Democratizing Data Analysis

The ideal BI tool empowers every team member to participate in data analysis, breaking down technical barriers and fostering a culture of data-driven decision-making.

Real-time Collaboration and Sharing

Instantaneous collaboration and easy sharing capabilities ensure that insights and dashboards can evolve in real time, mirroring the pace of business today.

Flexibility and Customization

Businesses require tools that can be tailored to their unique processes and needs, offering flexibility in data manipulation and visualization customization.

Feature category
Criterion
Tableau
Sigma
Power BI
Looker
Capabilities that transform your business
Data Processing Speed
Quick handling of large datasets
Optimized for fast processing with Hyper extracts
Direct query execution on cloud databases
Fast processing using VertiPaq
Utilizes database performance; SQL-based
Scalability
Ability to grow with data needs
Performance quickly slows with large data volumes
Native cloud scalability with automatic adjustments
Scalable with Azure cloud services
Scales with the underlying database's capabilities
Real-time Data Handling
Capability for real-time analysis
Can perform on live data but extracts preferred
Live connections to cloud data sources
Direct query possible but not preferred
Live data connections, depends on database
Cloud-Native Integration
Ease of integration with cloud services
Not cloud native. Tableau Cloud runs on AWS only.
Built as a cloud-native service; extensive cloud integrations
Not cloud native. Runs on Azure.
Not cloud native runs on Google Cloud Platform.
Cloud Performance Optimization
Optimizations for cloud performance
Limited performance tuning available for cloud and on premise environments
Intelligence query engine that optimizes queries for data at scale
Optimized for Azure's cloud infrastructure
Leverages cloud databases for optimized performance
Cloud Security Standards
Adherence to cloud security protocols
Meets standard cloud security protocols
Built-in with cloud-native security measures
Adheres to Microsoft's cloud security standards
Complies with cloud security best practices
Features that make it secure
User-specific access
Tailored data access for each user
User-specific views with data source filters
Tailored data access using user attributes and permissions
User-specific access with security roles
User-specific data access through user attributes
Access Controls
Granularity of access controls at column/row level
Support row-level security through user filters. Role based access to projects
Offers column and row-level security based on user permissions and granular role-based access across platform
Supports row-level security with roles. Detailed role-based access.
Row-level security using access filter in LookML
Dynamic Data Masking
Dynamically mask sensitive data
Can implement data masking through calculated fields
Supports dynamic data masking based on user permissions
Dynamic data masking with DAX expressions
Data masking through Looker expressions
Data Encryption
In-transit and at-rest encryption
Supports TLS for in-transit and at-rest encryption
AES 256-bit encryption for data at rest and TLS for in transit
In-transit and at-rest encryption using Microsoft's standards
In-transit (TLS) and at-rest encryption supported
Compliance and Certifications
Industry compliance standards
SOC 2, GDPR, and more
Meets major compliance standards like SOC 2 and GDPR
Compliant with a wide range of standards, including SOC, GDPR, and ISO
Compliance with SOC 2, GDPR, and others
Ease of Use
Interface Usability
User-friendly interface
Drag-and-drop interface
Spreadsheet-like UI for easy data manipulation
Familiar Microsoft Office UI
Web-based interface, requires SQL for advanced use
Formula Language
Spreadsheet-like formula language
Uses Tableau’s VizQL calculation language
Familiar spreadsheet-like formulas and functions
Uses DAX for formulas and calculations
LookML for data modeling, not spreadsheet-like
Cell-based calculations
Perform calculations at cell level
Limited, focuses on aggregate calculations
Cell-based calculations similar to spreadsheets
Cell-based calculations with DAX
Limited, focuses on aggregate and SQL-based calculations
Spreadsheet-Like Interface
Spreadsheet interface for data manipulation
Limited, more visualization focused
Intuitive, spreadsheet-like interface for data analysis
Limited, more dashboard focused
No spreadsheet like interface, more SQL focused
Self-Service Capabilities
Self-service analysis without IT help
Strong self-service capabilities with visual data exploration
Designed for business users with self-service analytics
Self-service analytics with Power Query and DAX
Self-service capabilities with LookML knowledge
Collaboration
Collaborative Editing
Multi-user editing
Limited, requires extensions or third party tools
Real-time collaborative editing in shared workbooks
Collaborative editing with Power Apps
Web-based editing, but with sequential access
Commenting and Annotation
Tools for collaborative review
Comments and annotations on dashboards
Dashboard commenting and annotation features
Comments on reports and dashboards
Commenting features within dashboards
Version Control and History
Support for version control
No native versioning functionality, requires Tableau Server/Online for version history and rollback
Version history and rollback capabilities
No built-in version control, requires third party integration
Version control with Git integration
Time-Saving Features
Data Preparation Tools
Tools for data cleaning and preparation
Separate product, Tableau Prep, for cleaning and preparing data
Built-in data preparation tools with a visual interface
Power Query for data manipulation
SQL for data preparation, LookML for modeling
Data Input
Ability to input data directly
No direct native writeback, relies on external tools
Native writeback support for collaborative data entry and updates
No direct native writeback, relies on external tools
No direct native writeback, relies on external tools
Real-time updates
Update data in real time
Live connection required for real-time updates. Web connectors are needed
Real-time updates with cloud data sources
Real-time updates with streaming datasets
Live queries based on database capabilities
Automated Insights
Automatic insight generation
Add-on required for automated insights
Alerting and insight generation with AI copilot
AI insights through Power BI and Azure AI
Looker's LookML can automate insights generation
Template Availability
Availability of templates for reports and dashboards
Wide range of customizable templates available
Cross-organization workbook sharing and Sigma’s template library available
Extensive library of templates, both custom and prebuilt
Pre-built and customizable LookML templates
Cost-Saving Potential
Licensing Flexibility
Flexible licensing options
Role-based licensing with Creator, Explorer, and Viewer roles
Transparent, scalable licensing based on usage. No additional cost for viewers.
Flexible licensing with per-user and capacity-based options
Customizable pricing based on usage and roles
Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
Overall cost including setup and maintenance
Can be high due to licensing and infrastructure costs
Competitive, with cost savings from cloud efficiency
Hidden expenses drive up cost. Increased storage costs with sources outside Microsoft. Increased storage costs with sources outside Microsoft
Depends on usage and cloud infrastructure costs
Cloud Resource Efficiency
Efficient use of cloud resources
Not optimized for cloud efficiency
High efficiency in cloud data warehousing
Optimized for Azure, cost savings with cloud integration
Efficiency depends on cloud database optimization
Customer Experience
Support Accessibility
Ease of access to support
Pay for support. Long wait times even with paid support. Leverages forums and community.
Average response time 23 seconds. Forums and community.
Wide-ranging support through Microsoft channels and community forums
No customer support team. Long ticket times.
Support Responsiveness
Timeliness of support response
Only responsive if customers pay for Premium Support
Known for quick and effective support responses
Responsive with prioritization for critical issues
Not responsive
Learning Resources
Availability and quality of learning materials
Extensive resources, including Tableau Public and online tutorials and training programs
Comprehensive documentation, tutorials, and user community
Rich array of learning materials, including Microsoft Learn and documentation
Extensive documentation, Looker University, and community forums

FAQS about Tableau Alternatives

Why does Tableau sometimes perform slowly with large datasets?

Tableau's performance with large datasets can be affected by factors such as the complexity of the visualizations, the data source connection type, and the underlying hardware resources. 

A complicating factor is that Tableau is not cloud-native—meaning it wasn’t originally designed to scale to the data that teams demand today.

Other BI tools are designed as cloud-native solutions—optimizing their performance by leveraging cloud data warehouses' scalability and computational power. This approach significantly improves handling large datasets, ensuring faster query execution and smoother user experiences.

Why is Tableau considered expensive compared to other BI tools?

Tableau's pricing can be perceived as expensive due to its licensing model, which may require separate licenses for creators, viewers, and server access. In contrast, other BI tools offer competitive pricing with transparent, scalable options to save costs, especially for organizations looking to scale their BI initiatives without incurring prohibitive expenses.

Can Tableau handle real-time data analytics effectively?

While Tableau offers near real-time data analytics capabilities through live data connections, the effectiveness can vary depending on the computational power of the data source and network latency. 

Some alternatives focus on providing seamless integration with cloud data sources, enabling more efficient real-time analytics by directly querying the data where it resides, which minimizes delays and ensures up-to-date insights.

What are the challenges in integrating Tableau with other business systems and databases?

Integrating Tableau with other business systems and databases can sometimes be challenging due to compatibility issues, the need for custom connectors, or complexities in data modeling.

Other BI tools prioritize ease of integration, offering pre-built connectors and intuitive interfaces that simplify connecting to a wide range of data sources, ensuring a smoother integration experience.

How well does Tableau scale with an organization's growing data and user base?

Tableau can scale with an organization's growth, but this may require additional infrastructure investments and careful management of server resources. License management becomes untenable as an organization scales.

Cloud-native BI tools inherently offer better scalability, as they can automatically adjust to accommodate increasing data volumes and user demand without significant infrastructure changes, providing a more agile and cost-effective solution for scaling.

How effective is Tableau's customer support for resolving technical issues?

For Tableau users, getting help for technical issues can take a while—with some tickets taking over three months to get a response. Upgrading to Premium Support often becomes necessary for quicker assistance, a factor worth considering when budgeting and planning for your organization's needs.

This focus on customer experience ensures that users receive timely and practical support for their technical issues, enhancing overall satisfaction and productivity.

Conclusion

Choosing the right BI tool is key—it should grow with your company, adapt to new data, and help your team make smart decisions. Sigma is a cloud-based BI tool that makes analyzing data easy and powerful. Its simple layout, similar to a spreadsheet, lets anyone in your team use data, no matter their tech skills. Sigma also lets your team work together in real-time, sharing ideas and insights easily, which can really help your business move forward. As you deal with more data, Sigma's cloud setup means you won't hit performance snags or get hit with unexpected costs.

Switching to a new BI tool might seem tough, but Sigma supports you all the way, making sure you have a smooth transition and keep succeeding with your data work.

Don't Believe Us?

Experience the power of Sigma firsthand with our free trial. Dive into the future of data analysis and see why businesses are making the switch. Contact us today to learn more, schedule a demo with our team, and discover how Sigma can tailor its capabilities to your unique data storytelling needs.

Additional Resources
Top Tableau Alternatives for 2024
Why we went from Tableau to Sigma: A panel discussion
What sets Sigma apart from Tableau
Sigma vs. Tableau

We are Sigma.

Sigma is a cloud-native analytics platform that uses a familiar spreadsheet interface to give business users instant access to explore and get insights from their cloud data warehouse. It requires no code or special training to explore billions of rows, augment with new data, or perform “what if” analysis on all data in real⁠-⁠time.

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