July 29, 2019

Tableau vs. Spotfire: Business Intelligence for the Non-IT Guru

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This post has been updated to include the latest plans and connections.

Businesses in every industry are under increasing pressure to mine their data — to spot trends, patterns, outliers, and even predict the future — in order to maximize profits and beat competitors. That’s probably why the business intelligence software market is at $22.79 billion in 2017, with an expected annual growth rate of 10.4 percent until 2026.

Business intelligence (BI) tools pull in raw data and turn out actionable insight. They use advanced reporting and powerful visualization to help executives and analysts make better decisions, such as whether or not to launch a new customer experience initiative, give more employee feedback, or drill for oil in a third-world country. This is a crowded marketplace, but TechnologyAdvice can help you find the right business intelligence software. If you’d like free, customized recommendations now, visit our business intelligence software page or click on the image below to get started.

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ALSO READ: Domo vs. Tableau: Choosing the Right Business Intelligence Solution

Tableau and Spotfire are two of the biggest names in modern business intelligence. Unlike the usual big-box suspects (SAP, Oracle, IBM), they’re designed to make BI accessible to the non-IT-guru. But if you’re en route to purchasing BI for your business, you need to make a choice. Today we will look at Tableau vs. Spotfire to give you a better understanding of each platform.

Tableau vs. Spotfire: Which is better for your needs?

tableau vs. spotfire

In this post, we’ll help you answer that question by taking a detailed look at each product and comparing them based on systems and pricing, dashboards, analytics capabilities, and source integrations. First, let’s take a look at each company.

Also read: Power BI vs. Tibco Spotfire

Tableau was founded in Mountain View, California in 2003. After years of consistent improvement and growth, they were recently acquired by Salesforce. Spotfire has been around since the early 90s but didn’t really take off until 2007, when the brand was acquired by TIBCO Software. An exact customer count is unavailable, but at $885 million in revenue, it’s safe to say TIBCO has a large product portfolio and a large market share.

Both products target a wide swath of customers and industries, including:

  • Financial services
  • Science and agriculture
  • Healthcare
  • Manufacturing
  • HR
  • Media
  • Consumer goods
  • Education
  • Retail
  • Energy and utilities
  • IT
  • Telecommunications
  • Logistics/transportation
  • Public sector
  • Nonprofit

Tableau Power Users: SpaceX, Deloitte, Coca-Cola, Dell

Spotfire Power Users: Proctor and Gamble, Cisco, NetApp, Shell

Systems and Pricing

Tableau and Spotfire are available in several different configurations to match the number of users you have and whether you want the software locally installed or hosted online. If you plan to have more than a few users and deploy the solution across your company, you’ll need to request a custom price quote.

Both vendors use a three-tier pricing structure, but they differ on a few points. Tableau’s software comes with three different user types: creator, explorer, and viewer. Every account needs one creator, while a minimum of 5 explorers and 100 viewers are required for each plan. Deploy Tableau on premises, in the public cloud, or fully hosted by Tableau in the Tableau Online software. Editions for individual users and embedded analytics are also available.

[get-pricing category=”CRM” cta=”Get Pricing” width=”200px” url=”tableau-reviews”][/get-pricing]

TIBCO Spotfire is available in four editions: Cloud, Platform, Enterprise, and AWS, a turn-key solution hosted on Amazon Web Services servers. The Cloud and AWS versions of the tool are available via subscription models. Similar to Tableau, Spotfire offers different pricing for each admin access level.

[get-pricing category=”CRM” cta=”Get Pricing” width=”200px” url=”spotfire-tibco-reviews”][/get-pricing]


The dashboard is the linchpin of a BI platform. Dashboards give users the ability to organize data sources, reports, and objects in one central location that (ideally) stays updated in real time.

Tableau lets users easily create interactive dashboards using custom filters and drag-and-drop functionality. Dashboards can be shared embedded into wikis, corporate portals, or web pages. Options include executive dashboards, operational dashboards, dashboard applications (e.g., a “home finder” web app), and ad-hoc dashboards. Here’s an example of a Tableau Customer Dashboard:

tableau dashboard

Spotfire offers a similar dashboard experience: intuitive design and the ability to publish completed dashboards through a zero-footprint web client. For less experienced users, the Spotfire Recommendations wizard can suggest best-practice visualizations based on the data you select (an advantage over Tableau, which doesn’t offer much help with templates or default object placement). With the Spotfire 7 update, users can also apply visual themes and branding to dashboards:

spotfire dashboad

Reporting and Analytics Capabilities

Tableau and Spotfire are both incredibly powerful when it comes to processing raw data and spitting out clear business insight and visualizations. They both use a hybrid model that consists of in-memory and in-database (or “live connect,” as Tableau calls it) analytics architectures. Translation? They adapt to your local processing power and database size and sync data quickly under almost any circumstance.


Tableau covers data discovery, data visualization, geocoding, survey analysis, time-series analysis, social analytics, and more. It integrates with the R statistical programming language, and provides mobile BI access with touch-optimized features for tablets.

Unique Feature:

  • Data Preparation: Let’s you connect to “messy” spreadsheets and fix/configure data while you sync. Pivots cross-tab data back into normalized columns, removes extraneous titles, text, and images, and reconciles metadata fields.


Spotfire’s analytics capabilities include interactive data visualization, diagnostic analytics, data augmentation, predictive/prescriptive analytics, content analytics, real-time event analytics, location-based analytics, and other areas.

Unique Feature:

    • Content analytics: Decipher unstructured, text-based data from any source (e.g., CRM case notes, support tickets, weblogs, social media feeds, emails); mix unstructured content with other data to understand root cause and identify new opportunities.
spotfire content dashboard

Data Connectors

Business intelligence applications are built on the idea of aggregating and interpreting data from outside sources, so they’re only useful insomuch as they integrate with data sources and other business systems (like CRM or marketing automation), servers, and databases.

Each vendor provides a set of native data connectors, which means it can seamlessly pull data from those sources without custom configuration or coding. These include nearly 200 connectors to business tools like GitHub, Jira, Amazon Glacier, and even Facebook.

Both solutions provide a good mix of big data, relational database, and cloud integrations. Any databases or applications not listed would presumably require API integration and/or middleware to sync.

Here’s a list of native integrations available through Tableau:

tableau native connections.

Tableau does offer a handful of native connectors that Spotfire does not: DataStax, EXASOL, Firebird, Google Analytics and BigQuery, Microsoft Azure, and SAP Sybase.

* * *

In discovering what Tableau vs. Spotfire can offer, they both give businesses in any industry the ability to mine their databases for insight, visualize information, and make better strategic decisions. Both are scalable, widely-integrated, and available on-premise or in the cloud. Your decision will mostly depend on what databases and cloud applications support your business, and what kind of deployment is best for your team.

But don’t forget to consider other business intelligence solutions. Tell TechnologyAdvice about your industry, goals, and desired features, and we’ll show you a list of custom recommendations. Click the image below to get started.

get a list of business intelligence software recommendations

Top Business Intelligence Software Recommendations

1 Yellowfin

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Yellowfin is an embedded analytics and BI platform that combines action based dashboards, AI-powered insight, and data storytelling. Connect to all of your data sources in real-time. Robust data governance features ensure compliance. Our flexible pricing model is simple, predictable and scalable. Easily configure Yellowfin to allow multiple tenants within a single environment. Bring your data to life with beautiful, interactive visualizations that improve decision-making.

Learn more about Yellowfin

2 Salesforce Data Cloud

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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.

Learn more about Salesforce Data Cloud

3 Zoho Analytics

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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.

Learn more about Zoho Analytics

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