Qlik and Tableau help business executives and decision-makers build data-driven strategies. You can save a lot of time and energy with these business intelligence tools’ features such as automatic data collection, analysis and visualizations.
The two BI suites provide cloud-based services and allow creating guided apps and dashboards from pretty much any source, but they don’t have the exact same approach and performances. Learn about the key features of Qlik and Tableau to help you evaluate each solution and choose the right one according to your specific context and expectations.
Qlik Sense: Key features
Qlik is particularly efficient for generating smart visualizations and mappings, but it can also perform analysis using the QIX Engine, Qlik’s associative technology for data discovery and artificial intelligence to combine data from multiple sources.
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The BI suite provides advanced configurations to power users. For example, the engine can take scripts as inputs to make predictions. Beginners can use the drag-and-drop interface to create applications with ease.
Qlik focuses on contextualization and security.
Tableau: Key features
Tableau is full of features and interactive visualizations. It can source data from multiple sources such as custom databases, cloud services or Google Analytics, and combine all data natively. Neither complicated macros nor advanced scripting is required to start.
Its capabilities are pretty high, including statistical, behavioral, multidimensional or predictive analysis. Its tool, dubbed “Einstein discovery,” leverages the Salesforce’s no-code platform and machine learning to predict new trends and deliver recommendations.
The software focuses on intuitiveness and does not require any preselection. Users with various levels of expertise can thus use it, but power users can still add more filters and optimizations. Developers can query performant APIs to integrate the software into existing apps or websites.
Features comparisons of Tableau and Qlik
|Performance metrics and dashboards||✅||✅|
|Templates, models, drag-and-drop interface||✅||✅|
|Ad hoc query and reports||✅||✅|
|Sales and marketing reports||✅||✅|
|Automated and scheduled reports||✅||✅|
|Real time analytics||✅||✅|
|Predictive analysis and machine learning||✅||✅|
|Bayesian and statistical analysis||❌||✅|
|OLAP (multidimensional analysis)||✅||✅|
|Desktop support (web, Windows, Mac)||✅||✅|
|Mobile support (iOS, Android)||✅||✅|
Both Qlik and Tableau provide advanced analysis tools and models. Users can create pipelines from multiple sources and leverage the benefits of machine learning to sort data.
However, Qlik focuses on data association while Tableau promotes exploration. In other words, Qlik prevents users from losing critical relations that are easy to miss, while Tableau wants to empower users to create their own searching pattern and find hints themselves.
Aesthetics and design can really make the difference when it comes to visualizations, as the idea is to highlight key figures and trends to make them easily understandable.
Tableau can generate compelling visualizations. You can get an overview on its public gallery.
Qlik provides various pre-defined charts and custom objects you can use and reuse in sophisticated visualizations, but with less graphical options. As a result, Qlik has more granularity, but beginners might find it a bit overwhelming. Tableau is easier to use.
You’ll get a decent level of safety with the two solutions. Their services rely on trusted data sources and other critical aspects of enterprise security, but Qlik has better capabilities, especially regarding access control.
While Tableau complies with an extensive range of security obligations for data, cloud-based operations or networks requests, Qlik provides more granularity and access control, for example, with the Section Access that can reduce data to the appropriate scope.
It requires more technical skills, though, but power users and administrators may appreciate this possibility.
The two companies provide similar deployment features (SaaS, cloud-based, on-premise) and can fit various organizations, regardless of the size, and including large-scale businesses.
Price of Tableau and Qlik
Both suites offer free trials but Tableau provides now a free app for Mac and Windows with rich features, allowing anyone to create and share visualizations for free, which can make the difference for some users.
Both companies have prices that increase with the number of users, which is common in enterprise software.
Qlik has only two offers (Business and SaaS) starting at $30 per month/per user, while Tableau has three packs (Viewer, Explorer and Creator) with many different licenses you can modulate to scale and starting at $15 per month/per user.
Qlik customers who look for high-scale performances might select the client-managed option, an in-class solution to extend analytics across departments and organizations.
Editor’s note: Prices may vary over time and are only given as indicators at the time of writing.
How to choose your BI tool
Interesting fact: Both companies have dedicated pages that compare their products with each other:
Both tools have favorable reviews on Gartner, and the same overall rating of 4.3/5. It should be noted that Tableau has more than twice as many reviews.
Both use machine learning to identify trends and build robust models, but Tableau requires far less technical expertise and is recognized as a reference in the industry.
Both support a large range of devices, operating systems, and web and mobile platforms. Data and reports can be accessed from pretty much every device. The two companies have built strong communities and offer great support.
You’ll get a decent level of safety with both tools. Their services rely on trusted data sources and other critical aspects of enterprise security, but Qlik seems to have higher access control capabilities.
Questions to ask before purchasing Tableau or Qlik
Before jumping in and in addition to the points above, here are some of the questions you may ask and the answers for both products:
Do I really need a BI tool?
If you’re a business executive or a decision-maker and you struggle every day with too many reports and data you have to cross-check manually to extract key figures you write yourself in PowerPoint documents, both Qlik and Tableau can change your life.
These two BI tools offer many other advanced automations that bring value.
Is it easy to use?
Tableau is easier for beginners, as Qlik’s users have to write relatively advanced scripts to perform complex tasks such as clustering or predictions, while Tableau abstracts most of the complexity.
There’s a real effort to remove the pain for users who want to explore data and discover new insights on the fly. Qlik fits advanced workflows, though.
However, both tools have drag-and-drop functionalities for beginners.
How fast is the learning curve? Does it require lots of training?
There’s always a learning time, especially if it’s your first BI tool, but both products have detailed documentation and videos, and even in-person training that can help you.
How flexible is the tool?
Is it Mac- or Windows-friendly? How does it integrate into my existing workflow? Does it have third-party integrations? Is it extendable?
Yes to all, but Tableau seems more convenient on that point.
Are there any hidden costs?
While it’s hard to assess, BI tools can require significantly more RAM and CPU for the calculations if you handle high volumes of data and extra-large datasets. Vertical scaling can thus become an issue at some point.
How good are the visualizations?
Aesthetics and design can really make the difference when it comes to visualizations, as the idea is to highlight key figures and trends to make them easily understandable. Tableau can generate sophisticated visualizations.
More comparisons of BI solutions
Read these TechRepublic articles: Looker vs. Tableau, Power BI vs. Tableau, Power BI vs. Zoho Analytics, SAP BusinessObjects vs. Oracle BI, Tableau vs. Databox, Domo BI vs. Dundas BI, Zoho Analytics vs. Qlik Sense and top Power BI alternatives.