QlikView and Tableau are two competing software companies specializing in business intelligence solutions. Both companies:
- Have tons of support and backing, as well as active user communities.
- Emphasize data visualization and analytics.
- Have the capability to integrate data from a long list of data sources.
- Push that their respective products are easy to use and simplistic.
- Are large, publicly traded companies.
- Have a long list of big-name clients.
Before we dive into which software may be best suited for you and your company, let’s take a closer look at what each has to offer.
QlikView Vs. Tableau
Qlik––the creator of QlikView software––was founded in 1993, making it one of the first large business intelligence and data visualization software companies on the market. Qlik.com lists that the company serves 34,000 customers worldwide in over 100 countries.
Some argue that QlikView is more of an all-encompassing dashboard application, while Tableau is more focused on visualization and analytics. QlikView focuses on a variety of business intelligence tools, like QlikView Expressor (a quick and smart metadata intelligence solution) and NPrinting (an application for report generation, scheduling, and distribution). These tools have helped brand QlikView as a powerful reporting solution.
We had the chance to connect with Zsombor Zsuffa, the Senior Technology Consultant and Business Intelligence Architect at MultiBase, who uses QlikView regularly. He notes that the software has a clean interface, is easy to understand, and integrates easily with Excel. According to Zsuffa, QlikView aids in productivity by allowing users to create ad hoc analysis of large data sets and bookmark their filter selections to return to them later.
Because of its many facets, QlikView is a good solution for enterprise-level companies who can utilize different features across different departments. Other positive features include good third-party integration, advanced data filtering options, and data manipulation.
A common complaint with QlikView is that it can be difficult to learn and operate when you first get started because of its many facets and intricacies. Additionally, the back end isn’t quite as user-friendly and intuitive as the front end and does occasionally require IT assistance for some data management and mapping.
Zsuffa explains that tracing any errors when the data load crashes is complicated. He adds that creating visually appealing, printable reports can be difficult, and that Qlikview is demanding in regard to hardware, which can be very costly.
Tableau was founded in 2003, 10 years after Qlik began. Tableau saw a weakness in QlikView’s data visualization and analytics and quickly capitalized on it. Tableau has over 23,000 customer accounts worldwide and continues to grow.
Tableau has a nice user interface and a clean dashboard, which—after you’ve mastered the learning curve—makes for a good user experience. The simple data drag-and-drop visualization system is the highlight of this software, and many users claim it as the best data visualization tool on the market. These advanced visualization tools allow you to see dots on a map or interesting graphs instead of basic tables. These tools are primarily used in mapping and viewing current trends.
We talked with Henry O’Loughlin, who used Tableau regularly when he acted as the Marketing Manager for Take Lessons. He notes that Tableau can visualize one data set or blend multiple data sets together. It can pull this data from a back end system automatically, which saves the user time and effort. The software can also automatically calculate conversion rates and other things you’d manually do in Excel or other reporting systems.
In order to pull the data you need out of your system, you’ll have to Extract, Transform and Load (ETL). This process takes time or puts you in line behind coworkers who have requested other reports to be built. Also, you can still integrate with many data sources, but the list is shorter than that of QlikView.
At the beginning of March 2015, Tableau announced that they will be releasing Tableau 9 in the next 60 days. It includes improved maps, a data interpreter, and more. You can read about the details in this ItWire article.
Other Considerations For QlikView & Tableau
QlikView and Tableau both allow you to try their product for free during a trial. If you find one you like and decide to pull the trigger, expect to pay the big bucks.
A private license on Tableau ranges from $999 to $1,999 per user, and gets more expensive depending on server and data access. You can use a free desktop version, but keep in mind that the data you use will be made public.
Each private user on QlikView is $1,350 and concurrent users are $15,000. A server license is $35,000. Other services are available at an additional cost.
Management & Upkeep:
Many users of QlikView and Tableau alike express how difficult the learning curve for these products is. In order to better acclimate your employees, it may be worthwhile to hire a dedicated IT employee to manage whichever of these reporting and strategy software systems you choose. This can help with backend, server, uptime, and the employee learning curve, but it will certainly be an extra expense.
Which Software Is Best Suited For My Needs?
So you’ve combed through the benefits and examined the negatives; when you look at QlikView vs. Tableau, who comes out on top? You can see that both software systems have plenty of positives and a few negatives. If you still aren’t sure which software is better suited for the needs of you and your company, this may help you form a conclusion.
Look at Tableau if you’re:
- Enticed by really easy, user friendly drag-and-drop visualization formats.
- Searching for a scalable software solution to use within your organization.
- In need of software that provides excellent data visualization.
Look at QlikView if you’re:
- Part of a large organization that can use its many tools in different departments.
- Looking for a variety of business intelligence tools––OEM versions, for example––other than visualization.
- Dealing huge sets of data and need powerful, multifaceted software.
If you still aren’t certain if these software companies can meet and exceed your reporting needs, check out the following resources:
- Software Advice has a short, succinct rundown on both QlikView and Tableau.
- Experfy Insights has created a lengthy, in-depth comparison of QlikView vs Tableau.
- TrustRadius has analyzed and reviewed QlikView and Tableau features, usability, value, and more.