Tableau vs TIBCO Spotfire: Compare Core BI Capabilities and More

Tableau and TIBCO 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.

Here, we’ll compare both products on various factors.

What are the Differences Between Tableau and Spotfire?

  • Both solutions have robust BI features. However, Tableau relies on third-party integration for streaming analytics, while Spotfire has it as a standard feature.
  • Tableau’s pricing is cheaper per month than Spotfire.
  • Tableau’s Premium Support tier provides more advanced services. Spotfire’s Gold package only focuses on faster response time for priority cases.

Product Overviews

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


Tableau provides all types of users with intuitive business intelligence (BI) tools to enhance data discovery and understanding. With simple drag-and-drop features, a user is able to easily access and analyze key data, create innovative reports and visualizations, and share critical insights across the company.

Tableau has three main products for robust data discovery:

  1. Tableau Desktop – Tableau Desktop is used to connect and analyze disparate data, and create highly innovative reports in just a few clicks.
  2. Tableau Server – Tableau Server allows users to securely collaborate and share critical insights and information through comprehensive dashboards created in Tableau Desktop or directly in Tableau Server.
  3. Tableau Cloud – Tableau Cloud is a cloud-hosted version of Tableau Server. It not only saves time and money by skipping hardware setup, Tableau Cloud also supports mobile access.

Tableau serves a variety of industries, including major corporations and banks, educational institutions and healthcare providers.


Companies that require self-service discovery and fast answers to important questions may want to consider TIBCO Spotfire.

Spotfire allows anyone, from beginners to advanced analysts, to perform simple (and even complicated) analyses in real time, without having to rely on IT. Spotfire also lets users drill down to figure out the “why” or root causes of business issues – and can even find patterns or trends within the data that spot hidden opportunities or issues.

The software has a built-in artificial intelligence (AI) engine that spots relationships between specific data and makes recommendations to users for further analysis. It also has a natural language search where users can type in their questions in a search bar and get recommendations and other answers.

Features Comparisons

Data Preparation


Tableau offers support for hundreds of data connectors including online analytical processing (OLAP) and big data options (such as NoSQL, Hadoop) as well as cloud options. When users add data from multiple sources the relationships are determined by Tableau automatically. In addition, Tableau gives users the ability to modify data links or create them manually based on their company’s preferences.

Its Tableau Data Prep software allows users to prepare data for analysis, and it’s broken down into two modules: Tableau Prep Builder and Tableau Prep Conductor. With Tableau Prep Builder, users can connect their data from any source, and they can perform data-cleaning functions (e.g., changing the data value) via a visual interface. Tableau Prep also has smart features that automate typical data prep changes, such as grouping data. Note that Tableau Prep Builder is part of the Tableau Creator subscription.


Users can blend, clean and make adjustments (inline data wrangling) within Spotfire. They can also wrangle data within the data canvas as the software automatically captures the data-wrangling process. Users can connect and blend data from many sources, including OLAP, Hadoop, relational databases and cloud applications (e.g., Salesforce, Google Analytics, Amazon Redshift). Spotfire has a recommendations engine that suggests tasks like adding table rows before loading data or linking data tables.

Bottom Line

Both solutions connect with many data sources, and they provide similar data prep features. However, Tableau Prep’s smart features can automatically make data changes, while Spotfire can suggest changes with its recommendations engine.

Data Visualizations and Dashboards


Users can create a dashboard in a few clicks, including combining data sources and adding filters, and they can also share their dashboard with their colleagues.

Tableau has advanced dashboarding features, such as the Story Points (users arrange their data in a narrative style) and the Device Designer (dashboards are optimized for phones or tablets). In addition, Tableau Cloud’s Dashboard Starters feature allows users to develop dashboards by pulling in data from specific software (e.g., Salesforce, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Oracle Eloqua, Marketo and ServiceNow) directly within Tableau. After a dashboard is created, users can set up thresholds in the data that trigger alerts, and they can specify who the alerts are sent to, as well as the type of notification (e.g., email notification).


Users can analyze data with many visualizations, such as tables, charts, heatmaps and even custom visualizations. They can export dashboards and reports in PDF, PowerPoint or another file, and collaborators can add annotations and conversations to the data.

Visualizations can be accessed by desktop, tablet or smartphones and can even be embedded on a company’s website.

Bottom Line

While both solutions offer robust visualization, Tableau has unique features, such as Story Points and Device Designer, that Spotfire doesn’t.

Streaming Analytics


Tableau doesn’t offer native streaming analytics, so developers will need to write a custom code snippet (although it has some limitations) or integrate with a third-party data pipeline platform. Note that users will need to have Tableau Desktop or Tableau Server to use this feature. In addition, for users that want to import Internet of Things data, Tableau can connect with Google Sheets.


Users can access real-time streaming data so they can spot issues and opportunities faster. The Spotfire Data Streams platform has a continuous query engine that processes streaming data from over 50 sources, including Internet of Things (IoT) technology. Users can combine current and historical data and receive alerts if there’s any major changes within the data.

Bottom Line

Tableau doesn’t natively have streaming analytics – instead, it relies on third-party integration. This feature is standard in Spotfire.



Instead of basing the prices on its products, Tableau’s subscription strategy focuses on individual users and their data needs. Each subscription includes maintenance, product upgrades and support at one cost, so there are no surprise fees. Note that the pricing is based on annual billing.

  • Tableau Creator – Tableau Creator is designed for individual analysts and power users, and costs $70 per user, per month. It includes access to Tableau Desktop and Tableau Prep, and companies can purchase a single Creator license for either Tableau Server or Tableau Cloud. Note that Tableau offers the same price for Tableau Creator whether the software is deployed in the cloud or on premise.
  • Tableau Explorer – Tableau Explorer is designed for users that prefer governed self-service analytics instead of relying on data from others. It costs $35 per user, per month for on-premise deployment, and it includes one license for Tableau Server. If deployed in the cloud, this plan costs $42 per user, per month, and it includes one license for Tableau Cloud.
  • Tableau Viewer – Tableau Viewer is designed for users that just want to access dashboards and visualizations. When deployed on-premise, it costs $12 per user, per month, and it includes one Viewer license of Tableau Server. When deployed in the cloud, it costs $15 per user, per month, and it includes one Viewer license of Tableau Cloud. Note that Tableau requires a minimum of 100 Viewers for this plan.

Companies can also purchase add-on features, such as Tableau Data Management and Einstein Discovery. Tableau has a 14-day free trial.


TIBCO Spotfire’s Cloud is available in four editions with different pricing structures. They are:

  • Analyst – The Analyst edition costs $125 per month ($1,250 per year) and includes 250 GB data storage for each analyst.
  • Business Author – This edition is priced at $65 per month ($650 per year) and comes with 100 GB of data storage for each Business Author seat.
  • Consumer – The Consumer edition costs $25 per month ($250 per year). Companies that want to buy this edition must purchase at least one Analyst or one Business Author seat. It’s intended for users that want viewer-only access to the software.
  • Library Storage – The Library Storage edition costs $25 per month ($250 per year) for 25 GB of storage, and additional storage is sold in 25 GB increments.

If the client pays annually, TIBCO offers the first two months for free as a discount. There’s also a 30-day free trial that includes 250 GB storage for the entire team.

Spotfire is also available on-premise or as a private cloud service. For pricing, please contact TIBCO for a quote. Finally, there’s the Spotfire for Amazon Web Services option that starts at 99 cents per hour.

Bottom Line

Spotfire’s pricing is slightly expensive compared to Tableau’s (e.g., Tableau Creator is $70 per user; Spotfire Cloud Analyst is $125 per user). But it offers a two-month discount for users that select annual payments. Also, Tableau has a 14-day free trial, whereas there’s a 30-day trial for Spotfire Cloud.

Customer Support


Tableau offers complimentary online access to all users that includes:

  • A knowledge base
  • On-demand training videos
  • Live online training
  • Product documentation
  • Tableau Community forums

In addition, it has a Technical Support Program with three tiers:

Standard – Standard support is included in the subscription purchase or in the first year of the perpetual license. Coverage is during Tableau’s regular business hours (6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST Mondays to Fridays). In addition to online access, the Standard tier has:

  • Priority 1 (Critical) issue response time within eight hours
  • Priority 2 (High) issue response time within 24 hours
  • Three named contacts

Extended – The Extended Support tier includes all of the features of the Standard tier, plus:

  • 24/7 coverage for Priority 1 (Critical) issues
  • Priority 1 (Critical) issue response time within two hours
  • Priority 2 (High) issue response time within eight hours
  • Five named contacts

Premium – The Premium Support tier includes all of the features of the Extended tier, plus:

  • Phone support
  • 24/7 coverage for Priority 1 (Critical) and Priority 2 (High) issues
  • Priority 1 (Critical) issue response time within 30 minutes
  • Priority 2 (High) issue response time within two hours
  • A technical account manager
  • Service level agreement for Tableau Cloud users only
  • Deployment reviews for Tableau Server users only
  • Recurring status calls and service reports
  • Online update guidance
  • Upgrade assistance for Tableau Server users only
  • Strategic planning
  • Access to the Senior Support team
  • Case escalation and oversight
  • Product roadmap participation
  • Prioritized feature request reviews
  • Root cause analysis
  • Sandbox site for Tableau Cloud users only


TIBCO provides the following support resources for all of its users:

  • The TIBCO SupportCentral portal for browsing the knowledge base and submitting a ticket
  • Spotfire Community forum

TIBCO offers three optional support packages for Spotfire that include response times based on the issue severity level.

  • Bronze – Users can contact support during regular business hours (9AM-5PM EST Monday to Friday) and can expect an initial response within four business hours. TIBCO’s targeted resolution is 48 hours for Severity 1 (software is entirely down) cases, five days for Severity 2 (at least one main feature is not operable) cases and in the next major product release for Severity 3 (software is usable, but inconvenient issues) cases.
  • Silver – This package provides 24/7 support, and users can expect an initial response time within four hours. The targeted resolution times are the same as the Bronze level.
  • Gold – The Gold package also provides 24/7 support. Its initial response time is an hour for Severity 1 cases and two hours for Severity 2 cases. The targeted resolution is 36 hours for Severity 1 cases, three days for Severity 2 cases and in the next major product release for Severity 3 cases.

Bottom Line

Both vendors have optional support packages but Tableau’s Premium Support tier provides other features in addition to faster response times for priority cases. TIBCO’s Gold package doesn’t.


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