Qlik vs. Tableau and What Matters to Analytics and BI Users

For Modern Analytics Needs, Tableau Has Too Few Capabilities, Too Much Cost and Too Little Vision

When evaluating your approach to analytics and BI, a common comparison is Qlik vs. Tableau. Consistently, when we have that conversation, there are some sharp distinctions that come to the fore in terms of capabilities, vision and cost.

To be fair, Tableau and Qlik have quite different visions so naturally our focus and products are different. Tableau is very focused on the individual ‘data hero’ and making that individual happy. As we all know from recent events, the collective perspective often yields better results for all. Qlik has an unwavering commitment to delivering the industry’s best end-to-end data and analytics platform, one that enables organization to have Active Intelligence. Active Intelligence is continuous intelligence from trusted, timely information, and designed to inform real-time decision making and compel action to enable organizations to prosper and stay ahead. In effect, its everything behind our value proposition, and why our capabilities are best in class.

So, what makes Qlik’s analytics and BI platform deliver more value to organizations than Tableau’s?


Users turn to analytics for answers and insights, which, at its heart, is driven by data exploration. Tableau’s exploration experience has built-in bottlenecks and predetermined pathways, which are limited further by a SQL approach that results in a restrictive, linear exploration. Anytime users want to find out something in adjacent data and let their curiosity run free, they will almost certainly need an expert on hand to rebuild the query, which can be time intensive and the opposite of real-time.

Qlik offers a freeform data exploration experience, where users don’t need to be experts or even authors to find out about what’s in their data. Our platform’s unique Associative Engine, which easily brings together and blends multiple data sources, provides every user, no matter their skill level, the ability to make connections and discover insights within their data – and to do so in any direction. Qlik’s data exploration can lead down many unexpected paths, but, in a good way, as our native cognitive engine helps bring users down the path to new insights.

While going down these new, unexpected paths in a wonderland of data, we know users might need some help. That’s where Augmented Intelligence comes in. It is a core, built-in functionality of our platform – not an afterthought, as it is for Tableau. Why anyone would want to ask their raw data, which is disconnected from everything else and doesn’t contain the business logic, is beyond me and is not really augmented analytics. True augmented analytics amplifies the power of human intuition with the scale and speed of machine intelligence, raising the data literacy of every user. It is context aware, provides insight suggestions, and natural language interaction that help all users maximize their potential. And, we’ve just expanded our native capabilities in this area with the expansion of Insight Advisor, our intelligent AI assistant built directly into Qlik Sense®, which delivers the industry’s most robust augmented intelligence capabilities. Drawing on Qlik’s unique Associative Engine, combined with our investments in natural language processing and cognitive technology, Insight Advisor deepens Qlik’s augmented analytics with AI-driven assistance that adds value to every interaction, for every user.

And what about Tableau’s claim to fame – its visualization virtuosity? We’ve got that as well; just check out our Qlik Sense Visualization Showcase, with over 100 new visualization features and enhancements added over the last year and more coming every month. Also, Qlik Sense is a complete analytics platform that doesn’t just provide great visualizations. It can support­ any use case for a business, with traditional reporting, interactive dashboards, mobile analytics, custom and embedded analytics, alerting and more. Those who want to truly transform their business and make the best decisions need more than just visualizations. And what’s more, Tableau’s visualizations are not as self service as one would think. The truth is you need skilled users who “know your data at the database level” (Tableau’s words) and SQL to create the visualizations. Everyday users are, again, hamstrung by a need for technical expertise to use Tableau. The best organizations don’t have individual (data) heroes – they have diverse teams where everyone can find insights and propose new ideas.

Cost (But Really TCO)

Many times, buyers think of cost as a one-time only expense. Tableau is like when you purchase that new phone, and then see your bill for the first time with all kinds of fees attached, none of which seemed to be on the price tag. In the case of analytics and BI platforms, total cost of ownership (TCO) really matters. Unlike Qlik, Tableau has a slew of hidden costs that buyers need to heavily consider.

A useful way of thinking about TCO is to consider the cost of software (e.g., SaaS subscriptions), infrastructure (e.g., cloud data storage;), systems setup and app development (e.g., up-front service deployment/configuration), as well as systems administration and support (e.g., BI, IT and data literacy support). Together, they represent your full TCO, which typically lasts at least for a few years, so the calculus is important.

So, what makes Tableau so expensive over time? Tableau’s BI platform is complex to setup and maintain; has surprise costs (e.g., add-ons); self-service is only for power users; limited data governance from desktop centric authoring, which means no single version of the truth will prevail; and issues with scalability, which make enterprise deployments take performance hits. Qlik, most importantly, beats out Tableau on scalability, with an architecture that ladders up economically to a business’ needs with hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. This gives customers a choice of where they run their analytics workloads and where they can host their data – in a Qlik-hosted cloud, on a private cloud, on-premises, or on all three in a hybrid model. We encourage our customers to consider Qlik hosting because that lowers our customers’ TCO and risk.


That brings me to the last important point. Tableau is owned by Salesforce, and we have seen this game before. Salesforce will be pushing Tableau to find ways to increase profits either by stripping down services or increasing prices. Also, Tableau will be forced to become a cloud native BI platform – like Qlik already is – which will negatively impact its innovation rate and commitment to customers who may want continued flexibility. And, finally, though Salesforce may not outright say it, it seems inevitable that data ‘lock in’ will come, and with that goes the hope of a platform-agnostic, multi-cloud solution (i.e., Qlik’s) that can leverage all your data investments. Not exactly a vision of Active Intelligence.

If the choice isn’t fully clear and you still need help deciding, visit our Qlik vs. Tableau Comparison Guide.

@Qlik vs. Tableau: For modern #analytics needs, Tableau has too few capabilities, too much cost & too little vision - Qlik simply delivers more value to BI users. @joshdotbad

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