Power BI, Tableau and Google Data Studio Comparison

As the volume of data triples each year, businesses are challenged to make sense of it. Many will turn to use data visualization software to gain a deeper understanding of their key performance indicators and derive insights. Using business intelligence software allows one to interact with, interpret, and display the data, among many other great operations. BI tools have a wide range of features and applications that let make the data more illustrative and interpretable.  The question is which software platform fits your needs. However, for the uninitiated, this can be a little confusing, though, given all the options.

BI Tool comparision

Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft released Power BI in 2011. It has a free desktop version and an online version that costs $9.99. This tier allows you to upload dashboards and share them with other pro members. This also gives up access to online services. Power BI is a business intelligence tool in the truest sense of the word. It provides users the ability to ingest, model, and visualize data with ease. It has 100s of third part connectors through API and other integrations. Allows for both Python and R scripting. The online service offers text analysis, data science tools, and AI abilities. Out of the three tools, this is going to be the best round in terms of business intelligence. Where it falls short is in the visualization department when compared to Tableau. Also, DAX (Data Analysis Expressions) can be very difficult to master and often causes a lot of pain when first learning. Check out Microsoft Power BI Pros and Cons


  • Full well-rounded BI tool.
  • Data Modeling capabilities
  • Lower Price Pro Tier ( $9.99 Monthly )
  • Works well with Microsoft Architecture ( Data Flows, Power Apps, and PowerPoint)
  • Data Science and AI services out of the box
  • Enthusiastic Support( Reddit 22k member support group)
  • Scheduled Refreshing and Incremental Refresh of Data
  • Custom Visuals
  • Desktop and Online Versions


  • DAX can be overly complicated to learn and just plain hard
  • Visuals resemble a nice PowerPoint
  • Does not work easily on Apple Technology (requires a virtual environment)
  • Limited visual capabilities


Small to large companies looking to share and embed dashboards with very degrees of complexity. Organizations looking for a mid-level ETL and business intelligence tool that gives your analyst the most flexibility.


This is the grand master of data visualization software that was launched way back in 2003. It has since been taken over by Salesforce. The most attractive aspect of Tableau is its visual capability. You can easily create beautiful dashboards and data stories with ease. Also, it can visualize 1000s of points clearly. However, this does come with a very steep learning curve. Tableau definitely is not a full-service BI tool though it has some capabilities. It comes with Tableau Prep which pales in comparison to Microsoft’s Power Query Editor which is years ahead of it in capabilities. The price of Tableau starts at the $70 range for a basic creator package and $15 for its creator range. So it’s definitely the most expensive out of the three. Advantages and Disadvantages of Tableau


  • Beautiful visual design
  • Easy UI
  • Computational Power
  • Scalability
  • Customer Service
  • Enthusiastic Community
  • Integration of Scripting ( Python and R )
  • Desktop and Online versions


  • Lacks many BI capabilities
  • Data Modeling is not as good as Power BI
  • Complex calculations can be difficult to execute in the tool
  • No Custom Visuals
  • Limited Data Science/ AI integrations’


Mid to large companies want beautiful dashboards connected to a database with a predetermined ETL process.

Check the Tableau Visual Gallery

Google Data Studio

This is a free program that allows you to quickly visualize data in a dashboard. It has some ability to blend data sources. It works well with Google Sheets and Google Big Query. In all honesty, with this free tool, you get what you are paying for. It gives the user the ability to develop calculations. This tool would be more comparable to Excel than it is to the tools above. It’s purely a data visualization tool that works best with Google Sheets. There is a real advantage for collaboration by allowing users to simultaneously work on a dashboard.


  • Super easy to use
  • Works really well with Google Architecture
  • FREE
  • Easy to share with anyone who has a Google Account


  • Slow
  • Very limited visual capabilities
  • No real data modeling


A small company that wants to a quick dashboard connected to Google Analytics or Google Ads

Gaelim Holland

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