Qlik vs Tableau – Comparison Guide

Trying to choose between Qlik or Tableau? Find out how Qlik takes you way beyond the limits of Tableau’s query-based technology and its narrow focus on self-service visualization.

Qlik or Tableau: What’s best for your organization?

When evaluating Qlik vs Tableau, you should consider both your immediate needs as well as the larger role BI and analytics can play across departments and with customers and partners. You’re not only investing in analytics technology but also employee expertise, infrastructure and more, so you want analytics that can evolve with your business. This highlights a key difference when choosing between Qlik or Tableau: Qlik Sense® is a complete data analytics platform while Tableau is simply a data visualization tool. As you’ll see, this has big implications for your BI and analytics strategy.

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Compare Qlik Sense vs Tableau

While Qlik and Tableau both deliver interactive dashboards and visualizations, their similarities quickly diverge from there. Explore some of the reasons customers consistently choose Qlik Sense over Tableau:

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

1. Freely explore data to uncover hidden insights.

At the core of any analytics technology is its data engine. Tableau’s traditional query-based approach limits the data you can explore and discoveries you can make. Qlik’s Associative Engine easily combines any number of data sources and lets you freely explore them all to uncover connections you’d never have thought to query or simply can’t find with query-based tools like Tableau. And that’s where real business transformation happens. See the Qlik vs Tableau comparison below.

  • Qlik Sense – Free form exploration

    Only Qlik has the Associative Engine, the one-of-a-kind technology that gives every user the power to explore their data in any direction. Qlik’s Associative Engine analyzes all your data all the time, for every possible connection within it. As a result, it uncovers hidden connections and insights that other solutions miss.
    • Tableau – Predefined paths

      Tableau operates like every other query-based BI tool — that is, over a SQL database that restricts users to following specific (and predetermined) paths within a narrow slide of data. In any given query, only part of your data is analyzed, leaving key patterns and connections undiscovered.

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

      -Grzegorz Dadowski*

      2. Get more value for less with Qlik.

      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. See how Qlik Sense and Tableau Compare on TCO:

      • Qlik Sense – Total transparency

        Qlik’s pricing transparency gives customers a clear view of all costs upfront. Our simple subscription model lets you know exactly what you’re getting, right out of the gate. We'll never make you pay extra for "fresh" data, and our multi-cloud capabilities give you future flexibility and the ability to grow without the worry of large unplanned costs.
        • Tableau – Surprise costs

          If you want more than the very basic functionality of Viewer - including the ability for novice consumers to ask questions of the data - you’ll have to upgrade to Explorer. To schedule data refreshes, you’ll need to add on Data Management. And when your scalability suffers, thanks to jobs distributed across multiple servers, you’ll need the Server Management add-on (which, by the way, is on premise only). And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

          “The price comparison is very misleading. Qlik’s price includes all its capabilities.”

          -Tomasz Wojcik, Thermoplast*

          3. Augmented Analytics that brings the best out of human and machine.

          Artificial intelligence is one of the most disruptive forces in technology we’ll see in our lifetimes and it is fundamentally rewriting the rules for analytics. Qlik offers a new breed of augmented analytics that amplifies the power of human intuition with the scale and speed of machine intelligence, raising the data literacy of every user. Compare augmented analytics with Qlik Sense vs Tableau below.

          • Qlik Sense – Human-machine breakthrough

            Qlik takes an industry-leading approach with augmented analytics, combining machine intelligence and human understanding to suggest fascinating insights and new connections as you explore your data. Ask any question and get robust answers in natural language.
            • Tableau – AI that’s not very “I”

              Tableau’s Ask Data doesn’t work with the business logic built into workbooks because it can’t access workbooks. It connects only to data sources, which means it can’t leverage the insight your analysts have built. Plus, it’s limited. Ask a simple question and get a simple answer.

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

              - Benoît Gochel*

              4. Go beyond visualization. Deliver any BI use case.

              Today, self-service data visualization is just table stakes. You get self-service visualization with either Qlik or Tableau, but unlike Tableau, Qlik Sense is a complete analytics platform that supports any use case. To transform your business, people at all levels need the ability to use data to uncover insights and make better decisions. This includes skilled users who need advanced capabilities and novice users who need the ability to explore on their own. Compare Qlik Sense vs Tableau below.

              • Qlik Sense – All the use cases

                With Qlik, business authors can easily create dashboards — and not just dashboards, but full-featured interactive apps that novice users can explore with great freedom and context. Qlik also offers traditional reporting, custom and embedded analytics, and much more. So no matter how much your business evolves, we’ll be with you at every step.
                • Tableau – One use case

                  Tableau claims it can deliver on a range of use cases. The truth is, their product really only does one thing: self-service visualization. They also claim that anyone can use it. The reality is that you need skilled business authors who know the rules of databases and SQL to create dashboards. Everyday users just can’t get that far. End of story.

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

                  - Taj Mohamed*

                  5. Get blazing-fast analytics at massive scale.

                  In business, speed matters. This is certainly true with analytics. A platform that delivers faster performance — even as users and data scale and the complexity of analytics rise — lets users discover more insights while driving adoption. And Qlik leads the way when it comes to speed, maximizing the value of your analytics investments. See if Qlik or Tableau is faster below.

                  • Qlik Sense – Fast

                    The Qlik Analytics Platform® can ingest billions of rows of data from an unlimited number of sources with complex schemas with dozens of dimensions – and deliver answers in seconds. And thanks to Qlik’s ability to add, modify and remove records, you can keep data fresher in a much smaller build window.
                    • Tableau – Slow

                      What happens when Tableau’s engine attempts to handle large volumes of disparate data, especially when paired with complex analytics? It. Slows. To. A. Crawl. And if you need to increment data – and keep it fresh – in small build windows, you’re out of luck.

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

                      - Mattheus Roux*

                      6. Bring world-class embedded analytics everywhere.

                      Building a competitive edge comes from making new discoveries in every area of your business. But that only works if analytics are everywhere, too. Qlik extends robust analytics to the applications, portals and processes your business runs on. Go beyond the basic dashboards you can embed with Tableau to bring the power of data and insights to your entire enterprise ecosystem – so employees, suppliers, partners and customers alike can make better decisions faster than ever. Compare Tableau vs Qlik – read on.

                      • Qlik Sense – Embed analytics

                        With Qlik Sense®, you can embed a dashboard – and individual numbers, values, and metrics – so you can embed analytics in your products, workflows, portals, and edge devices. Qlik’s API-first platform was built using modern standards to work with the latest web and application technologies, allowing you to extend functionality wherever your imagination takes you.
                        • Tableau – Embed a dashboard

                          Tableau can embed a dashboard – an entire dashboard (woot!). But that’s all. Its APIs are notoriously limited, which means your options for embedding and extending your analytics are seriously limited, too. Without these essential capabilities, it is becoming increasingly difficult to meet the massive rise in demand for insights across most organizations today.

                          “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*

                          7. Governed data and analytics everyone can trust.

                          At Qlik, we know how valuable it is to empower users of all skill levels to freely explore data and make discoveries on their own. In fact, we brought this innovation to market over 20 years ago! But from the beginning, we’ve known that total freedom brings real challenges. If the data or analytics can’t be trusted, neither can the insights. That’s why we’ve invested heavily in making governance central to Qlik Sense. See the Qlik vs Tableau comparison below.
                          • Qlik Sense – Governed self-service

                            All content creation on Qlik happens on a server, where IT can validate it at every step. Plus, Qlik centralizes and unifies your data, creating and updating a single source of reliable truth that everyone can trust. It’s self-service without the risk.
                            • Tableau – Self-service chaos

                              Tableau is a desktop product, where individual users build workbooks on their hard drives. Sure, they could share on a server. But do they? (Hint: no.) Versions get passed around. Data gets polluted. Updates aren’t made. And IT has no insight into any of it.

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

                              - Abhilash Sidipohu*

                              8. Keep your data free from “lock-in” and deploy your way.

                              Few companies run on a single stack. Qlik offers the most value and least risk as an independent analytics vendor with a platform-agnostic multi-cloud solution that can leverage all your data investments. While Tableau supports on-premise and cloud deployments, you have to choose one or the other. And with the acquisition by Salesforce, you need to consider how that may impact control of your data over time. Compare Qlik Sense vs Tableau below.
                              • Qlik Sense – Complete data freedom

                                Qlik is independent, offering total freedom and control of your data. And you can deploy on-premise, in a public or private cloud, or in any combination of these options – at enterprise scale and with unprecedented speed.
                                • Tableau – The threat of data lock-in

                                  Now that Tableau will answer to Salesforce, what does that mean for their customers’ data? Great question. If you’re evaluating Tableau, it’s time to start asking where your data could end up and whether it could get locked in.
                                  Our technology works with your infrastructure

                                  “Qlik's end-to-end is what makes it superior.”

                                  - Mitch Speer*

                                  Considering other Qlik alternatives? See how Qlik compares to other data analytics solutions.

                                  Bonus! Four more ways Qlik outperforms Tableau.

                                  At Qlik, we always want to over-deliver, so here are several critical ways Qlik offers more valuable analytics to customers than Tableau.
                                  • Ease of Use

                                  • Qlik Sense – Any user, any skill level.

                                    At Qlik, we believe that every and any user should be able to explore data. Every Qlik app can handle massive stores of data, empowering users at any level – without edit privileges – to broadly explore it. Users aren’t restricted to a dashboard with filters, and they can take advantage of huge range of rich interactive capabilities.
                                  • Tableau - Experts needed

                                    In Tableau, users are restricted to a dashboard with filters – and every dashboard is limited in depth and breadth. Want to explore your data broadly, beyond a few key items? You have to keep creating new workbooks – and for that, you need experts. Tableau limits exploration to authors, not users.
                                  • Mobility

                                  • Qlik Sense – Enterprise mobility

                                    Qlik is built for mobility. Responsive design and touch are native to our cloud analytics platform and we offer a fully functional mobile app. You’re free to explore data to discover deep and unexpected insights exactly as you do on a laptop or desktop – wherever you are, even offline.
                                  • Tableau – Skimpy mobile

                                    On mobile, Tableau allows you to download one sheet from a broader workbook. You can’t filter; you can only highlight one value at a time and scroll to see where that value shows up in related charts. Trying to get insights on-the-go? Prepare to be stopped short.

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

                                  -Ryan Hanson*

                                  • Security

                                  • Qlik Sense – Multi-level security

                                    The Qlik data analytics platform secures data at the row, column, and table level. Plus, Qlik can secure access both to an app and within the app, at the sheet level and even at the object level. Different users can see different elements within the same exact app. And Qlik also gives you granular control over which features are available to each user. Architecture & Scalability Whitepaper
                                  • Tableau – Mobile security

                                    Tableau can secure data only at the row-level and secure access only at the workbook level. To deliver different information to different users, Tableau may have to create workbooks based on essentially the same data multiple times with different security. The outcome? You have to maintain and refresh all versions.
                                  • Technology Innovation

                                  • Qlik Sense – Ambitious roadmap

                                    At Qlik, we were built from the ground-up on modern architecture that allows for rapid innovation – and there’s no Big-Cloud overlord throttling our progress. We won’t be wasting time rewriting existing product to resolve overlap. And unlike Tableau, we already integrate beautifully with Salesforce, so that won’t slow us down, either.
                                  • Tableau – Stalled innovation

                                    When mega-vendors make acquisitions, roadmaps get rewritten. What’s in store for Tableau? Nobody knows. But we do know that Tableau has significant overlap with products Salesforce already sells – including analytics, data prep, and natural-language query. That could be bad news for customers who’ve adopted these features in Tableau.

                                  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?

                                  Take data visualization to a whole new level with Qlik Sense.

                                  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 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.