Power BI vs. Qlik Sense

Both Qlik Sense and Microsoft Power BI are business intelligence (BI) software solutions designed to help companies of all sizes navigate the mountains of data they have to provide them with actionable insights.

Power BI and Qlik Sense Logos

Without a quality BI platform, it’s likely that businesses would miss out on potential opportunities because they just wouldn’t have the ability to sift through all of that information. With business intelligence software, you can connect all of your data points together in one central location, create visualizations and easily share your findings throughout your organization. 

If you’re trying to choose between Microsoft Power BI and Qlik Sense, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’re going to examine both BI tools, compare their features and pricing, and make a concrete recommendation on which you should choose based on your business’s needs.

Product Overviews

Power BI

What Does Power BI Offer?

Microsoft’s entry into the BI world is a business intelligence tool on the enterprise level. It connects all of your data sources together into one centralized platform so they can be easily reviewed.

Chart Depicting Advantages and Disadvantages of Power BI

The Power BI service is a cloud-based analytic solution that gives you a complete overview of all your most critical data for actionable insights. 

Using Power BI, you’re able to easily share visualizations with colleagues. It also features customizable dashboards that allow you to create these visualizations with ease. 

The drag-and-drop interface of this platform makes for enhanced usability, so you don’t have to be a tech expert to get your money’s worth.

You also have the ability to embed Power BI dashboards into existing business applications that you’re already using. 

What is Power BI’s Target Market?

Power BI is mostly intended for businesses, schools, software companies and law enforcement agencies. 

Generally speaking, it’s great for a medium to large-sized company or an enterprise-level business. 

How Much Does Power BI Cost?

Microsoft Power BI is available using three different subscription tiers: 

  • The Desktop version is a free system for individual users.
  • The Pro Plan costs $10 per user, per month.
  • Power BI’s Premium level has two pricing tiers: per user and per capacity. The per-user plan costs $20 per user, per month while the per-capacity plan starts at $4,995 per month, per dedicated cloud computer and storage resource.

Click here to check out our comprehensive review on everything Power BI has to offer.

Qlik Sense

What Does Qlik Sense Offer?

Qlik Sense is a BI solution with a search bar function, similar to a search engine like Google or Bing, as its key feature.

Chart Depicting Advantages and Disadvantages of Qlik Sense

When using Qlik Sense, you type in keywords or phrases to find data sets, reports, graphs and more. 

Like Power BI, Qlik Sense also uses a drag-and-drop interface, which means that beginners will have no issue hitting the ground running. The interface also makes report generation nice and easy.  

Business users can share various viewpoints as they assign context to data. There are several storytelling options that can augment the initial analysis. 

What is Qlik Sense’s Target Market?

Qlik Sense has a very broad market. It was designed for all skill levels at organizations of all sizes.

Specifically, it’s used in IT, engineering support services, finance, HR and more. 

While many smaller companies use Qlik Sense, it’s also used by large companies such as Sony, Best Buy and 7-Eleven. 

How Much Does Qlik Sense Cost?

Qlik Sense has three pricing tiers. First, there’s the Standard tier that costs $20 per user, per month and requires at least 10 users minimum. It accommodates up to 50 GB of data per year and includes basic features, such as interactive dashboards, augmented analytics and a mobile app. Then, there’s the Premium tier that starts at $2,700 per month for 50 GB of data per year. It accommodates unlimited basic users and adds on other features like predictive analytics, enterprise-grade data governance and a no-code automation builder. Finally, there’s the Enterprise tier that includes enterprise performance and scalability, additional flexibility for data governance and personalized customer success plan and onboarding. Pricing for the Enterprise tier is only available by quote.

Click here to check out our comprehensive review on everything Qlik Sense has to offer.

Power BI vs Qlik Sense: 3 Essential Elements of BI Solutions

How do Power BI and Qlik Sense perform on the most important tasks for a BI solution? 

We’ve highlighted three of the most vital tasks in the BI playbook to draw a comparison between these two solutions. 

Data Discovery

Power BI on Data Discovery:

When using Power BI, data sets are connected into one centralized platform. That means you’ll spend less time on data capture and evaluation.

With Power BI’s scalable dashboard, you can correlate your data and generate reports.

Because this is a Microsoft product, you’re able to easily connect with various Microsoft systems, like the Azure database. That’s not to say that you’re limited to Microsoft systems. Power BI also connects with third-party databases. 

Qlik Sense on Data Discovery:

Qlik Sense has the ability to unify disparate data into one centralized platform.

There’s no hidden data. Everything is included. That’s because the system grays out irrelevant data instead of omitting it from reports. 

This gives you the ability to discover hidden trends that you might have otherwise missed. You’re also able to assign context to your data while sharing multiple viewpoints at once. 


Power BI on Visualization

When it comes to data visualization, the data sets for Power BI are easy to upload. 

This data-visualization tool offers a large selection of visualization types to choose from. The data you enter can be inserted from the conveniently located sidebar.

Power BI gives you the option of entering search-style queries with conversational language to create these visualizations. 

There is a 3,500 data-point limit for drilling into data sets for the purposes of analysis. 

Qlik Sense on Visualization

Qlik Sense isn’t your typical visualization tool. It’s more intended for self-service data discovery, but you can create your own applications and visualizations with this solution as well. 

The platform’s easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface makes it simple to create interactive visualizations. You’ll never be stuck with rigid, templated charts. You’re able to easily create visuals that tell a story.


Power BI on Automation

Power BI can duplicate workspaces automatically. 

When using this system, you’re also able to set up a schedule for data to be refreshed automatically. 

Power BI allows you to automate tasks and processes associated with Microsoft Azure. 

Qlik Sense on Automation

Qlik Sense features no automatic reporting. It offers its nPrinting reporting and distribution solution as an add-on, and that’s as close as Qlik Sense gets. 

The responsive design of this platform will automatically adjust itself based on the device you’re using or the size of your browser window. 

Power BI vs Qlik Sense: Which One is Right for Your Business?

Qlik Sense and Microsoft Logos

Small Businesses and Startups:

Small businesses should use Qlik Sense.

It’s the lower budget option, which is great, but it’s also a quality platform that allows you to create storytelling visualizations. 

Small businesses would get a lot out of the Qlik Sense Business edition, specifically. You’re going to have more than enough space and capabilities to do what needs to be done for a business of this size. 

However, if you’re a startup company, you should consider Power BI’s Desktop version. 

This option is free for individual users, which would be perfect for a sole-proprietor business. 

Medium-Sized Businesses:

If you’re a medium sized business, we recommend Power BI’s Pro Plan. 

It’s decently priced and offers a lot of automation options. It certainly has more automation than Qlik Sense. 

It also has a massive number of data sets to choose from. 

Enterprise-Level Businesses:

Qlik Sense Enterprise, as the name implies, is perfect for enterprise-level businesses. 

It has decent pricing for an enterprise-level service. On top of that, the drag-and-drop interface makes visualization capabilities easier than ever. Sharing is also a breeze, giving enterprise-level businesses the ability to generate reports and pass them around to all the people who need the data. 

If you’re looking for a complete rundown of business intelligence services or software to find the one that’s right for your business, check out our BI buyer’s guide.

Final Thoughts

Microsoft Power BI and Qlik Sense are powerful business intelligence solutions, but depending on the size of your business, one will be better for you than the other. 

If you’re looking for a large-scale tool with enhanced visualization capabilities and easy sharing, Qlik Sense is going to be a good choice. However, if you want something that can be more automated, you might want to consider Microsoft Power BI. 

It all boils down to the specific needs of an organization, which will be different for every business. By comparing the features, faults and pricing of these two powerful BI tools, you can make a more informed purchase decision that’ll benefit your organization on every level.


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