Tableau + Power BI

Tableau and Power BI are both great BI tools and you normally get to play with one of them as no company will spend money to get both. But for those of you who use Tableau and have Excel 2010, you should consider bringing some of family members of Power BI into your set of tools. Let me tell you why.

First of all, Power Query and Power Pivot are both free add-ins for Excel 2010 and they are the best gifts from Microsoft, these is no reason not to install them. Secondly, If you use Tableau for reporting, you know Tableau likes flat file and you will try everything to create the flat file. Creating a Tableau extract or connecting live to a database and use SQL joins to bring multiple tables together are the ways you can do just that. But what happens if the data you need reside in different database? Ask your IT to link one as linked server so you can join tables from these 2 database to create a flat file or ask your IT to do it for you? When you work for a big organisation, that’s something will take long time to happen or not at all. So what do you do then? As data geek we never give up, Power BI comes to the rescue. As seen below graph, I successfully used Power Query ( one member of Power BI family which is made up of PowerPivot, Power Query, Power View/Power Map) to create one data extract using data from 2 different databases and 1 Excel file.

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What happens next is you could suck the new data file into Tableau and done with it or you can load the data file into Power Pivot and then use Tableau to connect to your Power Pivot to visualise the data. As we know Tableau’s visualisation capability is way better than Power BI at the moment. But It’s much easier to get the numbers using Power Pivot. Like I said in my first post, getting the right number and how easy to get them is more critical. Since you have both tools at your disposal, why not get the most out of them. I have take the second approach. PowerPivot’s DAX formula and time intelligence functions and doing fantastic jobs to get the numbers I need, then I use Tableau for visualisation. See below cool tree map generated by Tableau. (the bigger the square, the higher the sales value).

Let’s applause for the real power brought to you by the combination of both tools. Happy analysing!

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