Tableau is a business intelligence (BI) solution with three products. Each product is priced differently.
Additional vendors resemble Tableau products as well and have their own unique pricing packages.
How is Tableau Priced?
Here are details on Tableau’s three solution products and the associated costs for each:
Tableau Desktop: This package applies to any individual user. There are two options depending on the type of user. Personal is for an individual developer, and professional is for an enterprise business user. All support and services are included in the price.
- Personal: $999 /user/year, connects with up to 6 data sources.
- Professional: $1,999 /user/year, connects with up to 44 data sources.
Pros: The solution is highly adaptable and can connect with many data sources. No matter the data project, Tableau serves to visualize it.
Cons: Desktop is required to author content. Without it, Online and Server can’t be used to distribute. Tableau doesn’t build the price of Desktop into the other products.
Tableau Online: Tableau Online is an entirely cloud-based platform that’s hosted by the vendor so you don’t need to buy a server to host it yourself. This means you don’t need on-premise IT staff to maintain the server, and support and updates are included in the price. Tableau also provides a free alternative through Tableau Public, which is a community server where all published information is made public.
- Public: Free
- Online: $500 /user/year
Pros: The solution is easily accessible in the cloud for users to share reports quickly from anywhere. Online is a private version of Public.
Cons: The business must rely on Tableau to maintain servers and provide continual support for any issues.
Tableau Server: For businesses that have existing servers and a dedicated IT team, this product gives them full control over the business intelligence solution. Server has advantages for enterprise companies that must share and collaborate with governed data. There’s an additional cost for support proportional to the total cost of the server.
- Server: $10,000 for 10 users, then an additional 25% of the total cost per year for support
Pros: The solution offers governed control for an IT department to take charge of responsibilities.
Cons: There’s more in-house pressure to manage ongoing tasks and data security concerns.
One very important consideration is that a Desktop version is required to author any reports or dashboards. If Online or Server is purchased, each user who will be manipulating data must have Desktop Professional installed.
Here’s a full pricing table:
How Can I Bring These Costs Down?
Tableau is regarded as a “gold standard” BI solution, but one of the most common complaints is that the costs are high. If cost is your main pain point, reconsider how many users you need.
Have additional users who won’t be manipulating data install the free Tableau Reader. This way, you only need minimal users to create reports and can still allow others to view them easily through Tableau. Be sure that:
- All employees have an up-to-date version of Tableau Reader
- The reports aren’t circulated beyond the intended audience
What Are the Alternatives?
Business intelligence software is a diverse market with many solutions.
Here, we’ve highlighted the best options depending on the business’s needs:
For Small Business or Individuals
- Community: Free, can create one private chart
- Professional: $19 user/month with no chart restrictions
- On-Premise: $9,950 /year for five users or less with no chart restrictions
Pros: Plot.ly is inexpensive and easy to use for building charts, reports and dashboards.
Cons: The solution is not suited for data teams larger than five users.
For Enterprise Business
There are also common alternatives for enterprise businesses. Here are the top three most popular compared to Tableau, along with a product description:
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. Ad hoc reporting is simple, and the solution also allows users to manipulate data on the back-end. This platform can either be hosted onsite or in the cloud.
- Desktop: $600 /user/year
- Web: $600 /user/year or $300,000 per CPU core
- Server: $1,200 /user/year or $600,000 per CPU core
Pros: The solution has big data and Hadoop functionality for manipulating data as well as enterprise-grade security.
Cons: There’s a steep learning curve, and users have noted enabling continual reports can be difficult.
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 of your data sources, Power BI simplifies data evaluation and sharing with scalable dashboards, interactive reports, embedded visuals and more.
- Basic: Free, starting at 1GB/user and access to 10k rows/hour
- Pro: $9.99/user/month at 10GB/user and 1 million rows/hour
Pros: Power BI has a familiar and easy-to-use interface similar to Excel with the ability to create and import simple visuals.
Cons: The solution doesn’t handle large data sets efficiently and users may have trouble scrubbing data. It’s also a relatively new product without many instructional guides.
QlikView: QlikView distinguishes itself from other BI tools through its unique inference engine, which maintains data associations automatically. Most traditional BI tools rely on query-based tools that divorce data from its context. For end users seeking actionable, in-depth insights from their data to use to make business decisions, query-based tools don’t provide enough information. Self-service options aren’t as available as they are with other BI solutions so that QlikView is regarded as a data expert’s tool.
- Personal: Free and unlimited.
- Enterprise: Prices are not released and based on custom needs.
- QlikSense Cloud:
- Free up to 5 users, with max application size of 25 MB and max memory of 250 MB
- $20 /user/month, with max application size of 50MB and max memory of 10GB
Pros: QlickView has Google-like search protocol for finding data and the ability to combine data sources.
Cons: Self-service is difficult for non-expert users, and there are some filtering issues at the end user and developer levels.
If you’re new to business intelligence and need a place to start, check out The Definitive Guide to Business Intelligence. It features over 50 experts and offers an impartial overview of all the need-to-know details of buying this software.
You can also download our BI Comparison Guide where we’ve broken down all the core features and shortcomings in an easily comparable spreadsheet for all of the top BI solutions.