business intelligence

10 Power BI alternatives and competitors to consider

Power BI, a popular data analytics and visualization tool developed by Microsoft, has garnered a substantial user base for its merits. Yet, it also comes with its own set of challenges. If you’re a Microsoft user, you’re likely all too familiar with the reason Power BI can’t meet all of your unique needs and objectives.

In this article, we'll explore some of the drawbacks of Power BI. We’ll also explore Power BI alternatives, so you have the research you need to select the right the right data analytics tool for the job.

Table of contents:

Challenges with Power BI

Costly licensing model: One of the biggest cons with Power BI is its pricing structure. While there is a free version available, the full range of features and capabilities require a paid subscription, which can be expensive for both individual users and small businesses.

Limited data sources: Power BI has some restrictions when it comes to data sources. It may not integrate seamlessly with all the databases, applications, or platforms you use. This, in turn, limits your ability to gather and analyze data from different sources effectively.

Complex learning curve: For beginners, Power BI can be quite challenging to understand. Its advanced features and complex user interface may discourage those who are new to data analysis. This fact makes it less accessible for small businesses without dedicated IT teams.

Advanced functionality gap: Power BI offers basic analytics and visualization tools. However, it may fall short when compared to the advanced capabilities of its competitors—think: predictive modeling, machine learning integration, and more sophisticated statistical analysis.

Limited export and sharing options: Exporting and sharing reports and dashboards can be less flexible in Power BI. This limits your data storytelling ability, hindering the impact of data in your everyday decision-making.

Exploring Power BI alternatives

We've identified an alternate set of business intelligence tools, including their best assets and downfalls, in the hopes that you can find a better Power BI alternative that enhances your data and analytics operations. 

1. ThoughtSpot

Okay, no secrets here: we're a bit partial to ThoughtSpot. To be fair, we use our own product in every aspect of our business—a little something we call drinking our own champagne.

ThoughtSpot is a powerful data analytics platform that enables you to analyze and ask questions about your data with the ease of a natural language search engine. And, AI-Powered Analytics helps you find automated insights and uncover anomalies within your data—alerting you to opportunities you might not know to look for.

Here’s how ThoughtSpot is better than Power BI

  • Keeping data up-to-date is crucial for making informed decisions. ThoughtSpot offers real-time data refresh without the complexity and additional costs associated with achieving the same in Power BI which makes it one of the powerful Power BI competitors. 

  • ThoughtSpot provides security and data governance features, allowing you to control access to sensitive data, implement role-based permissions, and monitor user activity. This is essential for ensuring compliance and data integrity. Whereas, governing the analytic content creation, publication process, and enforcing governance practices on Power BI can get quite tricky. 

  • In today's fast-paced world, access to data on the go is vital. ThoughtSpot understands this and offers a mobile app for both iOS and Android. You can access and analyze your data from anywhere–even offline. Power BI may have limitations in this area.

  • The platform is designed to empower end-users with self-service analytics. You can create your own reports, dashboards, and visualizations without relying on IT or data analysts. Although Power BI has a fairly intuitive user interface, you would need analytical skills to harness its full potential. 

Sign up for a free trial and experience ThoughtSpot’s capabilities firsthand.

2. Tableau

Tableau is another well-known data visualization and analytics tool that is usually considered as the nearest Power BI competitor. It allows you to connect to multiple data sources, blend data, and create interactive dashboards and reports.

Tableau offers advanced analytics features like forecasting, statistical modeling, and data preparation. It also provides multiple deployment options including on-premises, cloud, and hybrid solutions. However, to retrieve the full value of Tableau features, non-technical users require more training.

Here’s how Tableau is better than Power BI

  • The in-memory data engine of Tableau is efficient in handling and visualizing large datasets. While Power BI can handle large datasets, Tableau's performance is superior.

  • Tableau's intuitive drag-and-drop interface is quicker for you to adopt compared to Power BI's interface.

  • Tableau provides a wide array of charts and visualization options, including advanced choices like treemaps and bubble charts, for visualizing complicated data, whereas Power BI is somewhat more limited in customization options.

💡Read a detailed comparison here: Power BI vs Tableau.

3. Mode

Mode is a versatile platform for data analysis and business intelligence. This Power BI alternative integrates SQL, Python, and R to enhance the effectiveness of your data analysis. The platform facilitates a seamless transition between a cloud-based SQL Editor and connected Python notebooks for analysts and allows business users to generate and distribute visual dashboards and reports. 

Mode's unified approach ensures quicker insights and supports iterative work. The tool is often used by data analysts, data scientists, and business professionals to create interactive data reports and dashboards.

Here’s how Mode is better than Power BI

  • Mode allows integration with Python and R, making it suitable for building complex models, running statistical analyses, and conducting machine learning tasks. Power BI is not as advanced when it comes to statistical and machine learning capabilities.

  • Mode can connect to several data sources, including databases, data warehouses, and cloud-based storage. This makes it suitable for organizations with diverse data infrastructure. Power BI connects to only Microsoft-related data sources and services.

  • Mode provides a high degree of customization for data visualizations and dashboards, which can be tailored to specific needs. Power BI might have limitations in terms of fine-grained customizations.

Try advanced data analysis with Mode today! Sign up for a free trial now.

4. Qlik Sense

Qlik Sense is another Power BI alternative that allows you to explore and analyze data independently. It provides data visualization capabilities, including interactive dashboards and drag-and-drop functionality. With Qlike Sense, you can create personalized reports, collaborate with team members, and access data on any device. 

Here’s how Qlik Sense is better than Power BI

  • Qlik Sense has an associative engine that makes it easier for you to explore data naturally, like having a conversation with data. Power BI uses a more traditional method for data modeling, which can be more structured and less intuitive.

  • Qlik Sense offers real-time monitoring capabilities. Whereas, Power BI may require additional configurations.

  • Qlik Sense has extra tools like Vizlib that give you more choices to make charts and customize them. While Power BI lets you make your own visuals using the custom visuals SDK, Qlik Sense with its extension libraries offers even more ways to create special charts and make them your own.

5. Looker

Looker is another close Power BI competitor that provides a unified view of your data and allows you to explore, analyze, and share findings. It offers a powerful data modeling language, LookML, which enables you to define data models and create reusable metrics and dimensions. Looker's intuitive interface makes it easy to create interactive dashboards and reports.

The tool provides advanced analytics capabilities, including predictive modeling and machine learning integrations. It offers flexible deployment options, with both on-premises and cloud solutions.

Here’s how Looker is better than Power BI

  • The open platform of Looker allows developers to create custom applications and extensions using its API. While Power BI offers an API and custom visuals, Looker's extensibility options are more versatile.

  • In terms of security, Looker has stronger features given its association with Google Cloud when compared to Power BI.

  • Looker supports several data sources and has strong SQL capabilities. Power BI also has many connectors, but the depth of integration may vary.

💡Read a detailed comparison here: Looker vs Power BI.

6. Domo

Domo is a cloud-based data analytics platform that brings together data from various sources and provides real-time insights. It offers a user-friendly interface with drag-and-drop functionalities for creating interactive dashboards and reports. Domo's data integration capabilities allow you to connect to on-premises and cloud data sources. It provides advanced analytics features like anomaly detection, natural language processing, and machine learning.

Here’s how Domo is better than Power BI

  • Domo is designed to be accessible to users with varying technical skill levels. Power BI, on the other hand, is considered to have a steeper learning curve.

  • Domo has a comprehensive list of pre-built connectors. Power BI also has a strong ecosystem of connectors. But, if you are looking to quickly connect to diverse data sources, Domo would be a better choice.

  • When compared to Power BI, the pricing options of Domo are more flexible.

7. Sisense

Sisense is a data analytics platform that enables you to prepare, analyze, and visualize large datasets. It offers a data modeling engine that can handle big data and provide fast query performance which makes it one of the best Power BI alternatives. Sisense's drag-and-drop interface allows you to create interactive dashboards and reports without any coding. It provides advanced analytics capabilities, including AI-driven results, predictive modeling, and embedded analytics

Here’s how Sisense is better than Power BI

  • Sisense provides data analysts with code-first model data, while Power BI uses visual tools like Power Query and Power Pivot.

  • Sisense offers a developer toolkit with extensive customization for embedding analytics. Power BI has embedding options with somewhat limited low-code and customization features.

  • Sisense offers integration with Git, which adds version control capabilities for developers. Power BI does not have native Git integration.

8. MicroStrategy

MicroStrategy is an alternative to Power BI that provides a wide array of capabilities for data analysis and reporting. It offers a unified interface for data discovery, visualization, and advanced analytics. MicroStrategy's mobile app allows you to access insights on the go and collaborate with team members.

MicroStrategy provides advanced analytics features like predictive modeling, data mining, and geospatial analytics. Although the platform has AI and ML capabilities, they are less flexible.

Here’s how MicroStrategy is better than Power BI

  • As an open-source platform, MicroStrategy can connect to a wide array of data sources more seamlessly, which may be more adaptable compared to Power BI.

  • MicroStrategy has more advanced analytics and predictive modeling capabilities. It is much more sophisticated than Power BI. 

  • MicroStrategy provides a consistent user experience across different platforms. Power BI may not offer a seamless cross-platform experience.

9. GoodData

GoodData is a cloud-based business intelligence and analytics platform that enables you to extract value from your data. It provides tools and services for data visualization, reporting, and analytics, making it easier for businesses to make data-driven decisions and gain a competitive edge.

Here’s how GoodData is better than Power BI

  • GoodData offers developer tools with code capabilities, allowing you to build advanced customizations based on your needs. However, if your organization requires complex development, Power BI has limitations in this regard.

  • A range of embedding options are available in GoodData that use technologies like React SDK, web components, and iFrames. Power BI requires Azure hosting and involves using APIs and SDKs provided by Microsoft.

  • Power BI is tightly integrated with other Microsoft products and services. This could lead to compatibility issues and a lack of flexibility when dealing with non-Microsoft technologies. GoodData is designed to be platform-neutral and is not inherently tied to any particular vendor's ecosystem.

10. Zoho Analytics

Zoho Analytics is a cloud-based business intelligence and data analytics platform that allows you to analyze and visualize data from various sources. It offers a drag-and-drop interface for building interactive dashboards and reports. The tool also provides a range of data connectors and integration options to connect with popular business applications and databases. 

Here’s how Zoho Analytics is better than Power BI

  • Zoho Analytics allows you to share reports and dashboards with unlicensed viewers for free. Power BI typically requires licenses for users to view and interact with reports.

  • When compared to Power BI, Zoho Analytics excels in predictive analysis. It offers a wide range of custom forecasting models and ML-powered scenario analysis, providing greater flexibility and predictive accuracy for data-driven decision-making.

  • Zoho Analytics allows deployment from the Zoho cloud and on-premise installation. It also supports deployment on public cloud platforms like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud, providing a broader range of deployment choices compared to Power BI.

Comparison of the Power BI competitors

To choose the best alternative for your business, it's essential to compare them based on features, pricing, and ease of use. Consider the specific requirements of your business and evaluate how each alternative aligns with your needs.

Power BI has been a popular choice for Microsoft businesses looking to incorporate data analytics capabilities. However, the alternative tools listed above have features that can revolutionize your data analytics programs and provide more value to your business. Implementing a modern BI solution, like ThoughtSpot, can help you become a more data-driven business—improving business outcomes and sharpening your competitive edge.

Making the right choice

As we've explored various Power BI alternatives in this article, one solution stands out, offering a comprehensive set of features that can truly transform your data analysis. While Power BI is a capable tool, ThoughtSpot provides a more accessible and powerful solution, making it the right choice for businesses that aim to become more data-driven.

“The wide variety of features that ThoughtSpot offers is great, easy to understand user interface and some great improvements when compared to other BI tools”

Nishtha G, Product Coordinator

Try ThoughtSpot for free to experience the power of a modern BI Solution.