Tableau leads the business intelligence (BI) software pack with its well-designed interface and fast reports. They also provide online and in-person platform education in cities around the world from Atlanta to Tokyo.
But, Tableau may not work for every company. It’s expensive to implement and maintain, and you need to know (or have someone on hand who knows) how to run SQL queries for customized workflows. Fortunately, there are plenty of BI software and reporting tools on the market that require minimal or no IT oversight to run.
Whatever your reasons for researching Tableau alternatives, you’ll find a lot of options. Complete the form on our Business Intelligence Software page to get a free shortlist of the best BI software based on your needs, or click the image below to get started.
Top business intelligence software
If you need a way to jumpstart your research into business intelligence software, here’s a quick list of the top BI tools.
Build a modern business, driven by data. Connect to any data source to bring your data together into one unified view, then make analytics available to drive insight-based actions—all while maintaining security and control. Domo serves enterprise customers in all industries looking to manage their entire organization from a single platform.
Wyn Enterprise is a scalable embedded business intelligence platform without hidden costs. It provides BI reporting, interactive dashboards, alerts and notifications, localization, multitenancy, & white-labeling in any internal or commercial app. Built for self-service BI, Wyn offers limitless visual data exploration, creating a data-driven mindset for the everyday user. Wyn's scalable, server-based licensing model allows room for your business to grow without user fees or limits on data size.
Powerful analytics don't have to be complex and frustrating. Toucan makes it easy to connect to any data and deliver insights to everyone in minutes — no PhD required. From GE to IBM, and Intel to Nestle, hundreds of companies worldwide are destroying data friction with Toucan.
Adriel is a modern Ad Operations (AdOps) platform that helps agencies and businesses of all sizes make effective decisions faster without manually collecting, processing, and managing data.
Adriel provides intuitive dashboards designed to help marketers identify profitable campaigns, channels, and ad creatives. The platform empowers you to make optimal decisions based on standardized cross-channel data, storytelling visualizations, and real-time performance alerts.
Power BI Connector for ServiceNow is an Enterprise app for a convenient ServiceNow Power BI integration which allows to easily fetch ServiceNow data to Power BI for further analytics and visualization.
Finding it difficult to analyze your data which is present in various files, apps, and databases? Sweat no more. Create stunning data visualizations, and discover hidden insights, all within minutes. Visually analyze your data with cool looking reports and dashboards. Track your KPI metrics. Make your decisions based on hard data. Sign up free for Zoho Analytics.
What Does Tableau Do?
Tableau is a data visualization tool and one of the market leaders in data analysis and business intelligence. It offers numerous products, all of which do slightly different things but still fall underneath the umbrella of data discovery, analysis, visualization, and business intelligence. Tableau’s main offerings are:
- Tableau Desktop: The flagship product, Tableau Desktop is a downloadable computer app that lets users analyze large amounts of complex data and turn it into charts, graphs, and other visualizations.
- Tableau Server: This function is used to share workbooks, reports, and other files created in Tableau Desktop across an organization.
- Tableau Cloud: Formerly known as Tableau Online, this product is a fully cloud-based version of Tableau that allows users to do everything without having to download an additional app.
- Tableau Public: This free version of Tableau allows users to create data visualizations at no cost and then publish them to Tableau’s public cloud; although, files cannot be saved locally or privately due to the free nature of the service.
- Tableau Prep: This self-service data discovery and preparation tool helps to clean, sort, and combine data to get it ready for use in one of Tableau’s other products.
- Tableau Reader: This free desktop application allows users to open and interact with data visualizations made in Tableau Desktop.
Most businesses opt for the Tableau Creator plan, which bundles together Tableau Desktop, Tableau Prep Builder, and one one license for either Tableau Cloud or Tableau Server for a comprehensive solution.
Why Look at an Alternative to Tableau?
Tableau is a business intelligence industry leader for a reason, and it regularly receives high marks for its eye-catching data visualizations, powerful analytics, and relative ease of use. Given the platform’s popularity, you may be wondering why it’s even worth it to consider a Tableau competitor, but there are plenty of reasons to look at other BI software besides Tableau.
For starters, while Tableau has a lower learning curve than some other competitors in the BI space, it still requires a certain level of technological know-how to make the most of the product, most notably familiarity with SQL queries. This is a big roadblock for small companies or teams that don’t have access to an in-house SQL expert.
In fact, Tableau’s offerings are often too robust for companies just starting to experiment with data analysis and visualization. Tableau competes with BI offerings from Microsoft, SAP Analytics Cloud, and other enterprise-level software designed for multi-national companies. If you’re working with huge datasets and need to run complicated analytics on them, Tableau is a great option. But if you just need to turn last quarter’s metrics into a simple chart, Tableau is going to be overkill for your business’s needs.
This high level of functionality means that Tableau comes with a high price tag relative to some other options on the BI market. If your organization needs to do a lot of data analysis and visualization, then Tableau might be worth the investment. But if your business intelligence needs are more occasional, then the platform might not offer the return on investment that you would hope for, making a Tableau competitor such as Qlik Sense or Zoho Analytics a better option.
What Key Features Should a BI Tool Have?
Whether looking at Tableau or a Tableau competitor, there are several key features that any BI tool should have, including:
In order to create data analysis and visualization, you need to first get your raw data into the BI tool. Any good BI software will offer prebuilt connectors for all of the major databases, such as SAP HANA and Qualtrics Research Core, to kickstart the data discovery process. Ideally, the BI tool should also make it easy to set up your own connectors to pull in data from other sources as well, such as survey data.
A BI tool should make it simple to create reports based on the data you have input. Most BI tools accomplish this in the form of an interactive dashboard with customizable widgets that update automatically as your data is refreshed, so you can always see the latest numbers at a glance.
Beyond passive reporting, BI tools should also allow you to run complex analytics, so you can glean the exact business insights you need to make decisions. Many of the top tier BI software also leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to provide forecasts via predictive analytics, further adding to the tool’s value.
The best BI tools don’t just crunch numbers; they transform them into beautiful and insightful visualizations with just a couple of clicks. The best BI tools make it easy to turn numbers into graphs and charts, then customize their appearance to make them as readable as possible.
If you are uploading all of your organization’s multiple data sources into a BI tool, then you obviously want to make sure that data is secured against both accidental and deliberate breaches. BI tools should allow you to set permissions at both the database and report level, so you can rest assured that only people who are supposed to access the data can get to it.
Best Alternatives to Tableau
GoodData offers two major products: an end-to-end data platform and embedded analytics. These two work on the GoodData security structure that runs the gamut from HIPAA to GDPR and financial data regulations.
The platform gives companies a full data management and analysis system that runs on any data source. This software provides the architecture for data integration, cleansing, analysis, and publication to reporting tools and apps. The scalable enterprise platform lets companies use their data to grow in new, stable, and innovative ways that protect the company’s data but drive analytics toward insight.
GoodData’s embedded analytics are perfect for smaller corporations looking to improve data analysis and access but who can’t commit to a full end-to-end data management system. The analytics use the GoodData platform as a service model to get companies up and running quickly, sometimes within a matter of days, and without hiring data scientists. Leave a review for GoodData.
InsightSquared is a sales-focused data visualization company that aggregates and provides a platform for business users to better understand their data. The software is split into two main products, Tiles and Slate, which are built to scale to the business’s needs.
Tiles is a sales analytics tool built specifically for Salesforce data. Access ready-made reports populated with historical Salesforce data that can be easily manipulated for sales insights. Choose from sales, sales development, demand generation, or software-as-a-service (SaaS) analytics tools that are ready for Salesforce data out of the box.
Slate is the custom analytics platform. InsightSquared provides the data warehouse, and technical users import, cleanse, and prepare data for business use. Non-technical users can then access the data in a ready-to-report form that requires no additional technical knowledge on the part of the user. Leave a review for InsightSquared.
SAS Business Intelligence and Analytics (also called Visual Analytics) is just one of the many data processing and analytics tools available from SAS, which specializes in building enterprise-ready tools for users across industries. Choose the right tool or set of tools from SAS based on your business and technology needs and the maturity of your data program.
Look to the Visual Analytics program to gain business analytics without tying up IT resources. The system is built for business leaders and technical data analysts to work in tandem, with IT controlling governance but business guiding the data visualization process. SAS also integrates with MS Office programs like Excel and Outlook to keep data in the hands of those who need it most. Leave a review for SAS.
Spotfire aims to democratize data across your organization by giving access to all employees, rather than forcing you to make requests through your IT or data teams. They provide cloud, platform, enterprise, and AWS-focused systems for BI from lots of disparate data sources.
Spotfire’s extensive capabilities include both big data and what they call “big content.” With big content searching, you can analyze all user-generated text across multiple platforms, including email, chat, and search terms. Big content searches help identify customer pain points and possible solutions. To sweeten this deal even further, Spotfire provides predictive analysis from your data, so you can be proactive rather than reactive. Leave a review for Tibco Spotfire.
Viur’s major strength comes in the form of a dashboard-to-email automation that gives you scheduling capabilities over your report data. With Viur, your data runs and aggregates silently and publishes when you need it based on preset rules, rather than forcing you to run a new report.
Like other options in this category, Viur offers responsive reports that look good on every device, as well as a visual dashboard creator that gives you a wide range of report types. This software requires some SQL expertise for greater customization than the out of the box reporting options, but educational resources and contract analysts will help you learn and maximize your use of the software.
The Viur team understands security, so they let you own your data and store it in a secure location that suits your needs. The software encrypts connections from your database all the way through reports to keep your information safe.
Zebra BI’s interface resembles a plug-in more than a separate platform you connect to data sources. The entire system bolts onto Excel, so a spreadsheet-heavy workplace doesn’t have to learn new tools. On the downside, if your data doesn’t exist in Excel format, you’ll need to import it.
Zebra provides new chart types you can’t find in Excel, which means you just select your data and choose the chart from the Tables option. Zebra also offers data scaling to ensure your data isn’t skewed.
Need to update a chart from a presentation? No problem. Zebra automatically updates linked PowerPoint slides when you make a change in your chart. Smart and easy to use, Zebra works for companies new to BI or those who do a majority of their work in Microsoft Office.
Birst’s multi-tenant cloud architecture aggregates your data with cloud, AWS, or locally, and it offers a desktop client. The company employs strict security standards throughout their data centers and encryption in the cloud to keep your data safe.
Because your data travels between the cloud and your local databases, you can access all of your data and visualizations from any device. Run your analyses with visual discovery dashboards that make your data more accessible. This reduces the need for IT interventions or extensive training to use the product. Leave a review for Birst.
Microsoft Power BI
Part of the Microsoft suite of business tools, Power BI is built specifically for data analysis and visualization. While providing the usual dashboards and reporting features, Microsoft’s Power BI also gives you the ability to embed data within your apps—an integration that others on this list don’t offer.
With 60 data sources, the native connectors aren’t overwhelming, but you can search and combine data with question-based analytics. Microsoft Power BI offers a free trial with an upgrade to the business version. You can use this tool in conjunction with other Microsoft Business Application systems including PowerApps. Leave a review for Microsoft Power BI.
KiniMetrix built its BI software with the salesperson in mind. This program specifically examines sales data and strives to help you identify sales openings and improve profit margins. Segment your reports to learn about individual customers, persona groups, transactions, or salespeople.
KiniMetrix’s model gives you the freedom to run the software on its own, or alongside other BI solutions. In addition to all of the export and downloading capabilities you’d expect, KiniMetrix integrates well with other BI and sales programs. If you need some help working with the product or don’t have the resources to spend on in-house analysis, KiniMetrix professionals can help you build your dashboards and sales improvement strategies.
Datapine helps non-technical folks build visualizations from different types of data by merging sets without restructuring the database to make them match. The tool’s native connectors let you build visualizations from a dashboard without needing to consult developers.
Datapine’s focus on ease of use extends to prebuilt, industry-specific dashboards that you can customize to your needs. There’s a long list of native connections for lots of platforms you use daily, and you can export all of your visualizations to presentations or an external, shareable URL. You won’t feel tied to your desk with Datapine’s mobile building and viewing capabilities.
Slemma fills the BI niche for e-commerce and website-based businesses with lots of blogging and e-commerce data connections. You can also connect to existing databases including SQL to build mobile and shareable dashboards.
While it doesn’t monitor your data 24/7, Slemma gives you a scheduled data refresh option. In addition, you can brand your visualizations with a custom domain before you share them. Slemma built their platform with your security in mind; recipiants get read-only access to your data, so you still own it in its original form. You can also upgrade security with SSL and tunnel connections.
Looking for a new BI software? We’re here to help
These 11 products are by no means the only Tableau alternatives. There are plenty of viable solutions in the business intelligence software market, but there’s also a high learning curve that keeps many buyers from doing enough research. Feeling confused? Call one of our Technology Advisors for a free consultation, or complete the form on our Business Intelligence Software page to get a custom recommendation based on your needs.