Tableau Pricing: Features, Costs and Top BI Alternatives

Tableau is a business intelligence solution that provides users drag-and-drop functionality for preparing data, creating dashboards and visualizations, and sharing insights with other users. It has three main products: Desktop, Server and Online. Tableau has recently debuted Tableau Prep, a new platform that allows analysts to clean and prepare data more efficiently.

We’ve reviewed Tableau in the past, but this post will focus on its pricing tiers, as well as the prices of its top BI alternatives.

How Much is Tableau?

Tableau’s pricing is available in three subscription options: Tableau Creator ($70/user/month), Tableau Explorer ($35/user/month), and Tableau Viewer ($12/user/month). Each account includes maintenance, product upgrades, and support in one cost, so there are no surprise fees.

  • Tableau Creator – Tableau Creator is designed for individual analysts and power users, and costs $70 per user, per month (billed annually). It includes access to Tableau Desktop and Tableau Prep, as well as one Creator license for either Tableau Server or Tableau Online. Note that the Creator price is the same, regardless if Tableau is deployed in the cloud or on-premise.
  • Tableau Explorer – Tableau Explorer is designed for users that want to explore governed self-service analytics. For example, users can explore available data to answer their own questions, rather than having an analyst do this for them. It costs $35 per user, per month (billed annually) if deployed on-premise and includes one license to Tableau Server. If deployed in the cloud, this plan costs $42 per user per month (billed annually) and includes one license to Tableau Online.
  • Tableau Viewer – Tableau Viewer is designed for users that just want to access – but not have to create – dashboards and visualizations. When deployed on-premise, it costs $12 per user, per month (billed annually) and includes one viewer license to Tableau Server. When deployed in the cloud, it costs $15 per user, per month (billed annually) and includes one viewer license to Tableau Online. Note that Tableau requires a minimum of 100 viewers for this tier.

There’s also an add-on data management feature to Tableau Server that costs $5.50 per user per month (billed annually). It requires a minimum of 100 users for all Creators, Explorers and Viewers on a Server deployment.

Finally, Tableau offers an Embedded Analytics platform for companies that want to share analytics with their clients but don’t have the resources to build them. Pricing is not publicly available, so you’ll want to contact Tableau directly for a quote.

Top Alternatives to Tableau

While Tableau is a major player, it’s one of the many BI solutions available in the market. For companies that want to compare prices between Tableau and another solution, we’ve come up with three alternatives.

MicroStrategy: The MicroStrategy Analytics Platform puts business intelligence in the hands of any user, so the user doesn’t need to rely on IT to provide analyses and reports through a drag and drop workflow. MicroStrategy offers five deployment methods, which are:

  • Desktop: $600/user/year
  • Web: $600/user/year or $300,000 per CPU core
  • Mobile:  $600/user/year or $300,000 per CPU core
  • Server: $1,200/user/year or $600,000 per CPU core
  • Architect: $5,000/user/year

Power BI: Microsoft Power BI is a cloud-based business intelligence and analytics service that provides a full overview of your most critical data. Connecting to all your data sources, Power BI simplifies data evaluation and sharing with scalable dashboards, interactive reports, embedded visuals and more.

Power BI comes in three levels – Desktop, Pro, and Premium. The Desktop level is free for individual users, while the Pro plan costs $9.99 per user per month. The Premium plan is built on a capacity pricing, charging per node per month. Power BI offers a premium version cost calculator for custom quote ranges based on the number of pro, frequent and occasional users who will be active on an account’s premium version of the software.

QlikView and Qlik Sense: QlikView and Qlik Sense are built on the Qlik Associative Engine, a unique inference engine that maintains data associations automatically. QlikView is primarily a guided analytics solution, while Qlik Sense is a self-service data discovery tool.

QlikView has two versions: Personal, which is free for unlimited use, and Enterprise. The Enterprise version is based on custom needs, so pricing is not publicly available. Please contact Qlik directly for a quote.

Qlik Sense has four editions available:

  • Desktop – Desktop is a free downloadable solution with unlimited access to data sources and Qlik features.
  • Enterprise – Enterprise has the same unlimited access as Desktop; however, it’s based on custom needs, so pricing is not publicly available. Please contact Qlik directly for a quote.
  • Cloud Basic – Cloud Basic is a free Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering that can be shared with up to five users.
  • Cloud Business – An extended version of Cloud Basic, Cloud Business can be shared with an unlimited number of users ($15/user per month).


Tableau’s new pricing strategy can be a great fit for companies that want their own employees to access data themselves but not have to do any of the prep work involved that falls to a data analyst. This is where the Tableau Viewer subscription falls in. However, this subscription requires at least 100 subscribed users, so for a company with less than 100 employees, the Creator or Explorer plan is the better option.

Even with the new pricing tiers, Tableau may be too expensive for small businesses. Therefore, the free plans that Power BI, QlikView and Qlik Sense offer may be the sensible choice.

These four solutions aren’t your only options in the BI marketplace. Check out our business intelligence reviews page, where we’ve reviewed more than 50 BI solutions for companies of all sizes.

If you’re just getting started with BI tools, take a look at our Definitive Guide to Business Intelligence. It offers a complete overview of use cases, common challenges to avoid, and future trends to anticipate in the market.

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