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Top 10 Alternatives to Tableau: Analysis of Popular Business Intelligence Tools

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Choosing a suitable business intelligence solution from the scores of equally capable platforms out there can be a difficult, time-consuming task. Tableau, for example, is a powerful tool in the category, but considering the unique way your business runs may require you to look elsewhere. To help you, we have created this quick business intelligence comparison of the top 10 alternatives to Tableau.

Business intelligence software should help you process and analyze corporate data to produce quality insights and help understand the health of your business. Using a variety of formulas and metrics to measure, compare, and relate business indicators, a good business intelligence software should make it possible to distinguish the strengths and weaknesses of every company. Put simply, data and metrics is at the heart of any useful business intelligence system.

When shopping around for these applications, you should be looking at these core functions: data discovery, data management, and reporting; additionally, however, some of them also evaluate functionality and employees’ performance. For a more solid backgrounder on this software category — including factors to consider, issues and trends — you can check our detailed business intelligence guide report here.

By and large, business intelligence software has allowed businesses to keep up with the unabating march of data complexity, liberating users from the entrenched ways of the past, making them comfortable with the idea of machines getting smarter, information democracy rising, and BI separating the winners from the losers.

What is Tableau?

Launched in 2003, Tableau is a business intelligence system that helps companies visualize and understand their data. Using a revolutionary approach, the solution allows businesses to quickly connect, visualize, and share data with an efficient, seamless experience all the way from the PC to the iPad. You can create and publish dashboards and share them with partners, colleagues, or customers—without the need for programming skills. If you’re already using a Tableau Service (Tableau Online or Tableau Server), there will be no obstacles to let data flow seamlessly from one platform to the other.

Tableau Desktop is a self-service analytics solution that allows you to look at data and answer questions rapidly. Tableau Server enables you to publish dashboards from your Tableau Desktop on any web browser or mobile-based device.

Benefits of Tableau

  1. Powerful analytics. Interactive, visual analysis lets you untangle thorny business questions and quickly get to the insights that propel your business forward. Powered by its patented VizQL technology, Tableau gives you powerful analytics to ask deeper questions and deliver more meaningful answers.
  2. Powerful, comprehensive platform. From connection through collaboration, Tableau gives you powerful, secure, and flexible end-to-end analytics platform for your data. Using Tableau for your data ensures your expectations are more than met.
  3. Connected to multiple data sources. Tableau’s productivity suite allows you to connect it to a number of data sources you’re already using, import and visualize data in a matter of minutes. Unique technology gives it 10 to 100 times faster data analysis mechanism than the one its competitors can offer.
  4. Multiple options to interact. Put your data anywhere you need it. With Tableau, you can securely consume your data via browser, desktop, mobile, or embedded into any application.
  5. Intuitive and easy interface. Tableau is incredibly easy to use, allowing you to bring data for analysis with few simple drag-and-drop moves. This means that the product is intuitive even for non-savvy users, and doesn’t take time, programming knowledge, or expensive training for teams to get grasp on it.
  6. Advanced collaboration. Most of Tableau’s functionalities are collated on a public dashboard, where users can access and process data with only few clicks. A dedicated mobile app for different devices ensures activities can be completed regardless of the agent’s location. This allows agents to use the same application to share their achievements and invite colleagues to collaborate.
  7. Several methods for data investigation. Tableau investigates data in many different ways, starting with large, traditional dashboards, and ending up with complex cloud-based source explorations. Instead of conducting analyses with a single method, the user can combine approaches and data views to make insights richer. At the end, all conclusions are showcased in comprehensive data visualizations, made so simple that you can easily share them with clients and partners from different industries.
  8. Flexible pricing and deployment. Tableau lets you choose whether you want to deploy it in cloud or on their local servers, and offers annual subscriptions and single-payment licenses to meet the capacity of different companies. This flexibility makes Tableau accessible to businesses from all scales and industries.
  9. Reliable support. Tableau gives users access to a reliable tech support team.

Top 10 Alternatives to Tableau

1. Sisense

Sisense is a business intelligence platform that lets users join, analyze, and picture out information they require to make more intelligent business decisions and craft out workable plans and strategies. With Sisense, users can unify all the data they ever need and want into visually appealing dashboards via a drag and drop user interface. You can easily sign up for a Sisense free demo here and get to know the features firsthand at no cost and without commitment.

Sisense allows users to turn data into highly valuable insights and share them with colleagues, business partners, and clients via interactive dashboards. Moreover, it is the leading business intelligence software for many companies, ranging from startups and developing enterprises to Fortune 500 giants including NASDAQ, Sony, ESPN, Comcast, and NASA.


This award is given to the best product in our business intelligence software category. It highlights its superior quality and underlines the fact that it's a leader on the market.

Sisense won our Best BI Software of 2018 Award

Our score
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Why use Sisense instead of Tableau?

  1. You can export data to Images, Excel, PDF, CSV and other formats.
  2. It identifies important metrics using filtering and calculations.
  3. The app handles data at scale on a single commodity server.
  4. It filters data by dropping fields on the canvas.

Why use Tableau instead of Sisense?

  1. It lets you analyze data in a way that drives decisions in a profitable direction.
  2. It connects to a number of data sources you’re already using, and imports and visualizes data in a matter of minutes.
  3. It offers a much faster data analysis mechanism compared to its competitors.

If Sisense does not cut to your requirements, you can look at these Sisense alternatives for more options.

2. Looker

Next on our list of top 10 alternatives to Tableau is Looker, a data-discovery application that offers an intuitive approach to data exploration. It provides a web-based interface that you can use to gain insight from the expertise of your data analytics team. If you want to know more about the features you can easily sign up for a Looker free demo here.

Users can create and share reports easily for the benefit of other functional groups, effectively helping businesses drive their activities and decisions in the right direction.

Looker also offers flexible pricing and open API integrations. The interface is intuitive and the app is designed to eliminate data bottlenecks. More than 700 global companies use this solution to boost customer satisfaction and gain information from their website traffic.

Why use Looker instead of Tableau?

  1. It is very easy to operate.
  2. It helps organizations make smarter business decisions through real-time access to data.
  3. It enables and streamlines collaboration among users.
  4. It is accessible on any browser and mobile device.
  5. It lets data and reports to be shared via URLs or email.
  6. It’s easily integrated into different apps such as Google Docs and Excel, and even custom and third-party applications.
  7. It allows data to be manually exported in .csv or text files.

Why use Tableau instead of Looker?

  1. It is easy to use, letting you input data for analysis with a few simple drag and drop moves.
  2. Its collaboration features offer a way to facilitate group analytics, ensuring all team members are on the same page.
  3. It investigates data in different ways, starting with large conventional dashboards and ending with complex cloud-based source explorations.

To offer you a wider choice, we present these viable Looker alternatives.

3. ReportPlus

ReportPlus is a data visualization software that enables you to visualize your significant business metrics in a centralized platform. It gives you real-time dashboards, interactive reports, and accessibility anywhere at any time to monitor and stay on top of your business processes’ performance.

The service is accessible via any device, such as Windows and Mac desktops or iOS and Android smartphones and tablets.

The software offers architecture diagrams that are uniquely designed for accessing your data whether it’s on-premise or in the cloud. Its cloud-based solution connects your data to cloud services, on-premise SQL databases, and local Excel spreadsheets in real time. It allows the creation and analysis of dashboards anywhere and empowers self-service BI without an IT professional’s assistance. This empowers your staff to create, edit, and share dashboards while in the office or on-the-go. The on-premise solution is IT-friendly that guarantees a worry-free installation and maintenance. As it’s deployed on-premise or on a private cloud, web reports are available to your entire organization’s access.

Why use ReportPlus instead of Tableau?

  1. It has unlimited embedded dashboards within apps to expand your reach, market faster, and build a custom branded BI solution. It defines service engagement by ensuring users enjoy a built-in partnership and product support. This includes training, architecture workshop, installation, and dashboard creation.
  2. It gives you more than 30 visualization types to choose from to match your needs in conveying your data effectively. This simplifies the process of creating robust dashboards as you can style them with preset themes and further apply customization by modifying fonts and colors.
  3. It lets you create custom data visualizations and then easily embed it into your next app. Regardless of the device and location, your dashboards will maintain your brand’s look and feel and reach your application users with a variety of platform options.

Why use Tableau instead of ReportPlus?

  1. It makes analyzing data fast and easy, beautiful and useful. This feature has gained a growing interest not only among business users, but also groups—like journalists—traditionally not using BI tools are taking it into use.
  2. It suits different kinds of needs and organizations. As the needs of different kinds of organizations vary, Tableau provides them the options to make the best of its capabilities.
  3. It gives you a means to create stunning visual dashboards—easily and quickly—including data discovery and visualization dashboards, statistical analytics like trends and forecasting dashboards.

If you still need more options, check out these ReportPlus alternatives.

4. Qualtrics Research Core

Qualtrics Research Core is an enterprise market research platform trusted by over 8500 brands and 100 schools across the globe. Built to help users drive better business decisions, this is the first software solution to use AI in analyzing survey data for predicting market trends. It consists of a set of advanced intelligent features called Qualtrics IQ.

Powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence, these tools aim to make sophisticated research simpler. You can use all the features for free for a period of time to see if the software matches your needs. Simply sign up for a Qualtrics Research Core free trial here.

Whether you want to track consumer behavior, benchmark your company against competitors, conduct academic research, test products, or analyze your advertising efforts, Qualtrics Research Core can simplify and optimize it for you. This platform offers a plethora of state-of-the-art tools that can let you create, test, and modify surveys in an instant, so you can get actionable business insights as quickly as possible.

Why use Qualtrics Research Core instead of Tableau?

  1. It has expert, skilled professionals who are available 24/7 by phone, email, and chat to help you. This way, you won’t have to worry about experiencing lengthy downtimes.
  2. It offers both in-house implementation and can also partner with industry specific companies such as Walker, JD-Power and Kantar.
  3. It offers a Text IQ capability. Equipped with artificial intelligence and natural language processing, this tool analyzes open texts for you. It will then suggest relevant topics and assign sentiment scores to individual text comments.
  4. It eliminates the guesswork from the planning process using its Driver IQ function. Providing you with real-time data on your customers’ experiences, this tool will automatically correlate this information to prioritize the key drivers of your business. It can also predict the actions that will reap the best possible business impact to help you optimize your campaigns.

Why use Tableau instead of Qualtrics Research Core?

  1. It integrates with programming languages like R or Python, a great help in the field of data science.
  2. With Tableau, you are never alone. You can find inspiration from Tableau Community and Tableau bloggers, not to forget hours and hours of free online training. To hear the experiences of other Tableau business users at your countries, join Affecto events!
  3. It gives users access to a reliable tech support team, even automating data updates to help companies get fresh information without wasting their time.

Overwhelmed by the powerful features of Qualtrics Research Core? If simpler is more your cup of tea, then look at these Qualtrics Research Core alternatives too.

5. Zoho Reports

Zoho Reports is Zoho’s self-service business intelligence and analytics software that allows you to create insightful dashboards and data visualizations. A user-friendly tool that is easy to set up, Zoho Reports is designed for use by SMB owners that seek inexpensive yet efficient platform for their business needs. Start-ups will appreciate most of its features, which include data visualizations, online collaboration among team members, among other helpful business applications. For a growing company, there is an enterprise version available that’s more intuitive than what most competitions offer. You can easily sign up for a Zoho Reports free trial here.

Easy to setup and fast to implement, Zoho Reports lets you get started in just a few days, saving you huge amounts of time and effort. The tool’s spreadsheet-like interface as well as its intuitive drag-and-drop based reports designer make it very easy to learn and use for any business.

Why use Zoho Reports instead of Tableau?

  1. Connect to any data source. Import data from files, feeds, databases, cloud drives, popular business applications and in-house apps.
  2. Visual analysis. Create reports and dashboards, with an easy drag-and-drop interface. Use different BI visualization tools, to drill down to specifics.
  3. Secure online collaboration. Share and collaborate on reports and dashboards with your colleagues privately, and reach a consensus quickly.
  4. Data blending. Combine data from different sources to create cross functional reports, and thereby get more insight into your business.
  5. Powerful formula engine. Build formulae using an easy to use formula engine, offering extensive mathematical and statistical functions.

Why use Tableau instead of Zoho Reports?

  1. It is easy to connect to different data sources: it can be connected to more than 40 different sources, including file-based data sources such as Excel and CSV, relational database data sources such as Teradata, SQL Server, DB2, OLAP data sources such as Microsoft Analysis Services, BW, cloud-based data sources such as Successfactor, Google Analytics, and Web Data Connector – web services as a source.
  2. Its built-in data connectors are free and you need no licensing fees to use them. Use live connections or make use of Tableau extract engine for super-fast performance.
  3. It allows you to leverage the power of database easily, connect to database views and helps you optimize query performance.

You may check out these Zoho Reports alternatives for more options.

6. QlikView

QlikView is a Business Intelligence (BI) data discovery product for creating guided analytics applications as well as dashboards designed for business challenges. You can use QlikView’s Associative Data Indexing Engine to uncover data insights and relationships across various sources, and improve the quality of your business decisions.

Unlike traditional systems, QlikView exposes data that is not revealed with query-based tools. The tool also offers guided exploration and discovery and collaborative analytics for sharing insights. Plus, the program enables users to create and deploy analytic apps without requiring technical skills. This helps drive quicker response to changing business requirements, shorter time to value, and more insight across a company.

Why use QlikView instead of Tableau?

  1. It utilizes natural search to navigate complex information and accelerate discovery.
  2. Alongside its default connectors, QlikView offers custom connectors you can install upon need, including such that import data from Salesforce, Hive, Teradata, and other popular systems. This means that QlikView is perfectly applicable in all analytic scenarios, both when you’re running a small and local business and when performing enterprise-grade big data analytics.
  3. It allows you to create personalized, data-driven discoveries with guided paths and analysis. All discoveries are tightly governed and highly customizable, which means that your employees will be guided while developing insights, and instructed on how to use those to make more meaningful business decisions.
  4. QlikView offers four pricing plans: Personal Edition, Enterprise Edition, Extranet Server, and Information Access Server. It also offers the QlikView Publisher, which is licensed on a per-server rate.

Why use Tableau instead of QlikView?

  1. Tableau offers fixed plans and an entry price point of $500 per year. The software is offered in five plans: Desktop Personal Edition, Professional Edition, Server, Online and Public Premium. Having fixed plans to look at means prospects can easily estimate how this software fits their budget.
  2. It investigates data in many different ways, starting with large, traditional dashboards, and ending up with complex cloud-based source explorations.
  3. Instead of conducting analyses with a single method, it allows the user to combine approaches and data views to make insights richer. This ensures all conclusions are showcased in comprehensive data visualizations, made so simple that you can easily share them with clients and partners from different industries.

For more options aside from QlikView, see this list of other QlikView alternatives.

7. SAS Business Intelligence

Next on our list of top ten alternatives to Tableau is SAS Business Intelligence. Part of SAS Enterprise Solutions, SAS Business Intelligence combines business intelligence and analytics to discover and collect enterprise-level data. It provides user-friendly, self-service business intelligence tools and solutions, deploying real-time analytics directly to mobile devices and Microsoft applications. These functionalities lets you quickly view business metrics and derive high quality and actionable data, enabling you to make intelligent business decisions.

SAS Business Intelligence & Analytics comprises six key modules including SAS Visual Analytics, SAS Visual Statistics, SAS Office Analytics, SAS Enterprise Guide, and SAS Enterprise BI Server. This seamlessly integrated suite offers a range of helpful BI tools and features. The main module is SAS Visual Analytics which enables you to explore data visually, identify data relationships and patterns, and get deep insights from interactive visualizations.

Why use SAS Business Intelligence instead of Tableau?

  1. Fast insights from any data. Whether it’s in Hadoop, your relational data source or Microsoft Office spreadsheets, you can discover data from any source in a well-governed way – without preconceptions.
  2. It’s easy. No matter your skill level, you can ask the solution tough questions. Easily explore, create and share. Follow your instincts. No need to engage IT.
  3. Location, location, location. Adding a geographic perspective takes your explorations to the next level, enabling you to better understand opportunities and risks.

Why use Tableau instead of SAS Business Intelligence?

  1. It allows you to spend less time required to pull and prepare data. Tableau’s built-in data connections and preparation tools enable analysts to quickly get data in a usable format. Time saved preparing data means more time available for your analysts to do what you hired them for: analyzing data and formulating insights.
  2. It has over 60 built-in data connections ranging from text files such as Excel to databases like MySQL to online tools such as Google Analytics or Tableau also allows files with the same column names to be combined into one data source. The wide variety of connections allows for multiple data sources to automatically be brought into one central place (no copy and pasting required!). Once the data is combined in Tableau, rather than having to look through multiple disparate reports to find a story, you can create a single, centralized view.
  3. Its calculation builder allows analysts to create new ways to look at your data quickly and easily. No need for IT or data engineering involvement to get new fields automatically added to every row. Tableau also allows the ability to create a friendly name for any value without having to change underlying data. If your data sources have a field in common, Tableau can automatically tie them together. These features empower analysts for in-depth analysis.

You may check out these SAS Business Intelligence alternatives for more options.

8. Microsoft Power BI

Power BI is Microsoft’s suite of business analytics tools that deliver insights throughout any organization. It allows you to: connect to hundreds of data sources, simplify data preparation, and drive ad hoc analysis; produce beautiful reports, then publish them for your organization to consume on the web and across mobile devices.

Microsoft Power BI converts your data into stunning and comprehensible visuals, making it easy for you and your company to gather information, organize and devise effective business strategies. The system is created so that you stay in the know, to identify trends as they occur, and to steer your business towards success. The platform also helps users track their business and derive answers fast via robust and comprehensive dashboards that are available on every device.

Why use Microsoft Power BI instead of Tableau?

  1. Microsoft’s DAX query language. Instead of Excel’s cumbersome formula language, Microsoft Power BI relies on Power Pivot to develop and execute analytic measures. This allows for a comparably shorter learning curve than any other BI or discovery system.
  2. Power Query data sharing. The system’s core capability is hailed for eliminating many data loading concerns. Data is imported automatically and can easily be sorted, filtered, and modified before you’ve loaded it to Excel (for instance, taking back a month-old data from a 10 years old database). You can also connect Facebook and oData files and share them as separate workbooks.
  3. The largest number of customizable visualizations. With Power BI, you can arrange your data in all types of charts including Bubbles, Table Heatmaps, Tornado Charts, Tadpole Spark Grids, Aster Plots, Histograms, Cards, and many more.
  4. Unlimited access to on-premise and in-cloud data. Power BI collects and stores all your on-premise and cloud information in single, more centralized location that you can access whenever and wherever as required. You can also leverage pre-packaged content packs and built-in connectors to streamline the importation of your data from solutions such as Marketo, Salesforce, Google Analytics, and many more.

Why use Tableau instead of Microsoft Power BI?

  1. It has no row limit like in spreadsheets, allowing you to bring in and analyze millions of rows of data. And it’s designed for scale, so you don’t have to worry about overly long processing times. All this gives you more comprehensive visibility into your company without eating up resource time.
  2. Its drag and drop interface allows your analyst to quickly try new ideas, drill into interesting areas and make updates. The ability to rapidly explore and build out visualizations allows for dashboards to provide the most useful and relevant information. Most reporting tools require your analyst to know exactly what they’re trying to build before they begin, making initial data exploration a slow process of trial and error.
  3. Its intuitive and easy-to-use interface allows analysts to spend their time finding insights instead of figuring out the technical how-to. By simply dragging and dropping, your analyst can quickly add different dimensions and measures, filter out or group values, and drill into outliers. Additionally, features such as clustering, trend analysis, and average lines make it easy to look for patterns in your data.

Head to these Microsoft Power BI alternatives if you find its features more than what your business needs.

9. IBM Cognos

Ninth on our list of top 10 alternatives to Tableau is IBM Cognos, a business intelligence platform featuring a set of smart self-service capabilities that enable you to quickly and confidently determine and make decisions on insight. IBM Cognos encourages business users to make or configure dashboards and reports on their own—while providing IT with a proven and scalable platform that can be deployed either on premises or in cloud.

IBM Cognos Analytics gives you formatted and interactive dashboards that are of highly scalable distribution and scheduling capabilities, as well as custom visualizations. It comes with a wide selection of analysis tools, such as what-if analysis, advanced analysis, trend analysis, and analytical reporting.

Why use IBM Cognos instead of Tableau?

  1. Intent-based process modeling. With IBM Cognos, even non-technical users can pull data together and understand the indicators being presented to them. The system works independently to interpret both the attributes and their intent, and then searches for data sources that will match those attributes, and prepares possible scenarios.
  2. Cross-department predictive analyses. IBM Cognos utilizes a variety of sources to analyze current and past information, and predict further events. The same system can be used for online analytical processing, thanks to the point-and-click interface that helps users skip requesting information from other departments.
  3. Self-service analytics. What IBM Cognos Analytics is best known for is self-service analytics, thanks to which employees can upload and analyze data maintained by the IT department without necessarily relating their operations to what others in the company are doing. The same procedure applies for ad hoc and enterprise reporting, which means that you won’t have to purchase an enterprise-first tool as your business develops.
  4. Query Studio. One of the IBM Cognos modules we find to be most useful is Query Studio, which is in fact a simplified reporting functionality that provides instant answers to important business questions. As simple as they are, these mini reports still come equipped with useful charts and diagrams.

Why use Tableau instead of IBM Cognos?

  1. It allows for rapid report development and the flexibility to change report elements. Tableau’s built in “Show-Me” feature switches between a variety of chart types with one click. No need to reformat data for each chart type or spend hours formatting and aligning items.
  2. It helps reduce time to insight and allows for the ability to quickly see areas of improvement. Tableau supports a wide variety of chart types and encoding, such as color-coding or clustering. Dashboards can even be made mobile-friendly for those stakeholders always on the go.
  3. It allows stakeholders to interact with and customize the dashboard they are looking at, within the parameters designed by the creator. Often when looking at a report, stakeholders will ask questions like, “What does this look like for this customer segment?” or “Can we change the date range to just see what happened over the last 10 days?” These are important analysis questions that can often send analysts back to the drawing board, delaying stakeholders getting the information they need.

Find time to inspect these IBM Cognos alternatives for more insight to help you finalize your business intelligence software purchase decision.


Grow is an advanced business intelligence application developed for creative executives in small or medium corporate environments. The system is fully enabled to scatter data from a variety of local and third-party sources and turn it quickly into operable intelligence for savvier decision-making.

Grow collates all key metrics on a beautiful and compact dashboard, and helps executives develop inspiring strategies at a fraction of their usual reporting time. It is one of the very few cost-efficient solutions that provide access to a library of data connectors, this time for small businesses to adjust data to their business’s specifications. Combining processes and turning KPIs into digestive visuals takes minutes rather than months, to the satisfaction of on budget teams that can’t afford expensive training.

Why use instead of Tableau?

  1. It is a very convenient tool, capable of pulling in Salesforce, QuickBooks, and Zendesk data independently, showcasing important numbers across many different graphs to make sure data is never outdated.
  2. It allows you to import data from social media channels, which gives you a fresh and modern approach to business intelligence and helps you understand the behavior of your clients.
  3. Its collaborative system helps keep your entire team in the same line. Graphs are easily shared and understood, and information is accessible from a variety of devices and operating systems.
  4. It offers flexible, quote-based pricing scheme, and tailors individual plans for all users. This means that each company gets a price adjusted to its budget as well as specific business needs.

Why use Tableau instead of

  1. It has rich built-in Extract, Transform and Loading features. You can change data types, concatenate, split, join, blend data, etc. You can further create sets, bins, groups etc. This means you don’t necessarily have to invest on a separate ETL solution.
  2. Technically, you do not need to code in Tableau. Almost every functionality is possible using drag and drop functionality.
  3. It provides you with built-in table calculations to add complex analysis with a click of mouse.

If you find lacking or featuring more features than you need to pay, consider these alternatives instead.

By Nestor Gilbert

Senior writer for FinancesOnline. If he is not writing about the booming SaaS and B2B industry, with special focus on developments in CRM and business intelligence software spaces, he is editing manuscripts for aspiring and veteran authors. He has compiled years of experience editing book titles and writing for popular marketing and technical publications.

Best Business Intelligence Software of 2019

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