Qlik vs Tableau vs Power BI: A Complete Guide to Choosing the Right Tool

Qlik vs Tableau vs Power BI: A Complete Guide to Choosing the Right Tool

By Stiliyan Neychev

Qlik vs Tableau vs Power BI: A Complete Guide to Choosing the Right Tool

By Marta Teneva

February 20, 2024

Nowadays, the data we’re constantly surrounded by could potentially fill an ocean. Luckily, there are a lot of options on the market for business intelligence (BI) tools. But how do you make the right call on which one’s ideal for your business?

Well, with lots of research, of course! So, with the intention of saving you time in googling, reading, and cross-checking, we decided to make an article that encapsulates the platforms’ essence.

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We’ll be comparing the top leading BI platforms according to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms – Microsoft Power BI vs Qlik Sense vs Tableau. These leaders do more than just visualize data into pretty images; they help their users explore all sides of their data in a scalable and controlled manner. So, before we dive into the comparisons, let’s get a brief overview of the current market leaders.

Table of Contents

Overview of Qlik, Tableau, and Power BI Platforms

Visual Comparison: Qlik vs Tableau vs Power BI

Detailed Feature Comparison: Qlik, Tableau, and Power BI

Top Competitors to Qlik, Power BI, and Tableaua Analytics Explained

Qlik vs Tableau vs Power BI: FAQs

Making an Informed Decision: Qlik, Tableau, or Power BI?

Overview of Qlik, Tableau, and Power BI Platforms

Generally speaking, all three of these platforms are business intelligence solutions offering interactive data visualizations and the tools to aggregate, analyze and share users’ data. But what makes them unique?

Microsoft Power BI: Key Features and Benefits

Well, Power BI started off as an add-on to Microsoft’s very popular Excel software but quickly became its own separate product. Microsoft’s acquisition of Datazen actually helped set the foundations and propel the Power BI software, and since then, the platform has been steadily growing.

A big part of its adoption came from the seamless integration with the Office 365 suite it provided, which most companies were already using. So, with the gradual expansion of the Office 365 software lineup, Power BI’s widespread use became more and more prevalent as time went on.

Qlik Sense: A Closer Look

Qlik’s product lineup initially began with QlikView, which had at its core the Qlik Associative Engine – technology that allowed for fast handling of large amounts of users and data. Later Qlik came up with a new product for their arsenal – Qlik Sense – which also ran on the same engine. It was intended to replace QlikView by offering a more intuitive and user-friendly interface.

Qlik Sense went on to become the main focus of Qlik’s updates; because of its web-based nature, Qlik could easily support both the cloud-based and client-managed versions to keep up with the current trends.

Salesforce Tableau: What You Need to Know

Tableau as a platform gained noticeable popularity through its large demo library, which featured its prime objective – creating simple and user-friendly visualizations. Tableau made the process of populating and sharing a dashboard quick and easy through its VizQL engine – which introduced a drag-and-drop interface that anyone could use without any coding skills.

Since the Salesforce acquisition in 2019, Tableau’s business intelligence features have only improved and continued to marketize its easy-to-use nature, boasting impressive-looking dashboards done in minutes.

Visual Comparison: Qlik vs Tableau vs Power BI

In the landscape of data analytics tools, Qlik Sense, Power BI, and Tableau have emerged as frontrunners, each with its unique set of strengths and functionalities. The following visual comparison table provides an objective breakdown across multiple critical categories, from deployment and data connectivity to pricing. These metrics aim to offer a comprehensive perspective, allowing businesses and individual users to determine which tool aligns best with their specific needs.

Comparison between Power BI, Qlik Sense, and Tableau in 12 different categories - Deployment, Data connectivity, Ease of use, Data visualization, data transformation, data modelling, data governance, augmented analytics, reporting, mobile app and pricing. Qlik sense has the biggest score 49/50.

Detailed Feature Comparison: Qlik, Tableau, and Power BI

The choice between Qlik, Tableau, and Power BI can significantly impact outcomes. This section offers a detailed comparison of their features to guide informed decision-making. Understanding each tool’s capabilities will help you pick the tool that aligns with your business needs and expectations.

Deployment Options Across Tools

We begin with Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure deployment flexibility of Power BI … or more like their lack of flexibility. You see, Power BI runs only in Azure – Microsoft’s public cloud computing platform. And even though Azure itself maintains multiple geographies, thus ensuring that customers across the world have low-latency access to their infrastructure, it still doesn’t excuse this total lack of flexibility. For that reason, we’ll be giving Power BI a 2/5 for their Deployment options.

Screenshot highlighting the 'Get Data' section of Power BI with a focus on Azure data sources. Blue arrows indicate data flow from various Azure services such as SQL Database, HDInsight, and Storage into Power BI, which then visualizes the data, as shown in a sample dashboard on the bottom right.

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Moving on to Qlik Sense now, we see a drastic change in deployment flexibility where customers can utilize any major cloud provider, deploy on-premises, or even take advantage of a combination of these two approaches.

This is really refreshing to see since having total freedom and control over your own data is key when you want to make the most out of it. By allowing their customers to deploy Qlik Sense without requiring a change in their cloud analytics strategy or locking their data in one specific platform, Qlik will be receiving a 5/5 from us.

Diagram illustrating the data flow and integration of Qlik Sense with various platforms and services. From the left, sources like Salesforce, SAP, and others send data to centralized automated pipelines. This transformed data is then delivered to various platforms such as AWS, Snowflake, and Qlik. The cycle emphasizes the steps: 'Deliver,' 'Transform,' and 'Unify'

And last but not least, the flexibility that Salesforce offers with Tableau is very similar to what we see from Qlik. Tableau wants to fit into your current setup and not try to dictate what or where your architecture should be deployed in.

Salesforce tries to cover all of their clients’ needs with the help of either Tableau Server or Tableau Cloud, or even both, if necessary. And once again, for providing their customers a variety of choices for their deployment needs, we’ll give Salesforce Tableau a 5/5.

A central circle showcasing the Tableau logo surrounded by smaller interconnected circles representing integration options with various software and platforms, including Amazon, Slack, Shopify, Zendesk, Stripe, HubSpot, and others, illustrating the flexibility and deployment choices offered by Salesforce's Tableau.

Data Connectivity: Which Tool Connects Better?

As Microsoft is a huge and popular company, it’s only natural that they implement data connections to various types of sales, marketing, project management, payment processing, and productivity platforms. Naturally, the list of supported connections expands periodically, and with such a big community behind Power BI, all the ones that are currently unavailable have established workarounds.

Power BI customers can expect to import the data from popular sources like SAP, ODBC, Snowflake, Apache Hive, etc. They can also take advantage of Direct Queries, which request the information from the source but never import it. All these reasons combined mean that Power BI will be scoring a solid 5/5 on the data connectivity scale.

Logos of various data sources including SAP, Apache Hive, ODBC, and Snowflake, representing the popular data connections available for Power BI users.

Qlik boasts full customization and flexibility options with their Qlik Sense product and by going through their available native connectors, we can see most of the popular sources any customer would need. Additionally, any sources that aren’t available out-of-the-box are likely to be available for download through the Qlik website. They are also adding new data connections with every new patch, so the list is constantly expanding.

From our search, we couldn’t find any support for eCommerce or payment processing platforms, which can impede the data analysis of some clients. So, at the end of the day, Qlik Sense will be receiving a 4/5 from us.

Diagram showcasing Qlik Sense's native connectors for data connectivity. Categories include 'General' with icons for REST, CSV, SQL Server, Amazon Redshift, and Dropbox; 'CRM' featuring Salesforce, SugarCRM, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM; and 'Cloud Applications' displaying logos for Bitly, Facebook, Google Analytics, Google AdWords, MailChimp, Slack, SurveyMonkey, Twitter, and YouTube. Some connectors have a 'Coming Soon' asterisk

Tableau has the native benefit of connecting to plenty of popular and not-so-popular sources. However, comparing its list of connections to Qlik Sense’s or Power BI’s, it feels like Tableau is lacking in several fields. We see some of the more widely used data connectors like Amazon Redshift, Microsoft Excel, Google Analytics, SAP, Snowflake, and, of course, Salesforce. However, we couldn’t find any out-of-the-box connections to project management, payment processing, or eCommerce platforms.

Additionally, there don’t seem to be any workarounds to establish these missing connections, apart from finding third-party or partner integrations online. Because of this comparative lack of data connectivity options, we’ll be assigning Tableau a 3/5 in this category.

Diagram illustrating Tableau's data connectivity options. A central orange circle, representing Tableau, connects to numerous icons signifying popular platforms and data sources. An extension from the central node leads to 'Tableau Online', indicating cloud-based data connections.

Ease of Use: A User-Friendly Analysis

Looking at Power BI’s interface, we can see a clean drag-and-drop look with all the tools you’d need sectioned off into tabs on the side. If a user has ever worked with any Microsoft Office product, they would likely feel right at home with Power BI’s interface. Beginners could quickly make some visualizations thanks to the pre-built templates that Microsoft offers for each chart.

Screenshot of Power BI Desktop interface showcasing a sales report. The top menu has familiar Microsoft Office-like tabs such as 'File', 'Home', 'Insert', and 'Modeling'. On the left, an 'Overview' tab displays key influencers affecting sales with percentage values; for instance, 'Lifespan 288 - 299' has a 10.3% influence. Center panels illustrate graphs and charts like 'Sales Amount by Brand Name' represented in colorful blocks, and 'Sales Amount by Year, Month, and Brand Name' in a multi-colored bar graph format. To the right, a sidebar titled 'Visualizations' provides various chart and graph icons for easy drag-and-drop, with sections for filtering and drill-through options beneath.
Source: Power BI

Additionally, the builder is WYSIWYG, so users can freely place their charts and free-transform them as they’d like, or they could enable the grid view and snap them to precise measurements. Because of its familiar design and easy-to-use interface, which can predispose a new user to start creating appealing visualizations from the get-go, we’ll award Power BI a nice 5/5 here.

Moving on to Qlik Sense, we can observe a unique interface with everything clearly labeled so that new users can easily maneuver around. The dashboard builder is once again drag-and-drop with all the customization and data tuning options on one side and the charts and fields lists on the other.

Screenshot of Qlik Sense's dashboard displaying 'Sales & Margin Analysis'. On the left, a geographical map titled 'Sales by State' depicts different U.S. states colored based on sales data. Adjacent to the map, there are bar graphs showing sales margins for different regions such as 'Central' and 'Southern'. On the right side, there's a vertical bar chart titled 'Sales by Product Group (sorted by Budget Amt)' which lists products like 'Fresh Vegetables' and 'Fresh Fruit' alongside their corresponding sales values. The top panel provides various options like 'Prepare', 'Analyze', and 'Storytelling'. A left sidebar contains categories like 'Fields', 'Master items', 'Charts', and 'Custom objects', enabling easy drag-and-drop functionality. The design showcases clear labels and intuitive icons for an organized and user-friendly experience.
Source: Qlik

There is no free-transform option when adjusting the size of the visualizations; everything snaps to the grid. Luckily, the grid itself can be made bigger or smaller to allow for more precise layouts. We once again see a WYSIWYG editor, which nicely represents the final look of your dashboard while you’re developing it. Overall, apart from Qlik Sense’s distinctive design, everything we experienced seems to match the set expectations, so Qlik Sense will be receiving a 5/5.

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Tableau is even more unique than its competitors, which could be considered a plus if you don’t enjoy the layout of the previous two platforms. In order to create charts, you have to first populate the columns and rows section, and then Tableau will present you with the most suitable chart for the dimensions you’ve provided. The given visualization can be switched afterward, but only to charts that match the dimensions you’ve set.

Screenshot of Tableau's user interface displaying a time-series area chart titled 'Global Temperatures'. The x-axis represents 'Year of Date' from 1990 to 2015, while the y-axis displays temperature values. The chart consists of three overlaid areas representing 'Highs', 'Median', and 'Lows' temperature measures, color-coded in different shades of pink. On the left pane, users can select data dimensions like 'Date', 'Region', and 'Visibility', and measures like 'Highs', 'Median', and 'Number of Records'. The 'Columns' and 'Rows' section at the top helps users input data dimensions and measures to auto-generate the visualizations. On the right pane, a 'Show Me' tab provides a variety of potential chart options based on the data dimensions and measures selected, guiding users towards optimal visualization choices.
Source: Tableau

Tableau’s dashboard builder is a bit different as well since you have to make all the charts you need first in separate sheets, and then when you build the dashboard, you can drag and drop those sheets and free transform them as you see fit. All these minor sidetracks accumulate to form a visually appealing but ultimately tedious and time-consuming process of chart creation and so Tableau will end up with a 4/5 from us.

Data Visualization: How Qlik, Tableau, and Power BI Compare

Microsoft’s Power BI has most of the popular and classic visualizations available out-of-the-box, as well as some generic customization options, which users can apply quickly through the use of templates. However, developers will have to resort to the custom visuals marketplace if they want to make something more unique for their dashboards.

Most of the charts you can find there are free and either beautify some existing classic charts or add new and interesting ones. If nothing fits their needs, they always have the option to use code to create their own custom design and package them for either organizational sharing or publishing in the marketplace.

So, at the end of the day, Microsoft offers their Power BI users flexibility and customization, but they would either have to be satisfied with the options on the marketplace or be prepared to learn to code on their own. For that reason, we give Power BI a 4/5 here.

Screenshot of Power BI's custom visuals marketplace. Displays a range of visualization options including 'Stars', 'Image Viewer', 'Long Text Viewer', 'Gap Analysis', 'Box and Whisker', 'Waffle Chart', 'Mekko Chart', 'Sankey with Labels', and 'Sankey Barchart'. Each visualization comes with a visual representation or icon and some have sample data presented.

Qlik Sense also comes with most of the traditional charts and tables, and their customization levels are about what you’d expect – change colors, labels, and on some charts, even their presentation styles. Users can also use some emojis in their visualizations, provided they code them in.

And here’s the part which might deter some newcomers – you have to be able to code if you want to make your dashboard visually unique. Of course, there’s always the option to utilize extensions to achieve your vision; however, Qlik doesn’t make them as readily available and applicable as Power BI. Qlik Sense handles data visualization adequately, but the lack of easily accessible customization options hampers it, and therefore we’ll be giving it a 3/5.

Screenshot of Qlik Sense's data visualization options. Showcases various visualization styles including 'Parliament diagram', 'Calendar Graph - Month view', 'Ridge Chart', 'Chord diagram', 'Toolbar toggle', 'Watermark', 'Color thresholds', 'Responsive and mobile tips', 'Magic quadrant', and 'Link to app' among others. Each visualization has a distinct icon or representation, with a few visualizations displaying sample data or configuration settings.

Tableau is praised for its data visualization capabilities and the amount of customizations users can do on their charts and graphs. It’s relatively easy to make a unique-looking dashboard by using custom images and icons – generally, the only restriction one might have is their imagination.

Additionally, the free-transform option allows users to adjust their charts to show the full label names. And if you think the size of your dashboard will be a constrain here, think again because Tableau’s dashboards can be extended as much as you need by presenting you with a scroll for maneuverability. Thanks to this freedom of customization of chart backgrounds, images, trend lines, sizes, and so on, we happily give Tableau a 5/5 in this category.

Collage of diverse data visualizations created using Tableau. Includes a detailed fantasy map, an insurance dashboard with charts and metrics, a series titled 'Untangling Mega Man' depicting various trajectory paths, a heatmap representing activity over a geographic location, butterfly charts displaying gender splits for UK population, handwritten notes alongside visual flowcharts, and other various graphs and dashboards. The visualizations vary in style, color, and complexity, showcasing the breadth of customization options available in Tableau.

Data Transformation Capabilities: A Comparative Overview

Microsoft has ensured that its business intelligence products are equipped with the necessary ETL functionality, and that’s why both Power BI and Excel have Power Query to utilize.

The Power Query Editor comes with Power BI Desktop, allowing customers to connect to one or more of the available data sources, then extract, shape, and transform the data to meet their requirements, and finally, load and utilize that data in their own models.

As far as the ETL process goes, everything we’ve seen from Power Query seems to meet all the standards – you can even use the Advanced Editor to dive into the query code and adjust it to your needs.

Screenshot of Microsoft Power BI's interface focused on the 'Northwind Trader' data model view. The main pane displays a visual representation of data tables such as 'Categories', 'Invoices', 'Orders', 'Products', and others, connected through relationships indicated by arrows. Each table is represented as a box with expandable details showing field names and data types. On the left-hand side, navigation options such as 'Home', 'Favorites', 'Datasets', and 'Apps' are available. Top menu options include 'Get Data', 'Transform Data', and 'Enter Data'. To the right, a 'Properties' pane is visible, detailing attributes of the 'Orders' table such as its name, description, and row label settings.
Source: The New Stack

However, from our experience, Power BI doesn’t seem to handle large data sets well. Users may encounter issues connecting to or importing from larger data sets and may be faced with performance issues throughout the process. So, that’s why Power BI will be receiving a 4/5 from us.

Qlik Sense also has a built-in ETL functionality. With it, users can really take advantage of Qlik’s performance optimization by storing the extracted raw data in a QVD file. Additionally, that format is 10-100 times faster than other data sources. Using a QVD library allows users to reuse the data in other Qlik Sense applications instead of having to extract it all over again.

Screenshot of Qlik Sense's data management interface. The central focus is a graphical representation of data tables including 'ItemMaster', 'Sales', 'SalesReps', 'Customers', and 'Cities' interconnected with lines, denoting their relationships. Below this visualization, a data table is displayed detailing sales-related fields such as 'Sales', 'Cost', 'Date', 'Year', 'Month', 'Item Name', and others. The top menu features options like 'Upgrade Testing Dashboard', 'Data manager', 'Analyze sheet', and 'Storytelling'. On the right, a panel titled 'Recommended associations' lists 'Total tables: 5', 'Unassociated tables: 0', and offers a button to 'Apply all'. A note below the visualization indicates, 'This table has not been loaded or has changed since the last time it was loaded.'
Source: Qlik

Similar to Power BI, clients can dive into the ETL query code in Qlik Sense and modify it to get the most desired results out of the process. Users just need to be familiar with the Qlik Sense script syntax to do so. Because Qlik has optimized its engine well, customers can focus on the quality of their data rather than worry about the challenges that come with an increasing data volume. The well-tuned performance of Qlik Sense really gives it an edge over its competition.

Additionally, having the engine available out-of-the-box and for all deployments of Qlik Sense really shows consideration for the customer. And that’s why Qlik Sense will be getting a 5/5 here.

Salesforce Tableau doesn’t come with built-in ETL functionality, but customers can download Tableau Prep (a.k.a. Tableau Prep Builder). This is a stand-alone subscription-only product that works with Tableau Desktop, Tableau Online, and Tableau Server.

In terms of functionality, Tableau Prep has a user-friendly interface that could help any user work on data preparation without too much of a struggle. The tool itself isn’t really made for customizing complex logic since it doesn’t have a way to adjust the ETL query code.

Screenshot of Tableau Prep's interface showcasing a data join operation. On the left, under 'Applied Join Clauses', two data sources, 'Rest of Data' and 'Pivot 1', are being joined based on two criteria: 'Record ID' and 'Salesperson'. The join type selected is 'Inner join', with a graphical representation to visualize the type. Below, a 'Summary of Join Results' displays a bar chart indicating matched (85 rows) and mismatched (17 rows) values. In the center, a tabular representation of 'Rest of Data' and 'Pivot 1' displays 'Record ID' and 'Salesperson' fields with corresponding values. On the right, 'Join Results' show a table with columns 'Salesperson', 'Team Name', and 'In Team?' denoting team affiliations. Names like John, David, and Joe are visible with their respective team assignments.
Source: Interworks

Additionally, some of its available functionality isn’t fully developed for each step of the ETL process, like aggregations for example. Overall, the whole experience is serviceable to a point but will leave some of the more experienced developers wanting more. Couple that with the additional subscription it requires, and, in our opinion, Tableau will be going home with a 3/5 in this category.

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Data Modeling: Which Tool Stands Out?

Power BI is all about providing users with a complete business intelligence package, but amongst all the features hides a very crucial limitation – it isn’t well optimized. And there’s no place we can observe this better than when doing data modeling. First off, as we mentioned in the previous section, Power BI doesn’t deal well with loading in large data sets. In fact, it was the slowest one out of the bunch when we compared uploading around 40 million records in the Desktop version.

On the bright side, its data modeling system does have all the expected functionality. However, all connections and relationships need to be manually set by the user, which slows things down a lot, especially when dealing with multiple tables. So, all this leads us to the score for this section, which will be a 3/5 for Power BI.

Screenshot of Power BI Desktop interface showcasing various data tables such as 'SSI', 'Connections', 'Unique Seats', 'Activities', and 'TimeOfDay'. The platform's layout emphasizes manual connections and relationships between tables, exemplifying the user-driven data modeling process in Power BI.

Qlik Sense, on the other hand, is very well optimized to handle all tasks relatively quickly. When we tried the 40 million records test upload in our on-premises instance, Qlik Sense managed to deal with it in about a minute – faster than any of the other platforms.

Furthermore, because of its Associative Engine, all data relationships were automatically indexed and connected. This meant that even non-technical users could set up and create data models. The automatic table previews, unions, and connections were refreshing to see, and from what we gathered, there were no missing features or functionalities to speak of. Qlik’s performance and speed are so far unmatched by its competitors, so that’s why we’ll be awarding Qlik Sense with a 5/5.

Visual representation of a Qlik Sense data model displaying interconnected tables such as 'service', 'ticket', 'users', 'survey', and 'article'. The intricate web of relationships is depicted with dotted and solid lines, demonstrating the complexity and flexibility of data modeling within Qlik Sense.

Tableau has its priorities focused on nice-looking visuals and a user-friendly interface, so you wouldn’t be remiss if you thought their performance wasn’t very optimized as well. However, Tableau is surprisingly well-optimized to handle larger datasets, which sadly comes at a price. When we ran the 40 million records test here, Tableau was still a bit slow, but it was quicker than Power BI, which is impressive.

But as we mentioned, this was probably because of the way its data modeling experience was built. Users can’t pull in all tables and play with connections to establish the right connections on the go; rather, they need to drag them in one by one in the correct order or risk starting over again.

Furthermore, the connections need to be manually determined by the user as well, and there’s no table preview to speak of, which makes the whole experience more tedious and cumbersome. In the end, the whole experience was slow and unpleasant, so we’ll award Tableau a 3/5 for this category.

Tableau workspace screenshot showcasing a data model focused on 'Bookshop Data'. On the left, structured tables like 'Author', 'Book', and 'Ratings' are enumerated. The main pane exhibits a bar graph titled '# of Ratings for Books in each Format by Author, for Books with Ratings', with authors and their corresponding rating counts represented in varying shades of blue.

Data Governance Features Across Qlik, Tableau, and Power BI

Microsoft has woven the concept of governance within all of its products, so it only makes sense to see features to control the security and management of data assets in Power BI, as well. Users can utilize features like endorsing data sets and showcasing which ones are important for their team, even marking them as certified or not for more authority.

Additionally, Power BI lets you add sensitivity labels to your dashboards, reports, data sets, and even data flows, which can then be used to control access between your userbase.

And, of course, Microsoft’s Defender for Cloud Apps provides some protection options for the more sensitive data through alerts and session monitoring. Overall, Power BI gives its users much of the necessary control to mark, section off, and organize their data, and for that, we will award them with a solid 5/5.

Screenshot of Microsoft's 'Defender for Cloud' dashboard, displaying a 'Security posture' overview. The dashboard offers a breakdown of secure scores for various cloud environments: Azure at 46%, AWS at 30%, and GCP at 32%. Below, individual environments like 'ROMMAT_DEMO' and 'CyberSecSoc' under Azure subscriptions are listed with their respective secure scores, unhealthy resources, attack paths, and specific recommendations. On the right side, a governance section highlights '13 out of 35' items overseen and a notice about 'Entire Permissions Management'.

Qlik Sense has some built-in functionality that controls who gets to see what – it’s called Section Access. By setting it up within an app’s data load script, it dynamically reduces the shown data to the appropriate scope when the application gets accessed by another user.

But that’s not even the best Qlik has to offer since all customers get their own Qlik Management Console (QMC). From there, many adjustments, limitations, and notifications can be enabled, which helps tailor the Qlik Sense experience to best fit the customer’s needs.

It may be a bit hard to wrap your head around at first, but it offers some great options like setting up tags, adjusting security rules, controlling stream (or space) access, and much more. So, we’ll give Qlik Sense a 5/5 as well for providing their users with lots of choices and flexibility throughout their data governance features.

Qlik Sense 'Edit custom property' interface displaying data governance settings. The 'IDENTIFICATION' section has fields for 'Name' and 'Description', with 'App_Level' filled in as a name. Below, the 'RESOURCE TYPES' section lists potential resources, including 'Apps', 'Content libraries', 'Users', and more, with a few items checked. The 'VALUES' section allows for the addition of custom property values, with 'App 1' and 'App 2' listed.

Tableau also puts a lot of effort into giving its users the flexibility to control who has access to what data. Most of what you’ll find here is based on account authentication and authorization mechanisms, like the user filters, metadata management, and so on.

Also, users can monitor and audit their workbook or dashboard usage to ensure the intended use of their data assets. Tableau can also connect to other security protocols such as Kerberos, Active Directory, SAML, trusted tickets, and certificates.

All in all, a user will be able to find all the standard data governance features here as well. And although they may not be as in-depth in some places as they are in Qlik Sense or Power BI, it’s still a valiant effort worth a 5/5 in our books.

Tableau's data governance interface displaying user and group permissions. The left column lists user and group categories: 'All Users', 'Group', 'Evie', 'Lari', and 'Maris'. Adjacent to each category, the 'Template' column specifies permission levels, including 'View', 'Explore', 'Publish', 'Administer', and 'Custom'. A grid of icons to the right indicates specific permissions for each user or group: green checkmarks represent granted permissions, and red 'X' symbols indicate denied permissions.

Augmented Analytics: A Three-Way Tool Analysis

On the Augmented Analytics front, Power BI has plenty of ways to enhance dataflows with artificial intelligence. Its automated machine learning (a.k.a. AutoML) feature allows users to train, validate, and invoke models. The service itself extracts the most relevant features of the provided data and trains the model based on them.

A graphical representation of Power BI's automated machine learning (AutoML) process. The process is categorized into three main stages: 1. 'Create and train your model' with steps such as 'Select training data', where users select their base data and related inputs, 'Choose a model type', offering assistance in picking the best model to achieve business goals, and 'Train your model', which indicates that the model will be trained on the provided data and report on its performance. 2. 'Improve it' with the step 'Iterate and retrain', suggesting the evaluation, customization, and retraining of the model until optimization. 3. 'Apply it' with the step 'Apply the model', emphasizing the application of the model to future data for predictive insights. Below the steps, there's a 'Get started' button.

Microsoft has also thought about the professionals in the field by arming them with Azure Machine Learning, which can both create new machine learning models and import any previously built ones from platforms like Pytorch, TensorFlow, or scikit-learn.

Screenshot of Microsoft Azure Machine Learning Studio interface, showcasing workflow components for a binary classification task titled 'Direct Marketing'. Visible elements include dataset options, machine learning modules, and properties of a Two-Class Boosted Decision Tree. The interface allows for structured data flow and model parameter adjustments.

However, the Azure Machine Learning feature is only available to Power BI Desktop users. And last but not least, users can take advantage of Power BI Q&A, the platform’s natural language processing tool, to get quick visualization results based on natural language questions or requests.

Interface screenshot of Power BI Desktop displaying 'VanArsdel Ltd. - Market Share' dashboard. The layout features data visualization components such as a market share percentage line chart over a 12-month period, bar graphs indicating % unit market share YOY changes by region, and a horizontal bar chart representing total category volume by segment. An array of tool options is available at the top, including data sourcing, editing, and visualization insertion.
Screenshot of Power BI Desktop showcasing 'VanArsdel Ltd. - Market Share' dashboard. The highlighted section, 'Total Units by Product', displays a horizontal bar chart comparing the units of three products: Maximus UC-69, Natura RP-79, and Natura RP-80. Adjacent to this, a bar graph shows the % unit market share YOY changes by region, and another horizontal bar chart represents the total category volume segmented by 'Convenience'.

From all this, we can see that Microsoft has ensured that all its users could enjoy a large enough plethora of augmented analytics features, and their efforts haven’t gone unnoticed in our eyes. That’s why we’ll be giving Power BI a 5/5.

Moving on to Qlik Sense now, we can see that their philosophy on speed and efficiency has led them to enhance the preparation, exploration, and authoring functions with associative suggestions. This augmented performance is due to their Associative Engine, and it helps all their users, no matter the skill level, to search through their existing data sets for insights and correlations.

Additionally, users can utilize the Insight Advisor to speed up the data preparation and analysis process through natural language inputs, provided they have the needed subscription.

Screenshot of Qlik Sense's Insight Advisor interface showing a natural language search query 'show me sales by manager for 2014' and its corresponding bar chart results for sales by manager. On the right, a summary reveals the total sales and the top-performing manager for the year. The user interface displays various data fields and filtering options, demonstrating the tool's ability to provide insights and correlations from user queries.

Qlik Sense also has an automated machine learning (a.k.a. Qlik AutoML) feature up its sleeve, a separate platform requiring its own license. With it, users can easily generate machine learning models, make predictions, and test scenarios without interacting too much, if at all, with the code behind it.

Screenshot of the Qlik AutoML interface displaying model metrics, feature importance charts, a ROC curve, and a confusion matrix, illustrating the platform's capabilities for generating and evaluating machine learning models without manual code interaction.

So, Qlik’s customers can get a lot of use from the available augmented analytics features. However, if users want to incorporate any models they’ve already developed somewhere else, they’d have to resort to extensions and community guidelines. All this puts Qlik Sense at the 4/5 point for this category.

Tableau continues its no-code user-friendly approach even in the augmented analytics category. The platform has its own Insight Advisor called Ask Data, which provides context-aware suggestions and visualizations based on natural language queries from the user. They’ve also coupled their advisor with an Explain Data feature that shows users relevant explanations when hovering over particular highlight points.

Ask Data:

Screenshot of Tableau's 'Ask Data' feature interface, where a user has entered the natural language query 'what is the total profit per region?'. The system provides context-aware suggestions and recommended visualizations in response to the query.

Explain Data:

Screenshot of Tableau's 'Explain Data' feature in action. The 'Rossman Daily Exec Overview' dashboard displays averages for the previous day, such as 'Average per store sales by store type'. A specific data point for 'Convenience' store type is highlighted, and the 'Data Guide' panel on the right provides context-aware explanations, applied filters, and suggestions on other things to explore based on the selected data.

Salesforce has even invested in integrating their Einstein Discovery no-code environment into Tableau’s business intelligence feature list. It requires a separate subscription, and with it, any user, regardless of skill or experience, can create machine learning models that offer recommendations and predictions with the data at hand.

Dashboard interface of 'Einstein Discovery' titled 'Will Our Customers Pay On Time?' It displays an invoice amount of $145,719 with a predicted impacted late payment amount of $20,900 from 2,437 invoices. The dashboard provides a '68%' likelihood of payments being on time. A chart showcases 'Predicted Delays Per City' over a timeline, while another section details the 'Top Predictors' impacting payment timelines, including 'Disputed is No' and 'Payment term is 30 days'. Recommendations such as 'Extend payment term to 60 days' and 'Switch to Electronic invoices' are also listed for improving the payment process. On the right, a column displays 'Accounts With Late Payment Predicted', ranking accounts by the number of late payments and showing percentages of delayed payments.

So, Tableau also has a way to lower the barrier to predictive modeling. Still, because of their no-code approach, they haven’t got a way to accommodate the more experienced ML model creators, similarly to Qlik Sense. So, overall, Tableau will be running off with a 4/5 for the augmented analytics category.

Reporting Capabilities: Qlik vs Tableau vs Power BI

In terms of report sharing and delivery, Power BI has some built-in functionality both within its desktop and online instance that don’t really flow well together. By uploading online, the reports created in Power BI Desktop, users can set up scheduled email subscriptions for those reports with role-based data access limitations. Admins have more control over the overall report adjustment and distribution process through the online instance since the desktop version is a bit limited on that front.

Furthermore, the reports themselves can only be added to emails as attachments, but various file types are supported, such as PPTX, PDF, XLSX, etc. So, to summarize, Microsoft does provide reporting out-of-the-box; however, they really haven’t put much effort in smoothening the whole process throughout the Power BI platform versions.

Screenshot of Power BI's report subscription interface showcasing options for setting up daily email subscriptions, scheduled delivery times based on time zones, and date range selections. The image highlights the capability to manage report access and sharing through the online platform.

This unintuitive design and setup have many users darting to the community forums for guidelines and even going as far as utilizing Power Automate, which requires a separate subscription in case you don’t have Microsoft 365 Suite subscription, to achieve a smoother distribution process. For that reason, we’ll be giving Power BI a 4/5 here.

Screenshot of the Power Automate interface, displaying a workflow titled 'Sales Report Update'. The workflow demonstrates a three-step automation process, starting with 'Recurrence', followed by 'Export To File for Power BI Reports', and culminating in 'Send an email'. The interface also shows navigation options, including 'Home', 'Action items', 'My flows', and more.

Qlik Sense, on the other hand, doesn’t support report distribution and sharing from the get-go. Rather it requires a separate subscription to its Qlik NPrinting platform to make that work. The platform itself, though, is pretty rich in functionality and customization.

Users can set up scheduled email distribution, with different types of reports going to varying positions or roles. The elements for the reports can come from several apps at once, and the data can be customized and filtered as much as necessary. The reports sent to email can be both available as attachments and embedded within the message body.

Screenshot of the Qlik NPrinting interface, showcasing the 'New trigger' creation page. It presents options to specify the name, description, and schedule for report distribution. The schedule type provides choices for 'Once', 'Daily', 'Weekly', 'Monthly', or 'Yearly' frequencies. Other features include setting a specific start date, time, and time zone. The interface also has tabs for 'Reports', 'Users/groups', 'Filters', 'Destinations', 'Email message', 'Triggers', and 'Conditions', emphasizing the platform's comprehensive customization capabilities.

Overall, Qlik NPrinting is great for reporting and offers users a lot of options and flexibility; it’s just a shame that it doesn’t come included with Qlik Sense. So, we’ll award them a 4/5 for this section.

Similar to Power BI, Tableau also has some built-in reporting functionality, which comes in the form of site subscriptions. They need to first be enabled by the server administrator, and the recipient of the email report needs to have at least a Viewer license. Apart from that, users can add recipients to the relevant scheduled subscription service, which can send the report either as an image or a PDF file.

But let’s get one thing clear here, Tableau doesn’t actually have a report creation or customization option; it just allows you to share and distribute any regular dashboard as a report, which is quite basic, to say the least. And because of this limited functionality and flexibility, we’ll be giving Tableau a 3/5.

Mobile App Experience: Choosing the Best Interface

Power BI’s mobile app is compatible with Android phones and tablets, iPhones and iPads, and, of course, Windows phones. With it, users can access their reports and dashboards in real-time through a great mobile interface.

Additionally, users can take advantage of the Q&A feature where they discover new insights just by typing, or in the mobile app’s case, even speaking naturally. Collaboration is also possible through comments, @mentions, and annotations.

A series of three mobile phone screenshots displaying Power BI's mobile app interface. The first screenshot shows a line graph titled 'Count of listing_by_date' ranging from July 2018 to May 2019, with points indicating data values and an interactive icon suggesting anomalies in the graph. Below the line graph, bar graphs represent 'Actual by Cost Element Group' with monetary value brackets. The second screenshot presents a side panel titled 'Show anomalies' with options to 'Expand to focus mode' and view 'Comments'. The third screenshot highlights a specific data point, 'Friday, Sep 20, 2018', detailing the 'document_usedId_monthly' as 28. Each screen offers options for bookmarks, comments, resetting, filtering, and accessing more features at the bottom.

The one limitation that we noticed was that users couldn’t develop new visualizations or dashboards on the go. Overall, apart from that restriction, we were pretty happy with the mobile experience of Power BI, and we’ll be giving it a nice 4/5.

Qlik Sense’s mobile app is only compatible with Android and iOS devices, so Windows phone users won’t be able to take advantage here. On the bright side, app users can view, analyze, control, and even create new dashboards and visualizations.

Qlik Sense’s mobile interface provides users with a quick and easy way to collaborate on projects, set up alerts, and find new insights through the Insight Advisor Chat Bot. Qlik also boasts that the dashboards built within the mobile app can seamlessly transition across all devices.

A trio of mobile phone screenshots showcasing Qlik Sense's mobile app interface. The first screenshot, titled 'Sales by Year and Quarter', displays a color-coded bar chart representing sales from 2017 to 2020 by quarter. Beneath it, a scatter plot illustrates 'Sales by Region' with data points for various areas. The second screenshot features a vertical bar graph titled 'Kungens Kurva Drive Time' indicating drive times in minutes. Below, a map indicates 'Drive Time and Store Overlap' with location markers. The third screenshot is centered on 'Lead Status' with a pie chart filtering 'Data for top 10 sales reps only'. Beneath the pie chart, a colorful flow chart labeled 'Top 5 Sales Reps Lead Flow' depicts sales rep names and corresponding data flows.
Source: Qlik

Finally, there’s offline support, where users can download apps and data to interact with and explore before going into environments with unreliable connectivity. All of this combined equals a 5/5 for Qlik Sense in our books.

Tableau’s mobile app is also compatible only with Android and iOS devices, so it looks like Windows phone users will only be able to rely on Power BI. In terms of functionality, Tableau’s mobile app allows users to preview and interact with their workbooks, worksheets, and individual visualizations.

Collaboration, sadly, isn’t an option yet, but on the bright side, since the June 2022 patch, users can share content directly with others.

A sequence of three mobile phone screenshots displaying the interface of Tableau's mobile app. The first screenshot features a dashboard titled 'Business Performance Favorites' showing thumbnails of various visualizations such as 'Clinic Analytics', 'Economy', 'Flight Delays', and 'Global Temperatures'. The subsequent two screenshots zoom in on 'S&P Economic Indicators'. In the middle screenshot, a vertical bar chart is displayed under the title 'Inflation rate by Year and Decade', covering a year range from 1961 to 2001. The last screenshot provides a detailed view of a specific year, 1947, highlighting an inflation rate of 18%. Both detailed views include a section on 'Annualized Returns vs. Market Conditions' with a scatter plot and a button labeled 'Go Live' suggesting real-time data access.
Source: Tableau

Furthermore, offline support allows previewing all the required data at any time regardless of internet connection. From what we’ve seen, creating new visualizations or workbooks isn’t possible. Ultimately, we’ll be rating the Tableau mobile app with a 4/5 for its pleasant interface, interactive options, and offline support.

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B EYE partners with Qlik, Power BI, Tableau, and Snowflake Data Cloud. 

Pricing Structures: Comparing Costs and Value

Microsoft offers two options to Power BI users – Power BI Pro and Power BI Premium, where the former has quite a few limitations and the latter provides a lot more functionality. Users have to option to try the tool out for free by downloading the Power BI desktop application. This free version allows for personal report and dashboard creation and limits the data source connections. In order to unlock the connecting, sharing, and collaborating options, users will need to pay $15 (per user/month) for a Power BI Pro license.

To get access to some of the more exciting features, though, customers will need to pay $29.9 (per user/month). This includes stuff like Dataflows, Advanced AI capabilities, paginated reports, etc. These license options are manageable for companies under 100 employees, but, naturally, bigger companies will need to contact Microsoft’s sales team for a custom-tailored price quote. Overall, we’ll award Power BI a 5/5 here for the price flexibility it provides.

Qlik’s price list, on the other hand, aims to get users straight into the action with their Qlik Sense Business license. It costs $30 (per user/month) and contains all the features that come built-in with Qlik Sense, with some limitations at places like the app size limit or the number of shared spaces a user can access. If unsure about the cost, clients can utilize the 30-day free trial to explore and test out this cloud-based version.

This license option is great for small businesses, but the bigger the company size, the more beneficial it becomes to request a custom price quote from Qlik’s sales team. In the end, the timed free trial and the lack of options Qlik Sense provides within its price list will net it a 4/5 in this category.

Looking at Tableau’s prices, we can spot several different licenses which have varying prices depending on the client’s preferences to go with Tableau Server – the on-premises approach – or Tableau Cloud. Naturally, the cloud-based option costs a bit more.

Going through the different licensing tier features, we can see that Tableau Viewer costs $15 (per user/month) when activated in Tableau Cloud or $12 (per user/month) in Tableau Server. It’s only useful for users that want to view, analyze, and interact with data visualizations and workbooks but not create any themselves. That option is available with the Tableau Explorer license, which is $42 (per user/month) or $35 (per user/month) depending on the deployment approach again. It has some limitations in terms of what data governing, authoring, and preparing features it offers, but it’s useful enough to get users started.

What most companies will likely go for, though, is the Tableau Creator license, which is their most expensive one – $75 (per user/month). It gives access to Tableau Desktop and Tableau Prep Builder, as well as Tableau Cloud or Server, and it’s the most complete version of the platform. Users also have the option of a free 14-day trial that gives them a taste of the full suite experience.

Overall, Tableau offers business intelligence users some flexibility when it comes to choosing a license, but it’s also the most expensive tool out of the three. So, for that reason, we’ll be awarding it with a 4/5, as well.

Discover More: Gartner Magic Quadrant 2023: In-Depth Comparison of Power BI, Tableau, and Qlik 

Top Competitors to Qlik, Power BI, and Tableau

As a bonus, we thought we’d briefly talk about some competitors that are worth looking into or, at the very least, keeping an eye on. These companies are constantly improving and, in terms of offered functionality, are nearing the top three leaders (Microsoft Power BI vs Qlik Sense vs Tableau).

ThoughtSpot: A Brief Overview

ThoughtSpot focuses on providing its users with search and AI-driven analytics in a slick and friendly package. Its drag-and-drop interface allows anyone to do quick and easy analysis. And with the help of Search IQ and Spot IQ – the platform’s data search engine and AI engine, respectively – users can go through any unnoticed data correlations for more insight gathering. The platform does have a 30-day free trial for anyone curious to try it out.

Sisense: Key Differentiators

Sisense offers its users an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface with which to analyze, visualize, and share complex data and insights. So, nothing too much out of the ordinary? You’re absolutely right! It offers a lot of the standard staples like dashboard creation, data mashups, augmented analytics, data filtering, etc. Sisense also offers a two-month free trial, so anyone curious can try it out and see how it compares to the big three.

Oracle: What Sets It Apart?

Oracle Analytics is Oracle’s AI-driven analytics software, and it’s set to cover everything from data ingestion and modeling to data preparation and visualization. Because the company first began as a database management system, it’s been able to polish up and enhance those features throughout the years. So, what you get in Oracle Analytics is quite a sophisticated data preparation and enrichment service. Coupled with some excellent data visualization features, and you’ve got a solid experience, which companies can test out with the free 30-day trial.

SAP: Distinguishing Attributes

SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) combines the three major aspects of business intelligence – planning, data visualization, and predictive analytics – in one centralized solution. It unites the power of all other SAP tools to streamline the analytics process of a company. As with the other competitors, machine learning and augmented analytics play a big role in guiding users to the best possible insights. The platform offers a 30-day free trial, which can be extended to 90 days after the first week of usage.

Domo: Features at a Glance

Domo is a cloud-based BI platform that was made with the business end user in mind. Therefore, it’s built to be fast, transparent, and, most of all, user-friendly. Users will find that they can easily create and customize data connections, dashboards, and alerts. There’s also built-in query handling in the form of its Magic ETL, which presents an easy setup due to its drag-and-drop interface. Domo also offers a 30-day free trial for anyone looking to test out its interface and functionality.

Qlik vs Tableau vs Power BI: FAQs

Why is Qlik better than Power BI?

Qlik offers a unique associative data model, enabling users to visualize data relationships across different sources without predefined queries. This is particularly beneficial for complex data discovery and deep-dive analysis. Additionally, Qlik’s in-memory processing allows for faster data retrieval and interactive analysis, even with large datasets. While Power BI has its strengths, especially in terms of seamless integration with other Microsoft products, Qlik stands out for its robust data modeling capabilities and flexibility in handling complex datasets.

What is the advantage of Power BI vs Tableau?

Power BI’s main advantage over Tableau lies in its deep integration with Microsoft’s ecosystem. If an organization is already invested in Microsoft products like Azure, SharePoint, or Office 365, Power BI offers native integrations that make data retrieval and report sharing across these platforms seamless. Moreover, Power BI’s pricing model can be more affordable, especially for small to medium-sized enterprises. In contrast, while Tableau is renowned for its advanced visualization capabilities, Power BI provides a good balance between usability and in-depth analytics, especially for businesses heavily invested in the Microsoft ecosystem.

Why is Qlik better than Tableau?

Qlik’s primary edge over Tableau is its associative data model. This model allows users to intuitively explore data relationships without being restricted by predefined paths or queries. Qlik also excels in data integration, enabling users to bring together disparate data sources effortlessly. Its in-memory processing ensures that even extensive datasets are analyzed quickly. While Tableau has exceptional data visualization capabilities and is highly user-friendly, Qlik provides a more holistic data discovery experience, especially for businesses looking for deeper insights and a comprehensive view of their data.

How long does it take to learn Qlik Sense?

The learning curve for Qlik Sense largely depends on the user’s background. For individuals with prior experience in data analytics or BI tools, getting accustomed to Qlik Sense might take a few weeks to become proficient. For complete beginners, a dedicated 2-3 months of consistent learning, including working on practical projects, should provide a solid foundation. It’s important to note that, like any tool, mastery requires continuous practice and engagement. Qlik also offers a range of official training resources and certifications to support the learning process.

Making an Informed Decision: Qlik, Tableau, or Power BI?

So, at the end of the day, who won the Microsoft Power BI vs Qlik Sense vs Tableau race? Well, if we look at the points – Qlik Sense wins! However, these stars were given in terms of platform flexibility, customization, and user-friendliness. Not all companies look for the exact same features in a platform when making their choice. So, let’s quickly summarize the three platforms’ strengths.

If you want a fast-performing, optimized, and all-in-one experience, then Qlik Sense is most likely the platform for you. While if you want to quickly jump into data analytics with a familiar and user-friendly tool with all the bells and whistles you’d need, then Power BI is probably the way to go. And if you want to create beautiful, unique, and customizable visualizations, then Tableau is in the cards for you.

And that’s it! We reached the end of this long comparison article. And if there’s one thing that you should take away from all this, it’s that B EYE will be here to support you with whichever choice you go for. So, feel free to contact us, so we can discuss what your next steps into the world of data analytics could be.

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