Tableau vs. Power BI

With all the Business Intelligence tools out there, how do you know you are using the right ones for your organization or community? In the most recent episode of All Things Analytics, Innovation Platform’s VP Business Analyst, Trish McPeek and Chief Strategy Officer, Joe Voelz, break down some of the differences between Tableau and Power BI, two key players in advanced analytics.

What are the options?

In today’s world, business intelligence and analytics is moving at a fast pace. Just when people think they know what the best tool out there is, a new one comes to market, an old one is sold to another company or a platform releases the newest and greatest feature.

There are so many BI platforms out there today, it’s hard to keep track. So, we won’t bore people with a list, but we will acknowledge the ones who are commonly rated at the top of that list: Dundas BI, Oracle, SAP, Looker, IBM, Sisense, DOMO, Tableau, Power BI

It’s hard to stay at the top, each tool must improve and scale every day. In the end, most people find themselves comparing Tableau and Power BI as their final two options. That’s why in this episode, we compared Tableau vs. Power BI.

Who are the speakers?

Trish McPeek is the VP Business Analyst at Global Innovation Platform. It is her responsibility to leverage data to drive efficiencies and outcomes for all business users. She bridges the gap between technology solutions and business decisions. She has a Bachelor’s of Science and MBA from Colorado Technical University and was named one of the Achievers Under 40 in 2018 by the Journal Record. Trish hosts this bi-monthly podcast, All Things Analytics, to discuss data and analytics in a way that can be beneficial to experts and beginners alike.

Joe Voelz is the Chief Strategy Officer at Global Innovation Platform. He is an experienced Sales Engineer in the information technology industry. Formerly, he was with GIP partner, Pitney Bowes for five years in software engineering and sales roles focused on independent software vendors. His specialty is in single view systems which is a combination of data integration, data transformation and contextual insight. He uses his comprehensive knowledge of enterprise software and cloud computing to assist customers in getting the best value out of their data.

What are a few things that come to your mind when you hear Power Bi and Tableau?


Tableau has a strong online community. There is a network of Tableau User Groups (TUG) across the country that connect tableau users in the same cities and regions together. The Tableau public gallery is an online collection of data visualizations from Tableau users all over the world that is free to the public.

Power BI doesn’t have as large or as organized of a community, but like Tableau, there are user groups in different communities across the country. Microsoft has an extensive presence on YouTube. Some of their own employees make tutorials and answer questions online. Joe suggests Guy in a Cube, a Power BI focused YouTube channel with over 50k subscribers hosted by two Microsoft employees.


Connecters are the third-party programs that connect databases and their data with a BI tool. Excel is one very well-known example that is used almost universally. Tableau is known for having many different connectors, including ones to all major Microsoft programs. Any data from just about any platform can connect to Tableau.

Microsoft Power BI doesn’t have as many established connectors as Tableau and most of the current ones are other Microsoft programs like Word, Excel, Outlook, etc. They are developing more connectors within the organization, but also with the help of its user community.

Ease of use

A recent blog post by Technology Advice stated, “Tableau is built for data analysts, while Power BI is better suited to a general audience that needs business intelligence to enhance their analytics.”

Trish and Joe are real life testaments to this quote. Trish is an analyst and she prefers Tableau, while Joe is more involved with the sales and customer relations side and prefers Power BI. To break this quote down: Power BI is more friendly for first time BI users or people who don’t necessarily need to do advanced analytics. Tableau is great

for more experienced users who are ready to do advanced analytics.


Tableau has a 14-day free trial, while Power BI has a much longer 60-day free trial. Both have subscription-based pricing like most other BI tools.

Where do I go from here?

Remember, there are a lot of other BI options out their besides Power BI and Tableau. The first and hardest step in all this is getting started, but there’s no better way than to dive right in. Download a free trial. Find help from the online community or from a co-worker with experience. There are even a few books out there about these tools. Here are a few suggestions from Trish:

Tableau Your Data by Daniel G. Murray

Microsoft Power BI Dashboards Step by Step by Errin O’Connor

Collect, Combine, and Transform Data Using Power Query in Excel and Power BI by Gil Raviv

Even those who aren’t analysts collect critical data and information for their organizations every day. With BI tools like Tableau and Power BI, people can create reports, charts and graphs that unlock hidden value in data.

For questions or comments about today’s episode or other topics related to data and analytics, send Innovation Platform a message on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn @IPSmartBuzz.