MicroStrategy vs Tableau: Which BI Software Is The Winner?

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Want to compare MicroStrategy vs Tableau to see which is the better BI software for you? Both Tableau and MicroStrategy software are prominent names in the business intelligence industry. There is a consensus that each of these platforms has their own strengths and potential drawbacks – we’ve compared the features of each to see which tool has the advantage.

Compare MicroStrategy and Tableau Against Your Needs

MicroStrategy vs Tableau

Advantages and Disadvantages

Data Visualization

Features in Microstrategy relate to the interface results for data. Although it is seen as a relatively complex tool in general, some engineering designs let users get more from data. For example, there is the ability to add reference lines to scattershot graphs, making some visual results more easily understandable. In terms of recall, a Recently Viewed Objects feature helps guide users back to previously discovered results.

At the same time, this platform can require more expertise in terms of formatting and displaying results. There is generally a bigger need to work with the interface tools to craft something that’s transparent and easily digestible. That means Microstrategy may be less useful for some kinds of tasks that are aimed more at pushing easily aggregated data points than really digging into a full field of enterprise data.

Many reviewers would agree that the top benefits of the Tableau platform involve the ease of use, quick visual builds, and useful and transparent dashboard results that this BI tool is known for. Tableau can, in general, be used by nearly anyone without a lot of advanced technical knowledge. This, in a sense, makes this platform a leader for quick and easy analysis, and for creating visual results a wider audience can use.

The intuitive and user-friendly interface of the Tableau data visualization platform places it above its competitor.

Tableau data visualization

Tableau data visualizations.

@Tableau rates better than MicroStrategy for data visualization in SelectHub's research & analysis of the two tools. #BusinessIntelligence #Software


MicroStrategy promotes tools for data discovery, enterprise reporting and real-time telemetry, in addition to mobile operations and versatile dashboards. There is also an ability to use metrics as attributes, which can improve the ways company leaders use developed analytics in this platform.

Tableau has the functionality to create customized data operations for individual clients and customers. Other key aspects of the Tableau platform involve the ability to make quick changes or provide alternatives for data results that help drive data use on the fly. At the same time, it is hard to bill Tableau as a full enterprise platform, or at least a Big Data leader, based on existing analytical limitations. Some suggest that this tool should be combined with other more comprehensive Big Data handling offerings, especially for extremely large data sets.

When comparing Tableau vs. MicroStrategy, the latter has the best analytics tools when compared to Tableau. It is more scalable and able to manage Big Data sets.

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MicroStrategy analytics

Data analytics by MicroStrategy.

@MicroStrategy rates better than Tableau for analytics in SelectHub's research & analysis of the two tools. #BusinessIntelligence #Software

Online Analytical Processing (OLAP)

MicroStrategy users are able to analyze semi-structured and unstructured OLAP data — the solution is backed by Apache Drill capabilities. Additionally, metrics creation, grouping and filters provide organizational functions. The platform also offers tools such as Intelligent Cubes that help direct work with relational databases.

WIth Tableau, users can access existing databases or add their own data into a cube-like structure. Filters allow the creation of your preferred view of data, while data exploration features like drilling help pinpoint the information you need.

Tableau and MicroStrategy tie for their equivalently functional OLAP systems.

Document Management

The MicroStrategy document management system converts reports into CSV and PDF formats, as well as Microsoft Excel and Access files. The system’s version control features provide viewing access to all past document history.

Specific features that often get mentioned in rave reviews of Tableau are related to the ability to push data into web formats, which is helpful for various kinds of marketing and outreach. In addition to these web formatting features, Tableau can export as a PDF, PNG image, human-readable crosstab CSV file or machine-readable data CSV file. Version control is supported by Tableau document management.

Both of these business intelligence tools have similar document management abilities, resulting in a tie for this feature.

Compare MicroStrategy and Tableau Against Your Needs

Decision Services

MicroStrategy keeps your business running smoothly with regulatory features, managing finances, security and legal compliance. Analysis of fiscal metrics provides a view into the financial state of your business and guides decision-makers toward the best course of action concerning money matters. Built-in governance tools ensure all business processes are in-line with laws and regulations. The system assesses risk possibility and fraud metrics, protecting your data with embedded security measures.

Tableau promotes its active community of users as a resource for discovering more about this BI option. Consulting services provide further support to the Tableau user community. Tapping into the software’s powerful analytics engine, Tableau users get the added benefit of financial and risk assessment, in addition to everyday business analysis. Unfortunately, a setback of Tableau decision services is the lack of regulatory compliance management.

The deciding difference between MicroStrategy and Tableau decision services is the support of regulatory compliance. For this feature, MicroStrategy has the advantage.

@MicroStrategy rates better than Tableau for decision services in SelectHub's research & analysis of the two tools. #BusinessIntelligence #Software


A metadata repository links to various types of devices, from Windows and Mac computers to iOS and Android mobile devices. Applications and other components attach to this central repository, enabling integration with SAP, Oracle ERP, CRM systems and Microsoft Office.

Tableau’s support of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) simplifies the process of connecting to third-party applications and embedding business intelligence functionality in outside software. Basic integrations include ERP tools, CRM systems and Microsoft Office compatibility, while specialized connectors allow collaboration with social media platforms and security programs.

When comparing Tableau vs MicroStrategy in the category of integration, they tie for this feature.

Compare MicroStrategy and Tableau Against Your Needs

Big Data Integration

MicroStrategy relies upon the breadth of its applications, the consistency of its repository-driven data handling processes and its versatile relational database tools. A software development kit allows for customization and compatibility. There is also the ability to handle large, diverse data assets while providing enterprise-level handling and analysis. For example, integration with Apache databases, Cassandra and MapReduce.

Tableau’s Big Data connectivity is extensive in its ability to integrate with almost any database. Supported data connectors include Hadoop connectors and CData ODBC. The Hadoop driver enables native access to Cloudera, Hortonworks, IBM InfoSphere, BigInsights, MapR and Pivotal. CData ODBC provides connections to Hive, HBase and Cassandra. One of the software’s latest offerings, a beta direct connector, allows Tableau integration with Amazon Elastic MapReduce.

When looking at the difference between Tableau and MicroStrategy as it relates to big data integration, MicroStrategy’s ability to manage Big Data connections gives the tool an advantage over Tableau.

Compare MicroStrategy and Tableau Against Your Needs

MicroStrategy data wrangling

Data wrangling, merging and cluster features from MicroStrategy.

@MicroStrategy rates better than Tableau for Big Data integration in SelectHub's research & analysis of the two tools. #BusinessIntelligence #Software

Advantage Summary

The above helps characterize the attributes and appeal of each of these business intelligence systems. Based on the evaluated features, MicroStrategy comes out on top. The software’s advantages in analytics, decision services and Big Data integration place it above Tableau.

Other concerns relate to the compatibility of a platform within an IT architecture, the specific needs of a business and cost. Analyzing these components and the functional features we’ve explored will narrow down your vendor shortlist to the best system for your organization.

Which of these vendors best suits the needs of your business: Tableau or MicroStrategy? Tell us in the comments!

Top Competitors for MicroStrategy and Tableau

Birst BI
License Cost: $30,000/year for 20 users
Dundas BI
Starting at $6 per user per month
Oracle BI
Starting at $350/named user and $77 for software update license and support
Personal Edition is free. Named User License starts at $1,350 per named user
SAS Visual Analytics
Starting at $1,365/month
Starting at $21,000/year for 5 users
IBM Cognos BI
Starting at $75 per user per month
Microsoft Power BI
Power BI Desktop is free. Paid versions start at $9.99 per user per month
SAP BusinessObjects
Starting from $55,000 per year
Alainia ConradMicroStrategy vs Tableau: Which BI Software Is The Winner?

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  • Possum Jones - April 13, 2017 reply

    idk when this article was written, but it seems to be right on the money whether it was 2007 or 2017.

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