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 something slightly different but each of which still falls underneath the umbrella of data discovery, analysis, visualization, and business intelligence.
In this article...
Best Alternatives to Tableau
Here is a list of our top Tableau alternatives:
- GoodData: Best for security & compliance
- InsightSquared: Best for clear visualization
- SAS: Best for enterprise
- TIBCO Spotfire: Best for shared data
- Viur: Best for dashboard-to-email automation
- Zebra BI: Best for Excel integration
- Infor Birst: Best for multi-tenant cloud architecture
- Microsoft Power BI: Best for data analysis and visualization
GoodData: Best for security & compliance
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.
Why we chose GoodData
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. Because GoodData encourages quick setups with minimal additional staff, it makes for a great upgrade for businesses looking to expand regardless of limited access to resources.
InsightSquared: Best for clear visualization
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 a business’s needs.
Why we chose InsightSquared
InsightSquared, as a sales-focused data visualization tool gives teams incredibly detailed insights into their sales metrics. Small businesses and enterprises looking to make data-driven growth will find utility in the predictive analysis tools that InsightSquared provides. These insights use the rates at which team members close sales, the quality of leads that have been gathered, and historical data to project out the rate at which a business can expect its revenue to grow or contract. InsightSquared can very easily aid in building quarterly business plans and market redirections.
SAS: Best for enterprise
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.
Why we chose SAS
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.
The focus on AI-aided forecasting and data analysis will be the main draw over Tableau to users looking for something new. While Tableau is easy to use and generates perfectly serviceable data views, it cannot be understated how the additional processing power provided by the AI can help along the data analysis process. Staff members finding themselves bogged down in the volume of data they have to comb through for work may find that SAS and its AI-aided visual analytics program will ease the burden of work.
TIBCO Spotfire: Best for shared data
Spotfire aims to democratize data across an 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.
Why we chose TIBCO Spotfire
Spotfire’s extensive capabilities include both big data and what they call “big content.” With big content searching, analysts can easily view 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 businesses can be proactive rather than reactive.
Tableau users would generally be able to spot these same trends using its visualization tools, but Spotfire’s proactive predictive analytics make this process less time-consuming and labor-intensive. This gives analysts more time to work on their actual analysis rather than spending their work days on finding insights.
Viur: Best for dashboard-to-email automation
Viur’s major strength comes in the form of dashboard-to-email automation that gives users scheduling capabilities over your report data. With Viur, data runs and aggregates silently and publishes when needed based on preset rules, rather than forcing analysts to run a new report.
Why we chose Viur
Like other options in this category, Viur offers responsive reports that look good on every device, as well as a visual dashboard creator that offers 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 use of the software. In the short run, this makes Viur a little less user-friendly than Tableau upon installation, but once the learning curve has been overcome, Viur offers a much more robust customization experience.
The Viur team understands security, so data is stored in a personalized secure location that suits the needs of each specific company. The software encrypts connections from those user-selected databases all the way through the reporting process to keep every client’s information safe.
Zebra BI: Best for Excel integration
Zebra BI’s interface resembles a plug-in more than a separate platform that connects 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 data does not exist in an Excel format, analysts will need to go through the process of importing it.
Why we chose Zebra BI
Zebra provides new chart types that can’t be found in Excel, which means generating these views is as simple as selecting data and choosing the chart from the Tables option. Zebra also offers data scaling to ensure data isn’t skewed when generating these new views. The data skewing Zebra BI uses is a nice touch that works to avoid common chart distortions and detrimental chart misrepresentations.
Presenters that need to update a chart shortly before a meeting will have no problem at all. Zebra automatically updates linked PowerPoint slides when changes have been made to a chart in Zebra BI. Zebra works for companies new to BI or those who do a majority of their work in Microsoft Office.
Tableau may be more complex than a business needs for its data analytics, and companies that primarily use Microsoft Office will find a transition to Zebra BI fits right into their workflow.
Infor Birst: Best for multi-tenant cloud architecture
Birst’s multi-tenant cloud architecture aggregates data in the cloud, with AWS, or locally. Infor Birst also offers a desktop client. The company employs strict security standards throughout its data centers and encryption in the cloud to keep client data safe.
Why we chose Infor Birst
Because data travels between the cloud and your local databases, analysts can access all of their data and visualizations from any device. Run your analyses with visual discovery dashboards that make data more accessible. This reduces the need for IT interventions or extensive training to use the product. Tableau offers similar mobile access, but Infor Birst’s increased focus on security and ease of use makes it a more attractive choice for security-minded organizations.
Microsoft Power BI: Best for data analysis and visualization
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 analysts the ability to embed data within their apps—an integration that others on this list don’t offer.
Why we chose Microsoft Power BI
With 60 data sources, the native connectors aren’t overwhelming, but analysts can search and combine data with question-based analytics. Microsoft Power BI offers a free trial with an upgrade to the business version. This tool can be used in conjunction with other Microsoft Business Application systems including PowerApps. The integration with familiar Microsoft tools also makes it an easy fit in many offices that already use Microsoft tools in their daily operations. There is much that can be said about a gentle learning curve and familiar software design.
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 Tableau May Not Work For Your Company
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.
For starters, Tableau has a less steep learning curve than some other competitors in the BI space. However, it still requires a certain level of technological know-how to make the most of the product, most notably with an understanding of SQL queries. This is a big roadblock for small companies or teams which 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, it will likely 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 a lot of data analysis and visualization, then it might be worth the investment. But if your business intelligence needs are more occasional, the platform might not offer the return on investment you would like. On the other hand, a Tableau competitor such as Qlik Sense or Zoho Analytics could make a better option.
At TechnologyAdvice, we assess a wide range of factors before selecting our top choices for a given category. To make our selections, we rely on our extensive research, product information, vendor websites, competitor research and first-hand experience. We then consider what makes a solution best for customer-specific needs.
For our Tableau Alternatives list, we looked at 17 options before whittling them down to the eight that cover most reasons a person might choose Tableau. Features evaluated include analytics, integrations, reporting abilities, pricing structure, overall functionality, and more.
Looking for a new BI software? We’re here to help
These products are by no means the only Tableau alternatives. There are plenty of viable solutions in the business intelligence software market, but a high learning curve keeps many buyers from doing enough research.
Looking for the latest in Data Visualization solutions? Check out our Data Visualization Software guide.
Featured 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.
Yellowfin’s intuitive self-service BI options accelerate data discovery and allow anyone, from an experienced data analyst to a non-technical business user, to create reports in a governed way.
2 Salesforce Data Cloud
Activate all your customer data across Salesforce applications with Data Cloud. Empower teams to engage customers, at every touchpoint, with relevant insights and contextual data in the flow of work. Connect your data with an AI CRM to empower teams to act on relevant data and insights from your existing Salesforce processes and applications.
3 Wyn Enterprise
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.