Tableau vs Spotfire: Price and Feature Comparison

Tableau and Spotfire are two giants in the self-service business intelligence (BI) market. They allow users of varying skill levels to visually analyze data with dashboards, charts and reports. While both reduce dependence on IT through greater BI accessibility, the two solutions aren’t interchangeable.

BetterBuys BI Review: Tableau vs Spotfire

Here, we’ll compare both products to highlight these differences and take a look at what should be considered for a buying decision.

Compare Tableau vs Spotfire: Download our BI Vendor Comparison Guide with side-by-side comparisons of more than 50 popular BI tools. Download Now

Comparing Products

The following are excerpts from our Tableau and Spotfire reviews that summarize each solution:

Tableau – With intuitive BI tools, Tableau enhances data discovery and understanding for all types of users.Its drag-and-drop features make it easy to analyze and access key data, share critical information across the enterprise and create innovative visualizations.Its drag-and-drop features make it easy to analyze and access key data, share critical information across the enterprise and create innovative visualizations.

Its drag-and-drop features make it easy to analyze and access key data, share critical information across the enterprise and create innovative visualizations. In addition, Tableau users are able to create and embed dashboards into their current applications, such as Jive, SharePoint and Salesforce, for quick analytics where they need them most.

Spotfire – Organizations that need self-service discovery and quick answers to critical questions may want to evaluate TIBCO Spotfire.

It allows anyone, from non-IT gurus to data-mining enthusiasts, to conduct simple (and even advanced) analyses in real time, without requiring technical support from IT.

Plus, Spotfire users can drill down to explore the reasoning behind important business decisions – and can even identify trends or patterns within the data that highlight hidden issues or opportunities.

How They Stack Up

Data analytics

Each offering has its own unique approach to data analytics.

Tableau: With Tableau, users can manipulate and visualize large data sets. It connects with over 40 data sources, ranging from Microsoft Excel to Hadoop clusters, allowing users to generate a variety of reports. Several users have mentioned Tableau doesn’t have many statistical features, meaning it won’t do Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) models, decision trees or other complicated calculations by itself. However, it’s able to visualize trends by repeating patterns in data sets.

Spotfire: Spotfire has built-in competences for statistical analysis and modeling, accessible directly from its dashboard. Users can perform MATLAB, SAS, R or S+ functions directly from the user interface, allowing them to base predictions on their calculations. Spotfire connects with over 25 data sources, and the solution also allows users to work with data sets in different formats.

Bottom Line: Both Tableau and Spotfire connect to various external data sources, albeit Tableau connects to more. But Spotfire enables users to integrate data sets that have different formats while forming a connection with outside data sources, something Tableau can’t do.


Tableau and Spotfire are known for their robust visualization capabilities. Both come with interactive dashboards that allow for quick visualization and understanding of structured data sets. But when you consider the drill-down features, the tools scale differently.

Tableau: This solution has successfully met the demand for easy data visualization. Tableau can import and visualize large sets of data with several customizable options, allowing business users to make queries and drill down into insights. The simple navigation allows users to easily explore data, even if they don’t specialize in data analytics.

Spotfire: Spotfire comes with the same general visualization capabilities as Tableau, but it has fewer customization options. Users can create reports, explore data and create dashboards, but visualizations are less sophisticated in Spotfire than in Tableau.

Bottom Line: Tableau has excellent visualizations for reports, graphs and dashboards. Spotfire also offers good quality visuals compared to most BI solutions. One should note, both Tableau and Spotfire can visually interpret outliers in a data set. Most BI visualization tools can interpret trends, but lack the capability to spot outliers, which can cause inaccurate forecasts.

Customer Support

You want to ensure that when you face an issue with Tableau or Spotfire, you can rely on helpful and responsive customer support. Here’s how each vendor handles customer service.

Tableau: Tableau offers four levels of customer support: complimentary, technical support, the Elite program and the OEM program. Non-critical problems like software defects, configuration-related questions, access to minor and major releases, and installation assistance are covered under complimentary support. Technical support handles critical issues and automatically comes with a one-year license purchase. The Elite program includes a technical account manager to make sure support cases are prioritized. The OEM program assigns a Partner Support Engineer to customers who’ve integrated Tableau into their existing software suites.

Spotfire: For technical support, Spotfire users can visit the TIBCO Support Central portal to submit requests and access a knowledge base of troubleshooting guides.  They can also register on the Spotfire Community forum to connect with other Spotfire users. In addition, TIBCO offers its self-paced TIBCO Academy eLearning program that includes interactive video-based courses. The vendor offers three optional support packages with turnaround response times that’s based on the severity level of the issue.

Bottom Line: Tableau offers varying levels of support to its customers, along with on-demand training, live weekly webinar training and access to a knowledge base. Spotfire also offers access to a community and knowledge base, as well as optional premium support.


The two BI tools take different pricing approaches.

Tableau: Tableau’s subscription offerings tailor to user needs. They are: Creator, Explorer and Viewer. Prices are listed per user, per month, billed annually. The Creator plan includes full functionality of Tableau, and costs $70/user/month, regardless if whether the platform is deployed on-premise on in the cloud. The Explorer plan targets users that want self-service analytics without the data prepping and cleaning. It costs $35/user/month for on-premise deployment, and $42/user/month if deployed in the cloud.

Finally, there’s Tableau Viewer for users that want to access already-created visualizations. Companies can deploy it on-premise for $12/user/month or have Tableau host it for $15/user/month. Note that Tableau Viewer requires at least 100 viewers in order to purchase the plan.

The platform offers a 14-day free trial for users who wish to test it before making a purchase. 

Spotfire: Spotfire Cloud’s Analyst edition starts at $125 a month or $1,250 a year. Other editions include Business Author ($65 a month or $650 a year), Consumer ($25 a month or $250 a year), a viewer-only plan that requires the purchase of either the Analyst or Business Author subscription, and Library Storage ($25 a month or $250 a year).

Spotfire services for Amazon Cloud start at 99 cents per hour. There are two other service categories with custom pricing: the on-premise Spotfire Platform and the fully-managed Cloud Enterprise Solution. Users interested in these services can contact Spotfire for a quote based on their unique needs.

Bottom Line: Spotfire is considerably more expensive than Tableau. While Tableau offers a cut-and-dry pricing strategy for all of its plans, Spotfire is more focused on customizing the experience for users based on their needs and preferences.


Tableau and Spotfire are robust data analytics and visualization tools that fulfill similar needs. But selecting one over the other depends on the user needs. Spotfire has built-in capabilities for statistical analysis, but those who need great visualizations may want to opt for Tableau.

If you need more information on BI software in general, our BI Definitive Guide can help. It includes over 50 experts and provides a detailed overview of all the considerations for purchasing BI software.


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  1. Hardik Porwal says

    Both Spotfire and Tableau are the most powerful Business Intelligence tools. Both have their own set of capabilities for making the business successful. Tableau among them is known for its visual based data discovery mechanisms. The tool have become one of the most widely accepted and used applications all across the market.

  2. I don’t like to sound negative, but I would like reviewers of Tableau to stop referring to its pricing as $35 or $70. That’s a complete distraction. It makes people think they can put down $35 and get access to Tableau Online or Desktop. Far from it. Tableau requires a full year up front. Tableau does offer a free version called Public… but you can’t save any data as password protected. It’s all public. Public is great for students… not so much for smalltime data analysts wanting to get clientele. ALSO, if you’re considering Tableau, and you want (or need) to have the data hosted so your clients can embed the interactive visualizations as a web component, you’ll need both Tableau Online (or Server) + Tableau Desktop… paid up front for one year. This amounts to thousands.

    I’m a current user of Tableau and I love it, but it’s incredibly expensive. When I look for comparisons and see $35/mo or $70/mo it upsets me because it’s so not true. You don’t pay month to month. It’s just how they break down the average cost over the month – but they require all money up front.

  3. The main difference that you would find while working on Tableau and Spotfire is, Tableau allows you to connect to around 30 – 40+ data sources whereas Spotfire only allows you to connect to 20+ data sources.