Straight Talk: Tableau Vs. Qlik; Pros and Cons

Straight Talk BI ReviewsWe know it’s hard to separate fact from fiction when you’re evaluating various business intelligence (BI) tools. After all, every BI vendor touts their product as the “best” solution, and the Internet is flooded with biased reviews. So we’re here to help. 5000fish is a service organization at heart, and we feel part of our job is educating the consumer not only about Yurbi, but also about other popular BI solutions, such as Tableau and QlikView.

If you’ve clicked through page after page of partial reviews and you’re tired of the hype, you’ve come to the right place. Read on as we give you valuable straight talk about how Tableau and QlikView compare and contrast.

  1. Product differentiators
    Both Tableau and Qlik have product differentiators that other BI vendors are envious of, and have tried to replicate. Tableau’s interactive data virtualization put them on the map. It’s superior to what traditional BI vendors offer and gives business users the power to drill down and interact with data like no other BI solution does. Qlik is credited with pioneering prebuilt dashboard applications and associative dashboards that are easy to interact with. And, thanks to Qlik’s robust associative dashboard and search capabilities, the user can pull data in-memory- without the need for a data warehouse.

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  1. Self-service features and ease of use
    Tableau offers a wealth of self-service features. Tableau’s intuitive, drag and drop platform allows the end user to create reports and dashboards and perform fairly complex data visualization without IT. The catch is, if the user wants to connect to a database, a developer skilled in SQL will have to create the SQL query to pull the dataset. So, although Tableau gives the business user a lot of autonomy from IT, they aren’t completely self-sufficient. Nevertheless, according to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant, more than 70 percent of Tableau’s customers selected the product based on its ease of use for the business user+.On the other hand, QlikView users can’t build dashboard applications at all without the assistance of IT. Once the dashboard applications are published, the end user can navigate inside them with ease- but the user must rely on a developer trained in Qlik’s proprietary SQL query language to build database queries first.
  1. Cost
    Based on available data, Tableau costs less upfront than QlikView. Not only does Tableau have a reputation as being less expensive to purchase, but it also requires less developer involvement to implement, maintain and use- making its total cost of ownership over its lifetime less than QlikView’s. That said, while Tableau is characteristically more affordable than Qlik and the big boys of BI like SAP BusinessObjects and SAS, the cost of a Tableau server license is still be out of reach for many SMBs.
  1. Customer support
    Both Tableau and Qlik have an extensive partner and consultant network, plus an impressive selection of online resource including videos, guides, forums and online training. Both BI vendors also have vast customer communities, although our experience is Tableau’s patrons are generally more enthusiastic than Qlik’s. Where Tableau and Qlik part ways is when it comes to satisfaction related to direct customer support. Gartner’s Magic Quadrant reveals Tableau’s customers rate it above average for customer experience, while Qlik scored slightly below the survey average in customer support+.We think Qlik may be experiencing some growing pains as a result of rapid expansion. Accelerated growth often means a large portion of a company’s support team is new and still getting to know product offerings- this could be the case with Qlik, and that may account for its less than stellar rating.
  1. Scalability
    You may have heard Tableau offers better scalability than QlikView, or that QlikView can scale faster than Tableau. The truth is, both vendors can handle a huge amount of data. In fact, the vast majority of organizations will never produce more data than either solution can handle.
  1. Security
    Both Tableau and QlikView have typical access level and object level security; neither has centralized data level security. With Tableau you can establish “row level” security at the data level, but it’s our feeling that the way Tableau implements row level security can leave your database vulnerable. In order to set up row level security in Tableau, the user must have a database user account. The increased number of database accounts mean increased opportunities for hackers.In QlikView, row level security isn’t available. Data-level security has to be built into each object and dashboard application. This increases change of management costs and increases security risks. You can restrict a specific user from not seeing data on a dashboard if they do not have permission, but you cannot configure “need to know” security without creating a dashboard for each user. The result is an “all or nothing” approach to data-level security.

Tableau Vs. QlikView: Our Bottom Line

If you want a BI tool that gives the end user powerful interactive data visualization, is backed by a first-class customer support team and is comparatively affordable, Tableau may be what you’re looking for. If you need robust associative dashboards and can afford the upstart costs as well as the total cost of ownership, QlikView could be a solid choice.

While both vendors do a good job with associate dashboards and data visualizations, other vendors are right on their tail. A drawback of both vendors is their lack of support for traditional BI production style reporting. Also, neither is a good fit in the OEM space because they have very stylized interfaces that make integration less than seamless.

Remember this: When it comes to BI, one size does not fit all. And, one BI tool can’t be everything to everyone. As you evaluate various BI products, keep in mind that the ideal solution (whether it be Tableau, QlikView or another product) is the one that meets your organization’s unique needs, including what outcomes you hope to achieve and your budget.

If this review of Tableau Vs. Qlik was helpful, we encourage you to explore more straight talk reviews.

Have you used Tableau or Qlik? Leave your comments and let’s generate a discussion about the pros and cons of Tableau and Qlik.

+ Gartner’s “Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms” February, 2014.

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