business intelligence

Qlik vs Tableau: Which is a better business intelligence tool?

With so many analytics and business intelligence tools on the market, selecting just one solution can be daunting—that’s why so many end up managing technical debt. Whether you're a FinOps manager new to BI tools or you’re an industry veteran overseeing tool selection for your team, this selection shouldn’t be taken lightly. 

Below, we’ll compare the main differences between well-known industry vets Qlik vs Tableau. By the end of the article, you’ll have a clearer understanding of how these tools and their features might align with your organization's specific needs and objectives.

What is Qlik Sense?

Qlik Sense is a second-generation, in-memory self-service business intelligence and data visualization platform. It empowers a BI developer to create and publish data sets for business users to explore and visualize prepared data, uncovering insights to support informed decision-making within your organization. A part of the Qlik product suite, Qlik Sense represents the evolution of its predecessor, QlikView.

What is Tableau?

Tableau is a data visualization and business intelligence (BI) software that allows you to connect, visualize, and share data in a way that enables effective decision-making. It provides a user-friendly interface that doesn't require extensive programming or technical skills, making it accessible to a wide range of users, including business analysts, data scientists, and decision-makers.

Value comparison: Qlik vs Tableau

Data visualization

Qlik Sense utilizes associative data modeling and in-memory columnar data storage for dynamic exploration of datasets through visualizations. It emphasizes interactive dashboards over traditional reporting. Developers can leverage Qlik's Reporting Service APIs for precise, customized reporting needs. Qlik also focuses on the concept of "associative analytics," where data is related (associated) together, in-memory, allowing you to explore relationships between different data points.

Tableau is known for its pixel-perfect visualizations, interactive dashboards, and reports. Tableau also offers advanced visualizations including heat maps, tree maps, and geographic maps. Its drag-and-drop interface makes it easy for you to explore and understand your data. While Qlik Sense provides a diverse range of visualization options, it may offer less flexibility in customization compared to Tableau. However, Qlik supports Bring Your Own Customization (BYOC), with a partner ecosystem offering various charting and visualization options. This allows users to access tools for creating highly tailored visualizations.

Data connectivity

Qlik Sense has strong data connectivity and manipulation capabilities. It supports a variety of data sources, including databases, spreadsheets, cloud-based data, and more. Leveraging Qlik’s unique Qlik Script modeling language, a Data Engineer can extract, combine, manipulate, and store data in Qlik’s in-memory associative engine for fast querying. Despite this, users might experience a learning curve when navigating and managing data associations.

Tableau also supports a wide range of data sources, and you can connect to databases, cloud services, and spreadsheets. It offers data blending features for combining data from different sources. However, some users might find the need for data reshaping or preprocessing outside Tableau before connecting.

User interface

Qlik Sense has a modern and straightforward interface designed for ease of use. It highlights simplicity in data exploration and analysis. Qlik Sense offers a clean environment for building and customizing visualizations. Although both Qlik vs Tableau provide a responsive and user-friendly experience, the interface can be less familiar if transitioning from a more traditional BI tool.

Tableau's drag-and-drop interface creates an intuitive process when creating visualizations and dashboards. If you have minimal technical expertise, you can likely grasp the basics and start building visualizations. But, to retrieve the full value of Tableau features, such as advanced calculations, intricate data blending, and integration with complex databases or custom APIs, business users require more training.

Collaboration and sharing

Qlik Sense supports collaborative analytics through shared apps and dashboards. That said, some users may find that the collaboration features require a learning curve to fully utilize effectively. 

Tableau provides features for sharing interactive dashboards and reports. Tableau Server and Tableau Online enable you to publish and share your work with others in the organization. Yet, advanced collaboration features, such as real-time collaborative editing, version control, commenting and annotation tools, granular permissions, integration with external collaboration tools, and automated notifications require additional training for optimal use.

Mobile accessibility

Qlik Sense is accessible on mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets. Qlik’s responsive design philosophy provides many interactive features in their mobile experience. The level of functionality and responsiveness on mobile devices varies depending on the complexity of visualizations and the device used. Users requiring more advanced features may encounter limitations compared to the desktop version.

Tableau’s app allows you to view and interact with Tableau dashboards on mobile devices. While the mobile app improves accessibility, certain advanced features available on the desktop version have limitations on mobile devices. Users transitioning from the desktop version to the mobile app may need some time to adapt to the differences in the mobile interface and feature set.

Pricing: Qlik vs Tableau

Like any industry, pricing changes often in the BI landscape. So, it's always advised to directly research current pricing from the source. That said, here’s what we found on their website:

Qlik Sense has transitioned to a subscription-based licensing model over the last few years, and costs can widely vary based on the deployment type (cloud or on-premises), data storage, features enabled, user roles, and the number of users.

Tableau has different levels of pricing based on what you need and how you use it. Even though there's a free viewer option, getting all of Tableau's features can be expensive, especially for big businesses. Here are the main tiers:

  • Explorer: For regular business users who can create and change visualizations.

  • Creator: Meant for data analysts who handle data standardization and loading. Each account needs at least one Creator.

  • Viewer: Viewers can see and interact with visualizations made by Creators and Explorers.

Alternatives to Qlik and Tableau

While Qlik and Tableau are popular tools, organizations are actively seeking business intelligence platforms that provide user-friendly experiences. By investing in solutions that get data into the hands of more teams, businesses are more likely to see the positive impact that their data is having on their bottom line.

Less waste in the supply chain, more ROI efficiency in marketing and sales, and even faster product innovations that utilize embedded analytics—these are all examples of how data can benefit your business when it’s accessible across the business. Utilizing our natural language search feature, ThoughtSpot users of any technical background can find answers and receive AI-augmented analysis. 

Through ThoughtSpot's self-service analytics features, every business user gains the ability to delve into data, unearth valuable insights, and integrate data seamlessly into their decision-making process. Now, let's explore the features that make ThoughtSpot stand out. 

  • Data visualization: See your data in a whole new way with interactive Liveboards

  • AI-driven search: Ask questions and get answers effortlessly using natural language search with ThoughtSpot Sage

  • Data connectivity: Quickly connect to all your data sources with ThoughtSpot. 

  • Data modeling: Establish governed, reusable, and logical data models. ThoughtSpot Sage also automates the generation of suggested synonyms to optimize the data modeling experience.

  • Collaboration and sharing: Easily share your insights, reports, and dashboards with your team.

  • Multi-modal experience: Boost user engagement through a versatile approach to data exploration. This includes real-time mobile monitoring, seamless integration with workplace apps like Salesforce and Google Sheets, and the ability to push insights back to workforce applications such as Slack.

Choosing the right BI solution for your data analytics needs

As you navigate the complex decision of choosing a business intelligence tool, carefully weigh the specific needs of your organization against the strengths and limitations of Qlik and Tableau. While both platforms offer valuable features, it's worth exploring alternative solutions that may better align with the evolving landscape of data analytics. 

ThoughtSpot is a revolutionary BI solution that prioritizes user-friendly experiences and AI-Powered Analytics. Take the next step towards unlocking the full potential of your data with ThoughtSpot—get a free demo from our team to get started.