Tableau BI Tools Overview: Desktop, Server, Public, and Other

Microsoft (PowerBI) reaches the first position, while Tableau remains superior to Qlik

What is Tableau?

Tableau BI suite

The main Tableau products and how you can use them to work with data
A full spectre of Tableau BI products divided by managed and self-service ones
  • A user retrieves data from the data sources and puts into an analytical interface (Tableau Desktop/Public).
  • Once the data is here, data preparation can be performed. Or if data is clean and ready for use, visualizations can be created on the fly.
  • Created visuals, dashboards, or data groups can be saved as workbooks, and further read via a Tableau Reader.
  • If there are other users that need to see the data, workbooks are pushed on one of three sharing servers and viewed either on PC or via Tableau Mobile app.

Data preparation and visualization

An example of data visualization in Tableau Desktop
Tableau Public travel data dashboard
Tableau Prep data source connections
  1. Prep Builder is a preparation tool that lets you shift between different views by highlighting, for example, item index only or category data only. Such features make data combining and cleaning easier.
  2. Prep Conductor basically allows you to manage data flow on the server, tweaking when and what data is uploaded to which users. Conductors can be utilized to supply users with the required data at the right time and provide permission-based structure of data consuming.

Data access instruments

Data sharing tools

A look at workbooks shared on Tableau Server

Auxiliary tools

Tableau compared with Power BI, Qlik, Thoughtspot, and Microstrategy

  • Pricing,
  • platform availability and deployment,
  • data sharing, and
  • source integration.


  • Tableau pricing starts at $12–15 for a viewer subscription and reaches $70 for a creator license that has all the functions available. Additional fees are added for using computation power or managed servers. Licensing for auxiliary tools is billed separately.
  • Power BI bills $9.99 per user license on a managed cloud platform plus compute costs.
  • Qlik charges $30 per user/month plus computation costs.
  • Power BI enterprise pricing starts at $4,995 per a dedicated cloud (computation and resources are billed by quote).
  • Qlik Enterprise bills $70 per professional user (report creator) and $40 for analyzer (viewer) on a multi-cloud platform.
  • ThoughtSpot pricing offers Enterprise and Extended Enterprise plans with unlimited users by quote.
  • MicroStrategy pricing has no pricing plans or estimations. The price will also depend on resources used, so you can request estimates via their pricing page.

Platform availability and deployment

Platform availability table of BI vendors

Data sharing

Source integration

What to choose then?



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store