is power bi better than tableau

Why is Power BI better than Tableau for small businesses?

Is Power BI better than Tableau? Being comparatively new, will Power BI meet all our requirements? Which BI tool is best for small businesses?

These are some of the common questions that small business owners have. This article aims to answer these queries to help you make an informed decision.

Data is everywhere

Data is growing every minute! By increasing data accessibility by a meager 10%, Fortune 100 companies can increase their net income by over $65 million. Thus, increasing the need to tap and analyze the unstructured data, which can be done with a BI software application.

According to a Statista report published in December 2020, the worldwide market size for business intelligence and analytics software applications is predicted to reach 17.6 billion dollars in 2024.

Nucleus Research study says that by investing in analytics solutions, like Business Intelligence software, companies can experience an average ROI of $13.01 for every dollar spent – Something that every business would love to enjoy!

Microsoft Power BI and Tableau have been unbeaten leaders for years when it comes to business intelligence tools. But, as a start-up, which one should you invest in?

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Comparison between Power BI and Tableau

1. Costing & Features

Power BI

There are three subscriptions of Power BI – Power BI Desktop, Pro, and Premium. While the Desktop is free, the Power BI pro comes for $9.99 per user per month. With the Desktop version, you get all the required features for developing powerful dashboards. And for collaborating and sharing the dashboards, you will need the Pro version.

Power BI Pro offers a 60 days free trial.


The full-service analytics workflow of Tableau starts at $35 per user/month. And you will have to purchase a minimum of 5 explorers, which is quite expensive for small businesses. Moreover, to enjoy the most out of Tableau, you will have to develop a data warehouse that’ll further shoot up your cost.

Tableau offers only a 14 days free trial.


If cost is your sole driving factor, then the question is Power BI better than Tableau gets nullified at the very initial stage. And as you read on, you will realize that the features Power BI provides you, at this price, is impeccable.

Related BlogPower BI Free vs Pro comparison

2. Data visualization capabilities

Power BI

Power BI that started with a few visuals now has over 30 visuals in the visualization pane itself. And you can download more from the Microsoft AppSource.

Microsoft not only updates this list regularly, but you can also download industry-specific visuals from here. All you need to do is download a Power BI visual and start developing intuitive dashboards.

Furthermore, the Q & A feature empowers you with the natural language question capabilities. Using it Power BI understands your question to generate the graphs. It is both fun and interactive.


Data visualization is one of the core competencies of BI tools. And with 24 different interactive graphs, initially, Tableau was a leader in it. You can use the “what if” questions for live queries and use any number of data points in your analysis.


Power BI has a 3,500 data point limit, which can be a hindrance for medium or large enterprises, but not for small businesses. Also, because of the greater number of visuals, Power BI is better compared to Tableau.

3. Data Integrations

Power BI

You can connect Power BI with a host of data sources, including Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) Microsoft applications, SAP HANA, BM DB2 Database, SQL Server Analysis Services Database, and flat files.

And it’s regularly increasing its data connectors in monthly updates. When you import data from different sources, Power BI automatically determines the relationships.  You can also change these relationships manually according to your requirement.


Tableau comparatively connects to a larger number of data sources like Hadoop, Kognitio, Marketo, flat files, online data sources like Google sheets, etc. And the list goes on.

However, the connection is a little complicated as you need to know your data thoroughly and understand the reasons behind the connections.


So, if you ask, is Power BI better than Tableau when it comes to connectivity? No, it isn’t, as the latter connects to a larger number of data sources. However, connecting to data sources and editing it is comparatively much easier in Power BI than Tableau. Thus, making the former a widely used data visualization software among SMEs.

Best BI tools head-to-headMicrosoft Power BI vs Tableau

4. The learning curve

Power BI

Power BI has a steep learning curve. While developing simple dashboards is very simple, it also has a broad scope for analysts with knowledge of SQL, Python, and R. Furthermore, the DAX (Data Analysis Expression) function has many similarities with Microsoft Excel.


Compared to Power BI, Tableau is challenging to learn. Unlike Power BI’s DAX, its underlying language is MDX (Multidimensional Expressions).


Since Power BI is easy to understand and grasp, companies prefer to start with it. Later once they get a hang of how things are working out, they may switch to advanced tools like Tableau.

Power BI’s similarity and familiarity with Microsoft Excel is another advantage for its users.

5. Customer Support & Community

Power BI

Power BI users can receive robust support from the strong Microsoft community. You can raise tickets for any concerns. Their social media team is also very active and provides quick support to any problems, including login issues to new and old features.

Furthermore, Microsoft’s knowledge base comprises a thorough guide on various aspects of Power BI, starting from installation to explaining the individual graphs.


Direct support via phone and email makes it very convenient for Tableau users. It also has a broad knowledge base, categorized according to the three subscriptions: Desktop, Server, and Online. Thus, making it very easier for users to access resources designed for their version. You can also access Tableau’s forum.


Both Power BI and Tableau have extensive customer support. And the vast knowledge base available online makes them stand on the same podium.

Click to readHow is Power BI used to impact business processes?

Why is Power BI better than Tableau?

If you are still confused and cannot decide if power bi is better than Tableau, then our suggestion is to opt for Power BI. It empowers you with innumerable opportunities for data analysis at minimum cost and training.

Both Tableau and Power BI are robust data visualization tools, and each has its unique features. But, if you are a small business owner and want to start off with an easy-to-use drag-and-drop BI tool, then Power BI is the way to go.

And if you want to work with a consultant for your analytics and data visualization needs, download the following guide.

how to select the right BI consultant or consulting company