Comparing Functionality, Pricing and Support

8 Mins read
Power BI vs. Tableau

Today the world is more visual than ever before, Power BI and Tableau are the leaders holding a maximum market share of this domain. Power BI and Tableau are the two best software when it comes to Data Visualization. Although they both are quite similar in functionalities, as they both are needed for data visualization, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish which one is best suited for you.

Power BI vs Tableau

Many often it is seen that the person or a company is not able to decide about the tool best suitable for them – Power BI or Tableau. It is very important to know the comparison between Microsoft Power BI and Tableau so that one can decide which technology is best suited for them.

Which One Would You Choose? – Power BI vs Tableau

When we decide to choose between Power BI and Tableau, we get tons of internet searches that will speak about which one to choose over another but none of the searches help us to understand on what basis you should choose.

The answer is, it depends solely on you and your type of work, your company, budget and your intentions regarding the end results. It is easy to blindly follow one rather than choosing the best suited for you! We do not need to fall into that trap. Let us ourselves find out which tool will suit us the best.

Microsft Power BI

Microsoft introduced its visualization tool in 2013 and named it as Power BI. Power BI positioned as a leader for the 12th consecutive year in the Gartner magic quadrant. Power BI is now offered along with the office 365 suit to further add to its popularity.

Power BI is a cloud-based platform and can be handled beautifully to give the best visualization to even the most critical business data. It helps in evaluating and sharing the data and gets connected to all the data sources of the users. Users can have their own scalable dashboard so that they can choose the best visualization blueprint for themselves. Visualization can be enabled by using the navigation to enable simple drag and drop of the data. Let us create your first Power BI dashboard.

Many industries still love and adopt Tableau but Power BI is not less when compared. When it matters for you to view the execution of small features to its fullest then Power BI does total justice to your business intelligence necessities and needs.

The USP of Power BI lies in its integration, it is embedded in Microsoft stack. Microsoft encourages the use of Power BI; it is also included in Microsoft 365 suit. Power BI connects well to all the external resources and provides ease to visualize the data from the cloud services.

Power BI Visualization

Most of the executives prefer Power BI as it is Excel driven and technical users are prone to adopt Microsoft driven products. When it comes to build and display the basic reports and dashboards Power BI is the most suitable tool. It is easy to adopt and users do not have to put more time and effort into creating and sharing reports. The interactivity between the users on the reports is also possible as Power BI supports cloud services. Get better insights into Power BI dashboards and Power BI reports.

Power BI provides a cake-walk for a user to develop the visualization of data. Data can be easily uploaded from the sidebar in Power BI. The Cortona, personal digital assistant along with Power BI online helps the user to ask queries in natural language. Power BI drills down into the datasets to 3,500 datapoint limit to perform analysis.

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Power BI Data Source

Power BI helps users to connect to their external sources of data. The external data sources might include MySQL, JSON, SAP HANA, and more. Power BI determines the relationship between the data from external sources on its own. The user does not have to worry to define them. It also connects to the third-party databases, files, Microsoft Azure database and online services like Google Analytics and Salesforce. There are many more data sources that can be connected with Power BI like, IBM Informix database (Beta), IBM Netezza, MySQL Database, PostgreSQL Database, Sybase Database, Teradata Database, SAP HANA Database, SAP Business Warehouse Application Server, SAP Business Warehouse Message Server (Beta), Amazon Redshift, Impala, Google Big Query, Snowflake and Exasol.

Power BI Customer Support

If users need support from customer services for Power BI then they have to submit a support ticket to get answered. If the user is using a paid version of Power BI, he will receive the support faster. Power BI also possess proper documentation and support resources for guided learning. There is also a community forum that helps and showcases examples of how others are using the platform. Join the Community Forum of Microsoft Power BI and get connected.

Power BI Pricing

Microsoft Power BI comes in three types of subscriptions: Premium, Pro and Desktop.

  • Desktop subscription – Free/person.
  • Pro subscription – Starting is $9.99/user/month. It also offers 60-day free trial.
  • Premium subscription – Starting is $4995 with dedicated storage resource and cloud computing.

Top 10 Industries using Power BI

  • Automotive
  • Banking and Capital Markets
  • Consumer goods
  • Defense & Intelligence
  • Government
  • Health
  • Insurance
  • Manufacturing
  • Media & Entertainment
  • Retail
  • Telecommunications
New Skills for New Jobs: Microsoft Power Query Course

Who uses Microsoft Power BI?

List of the top companies using Power BI


If your primary objective is data visualization, then Tableau should be your choice. Tableau is one of the best visualization software in the market and 7 years in a row as a leader in a Gartner Magic Quadrant for analytics and Business Intelligence platforms.

Tableau offers ease in deployment options, product usability, and product support. It also offers Tableau community options to further add ease in working on it. Flexibility is offered by Tableau while designing dashboards.

Tableau is solely built for interactive visuals believing in ‘seeing and exploring’ philosophy. Tableau is designed to quickly answer any question asked by the user about its data by quickly manipulating it with the help of tools available. Tableau offers much more than only generating reports.


Tableau Visualization

A user can create heat maps, line charts, scatter plots and 24 types of baseline visualizations in Tableau. To develop complex and sophisticated visualizations in tableau there is no need to have the knowledge of coding. It can answer users’ questions related to their data. Any number of data points can be used for the analysis in tableau.

Tableau Data Source

Hundreds of data connectors like big data options (such as NoSQL, Hadoop), online analytical processing (OLAP) and cloud options are supported by Tableau. Tableau can automatically decide relationships when the user adds data from multiple sources. Based on the company’ preference, Tableau offers users to create the data links manually or modify them. There are many more data sources that the user can connect to Tableau such as Amazon Athena, Amazon Aurora, Amazon EMR, Amazon Redshift, Anaplan, Apache Drill, Aster Database, Box, Cisco Information Server, Cloudera Hadoop and much more.

Tableau Customer Support

Tableau also needs to generate a support ticket like Power BI, the only difference is that user can reach via email, phone or directly logging into the customer portal. Tableau has created a knowledge base according to its subscribed users. It supports the version of online, server and desktop differently and even provides a user the knowledge about the best features of their platform.

Support for Tableau can also be acquired from attending training or other events or from the community forum of Tableau. Join the Community Forum of Tableau and get connected.

Tableau Pricing

Tableau comes in three categories Viewer, Explorer, and Creator. According to the user’s needs, he can choose any one of them.

  • Viewers – It is for the users who want to access already created visualizations. The number of viewers should be more than 100 to purchase this plan. If the deployment is on-premise then it will cost $12/user/month or if they have a Tableau host then it costs $15/user/month.
  • Explorer – If it is on-premise deployment it costs $35/user/month and if it is deployed on the cloud it costs $42/user/month. If the user wants Tableau for self-service analytics and not for cleaning and data-prepping then explorer is the best suitable plan.
  • Creator – It costs $70/user/month with all functionalities of Tableau whether it is deployed on-premise or in the cloud.


Who uses Tableau?

List of the top companies using Tableau

Difference Between Power BI vs Tableau

Basis of Comparison Microsoft Power BI Tableau
Meaning Power BI is the business data analytics tool used for analyzing and deriving business insights from data. Tableau is the tool used for business intelligence and data analyzing. It generates reports and data visualization by offering high flexibility.
Data Sources When compared to tableau it offers very limited access to other servers and databases (As it is integrated closely with Microsoft’s Azure Cloud Platform). Unlike Power BI it has access to many servers and databases.
Data Capacity Power BI has the capacity of handling only 10 GB of data. If the data is more than 10 GB then it has to be on the cloud and Power BI then it just selects it, pulls it from the database but does not Import. Tableau can handle a large amount of data. Tableau only fetches unique values of the columns and that is the reason it can handle billions of data.
Machine Learning To understand the patterns and trends of the business or product and analyzing data, Power BI takes the help of Microsoft Azure. It is integrated with Microsoft Azure. To perform Machine learning operations on the data Tableau comes with inbuilt python. Python possesses Machine learning capabilities.
Target Audience For self-usage, experienced and inexperienced all users can use Power BI for better data visualizations. Tableau is used for the analysis of the huge amount of data by Data Analysts for analysis purposes.
Power BI Pricing vs Tableau As compared to Tableau, Power BI is cheaper. Its free version is also available. As compared to Power BI, Tableau is very expensive.

Nuts and Bolts of Microsoft Power BI vs Tableau

  • Business managers are able to get visualizations which further help them in generating consensus, speed up the process, spot patterns and reduce costs with the help of both Power BI and Tableau. These reports are prepared mostly by business analysts. Get a quick look at Business Analyst Interview Questions & Answers. But when it comes to huge amount of data analysis, Tableau takes over Power BI.
  • Power BI is mostly stacked up with Microsoft’s portfolio including its cloud platform Azure, that is the reason that it allows to connect with a limited number of data sources. While Tableau provides the leverage of connecting with a lot of data sources much more than what Power BI offers. Learn Basic to Advanced Power BI Step-by-step.
  • Both Power BI and Tableau receive great customer support. Tableau is good when it comes to direct help in customer support while paid version of Power BI receives a faster response as compared to the free version of Power BI.
  • Power BI is more affordable than Tableau when it comes to cost. Power BI’s free trial version can be used for 60-days if you subscribe for Pro version, while Tableau gives only 14-Days of the trial period. Additionally, tableau cost starts from around $35, while Power BI is $9.99.

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Lastly, whenever you are stuck in deciding between Microsoft’s Power BI or Tableau always choose to keep your type and amount of work in sync.

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