Compare Qlik vs Tableau

This guide provides an in-depth comparison of two top BI tools to help you select the right solution for your organization.

Screenshots of Qlik's interactive dashboards.

Qlik vs Tableau: Evaluation Guide

When evaluating Qlik vs Tableau, consider both your immediate needs as well as the larger role that BI and analytics can play across departments and with customers and partners. Read on to find out how Qlik and Tableau compare on 12 key factors.

Popular resources to help you compare BI tools

  • Comparison Guides

    See how top BI and analytics tools compare on the 12 key factors you should consider in your evaluation process.
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  • Get the buyers guide

    BI initiatives come with many functionality requirements and priorities, so finding the right platform can be tough. Our guide on how to choose a modern analytics platform will help.

Comparison on 12 Key Factors

There are many BI vendors for you to choose from. But in their 2021 report, Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms, Gartner named only three as “Leaders”: Power BI, Qlik and Tableau. This guide compares Qlik vs Tableau on the 12 factors below.

Explore data with Qlik’s Associative Engine vs Tableau's query-based approach.

Data Visualization

All top BI tools allow you to visualize data in interactive charts, graphs and maps. Keep in mind that you and your stakeholders will want to explore all your data in any direction, directly from within the visualization. This will let you uncover relationships you may not have considered when you or an analyst first set up a query.

  • Qlik Sense

    Qlik offers a full suite of interactive visualizations. And, Qlik is built on an “associative” data engine which allows you or any user to explore all your data freely from any angle. Plus, machine learning helps Qlik’s AI learn over time to highlight outliers, suggest new visuals and give you exploration ideas.
    • Tableau

      Tableau is well known for providing a full range of visualizations. But their query-based approach limits you to predetermined, linear query paths within a specific slice of your data. This means end users aren’t able to explore all the data in any direction.

      “The ‘Associative Engine’ is what sets Qlik apart from other BI solutions.”

      -Grzegorz Dadowski*

      Screenshots of Qlik's interactive dashboards.

      Interactive Dashboards

      Many tools let you produce dashboards. But like visualizations, you’ll want to freely explore all your data, from any angle, directly from within the dashboard. Plus, you should expect AI to help you highlight outliers, create charts, and suggest new visuals.

      • Qlik Sense

        Qlik’s data engine allows you or any user to explore all your data freely with the dashboard. Qlik’s machine learning also makes their dashboards more powerful by compressing large data sets, revealing the shape of your data, and pinpointing outliers.
        • Tableau

          Tableau provides interactive dashboards. However, their SQL-based approach limits your filtering and exploration to the query paths and data set which the original author selected.

          “Qlik is way more user-friendly. It’s easier to use filters, to do powerful drill downs, and it has intuitive dashboards.”

          -Benoît Gochel*

          Diagram demonstrating the cost difference between Tableau and Qlik as the number of users increases.

          Total Cost of Ownership

          There's more to making a BI platform investment than just the initial purchase. The Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) factors in all the costs associated with using a BI solution for 3 to 5 years, such as infrastructure, systems setup and app development, and systems admin and support.

          • Qlik Sense

            Qlik’s total cost of ownership is lower than Tableau. And Qlik has no additional or hidden costs as you scale.
            • Tableau

              Tableau requires additional investments as you scale. Learn more.

              “The price comparison is very misleading.”

              - Tomasz Wojcik, Thermoplast*

              Screenshot showing how Qlik's Insight Advisor makes automatic suggestions from your data.

              AI-Powered Analytics

              Artificial intelligence and machine learning are resetting the expectations of a modern BI tool. Augmented analytics suggests new insights and connections and this helps you quickly analyze your data, increases your productivity and helps you make better data-driven decisions.

              • Qlik Sense

                Qlik has a full range of AI capabilities which are built into the platform at a foundational level. This allows Qlik's AI to be an always-on engine within the context of the analysis you’re performing and to suggest insights and new connections as you explore your data.
                • Tableau

                  Tableau’s AI feature, called Ask Data, was a later addition to the tool, which means it’s not core to the platform. It doesn’t work with the business logic built into workbooks because it can’t access workbooks and it only connects to data sources, so it can’t leverage the insight your analysts have built.
                  Diagram comparing the activities supported by Qlik Sense vs those offered by Tableau.

                  Many Use Cases (On One Platform)

                  All users in your organization should be able to perform all BI use cases using the same data and the same platform. This is because you may have many different types of users, such as analysts, engineers and businesspeople performing many different use cases, such as visualizing data, embedding analytics, or sharing dashboards.

                  • Qlik Sense

                    All users in your business can perform all activities, from data analysis to data visualization, on the same platform with a common analytics data pipeline, analytics engine and AI capabilities.
                    • Tableau

                      Tableau is primarily an authoring environment for analysts to create data visualizations.

                      “Qlik has more features and is very easy to use. It handles more data, and publishing apps is simple.”

                      - Taj Mohamed*

                      Governed Self-Service

                      You want everyone in your organization to trust their data, analytics and insights. You also want everyone to work quickly without having to wait for IT or analysts. This means your tool should allow you to control your data and content with a centralized management capability that uses rules-based governance.

                      • Qlik Sense

                        Qlik centralizes and unifies your data in the cloud, creating governed data models with robust data security. And all content creation happens in the cloud, where it’s governed and controlled at every step. Plus, governed libraries provide reuse and standardization for analytics.
                        • Tableau

                          Tableau allows any user to make their own copy of copy of content. It can take you considerable time and effort to manage all these iterations.

                          “Qlik’s powerful scripting engine, innovation and focus on security are just some of the reasons we moved from Tableau to Qlik.”

                          - Abhilash Sidipohu*

                          Mobile BI

                          While comparing Qlik vs Tableau, keep in mind that you and your teams need to be able to explore and analyze data and share insights wherever you happen to be.

                          • Qlik Sense

                            Qlik offers a full-native mobile app and responsive design and touch are native to the Qlik platform. The app offers fully interactive online and offline exploration and integrated alerting with push notifications.
                            • Tableau

                              Tableau only lets you download one sheet from a workbook on a mobile device. And you’re not able to filter; you’re only able to highlight one value at a time and scroll to find that value in related charts.

                              “Qlik is much more intuitive and offers way better mobile support than Tableau.”

                              -Ryan Hanson*

                              Chart showing increasing users, data scale, and analytic complexity.

                              Scalability

                              You need a complete, up-to-date view of all relevant data in order to uncover insights. This means you’ll need a tool which can handle data at any scale without compromising performance or driving up costs and can integrate and combine data from any source, as close to real-time as possible.

                              • Qlik Sense

                                Qlik’s associative engine provides instant calculation performance, even with massive data sets, real-time data and high numbers of users. And, due to Qlik’s ability to add, modify and remove records, you can keep data fresher in a much smaller build window.
                                • Tableau

                                  Tableau’s engine slows dramatically when it tries to handle large volumes of disparate data, especially if performing complex analytics. Plus, Tableau won’t let you increment data and keep it fresh in small build windows.

                                  “Qlik is more cost-effective and better at handling big data with modern visualizations.”

                                  -Mattheus Roux*

                                  Screenshot demonstrating Qlik's embedded analytics capabilities.

                                  Embedded Analytics

                                  Embedded analytics refers to incorporating full analytics capabilities within other processes, applications, and portals across an organization. It lets your employees, partners, suppliers, and customers make better, data-driven decisions from within the systems they already use.

                                  • Qlik Sense

                                    Qlik’s platform was built API-first using modern standards. This means you can embed a dashboard–and individual numbers, values, and metrics–within the latest web and application technologies.
                                    • Tableau

                                      Tableau’s APIs are limited, which means you can only embed a complete dashboard, not individual values.

                                      “Qlik visualizations are cleaner in my opinion and the open source developer community is a great resource when looking for just the right method or extension to tell our data stories.”

                                      -David Tate*

                                      Diagram showing how data is processed into the Governed Data Catalog and BI Applications.

                                      Data Integration

                                      Data integration means bringing together and transforming raw data into analytics-ready data. Modern BI tools can leverage real-time data integration technologies like change data capture and streaming data pipelines to make data available across your enterprise.

                                      • Qlik Sense

                                        Qlik Sense has built-in, best-in-class data integration capabilities for combining and transforming data as well as data cataloging. Plus, Qlik also offers an enterprise class data integration platform which provides a seamless analytics data pipeline.
                                        • Tableau

                                          Tableau Prep and Tableau Desktop do provide data prep capabilities. However, each product solves a different problem and neither one solves them all. You would need to select Desktop or Prep and then find other solutions for the data issues Tableau can’t solve.

                                          “Qlik has everything integrated. You can load millions of rows in short periods and process it with greater agility than other tools.”

                                          -Eduardo Ponce*

                                          Our technology works with your infrastructure

                                          Flexible Deployment

                                          You shouldn’t be limited in your cloud strategy options or have to build new infrastructure. Your BI tool should have a platform-agnostic, multi-cloud architecture that lets you deploy in any environment, from on-premise to cloud hybrid.

                                          • Qlik Sense

                                            As an independent company, Qlik offers you total freedom and control of your data. Qlik also provides a full enterprise SaaS environment and on-premise or private cloud options. Learn more.
                                            • Tableau

                                              Given that Salesforce now owns Tableau, you might wonder where your data could end up and whether it could get locked in.

                                              Data Literacy Support

                                              Most vendors will teach you how to use their tool. Today, you need more. You need people at all levels of your organization to be data literate. They should be able to ask the right questions of data and machines, make data-driven decisions, and communicate meaning to others.

                                              • Qlik Sense

                                                Qlik makes it easy for anyone, at any skill level, to explore their data. Plus Qlik offers data literacy training programs for any user.
                                                • Tableau

                                                  Tableau requires you to be an author to interact with data and to benefit from Tableau’s data literacy initiative. All other users have to go back to the author for a new report when they want to explore deeper.

                                                  “Such a great focus on developing data literacy!”

                                                  -Mitch Speer*

                                                  Popular resources to help you compare Qlik vs Tableau

                                                  • Analyst Report

                                                    2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for BI and Analytics

                                                  • E-Book

                                                    Built for Transformation: How Qlik Gets You Farther, Faster in the Digital Era

                                                  • Whitepaper

                                                    3rd Generation BI – Accelerating Data Literacy in the Analytics Economy

                                                  • Whitepaper

                                                    Qlik Sense Enterprise SaaS Technical Overview

                                                  What is the difference between QlikView® vs Tableau?

                                                  When Tableau compares itself to Qlik, they focus on QlikView, our classic analytics solution that pioneered modern analytics over 20 years ago. QlikView was built on a “develop and publish” paradigm, enabling highly sophisticated BI apps still used by many large enterprises. Since Tableau is a self-service visualization tool, when they compare Tableau and QlikView in a self-service context, it’s an easy, misleading way to claim an advantage.
                                                  What isn’t easy for Tableau is a comparison with Qlik Sense. It combines the extreme simplicity essential for self-service with everything that let QlikView consistently outperform Tableau – the Associative Engine’s one-of-a-kind analytics experience and complete platform capabilities to tackle even the most complex multi-source analytical challenges – not to mention the many other advantages of Qlik Sense covered earlier. So don’t be fooled by Tableau’s misleading comparisons of QlikView vs Tableau — Qlik Sense offers a whole new class of data analytics.

                                                  Qlik or Tableau - What is best for your organization?

                                                  kpi dashboard examples

                                                  So which data analytics vendor should you choose, Qlik or the competition? Before you decide, evaluate all the potential BI use cases you want to enable in your business beyond the narrow focus offered by the competition. Then consider all that makes Qlik Sense® the leader for next-generation data analytics technologies. Our one-of-a-kind associative analytics engine engine and sophisticated AI empowers people at all skill levels to freely explore data, make bigger discoveries and uncover bolder insights they can’t find using other analytics tools. And combined with Qlik’s data integration platform you get an end-to-end solution that outperforms the competition every time.

                                                  *Qlik User Survey

                                                  Experience Qlik Sense today.