Qlik and Tableau are among the most highly regarded business intelligence and data analytics tools available. In this article, we will compare these two data leaders, and note the ideal user for each.
To compete in the business intelligence (BI) and data analytics market, vendors must provide functions such as data preparation, data mining, visual exploration, insight generation, and self-service analytics. The marketplace is also demanding cloud-based tools that offer data visualization capabilities and interactive key performance indicator (KPI) dashboards. Intuitive, easy-to-read charts have become a top priority. Tools must also be able to gather data from a wide range of sources.
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Qlik vs. Tableau: Key Feature Comparison
Qlik is an end-to-end data integration and data analytics solution for modern BI. It delivers real-time insights and automation through its Active Intelligence Platform, which leverages artificial intelligence and the cloud.
Unlike many other BI platforms on the market that rely on SQL, Qlik’s engine can work with any data source in its existing format, allowing users to execute analytics on all their data within Qlik. The company makes it available in several ways. In addition to SaaS, there is a choice of multi-cloud and on-premises options.
The Qlik Sense data analytics platform includes an associative analytics engine, AI capabilities, and operates in a high-performance cloud platform. It empowers executives, decision-makers, analysts, and staffers to freely search and explore insights to help promote digital transformation.
Tableau helps people see and understand data. It offers visual analytics with AI, data management, and collaboration. At the heart of Tableau is a proprietary technology called VizQL that makes interactive data visualization an integral part of understanding data. A traditional analysis tool forces you to analyze data in rows and columns, choose a subset of the data to present, organize that data into a table, then create a chart from that table. VizQL skips those steps and creates a visual representation right away, providing visual feedback as you analyze.
Tableau offers an integrated data analytics and AI suite. AI-powered analytics lowers the barrier to data science techniques, enabling business users and analysts to make smarter decisions faster. It goes beyond creating charts through a series of templates and wizards to offer control and customization around insights. Full functionality can be deployed on any cloud (private or public cloud) or on-premises, used on Mac or PC.
Qlik Sense’s AI assistant, called Insight Advisor, offers insight generation, task automation, and search and natural-language interaction. Users can combine and load data, create smart visualizations, and drag and drop to build analytics apps. It also offers interactive mobile analytics, and embedded analytics; its Associative Engine allows people to explore in any data direction.
Qlik’s AI-infused cloud analytics, then, are all about moving from passive backward-looking data consumption to activating relevant and timely data for real-time decision making. Its open cloud architecture means IT and users can leverage analytics with their cloud platform of choice such as AWS, Google Cloud Platform or Microsoft Azure.
Tableau has over 80 native data connectors, which allows users to access data from a great many sources. Web Data connectors allow you to connect to myriad data sources. Users have the option of either ingesting data into the data engine or pushing queries to their databases.
Tableau is now owned by Salesforce. This has positive implications in terms of integration with Salesforce and opening the door to a large new customer base. However, it remains to be seen if Salesforce will allow Tableau to grow or will be more inclined to view it as a value add to its own primary offerings.
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Qlik vs. Tableau: Comparing Analyst Comments
Qlik has been rated a Leader by Gartner for many years. The latest Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms again places it in that category. Qlik was also named by Gartner as a Challenger in the 2021 MQ for Data Integration Tools. A recent BARC survey had Qlik earning six number one rankings and 45 leading positions in six peer groups in the annual survey of some 2,500 BI and analytics practitioners.
Overall, Gartner praises Qlik’s strong product vision for ML- and AI-driven augmentation, and a deployment flexibility that doesn’t limit customers to any particular cloud. Acquisitions of RoxAI, Knarr Analytics, and Blender.io are enhancing capabilities for alerting, continuous intelligence, and SaaS platform integration. This is serving to expand its capabilities across the data and analytics pipeline. In addition, its Data Literacy Program is designed to educate users on BI and analytics and eliminate the need for data science degrees in analytics. Gartner notes, however, that Tableau has greater market momentum based on Gartner search and client inquiry data.
Tableau is another Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant, graded a little higher than Qlik. The analyst firm gave it high marks for having a sleek user experience that enables users to perform analysis seamlessly. It also does well on advanced visualization capabilities, courtesy of its VizQL engine. On the marketing front, Gartner believes Tableau has stronger momentum than Qlik. With more than 145,000 people attending its online user conference, and its free Tableau Public platform including more than three million data visualizations, Gartner also gives Tableau praise for usability. Finally, the company has put a lot of time and effort into its partnership with Salesforce. Tableau Viz Lightning, for example, was developed to simplify integration of Tableau visualizations into Salesforce.
Qlik vs. Tableau: Pricing
Although Qlik Sense offers core analytic and BI platform capabilities in a single license, additional licensing is needed for add-on capabilities, such as Qlik Catalog, Qlik Insight Advisor Chat, and Qlik NPrinting for Mode 1 reporting, if deployed on-premises, according to Gartner. However, Qlik’s SaaS platform simplifies everything into a standard subscription. Yet product pricing complexity is a complaint that is sometimes leveled at Qlik.
Tableau is a little more open than Qlik on pricing. It offers enterprise subscription plans with set prices. Still, Gartner commented on premium pricing concerns raised among its customers. For example, the company has been introducing Tableau CRM priced at up to $150 per user per month.
Qlik vs. Tableau: Comparing Similarities and Differences
Both Qlik and Tableau are highly capable BI and analytics solutions that are among the best in the business. Users can’t go far wrong choosing either one. They are similar in many ways:
- Both companies enable customers to create interactive dashboards.
- Both offer the flexibility to deploy on-premises or with any major cloud provider.
- Both have added augmented analytics, using artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to make data analysis easier on their platforms.
- Both offer data management capabilities to help organizations curate and govern the data analyzed by their products.
Tableau claims that it works better than Qlik with modern databases. This is because Tableau can connect to data live (performing queries in-database and returning results in real-time) or in-memory (ingesting data from source systems into Tableau). This allows customers to control performance, cost, and data freshness more easily than with Qlik. While both Tableau and Qlik can create dashboards, Tableau believes VizQL allows non-technical people to explore data without the help of IT. Qlik, at times, may require technical expertise to analyze data.
Another way to compare them is to look at their user communities. Qlik’s user community has a large cohort of IT developers and systems integrators. This indicates a strong focus on back-end integration and IT smarts. Tableau’s massive fanbase, on the other hand, is more focused on helping customers overcome roadblocks that slow the adoption of analytics products. While highly generalized, that might be a good way to contrast the platforms. One speaks well to developers and integrators. The other talks to broader, non-technical audience.
On the other side of the coin, Tableau is less capable as a cloud platform. With its heritage being on-premises deployments, its cloud-hosted solutions are limited mainly to Tableau Online and Tableau CRM. Gartner stated that Tableau lacks a cloud-native architecture for its large on-premises customer base to embrace the cloud’s full benefits.
Forrester, too, commented that the Qlik Associative Engine stands apart from the competition. Most of the competition relies on search-based BI platforms to provide guided analysis and data exploration. Qlik Sense search, however, is based on data values and relationships, which enables a user to select data points directly from a visualization. Forrester said this, “supports almost unrestricted data exploration.”
Qlik vs. Tableau: Who is the Ideal User for Each?
Tableau targets business users who need an intuitive platform to stay more informed with data. Ideal users are non-technical business people who are interested in making smarter decisions through better understanding of data. And with its Salesforce ownership and greater Salesforce integration, users of Salesforce would be obviously inclined more towards it than Qlik.
Qlik could be characterized as more of a platform for IT personnel and data analysts who respond to business requests for data and analysis. However, its cloud architecture is more suited to organizations that are heavily invested in the cloud already. As such, Qlik offers greater scalability and flexibility in the cloud.
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