With the advancement of digitization, various business intelligence tools have gradually emerged. Some BI tools are devoted to helping companies’ data analysis and business information management, gradually becoming the leaders of the BI market. Power bi, Tableau and FineReport are three competitive business intelligence tools. They share some similarities, but distinctive differences also exist among them. 



When our company witnesses the explosion of data and information, which business intelligence tool is the most appropriate one to help us make full use of the wealth of the business data? Reading through this detailed comparison among Power bi, Tableau and FineReport will give you an answer.



Power BI vs Tableau vs FineReport


1. Introduction of Power BI, Tableau, and FineReport



1.1 Power BI

Power BI is a business analytics tool that helps enterprises handle the data from multiple sources, turning data into interactive insights through data visualization. Developed by Microsoft, Power BI is very friendly for users who are familiar with Microsoft products such as Azure, Excel, and SQL.



A screenshot from Power BI official website
From Microsoft Power BI


1.2 Tableau

Tableau, founded in 2003, is a leading analytics platform focusing on providing intuitive data visualization to facilitate the process of reporting and analyzing massive data for organizations. It realizes a high-level internationalization because of its fantastic features.



A screenshot from Tableau official website
From Tableau


1.3 FineReport

FineReport is another leading enterprise reporting tool developed by FanRuan to satisfy enterprises’ reporting needs, helping them to generate complex reports and intuitive dashboards and gain insights into their business operations. It is devoted to transforming data into value.



A screenshot from FineReport official website
From FineReport


2. Key Differences Among Power BI, Tableau, and FineReport

Power bi, Tableau and FineReport are all professional in business intelligence. It is hard to say which one is the best because each of them possesses its own advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, it is not the tool itself but indeed your requirements that decide which one is the best for your organization. Here I would like to make a multi-dimensional comparison among Power bi, Tableau and FineReport to assist you in selecting the most proper business intelligence tool for your company



2.1 Target Audience 

Microsoft Power BI is suitable for general users, without requiring professional analysis knowledge. It leverages many of the same features available in Excel, so users with Office experience will find it easy to adapt to this visualization tool. Besides, it has an intuitive user interface that allows you to find the functions you need quickly. 



Tableau is more suitable for experienced data analysts to operate. It is a little demanding for a beginner because its user interface is actually less intuitive than Power BI. It is easier for those with experience in data analytics to convert the data into visual reports. But beginners may feel overwhelmed by the difficulty of learning the operations before visualizing data.



FineReport targets users with basic SQL knowledge, especially IT professionals. It doesn’t sound easy to analyze data with FineReport. However, it has an Excel-like user interface, allowing users to design satisfactory reports and dashboards through the drag-and-drop operation with outstanding ease of use and efficiency.



2.2 Data Sources

Power BI supports various data sources but has some limitations. It supports connecting to files like Excel, pbix format, and CSV format. If you want to import other types of files, you need to firstly load the data into Excel or Power BI desktop files and then import it into Power BI desktop. As for databases, it supports connection to Azure SQL database, Oracle database, MySQL database, etc. 



Compared to Power BI, Tableau performs better in connection to numerous data sources. It supports access not only to the data sources mentioned above but also to other wide-ranging databases, such as Hadoop databases, Google Analytics, etc.



FineReport supports broad data sources from almost all mainstream databases through simple operations. The picture below displays the data sources that FineReport can connect to. The easy and fast data integration enables the users to generate a more comprehensive data analysis report.



A picture showing the data sources FineReport can connect to
Data sources supported in FineReport


2.3 Data Visualization

Talking about business intelligence, we cannot ignore data visualization which plays a core role in today’s data analysis. Power bi, Tableau and FineReport are excellent for visualizing data with rich charts and wonderful dashboards.



Charts:

Power BI has some built-in charts such as stacked bar charts, stacked column charts, clustered bar charts, clustered column charts, etc. But there is a limited degree of customization of these charts.



Tableau provides you with numerous visual charts. But the limitation is that there are no heat maps, and the creation of some stunning charts can only be completed through complex configurations.



FineReport includes multiple types of self-developed charts, including but not limited to dynamic charts, 3D charts, and various maps to meet different visual needs. Most importantly, it offers you the function of customizing charts at your own will. 



A picture of multiple charts made by FineReport
Charts by FineReport


Dynamic charts

A dynamic picture showing dynamic charts
Dynamic charts by FineReport


3D Charts

A picture of 3D map
3D map by FineReport


Heat Map

A picture of two heat maps
Heat maps by FineReport


To explore more stunning charts, you can visit FineReport Desicion-making platform: https://endemo.finereport.com/webroot/decision/login?origin=0dc66168-89ac-4e04-ab9a-4d0b26bb8853



Dashboards:

Power BI allows you to drag and drop components into the design area to make your dashboards easily. Each element can be arbitrarily adjusted in size and position by the user. 



A picture showing dashboard made by Power bi
Dashboard from Power BI


Tableau gives you a high degree of freedom in designing dashboards. By utilizing visualization technology, you are allowed to create awesome dashboards full of stunning visual effects in Tableau. 

A picture showing a dashboard made by Tableau
Dashboard from Tableau


There is an analogy that Tableau gives the user paper and pen to draw pictures freely while Power BI offers the user triangles, rectangles, and circles to do puzzles.



FineReport provides you with a wealth of built-in dashboards with impressive interactive effects such as complex filter, drill-down, and linkage. Also, you can generate personalized dashboards through simple drag and drop operations of the components.



Dashboard from FineReport


Free Download



2.4 Performance

Power BI is a highly effective analytic software when you have a limited volume of data. But as the volume grows larger, the performance of Power BI is not satisfactory enough because the processing speed will slow down. So it is better for you not to import too much data at a time when using Power BI.



Tableau is capable of handling a large volume of data without obvious deceleration. Therefore, there is no need to worry about the performance of Tableau when you have plenty of data.



FineReport also performs well in the data processing. With FineReport line engine, a million cells of data can be processed within several seconds.



2.5 Data Entry

The data in today’s world keeps updating every day. It is important to timely update the data in a database. The operations such as adding, deleting, and modifying data are required in order to ensure the timeliness of the data. Data entry is a useful way to realize data edition. 



Tableau extracts data from databases for you to analyze, without supporting data writeback. Power BI is also lack of the function of data entry.



FineReport has a powerful data entry function to enable real-time data updating. Rich widgets support massive data entry. It also has smart data submission widgets to satisfy the requirements of customized data submission. Data validation in the process of data entry also ensures the correctness of the data. Besides, you can also import data from Excel. 



a picture showing a registration form
Data entry by FineReport


2.6 Exporting and Printing

Although we live in an age of high digitization, some people still prefer to read paper reports. Therefore, exporting and printing are indispensable functions of the reporting tools. Power bi, Tableau and FineReport all support exporting and printing, but the format of the files and the way of printing are not the same.



Power BI desktop supports exporting to a workbook, pdf. You can also export the report to a workbook, PPT, PDF, Sharepoint, Excel, or CSV from web browsers. But you cannot export the files in an encrypted way. 

As for printing, Power BI Desktop does not support it. Power BI service only supports items in browser printing preferences.



The exporting function of Tableau is relatively weaker than the other two tools. With Tableau, you can export the files to PDF format.

Contrary to Power BI, Tableau only supports desktop printing. You cannot print directly when viewing the reports on web browsers.



FineReport supports exporting files both on the designer and on web browsers. There are various exporting formats for you to choose from, such as PDF, Word, Excel, TXT, SVG, CSV, and image format. More importantly, encryption exporting is allowed when exporting to Excel or PDF so that the security of your data is enhanced. 

There are also many ways of printing, including absolute position nested printing, pagination printing, column break printing, pre-printing editing, etc. 



2.7 Deployment and Integration

Power bi, Tableau and FineReport all support on-premise and cloud-based deployment. The requirements of the users’ system are not the same. Power BI can only be deployed on Windows systems, while the other two can be operated on both Windows and Linux systems.



Power BI also supports embedded deployment while requiring subscribing to Azure service. So you can integrate Power BI into your own applications.

FineReport is a pure JAVA software supporting seamless integration to various projects via embedded deployment or independent deployment.



A picture showing the deployment and integration of FineReport
Deployment of FineReport


2.8 Enterprise Platform

Power BI can make authorization based on only roles and users. Therefore, a company with a large number of employees and departments may find it not very easy to realize user authorization and management.



Tableau has an enterprise data platform offering functions such as permission control. But it only supports managing users in groups.



FineReport has a web portal for enterprise reporting management, covering the functions of report management, user management, access control, automated reporting, and so on. As a result, your company will have a very secure reporting environment.



Decision-making platform from FineReport


Free Download



2.9 Mobile Terminal

You can get access to all the reports and dashboards made on Power BI desktop through Power BI mobile apps. It also supports sharing dashboards and reports, but the receivers are required to have a Power BI Pro license. And reports can only be shared through emails.



Tableau mobile gives you a chance to view the reports and dashboards that have been published to Tableau Online and Tableau Server. You can share the reports on Tableau mobile through Tableau or email.



FineReport supports not only native parsing but also HTML 5 parsing. The interactive effects on desktop terminal such as data drilling and charts linkage all remain on the mobile terminal. Also, it is available to share reports through communication tools. And report annotation is another distinct advantage of FineReport



Mobile terminal by FineReport
Mobile terminal by FineReport
Mobile reporting
Mobile terminal by FineReport


2.10 Learning Sources

Power BI is friendly to beginners. But the advanced features also require some in-depth learning. It offers you a community to ask questions about Power BI , and the team members and other users will reply below your post. You can also join some user groups to discuss with other users. Documents are also one of the learning sources that can help you solve common problems.



a screenshot of Power BI
Power BI community from Power BI


Tableau has an agent sales model. The level of technical service depends on the agents’ capability. Customization requires an appointment or email communication with the technicians, and the price is relatively high. There is another way to learn about Tableau by yourself. On its community platform, you can exchange your experiences with other users, and also, some help documents are available for you to learn.



a screenshot showing Tableau community
Tableau community from Tableau


FineReport offers you more than 2000+ free documents and elaborate online videos and offline courses to help you use it. If you encounter some problems during your use, you can choose to refer to these learning sources by yourself or receive professional and timely help from the supporting teams. 



A screenshot showing Youtube videos of FineReport
YouTube of FineReport


2.11 Price

Compared to the other two tools, Power BI Desktop is cheaper and more affordable but the features are limited. The monthly subscription of Power BI professional version costs about 10 dollars. 



The price of Tableau varies depending on the number of users and the user time. The pro version is more than 35 dollars per user per month and 1000 dollars per user per year. But Tableau requires you to reach a certain number of the users when subscribing, resulting in a minimum consumption. It is relatively higher than Power BI, and it is more suitable for large enterprises to afford. 



The price of FineReport is more flexible. For personal use, it is totally free with no limitations on functions and time. For enterprises, price varies by editors and concurrency. You can choose the appropriate purchase method according to different situations. The monthly subscription is 30 dollars with all functions and unlimited users. 



3. Conclusion

Through the discussion above, you may know that each tool has the pros that distinguish it from others and cons that need to be improved. 

Taking the above comparison among Power bi, Tableau, and FineReport into careful consideration, you are capable of deciding which one is the ultimate business intelligence tool that meets your company’s requirements. 



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