On 2/12/2020 the Gartner Magic Quadrant came out with PowerBI being ahead of Tableau in the Leader quadrant, so I sent out the tweet below. What ensued was a huge outpouring of great opinions, personal experiences, and bits of information about how different organizations are viewing the Tableau v PowerBI decision that many companies are facing. In this blog I am going to recap some of the best of those takes for those curious about the differences between the two tools.
And this is just the Gartner quadrant…I wonder what the market share trend looks like the past year or two? I imagine the Azure/PowerBI play has to be taking a HUGE chunk of @tableau‘s market share. #PowerBI is the future. Tell me why I’m wrong? https://t.co/iQZ0mYSM7k— Spencer Baucke (@JSBaucke) February 12, 2020
There were so many great topics covered in the responses, so I will try and group the tweets together to help guide the learning from this great thread.
This response from Fred Fery just about summed up the most common reason given for companies migrating to PowerBI from Tableau. As you’ll see in some more of these tweets, the discussion is a lot more nuanced and complicated depending on your organization.
may be I should start to learn PowerBi 🤣— Frederic Fery (@fredffery) February 12, 2020
I’m hearing the big bonus for PowerBi is (perceived?) the lower cost and Azure??
In this exchange Barrett Studdard explains some of the pricing of PBI pro licensing. This is based upon your organization’s level of O365. In this case, if you have O365 Enterprise E5 (or above) then you get free PBI pro licenses, which is similar to a Tableau Creator license.
PBI pro is $10/month/user for Pro licenses, but free of you have O365 Enterprise E5 (maybe some other Enterprise setups too). This is most similar to a Tableau Creator license in that it allows you to publish and share content.— Barrett Studdard (@Data_Stud) February 13, 2020
Jeff Huckaby says here that is everything is on Azure, PowerBI works better. The level of Azure deployment will dictate your O365 level, which will dictate your PBI Pro licensing prices.
No, Tableau on Azure works great. I think people should get hands on (with any tool), learn, then assess. If everything is on Azure, PowerBI works better, they used to have a fractured between Azure and on prem.— Jeff Huckaby (@huck5) February 13, 2020
This is where things got very interesting for me. Before this exchange of ideas with both Sandeep and Alex, I had generally been viewing the differences between Tableau and PowerBI in terms of how well and/or easily they create great visualizations. What I was not aware of was the extensive power behind PowerQuery, which allows you to easily import and transform data from various sources. This is a huge selling point for the tool. Here is a link to a Getting Started with Power Query YouTube video.
Is that report a Publish to Web? And of course the Power in the Platform is Power Query! Awesome stuff!— Alex Power[s] Platform (@notaboutthecell) February 14, 2020
The summation from Alex here is perfect in that maybe we are looking at the Tableau v PowerBI comparisons in a manner that isn’t quite apples to apples. He says in his tweet below, “If I could rewrite the marketing narrative of Power BI it would be “a fantastic data compression and aggregation tool that supports data visualizations” but that doesn’t sound as sexy…”
If I could rewrite the marketing narrative of Power BI it would be “a fantastic data compression and aggregation tool that supports data visualizations” but that doesn’t sound as sexy. I would certainly extend the invite for further conversations offline.— Alex Power[s] Platform (@notaboutthecell) February 14, 2020
If you want to really dig into PowerBI I highly recommend following Alex. His knowledge of the platform and his willingness to help other learn is amazing. As you can see, he is very passionate that anything we want to do in PowerBI is possible with the right training.
This is a no bullshit comment as I’ve trained nearly 3,000 people converting from Tableau to Power BI. If the play is “we have better data vizz” – that’s the 5% of the glacier that you see sticking out of the ocean – the fight isn’t for the space on your fridge (1/2)— Alex Power[s] Platform (@notaboutthecell) February 14, 2020
If you’re a Tableau user wondering if there is a PowerBI equivalent of Tableau Public, there is! It’s a site called the PowerBI Community Galleries. There are a lot of cool dashboards in there that show off the power of PowerBI.
FYI, you can publish to the web for free. Note that this creates an open web link with no security. to share with unlicensed users you specify you have to pay for a capacity https://t.co/0ygJrosdRa— Alex Dupler (@alexdupler) February 13, 2020
There is a gallery of public reports here.https://t.co/NispSdG6zE
Mim here gives his response on how he thinks that PowerBI desktop as free was the game winner. I do know that having PowerBI Desktop free to download has been huge in me even wanting to invest time in learning the tool, so I can definitely see where he’s coming from.
Before PowerBI came out, Microsoft shifted the costs into higher SQL Server fees, so it isn’t quite apples to apples cost comparison.— Jeff Huckaby (@huck5) February 13, 2020
Another great tweet, this time from Tristan, saying why we shouldn’t necessarily be comparing Tableau and PowerBI directly as visualization tools only. A lot of companies are comparing the tools right now, but there are a ton of variables (as we’ve seen in this blog post) to consider when selecting which tool to go with.
Tristan – great article! I want to dive in more to the back end charactersricis of PBI but before I do, I think it’s important to note that we are all comparing Tableau and PBI because tons of companies are doing the same thing right now, hence so many people chiming in.— Spencer Baucke (@JSBaucke) February 13, 2020
It is definitely important to note that this is not necessary a one or the other decision for a lot of companies. There can be specific use cases that might be better served for one product or the other, and in a lot of big organizations (including most I’ve worked at) both products are being used for different purposes. Great point from Chris!
It results in a healthy competition environment which means each vendor continues to develop with a pace which is massively beneficial to me as an end user. And being a user of each tool means I can implement solutions which meet my needs.— ChrisDataBlog (@chrisdatablog) February 13, 2020
To add to the conversation, Munazzah added her amazing takes to this conversation in the article below. It is DEFINITELY a must read and highlights a lot of the same questions and concepts that my Twitter thread was attempting to address. Make sure to check it out!
Every time I mention that I work with both Tableau & Power BI, people always ask me which tool is better.— Munazzah Naeem (@munazzzah) February 15, 2020
So I drew about it.
Here’s my “definitive guide” to @tableau and @MSPowerBI.#DataVizhttps://t.co/4JMAZnEVFd
I was pleasantly surprised with how many folks in the PowerBI community reached out and responded as part of my Twitter thread as I imagine most of my follows are part of the Tableau community. The takes above are not meant to be viewed as law, but rather a part of a broader conversation being had in companies all around the world. Hopefully these responses have given you an insight into different businesses and BI communities on how the future of data visualization/BI tools are being viewed. Thanks to everyone who responded and hopefully this is the first of many similar conversations in the near future!
Thanks so much for reading! If you have any questions or comments, make sure to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org!