Tableau vs Qlikview


In a previous post I wrote a short article about the pro’s and con’s of Tableau, Xcelsius and SSRS. These products aren’t really comparable as they should be used for different styles of reporting. So how does Tableau compare to one it’s major competitors, Qlikview?

I’ve never used Qlikview but I was curious. I found this site which goes a long way to answering the question:

Comparing Tableau and Qlikview

Qlikview is a nice product. I’m far from experienced with it but my impression is the dashboard capabilities are strong.

The filtering and Excel integration is better than that of Tableau, although not as visually appealing.

It’s also not as easy to use as Tableau.

With Tableau it’s possible to load data and produce a visualisation in a few minutes.

QV requires much more time and planning.

Connecting to data

Tableau links to multiple data sources; Excel, text files, databases, cubes, etc. at the click of a button.

If the data source is “flat” it’s very easy to get started in Tableau.

However, this is a big IF as often the data requires some element of reshaping to produce the outputs you want.

In fairness, this is quite normal. For example, to use a pivot table within Excel requires the data to be laid out correctly; and if the data is laid out correctly for a pivot table it will work well with Tableau.

Technical complexity

Without some basic technical skills and a simple understanding of databases I think Qlikview would be a struggle to begin.

There certainly appears to be a need for reasonable technical knowledge to use the product.

It’s not so simple to load the data into it, this is an ETL process, which is one of the major differences to Tableau.

Development Speed

With Tableau it’s simple to produce good visualisations without really knowing what you want.

It’s very simple to move components, alter chart types and build filters.

With Qliview you need a fairly good idea of what you want to produce before starting to build.

As it’s less flexible than Tableau it takes longer to build the different dashboard components.

From an analysis tool perspective Tableau is far more powerful than QV. Qlikview isn’t really a tool for analysis.

For building dashboards it’s a close contest. QV can produce better dashboards but it takes more technical knowledge and time to develop comparing with Tableau.

The Excel integration is a definite positive for QV. Users are generally very comfortable with Excel and want the ability to use the data in Excel.

Tableau and Qlikview are both good products

Personally I use Tableau over Qlikview. Due to the nature of my work I need to produce dashboards/reports very quickly and I never know the type of source data until I meet the client.

Meeting tight deadlines would be more of a challenge with QV with the planning and ETL work to start up.

If you’re working in a more structured environment, supported by a good technical team, then either Tableau or Qlikview work well.

In summary, as an all round product I would choose Tableau over QV.

However, if you want to have a software for only building dashboards then Qlikview is equally as good as Tableau.

8 thoughts on “Tableau vs Qlikview”

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  2. Interesting comparison. Tableau is fairly easy to use out of the box; the Public version is a good example of that. It seemed like there was a little more overall functionality with importing data with QV, but a little more complexity overall.

  3. This is a misleading article in that it attempts to compare two products that are unique in the data discovery market space. Tableau is excellent for visualizing pre-built data marts or data that is already (for the most part) cleansed and organized. QlikView, on the other hand, has ETL-like capabilities to model data, embed business rules and visualize the data. Really, this article is comparing apples to oranges. Each tool has its own strengths and gaps. Weaknesses in Tableau are its limited expression building, modeling and buiness rules engine. It will not handle the volume of data that QlikView is able to. QlikView, is not as “pretty” and will not suggest which chart to use based on your data types selected. Tableau has out-of-the-box mapping (albeit very limited). There are many other niceties each has – but truly – comparing one tool to another is shallow in this article. Depending on your user community, your needs and frankly – your spending budget will determine which tool is right for you.

    • Thanks for the comment Jon. I don’t entirely agree with what you say but it’s good to get different points of view out there. Both products are competing for the same market so are appropriate to compare. Tableau can handle huge volumes data, the Tableau data engine is actually a columnar database which is super fast for many millions, perhaps billions of rows of data. Ultimately, like you say, your choice depends on user needs, your budget and I would like to add the technical skills of your in-house report development team as Tableau is much easier to use for the non techie.

  4. Very interesting comparison of Tableau and QlikView. One difference I noticed is that Tableau is graph rich while QlikView data rich. I may be wrong as I just started learning Tableau.

  5. Awatson. I agree to Jon. Tableau is for Novice management. Can i write extensive scripts like qlikview ? Answer is NO. Can i cleanse data ? No. Can i do ETL works. NO.

    Visualization is good. But comparing against very well mature product which is so good in scripting and extensions and 3rd party integration is not possible.

  6. We started with trying to learn Qlikview with the help of an expert and were floored by the complexity of learning scripting, building complex coding for timeline functionality etc. With Tableau we starting getting BI done in less than a week without any expert help. Therefore if you are looking at getting results fast with very little outlay on services than it has to be Tableau but if you are looking at spending a ton of money on services and waiting for a long period to see the results which are not substantially better than it has to be Qlikview.


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