Power BI vs. Tableau vs. Looker: Which Business Intelligence Tool is Right for You?
Anagha Deshpande
March 13, 2023

"Businesses today are swimming in data. From customer behavior to financial performance, there is more information available than ever before to help companies make strategic decisions. However, the challenge lies in effectively analyzing and presenting that data in a way that is accessible and actionable.

This is where business intelligence (BI) tools come in. BI tools are designed to help businesses collect, analyze, and visualize their data to gain insights and make informed decisions. And with the market flooded with options, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one for your business.

In this blog post, we'll be comparing three of the most popular BI tools on the market: Power BI, Tableau, and Looker. We'll dive into the features, ease of use, and integration capabilities of each tool to help you make an informed decision. So if you're struggling to choose between these top players in the BI space, keep reading to learn more!"

What is Data ?

In computing, data is information that has been translated into a form that is efficient for movement or processing. Relative to today's computers and transmission media, data is information converted into binary digital form. It is acceptable for data to be used as a singular subject or a plural subject.

Importance of Data in Business :  

Data provides business leaders with real time intelligence to help them make more grounded market predictions in their space. Taking assumptions or gut feelings out of the equation, leaders can make lower-risk decisions based on facts, provided by the data.

Importance of Data Visualization :  

With growing data, it becomes more and more complex to study the patterns, get insights and make sense out of the huge data to make informed decisions. It is humanly impossible to look at vast data to come to a conclusion depending on the business need. This is where Data Visualization comes into picture. Data visualization is the practice of translating information into a visual context, such as a map or graph, to make data easier for the human brain to understand and pull insights from. The main goal of data visualization is to make it easier to identify patterns, trends and outliers in large data sets.

Visualizing the data enable decision-makers to interrelate the data to find better insights and reap the importance of data visualization, which are:

  • Analyzing data in a better way.
  • Faster decision making.
  • Making sense of complicated data.

We have different tools which help us sort and visualize data in  a way it's easier to convey what the data wants to tell us.  

Benefits of using Data Visualization tools :

Data visualization has the potential to solve many business issues. All businesses must incorporate data visualization tools and reap transformative benefits in their critical areas of operations.

  • Solves data inefficiencies and absorb vast amounts of data presented in visual formats.
  • Increases the speed of decision making.
  • Identifies errors and inaccuracies in data quickly.
  • Access real-time information and assist in management functions.
  • It promotes story telling and conveys the right message to the audience.
  • Explore business insights and achieve business goals in the right direction.
  • Stay on top of the game by discovering the latest trends.
  • Optimize and instantly retrieve data via tailor made reports.

Different Data Visualization tools :

There are various data visualization tools out there, but the most commonly used  

1. Power BI

Is 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. Your data might be an Excel spreadsheet, or a collection of cloud-based and on-premises hybrid data warehouses.


  • Power BI can do everything. You don’t need to buy and learn different tools to get the self-service BI job done.
  • Data modelling is the core language both IT and business teams need to come to terms with. Power BI can be the bridge.
  • You don’t need a data engineer that knows SQL to mash up and clean data from your different systems. Click-through actions on a ribbon make the magic happen.
  • You can connect Power BI to many data sources, and it also reads data from Microsoft Excel and text files like XML and JSON.
  • Power BI’s AI visualizations and capabilities are robust, empowering business analysts and data scientists to work collaboratively across the organization—including AutoML functions
  • Microsoft releases updates to Power BI every month, so you can always access the latest and greatest.
  • You can purchase Power BI Premium Features on a named license basis.


  • This thing can do everything! The many layers can get complicated for some users.
  • To make the most of Power BI’s advanced features, you must learn their calculation language called DAX.
  • Your organization must have good data modelling expertise to make the most of this tool (or get the implementation help you need!)
  • The more investment you have in Microsoft infrastructure, the easier it is to deploy Power BI.

2. Tableau

It helps users create different charts, graphs, maps, dashboards, and stories for visualizing and analysing data, to help in making business decisions. Tableau has a lot of unique, exciting features that make it one of the most popular tools in business intelligence (BI).


  • My god…the data visualizations are beautiful! You will get a thumbs-up from the design team.
  • The drag-n-drop functionalities are intuitive for creating interactive visualizations.
  • It has started to introduce the star schema, which is less complicated to pick up than the flat model that it previously relied on.
  • The software automatically detects which device a user is using and adjust the report for optimal viewing.
  • The AI-driven insights and statistical engine you get out-of-the-box are powerful.


  • Without a string IT Team of SQL Developers and a fast database, this software is dead in the water.
  • It relies on using separate tools and services to get the job done. Many organizations have to purchase expensive data movement/transformation tools like Alteryx to keep up with Tableau’s needs.
  • Has a very high budget.
  • Tableau’s strength is data visualization and less so a full-suite Business Intelligence platform, where governance and administration needs lead to added costs.

3. Looker

 Looker is a business intelligence software and big data analytics platform that helps you explore, analyze and share real- time business analytics easily.


  • You mean I don’t need to buy an expensive computer to do all my BI work? Yes, since Looker runs on the cloud, you can access your reports and make changes wherever you are (internet sold separately).
  • The analysts in my org already know SQL, so they can pick up this SQL-based tool quickly.
  • If you have already invested heavily in all cloud infrastructure, this platform makes a lot of sense.


  • The data visualizations are “meh,” and you need to do a lot of clicking and filtering.
  • I hope you love writing SQL and extensive code.
  • Not a lot of features included that you would expect from a BI tool.
  • Google recently bought this tool, and we are not sure what will happen next.

Feature Comparison between BI tools:

Feature Power BI Tableau Looker
Data Source Connectivity Power BI supports a lot of data
sources including flat files, SQL
based databases,OData, SAP BW,
SAP HANA, Azure Cloud Platform,
Blank query etc.
One of the strengths of Tableau is
its ability to connect to wider range
of data sources compared to Power BI
and Looker
Looker can connect to number of
data sources but one of the most
powerful features is its trusted data
model. It has its own proprietary
modelling language called LookML,
which is defined as a better way to
write SQL and define queries.
Data Volume Power BI can handle a maximum of
10 GB of data storage per user.
However, for large datasets we can
access it directly from the database
or cloud.
Tableau can handle billions of rows
of data as it has a columnar data
Looker queries created via the
Explore page will have a maximum
limit of 5,000 rows.
Implementation On-Prem and Cloud options available.
On-Prem and Cloud options available. Completely browser based.
Visualizations Power BI supports about 3500 data
points and also has a lot of
visualizations to choose from.
Tableau offers a wide range of
visualizations. The interface is very
intuitive to create charts and tables.
Looker provides extensive
visualization abilities with real-time
analysis. Users can also create
custom visualizations
Integration Power BI can seamlessly integrate
with Microsoft tools, and also has
API access to Salesforce, Google
Analytics etc.
Tableau has also invested a lot on
the integration side. You can integrate
with a number of third party tools.
Looker’s API integrates data with
many applications such as Google Docs,
Excel and a lot of third-party applications.
Looker Blocks feature streamlines
integration by offering pre-built code that
can be embedded into outside systems
with more ease
Querying Power BI has a natural language query
tool where you can ask questions like
“which are the top 5 products” or “what
is the sales trend for the previous year”
and get answers to this
Tableau doesn’t have a natural language
query like Power BI but you can do live
querying and extracts.
LookML is the language used to describe
dimensions, calculations, aggregations etc.
This is what makes the tool unique and

In conclusion, Power BI, Tableau, and Looker are all excellent business intelligence tools with their own unique strengths and weaknesses. By carefully evaluating each tool and considering your specific needs, you can choose the best solution for your organization and unlock the full potential of your data.

We hope you found our blog post informative. If you have any project inquiries or would like to discuss your data and analytics needs, please don't hesitate to contact us at We're here to help! Thank you for reading.
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