You may have heard that Tableau is one of the best visualization software systems on the market. However, while it is indeed a powerful tool that many businesses find useful, it’s not perfect for everyone. It’s expensive, and out of the range of small organizations—especially if their IT budgets are already tight. It also takes a big chunk out of the budget of large-scale organizations, which may be better spent on other tools and resources.

Tableau isn’t the only visualization tool out there. There is other visualization software like Tableau that is not only more cost-effective, but also provides compelling visuals and detailed data analysis. There’s no need to sacrifice the quality of your visuals when you opt for one of these seven alternatives to Tableau.

What to Look for in a Tableau Alternative 

There’s no doubt that Tableau is a robust visualization tool. Tableau software is powerful because:

  • The standard visuals are beautiful and detailed; 
  • You can drag-and-drop to create visuals in moments; 
  • Data is filtered and normalized;
  • Users can share visuals, dashboards, and reports;
  • It supports desktop and mobile applications;
  • You can generate data notifications and comment on dashboards; 
  • The software imports and visualizes large sets of data from multiple sources; 
  • Dashboards are intelligent and interactive;
  • User authorizations and permissions improve data security; and more.

However, other visualization tools like Tableau have many of these same features–some even have all of them. Before you invest in a Tableau license, ask yourself the following questions:

Can I get the features and support I need from another software vendor?

It’s important to think about the tools you’ll actually use when you purchase a software license. Don’t get distracted by extra bells and whistles or you’ll end up paying for features that ultimately go to waste.

For example, Tableau can process very large amounts of data, but if your organization only needs to handle small data sets at a time, then this feature isn’t really essential. Make a list of all of the features your organization truly needs and eliminate any software that can’t perform those tasks.

Is Tableau more expensive than my other options?

The cost of a Tableau license depends on the plan you choose.

  • Tableau Viewer plans cost $12 per user per month and only allow you to view and interact with visuals. 
  • Tableau Explorer plans cost $35 per user per month and allow you to view visuals as well as edit and publish new workbooks and manage user profiles. 
  • Tableau Creator plans cost $70 per user per month and include all of the software’s features. You have control over every aspect of the visual creation and sharing process.

These are only the on-premise or public cloud plans. If you want your content to be fully-hosted by Tableau and accessible online, some of the plans cost slightly more:

  • Tableau Viewer costs $15 per user per month. 
  • Tableau Explorer costs $42 per user per month. 
  • Tableau Creator costs $70 per user per month.

To estimate how much a Tableau license will cost, tally up how many users you will have under each plan. It’s important to note that all of these plans require your organization to have at least one Tableau Creator account, so you should factor this into your budget.

Compare this number to offers from other vendors of visualization software like Tableau. You may find that it is cheaper to go with a Tableau alternative, particularly if you have a large staff or if multiple users need to access the visuals.

With these criteria in mind, take a look at the seven most popular Tableau alternatives below and consider whether they’re a better choice for your organization.

Other Visualization Software Like Tableau 

If you’re looking for visualization software like Tableau, you’ll find many options. However, there are seven systems that are particularly powerful and quite similar to Tableau in terms of what they can do for your organization. They are:

  • Microsoft Power BI: At a lower cost, Power BI allows you to create equally beautiful visuals and interactive dashboards. It is also more customizable than Tableau.
  • Qlik View: If your team already has a data science background, this software enables you to compile data, upload it into an interactive dashboard, and model trends. However, it’s too complex for beginners.
  • Oracle BI: Supports in-memory processing and multiple data sources. You can also choose between on-premise or cloud-based systems. Its main drawback is that its visualizations are not as detailed or customizable as the other options on this list.
  • Sisense: A user-friendly software that recommends visualizations based on the data presented and the organization’s needs. However, it’s not as scalable as some of the other options on this list and users don’t have full control over the security of their data.
  • SAS Business Intelligence and Analytics: From the dashboard view, users can embed charts, images, or video and collaborate on their colleagues’ projects. That said, the visuals are not as visually-appealing or robust as those offered in Power BI or Tableau.
  • IBM Cognos: A self-service business intelligence software that allows you to create reports. The system is very customizable and interactive. It’s primarily used for businesses to track inventory and make decisions in real time. The downside is that there is a steep learning curve.
  • Custom interactive dashboards: Hiring an IT services firm to build a custom visualization dashboard from scratch is another alternative to Tableau. The cost is often on par with purchasing a software license. You also won’t have to train your staff on how to use the system because the firm will handle all of the details for you. Additionally, you’ll get access to every feature you need and won’t pay for features you’ll never use.

You’re by no means limited to these seven choices. These are simply some of the most popular and best-supported software systems on the market today. The software you choose ultimately depends on your organization’s infrastructure, visualization requirements, and budget.

Choosing the Best Software for Your Business 

If you’re unsure whether you should purchase a Tableau license or opt for alternative visualization software, consider the size of your organization. Generally, Tableau is best for organizations that have a small staff and need to generate basic visuals quickly.

If you have a larger staff, a limited IT budget, or require more detailed data analysis, then Tableau is likely not the best choice for your organization. The software doesn’t scale up very well; it could cost your organization many thousands of dollars per year to invest in multiple Explorer and Viewer licenses.

Additionally, Tableau’s visuals are not as customizable as ones offered from other vendors, like an IT services firm or Power BI. This is a problem if you need to analyze a great deal of data or perform exploratory data analysis to decide on your next business strategy.

If you want a scalable system that enables you to generate stunning visuals, you should hire an IT services firm to build a custom platform for your organization. Unlike Tableau, which charges per user, a custom platform can be accessed by all of your team members at any time. The price is also adjusted based on the features you want. For a predictable monthly fee, you’ll have access to all of your data and visuals. You’ll also get a custom interactive dashboard that makes it easy for your staff to generate new visuals, no matter how much previous experience they have with data or reports.

So, while Tableau is an excellent tool for very small teams to generate visualizations fast, it’s not necessarily the best tool for every business or situation. By weighing all of your options and getting quotes from multiple vendors, you’ll make a more informed decision.

To get a free custom visualization quote, contact Tek Leaders. We take into account your organization’s specific needs to offer competitive pricing on custom dashboard systems. Our team will take a close look at your staff’s workflows and the type of data analysis you wish to perform in order to create a system that blends seamlessly into your enterprise. If you have more questions about our pricing structure and visualization services,  you can reach us by email directly. 

    Author: Devender (Dev) Aerrabolu

    Devender (Dev) Reddy Aerrabolu is the CEO of Tek Leaders. His goal is to help SMBs bring value from their data. Dev helped Tek Leaders grow from scratch into a $25 million enterprise by focusing on clients’ data needs.