A Quick Comparison of BI Tools for Data Visualization: Apache Superset, Power BI, Qlik, and Tableau

Data is the key driving force for organizations today and in order to efficiently comprehend data for vital business decisions, organizations need Business Intelligence (BI) tools. Data-enabled strategic planning powered by the right BI tools gives a business an edge over its competitors.
According to a recent report by a premier website for business news, data-driven decisions make companies 6% more profitable.
Here is all you need to know about starting your journey of smarter decision-making and efficient planning with the power of BI tools for data visualization.

Turning Data into Actionable Insights with the Right BI Tools

Business leaders and key decision-makers of organizations need a full picture of the company’s data to drive successful business strategies. Powerful BI and analytics tools for data visualization like Apache Superset, Power BI, Qlik, Tableau, or others empower data analysts to deliver informative BI reports that give a clear view of the data and reveal real-time answers to the questions asked by the management. Insightful BI reports steer the organization in the right direction, empowering the management to set business priorities, highlight the company’s proximity to its goals, and decide whether to change or maintain the course of action.
To give you an example of some of these common questions in BI – “How many loans did the bank issue this year compared to last year?” Or “what was the reason behind banks issuing fewer loans as compared to last year?”
Business Intelligence helps a business to scale up through –
  • Descriptive Analytics that allows verification of what happened in the business.
  • Diagnostic Analytics that identifies why it happened.
  • The combination of the two – which would serve as input to Predictive and Prescriptive Analytics to understand the developing trends for the future and take appropriate actions.

How to Choose a BI Tool for Your Business?

A good BI tool should be able to slice and dice data to capture descriptive analytics, provide insights using diagnostic analytics, and enable predictive and prescriptive analytics.
How can a business decide which BI tool is best for their organization? Here are a few vital questions to ask –
1. From the Business Perspective:
What business problems need solutions via actionable insights?
2. From the Technology Perspective:
  • How will a BI tool ingest and integrate data from various source systems?
  • How will a BI tool help the user to model data using a low-code platform?
  • Is the BI tool capable of handling high-velocity data to show real-time analytics?
  • Is the tool capable of handling Complex Data Transformation processes via ETL?
  • Is the tool enabling a downstream AI process?
3. From the Personas Perspective:
Who are the personas that would be needing actionable intelligence? Is it going to the C-level or the line managers, or customer support personnel? A BI tool should be able to cater to all the 3 segments.
Businesses must also consider the other basic factors like the cost, availability, security, ease of use, its resource bandwidth – budget, time, and manpower that can be assigned to the project. The BI team must decide on the hosting options – whether they wish to opt for open-source / cloud / on-premise business intelligence.
For any organization to settle down on the right BI tool for data visualization, a 3-step approach must be followed –
Step 1 – Analyze
Explore the various BI tools available and evaluate the features to understand if it fits the business requirements.
Step 2 – Identify
Narrow down the search and shortlist the BI tools that may work for your business by weighing the pros and cons.
Step 3 – Finalize
Pick the tool that is right for your business based on all the basic parameters.
Today, businesses have the option of choosing from a number of powerful BI tools for data visualization available in the market. Each of these tools comes with its own set of advanced features that work well for different types and sizes of enterprises across industries like banking, healthcare, manufacturing, and others. To help you make the right choice, here’s a detailed comparison of popular BI tools for data visualization – Apache Superset, Power BI, Qlik, and Tableau.

A Detailed Comparison of a Few Powerful BI Tools for Data Visualization - Apache Superset, Power BI, Qlik, and Tableau

Parameter Apache Superset Power BI Qlik Tableau
OVERVIEW Superset is a modern, open-source data exploration and data visualization platform that makes it easy for users of all skill sets to explore and visualize their data at the speed of thought, from simple line charts to highly detailed geospatial charts. Microsoft describes its cloud-based intuitive tool Power BI as “a collection of software services, apps, and connectors that work together to turn your unrelated sources of data into coherent, visually immersive, and interactive insights.” There are different versions of Power BI offering different features. QlikView, Qlik Sense, and Qlik AutoML come under the Qlik umbrella and offer self-serviceable, cloud-native data analytics platforms powered by AI. QlikView, a classic analytics solution, lets you build & deploy interactive dashboards. Qlik Sense is a more recent modernized version of QlikView. While Qlik AutoML helps to generate ML models for predictive analytics. Tableau is a powerful data visualization tool that offers both self and cloud-hosted opportunities to generate interactive BI reports and dashboards even without any technical skill or programming knowledge.
ENTERPRISE SIZE A great option for a business of any size looking for a low-cost/no-cost BI solution. It is used by large companies such as Airbnb, Lyft, and Netflix, as well as smaller ones. Works well for small and medium-sized enterprises. Suitable for enterprises of all sizes, from small businesses to large enterprises. Medium and large enterprises with a dedicated BI team can use Tableau to its full potential.
PRICING Open source/ Free BI visualization tool. Costs around $10 per user per month. Costs approx. $30 per user per month. Costs approx. $70 per user per month.
LICENSING Superset does not have a paid licensing option. Power BI Desktop does not need a license.

Power BI Pro is licensed per individual user.

Power BI Premium is a capacity-based offering.
Qlik requires a user-based license. It can be either a Professional and Analyzer User License or a Client Access License (CAL). Offers subscription licenses that are either role-based or core-based subscriptions.
INSTALLATION & OPERATION Requires SQL knowledge and expertise to install and run. Easy to install and use - no knowledge of SQL is necessary to install and run. Easy to install and use - no knowledge of SQL is necessary to install and run. Easy to install and use - no knowledge of SQL is necessary to install and run.
STORAGE CAPACITY Superset can store a massive amount of data at the database level. The free version offers up to 1 GB of storage and in the Pro version, the storage limit can be extended to 10 GB. Above that requires cloud storage. Qlik Sense has no free storage. Its cloud version however provides 500 GB of storage. Offers a storage limit of around 100 GB.
SCALABILITY Designed to be highly scalable and highly available for a large, distributed environment.

Uses Druid services that can independently fail and restart without impacting other services.
Power BI Premium Gen2 offers greater scale (Autoscale) by automatically adding compute capacity to handle heavy usage. Qlik Sense Enterprise Scalability Tools help to test performance and plan scalability accordingly.
Scalability Result Analyzer is used to analyze the performance and load.
Highly scalable and capable of handling large data sets. Scaling Tableau Server is easy.
USER-FRIENDLINESS Superset offers low-code/no-code visualization. Too many features and icons. Overall, a user-friendly tool. Simple interface that does not require much coding expertise Tableau also has a very simple and user-friendly interface.
DASHBOARD Offers 60+ vibrant charts - line, bar, area, scatter, pie, and more. Some of them are also customizable. Around 30 types of charts, including 480+ third-party visuals, of which few are paid, are available for building the dashboard. Offers 21 types of charts and 600+ third-party visuals to create data stories. Also provides intelligent and in-context commentary for the data analytics visuals. Around 20+ charts are available on Tableau to create interactive dashboards with real-time visualizations.
MOBILE DEVICE COMPATIBILITY Superset is designed to be responsive and can be used to create mobile-ready dashboards. Supports mobile devices with good features and capabilities. Issues regarding responsiveness and other impairments in iOS have been reported. Supports customization for mobile devices.
AI Although it has no inbuilt AI features, React JS can be used to create advanced AI features such as Natural Language Processing for text analysis, Machine Learning for predictive analytics and classification, and Computer Vision for image recognition and tagging. PowerBI Premium Gen 2 offers advanced AI that bundles various cognitive services like Language Detection, Key Phrase Extraction, Score Sentiment, Tag Images, AutoML for Binary Prediction, Classification and Regression, and Model Explainability and Report. Qlik’s Insight Advisor generates advanced analyses and insights; AutoML generates models, predicts using simple code-free experience, and offers a native connector for Amazon Sagemaker, Azure AutoML, DataRobot, and custom solutions built in R and Python. Tableau supports augmented analytics with AI features like automatic data identification, smart data preparation, natural language interactions, and forecasting.
CLOUD COMPATIBILITY Superset requires drivers for BigQuery and additionally an SQLAlchemy URI to connect to Google BigQuery. Power BI Web Service supports direct connection to Google BigQuery and Google Analytics accounts. Qlik offers connectors for various GCP services including BigQuery, Google Analytics, and CloudSQL. etc. Tableau also supports direct connections to cloud-hosted data sources like Amazon Redshift, Amazon Aurora, and Google BigQuery.

● User management, permission, and roles are handled by FAB (Flask App Builder) authentication.

● Permission to edit/view, access database, row-level security, and security vulnerability report.

● Azure Private Link, Service Tags, and Azure Virtual Network to eliminate data exposure to the public internet.

● BYOK (Bring Your Own Key), IL6, FedRamp, HIPAA, and FINRA compliant.

● Network isolation.

● Secured end-to-end with double encryption.

● TLS uses digital certificates to encrypt information exchanged between services, servers, and clients.

● Requires server certificate and client certificate.

● Rigorous testing process during development.

● Row and column-level data reduction through section access.

● SSL/TLS encrypts and protects the communication between the Tableau Desktop and Tableau Server and secures the data from the Tableau server to databases.

● Tableau Cloud meets SOX, ISAE, and SOC industry compliance standards.


● Superset is supported by the Apache Software Foundation.

● Its strong community of ~ 6.5K members provides all the required support and updates on the software.

● Apache Superset is in its growth phase now and has great potential. Early adopters should definitely have an advantage.

● Power BI comes with vast community support of ~13k online members.

● Users get support from the dedicated Microsoft team and the Central Hub across the world.

● Besides, there is direct access to the Power BI engineering team.

● Offers great community support to users through the ~10k online members.

● Additional support through other channels like on-demand webinars, knowledge base, etc.

● Users can get answers to their questions from the Tableau Community Forums.

● They can collaborate with other Tableau users and use the tool to work to their business advantage.

Your Search Ends Here

More than 46% of businesses are already using a BI tool as a core part of their business strategy as per Finance Online, and the BI market is expected to hit $33+ billion by 2025 (Report Linker). As experts in data analytics and business intelligence, KANINI can help you find the right BI tools for data visualization for your enterprise, whether it is Apache Superset, Power BI, Qlik, Tableau, or any other. Our experience in AI-enabled business intelligence ranges across all industry segments including healthcare, banking and financial services, and manufacturing. Reach out to us for a deeper insight.

Anand Subramaniam

Anand Subramaniam is the Chief Solutions Officer, leading Data Analytics & AI service line at KANINI. He is passionate about data science and has championed data analytics practice across start-ups to enterprises in various verticals. As a thought leader, start-up mentor, and data architect, Anand brings over two decades of techno-functional leadership in envisaging, planning, and building high-performance, state-of-the-art technology teams.

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