When it comes to business intelligence tools there is no doubt that the two front-runners are Power BI and Tableau. With both of them being very similar products, it can be tricky to choose which one is best for you.
It would be easy for us to simply say that Power BI trumps Tableau and you shouldn’t even consider Tableau as an option, but the truth is the best product very much depends on you, your organisation, budget and your intended use of the tools themselves.
Tableau does itself have many key strengths that could make it the better BI tool for you, however, if you are unsure or believe both could benefit you, here are five reasons why we prefer Power BI.
What benefit is the best business Intelligence in the world if you can't afford it? This is one of the main ways Power BI scores over Tableau as the cost of entry to Microsoft Power BI is effectively zero.
You can get a free Power BI account and trial it out with your data to create detailed reports and dashboards and then when you are confident that Power BI can access your data and create the sort of data analysis that you need, you can upgrade to the paid version.
The pro account starts at £7.50 per user, per month; adding multiple users means you can share reports and dashboards around the organisation. This incremental approach means it is easy to justify the costs of Power BI with each step, rather than making a larger payment upfront and financial commitment, as you do with Tableau.
Power BI is based on the best and most used business analysis tool in the world – Excel. Every business over many decades has used and uses Excel in some way and many have years of experience and data invested in it. Power BI is a logical extension of Excel, adding powerful new features to the already familiar facilities of Excel.
Such familiarity helps staff learn the new features and reduces time spent understanding the capabilities of the software, meaning you get faster results.
Ease of Use
Power BI is designed to be an end user business intelligence tool. It’s based on Excel so most users will be able to grasp the basics of Power BI very quickly and with a short introduction.
With some expert training, Power BI can quickly become productive and useful. You don’t need to be a high powered Business Intelligence Analyst, if you’re moderately competent with Excel and are able to do a VLOOKUP for example, you’ll find no problems being productive with Power BI.
Since Power BI was launched, Microsoft has updated it every month. At last count, there had been approximately 500 new features added since it was originally released, with more updates planned for the future.
In essence, Power BI just keeps getting bigger and better with new features brought in that make data analysis super quick and easy, with advanced features to understand your data better. When you invest in Power BI, you’re receiving a tool that has dedicated staff to ensure it is always at the forefront of intelligent business tools.
When a $410 billion-valued company gets into a market, everyone else in that space needs to be aware of their ability and resources to create. Microsoft has decided it wants to own the BI market and is ideally placed to do so.
This puts Tableau in the same position as Lotus 123 at the time when Excel first came out (if you can remember back to 1985). Lotus 123 was clearly the market leader but Microsoft persevered and developed Excel, to the point where Lotus 123 is now ancient history and Excel is the primary business tool.
There’s always going to be specific points where Tableau may be better than Power BI, but if you’re new to business intelligence, Tableau is an expensive option with a steep learning curve. In comparison, Power BI is generally a more affordable way to start and is easier to master with previous knowledge of Excel.
If you want to learn more about Power BI and find out about our training courses get in contact with us.