In a world where Big Data is the greatest source of information for an organisation, the need for effective data visualisation has become all-important. Organisations tend to look to data visualisation tools to improve their Business Intelligence (BI) and efficiency, and two of the most prevalent data visualisation tools right now are Google Data Studio and Tableau. Due to their popularity amongst other BI tools, many people often enquire about a detailed comparison of Google Data Studio vs Tableau.
According to EnLyft, Tableau has a market spread of 16.23% in the Business Intelligence domain – as over 45,000 companies use the tool. This blog will provide a detailed comparison of Google Data Studio vs Tableau and tell you all you need to know about the two BI tools.
Table of Contents
1) A Brief Introduction to Google Data Studio and Tableau
2) What are the differences between Google Data Studio and Tableau?
a) Feature Comparison
b) Comparing Data Visualisation
c) Functionality Comparison
d) Security Comparison
e) Usability and Support Comparison
f) Pricing Comparison
3) Which of Google Data Studio and Tableau is better for your business?
a) Web vs Desktop
c) Types of visualisations
d) Connectivity to other programs
A Brief Introduction to Google Data Studio and Tableau
Before we delve deeper into comparing the two tools, we will first define both tools. Google Data Studio (GDS) is an open-source, cloud-based data reporting tool characterised by a user-friendly design that makes it easy to create customised dashboards and reports.
Since it is a Google tool, it provides complete support for most Google products such as Google Analytics, Firebase and Google BigQuery. Additionally, it also supports popular on-premises data sources such as MySQL.
On the other hand, Tableau began as a desktop application but has since expanded itself into a cloud-based hosted resource as well. Tableau helps create customised dashboards and helps conduct exploratory data analysis. It also provides connectors for many data sources such as Microsoft Excel, SQL Server, Google BigQuery, SAP HANA, Snowflake, Salesforce, Splunk and Amazon Redshift – supporting live connections for most of them. Additionally, Tableau also supports data transformation with the help of its built-in module called Tableau Prep.
Both tools are packed with data analytics features and business intelligence capabilities that aid organisations in gaining insights and innovate. As businesses focus on digital transformation, the ability to mine data for knowledge and guidance is integral.
Both Google Data Studio and Tableau offer attractive dashboards with rich graphics and are adept at manipulating and processing data. However, there are several significant differences between these tools. Evaluating the pros and cons of both tools according to your specific budget and requirements is essential, and hence you need to be well-informed about them.
Unlock the power of data visualisation with our Tableau Desktop Training course and take your Business Intelligence reporting to the next level.
What are the differences between Google Data Studio and Tableau?
This part of the blog delves deeper into a detailed comparison between Google Data Studio and Tableau based on several relevant parameters.
I Unsurprisingly, Google Data Studio works the best with Google software, its tools and systems, including BigQuery, Google Analytics and Firebase. The native support for many of its data formats is what makes Google Data Studio the logical choice for organisations that rely on Google Cloud and other Google apps. Integrations are simple and work effectively.
However, using the tool to integrate with other software and tools can sometimes present challenges. Over-reliance on third-party connectors and integration tools, sometimes available at an additional cost, is one such challenge. For example, the platform does not natively support Microsoft Excel files. Importing these files requires additional steps and manipulation, including converting the files to a Google Sheet or CSV file.
Google Data Cloud does not always integrate well with other vendors’ cloud data. Importing this data into Google Data Studio may require additional steps or software. However, the platform integrates with upwards of 150 cloud SQL, e-commerce and digital advertising platforms.
It is no accident that Tableau has emerged as one of the leading data analytics solutions in the world right now. The data analytics tool connects to various data sources, including Microsoft Excel, Google BigQuery, SQL Server, SAP HANA, Salesforce, Snowflake, Splunk and Amazon Redshift.
Additionally, Tableau is equally adept at taking data from all the major players in the cloud-based data storage space, such as Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox and Box. Tableau also seamlessly integrates with Slack and has a variety of other connectors meant for data science, business applications and other purposes. Tableau is designed to store large volumes of data, and its versatility is one of its major advantages.
Comparing Data Visualisation
Google Data Studio’s TBI and Data Visualisation solution is adept at producing visualisations such as attractive charts, graphics, heat maps, bullet charts, pie charts etc. It offers dashboards that tie together various data sources and streams, usually from Google applications or online advertising data sources. This trait makes it ideal for viewing business metrics that are more digitally focused, including ad spend, site traffic, and search rankings.
GDS also allows users to customise their dashboards by adding logos, icons and other properties. GDS also delivers features that make it simpler to view changes over time. However, the solution requires an internet connection and supports about 50 functions – much less than Tableau.
On the other hand, Tableau’s data visualisation platform has emerged as the market leader for a concrete reason – it transforms data into attractive and useful charts, infographics, heat maps, cluster maps and more. The platform is designed for data scientists and casual businessmen and makes it possible to create, modify and adapt visuals to any need, context or situation.
Tableau includes powerful interactive visual exploration, analysis and dashboard tools. However, its visualisation features come at a price – the platform is complex. Tableau is much more of a steep learning curve than GDS and is best suited for large organisations with more sophisticated needs and staff dedicated to creating visuals.
A huge advantage of Google Data Studio is that it delivers an easy and clean interface that is relatively simple. Its disadvantage is that the platform does not accommodate the highly complex functionality, interactivity and reporting ability that Tableau provides. Nonetheless, GDS is a flexible and powerful BI tool.
The cloud-based solution is not only fast and efficient, but it also includes excellent automation features such as scheduled updates and reporting. It also allows limited customisation for those who do not mind working with code. Finally, as GDS resides in the cloud, Google keeps updating the solution and adds new features constantly.
On the other hand, the Tableau platform offers five different versions: Tableau Desktop, used to create and edit reports; Tableau Public which allows users to share visualisations; Tableau Server, which is an external sharing tool; Tableau Online, a cloud version of the software; and Tableau Reader, which lets anyone view a visualisation or report.Tableau delivers features like fast data processing, supports many concurrent users and consumes minimal system resources. Tableau also offers an array of advanced features and functionalities, which includes data cleansing capabilities and native connectivity with a range of databases, cloud resources, CRM systems and file types. This makes it much easier to ingest data and export files. The solution works without an Internet connection, so it is ideal for those travelling or working offline. Tableau also provides stronger and better collaboration options than Google Data Studio
The security controls within Google Data Studio include password-enabled sharing options for visualisations and reports. It also supports Secure APIs for data connections. However, as the solution operates in a public Cloud, anyone accessing the space can view and download data. Likewise, the public Cloud framework limits privacy options and controls.
On the other hand, the Tableau BI tool offers broader and deeper security controls than Google Data Studio. This includes multi-factor authentication and granular Row Level Security. Yet, it is the way that an organisation uses Tableau that matters most. For instance, those who share workbooks and visualisations in Tableau Public Cloud have fewer controls. Anyone in the Cloud can view and download reports and data, and the platform also offers stronger privacy controls.
Usability and Support Comparison
Installing Google Data Studio is extremely simple. It is a simple download followed by logging in to the Google account. This attribute of GDS makes it ideal for professionals seeking fast, efficient and robust visualisations without much work. Using this BI tool is relatively simple, though it has some size and flexibility limitations.
Those that use other Google products like Google Docs will find the interface and settings familiar. Google Data Studio has a large online community that provides a concrete knowledge base with videos and other tools. However, its most significant limitations are the lack of phone or live support for GDS.
While the Tableau solution provides unsurpassed capabilities, it comes at a cost. The learning curve for Tableau is much steeper than it is for GDS. There is a typical need for training to use a more advanced level of functionality. Fortunately, Tableau has a massive online community offering substantial online resources – including a knowledge base to assist in using its products.
The vendor’s support options include standard support (available from 8 am to 5 pm), which is included in a subscription purchase, extended 24x7 support including weekends, and premium support which provides extended availability and prioritised service from a senior support team.
A huge advantage that Google Data Studio has over Tableau is pricing. GDS is free of cost and can be accessed with just a Google account. On the contrary, Tableau can range from affordable to expensive, depending on your specific BI requirements. Tableau’s tiered pricing model consists of a free version known as Tableau Public that provides limited storage and privacy options. A fully featured Tableau Creator, which can run in the Cloud or on-premises, costs around £56 per month and is billed annually. This includes the desktop software and Tableau Prep Builder to generate visualisations.
Tableau Explorer, which includes a singular Tableau Server License, costs around £28 per month on-premises and around £35 per month (billed annually). Tableau Viewer, a functionality that allows users to view visualisations, costs about £10 per license (billed annually). The bottom line of this pricing comparison is that the Tableau solution is more expensive when compared to that of Google Data Studio. The typical license cost is approximately £650 to £965.
Which of Google Data Studio and Tableau is better for your business?
Both Google Data Studio and Tableau are known to deliver robust visualisations through their reports, dashboards and other tools. Google Data Studio is the logical and fitting solution if you are limited on budget and have limited BI requirements. It offers the additional advantage of providing a user-friendly and convenient graphic user interface.
On the contrary, if your organisation has more complex requirements and needs to manage broader and more varied data sets, Tableau is more likely to be the solution you need. Tableau can tackle nearly any BI issue and data analytics requirement, includes built-in solid security controls, and makes sharing attractive visualisations simple. Here are a few parameters you need to consider when determining the BI tool you will use for your business.
Web vs Desktop
When considering which tool to use for your organisation, you must consider where you will use it. While Tableau is primarily meant to be used on a desktop, Google Data Studio can operate on the web. If you have a strong data connection, GDS is the tool for you – while Tableau will suit your needs much better if you do not want to rely on an internet connection.
You must consider your budget while evaluating which data visualisation tool you want to use for your organisation. While Tableau has multiple pricing packages depending on which version you are looking for, GDS is free of cost. If you already use Google Analytics, you are guaranteed free access to GDS, making it a cost-effective option in case of tight budgets.
Types of visualisations
When choosing your data visualisation tool, you need to consider the types of visualisations each tool enables you to create. Tableau is a more developed tool than GDS, so it offers users far more visualisation options. GDS focuses on basic visualisations like pie and bar charts and therefore is an effective option to keep your visualisations simple. However, Tableau helps you incorporate greater detail and generates more complex visualisations.
Connectivity to other programs
Another factor you should consider before choosing your data visualisation tool is its connectivity to other programs. While Tableau is more limited in connections to other programs, GDS is much more flexible and enables you to connect to programs such as Google Ads, which you cannot do with Tableau. Hence, if you want your data visualisation tool to be flexible and integrable with other tools, GDS is your most logical choice.
Google Data Studio and Tableau are known as two of the most prevalent data visualisations in the market right now. While both have advantages and disadvantages, it is up to you to analyse their differences and determine which tool best suits your specific needs and requirements. We hope this blog gave you all the insights into the detailed comparison of Google Data Studio vs Tableau.
Master the art of business intelligence reporting with our Business Intelligence Reporting courses and unleash the full potential of your data!