9 Power BI Alternatives

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Discover the power of business intelligence software, including Power BI, and the alternative business intelligence tools you might use in its place.

[Featured Image] A group of data scientists holding tablets meet to discuss which Power BI alternatives they may use on a new project.

As companies collect an increasing amount of data, the difficulty of analyzing and understanding how it impacts their businesses also grows. The vast amount of available data allows companies to gain an edge over their top competitors, but to leverage the benefits, they must know how to handle the data.

Business intelligence software, such as Microsoft Power BI, mitigates this complication by allowing you to analyze your data sources while generating insightful visualizations from your data. Power BI offers an intuitive platform to connect various data sets and perform analysis to create impactful insights. Although Power BI is a popular option and one of the top business intelligence software tools available today, alternatives exist to suit various needs.

Explore Power BI, including its key features and uses, and then discover some alternatives to Power BI and how they compare to find the best software for your requirements.  

What is Power BI?

Microsoft Power BI is a business intelligence software tool that lets you connect multiple data sources to create interactive and informative insights. In general, business intelligence (BI) refers to tools or software that handle data from your business and give you the functionality to generate clean and presentable visualizations such as graphs or dashboards. A key benefit of business intelligence software is its ability to wrangle various data sources, even semi-structured or unstructured, such as social media, and provide a platform to analyze these data sets.

Power BI effectively provides these key functionalities and enables your team to extract meaningful insights about your data from unrelated sources. The three basic components available within Power BI are:

  • Power BI Desktop: The Windows application of Power BI available on your desktop

  • Power BI service: A software as a service (SaaS) application and software available online

  • Power BI mobile apps: Mobile applications from Power BI available on Apple iOS, Android, and Windows

With these three vital elements of Power BI, you can build, edit, and share your insights using dashboards, reports, and visualizations. Power BI also lets you store your data sets and visualizations on your servers.

Features of Power BI

Beyond combining multiple data sets and building visualizations to add to dashboards, Power BI has additional features to explore. You can use the filtration feature, a part of Power Query within Power BI, to filter your information to the exact data you want to showcase, which you can then present on a page, as a report, or in a visual format. Another valuable feature of Power BI is that it automatically refreshes your data sets with new information while updating your dashboards, meaning your insightful charts and graphs have the most recent information.

Power BI has pros and cons, including not requiring coding knowledge but being slow to load large data sets, which you should consider when selecting business intelligence software.

Some of the relevant pros of Power BI include:

  • Intuitive and does not require in-depth coding or programming knowledge

  • Inexpensive compared to other alternatives

  • Allows you and your organization to improve your business intelligence

  • Features the ability to integrate with Microsoft applications, as well as third-party apps

  • Allows you to see the historical changes made to your data sets

  • Provides users of other Microsoft software a recognizable layout and format

The cons of Power BI as a business intelligence software include:

  • More extensive data sets may take a long time to load

  • Large variety of options and features, which makes it hard to master 

  • Difficulties with handling mass amounts of data at once

  • Hard to understand which feature of Power BI to use for your purposes

What is Power BI used for?

The uses of Power BI—from checking sales quotas to creating visuals—vary depending on your type of role and your goals for using the software. For example, key decision-makers may seek to access Power BI to view only a completed dashboard. At the same time, an analyst may need to work with the data to create a report on Power BI Desktop. Three of the top uses of Power BI include the following:


Dashboards allow you to showcase insights and answer why your data sets are essential to drive business decisions. Configured on one page, dashboards allow you to combine multiple graphs or charts you have built into one view, telling a story with your findings and presenting impactful metrics to your team.


Since Power BI comes from Microsoft, you can easily integrate your work with various other Microsoft applications such as Excel, Teams, or PowerPoint with only a few clicks. Another critical integration option is Power Automate, a relatively new feature released in 2021 that helps automate and optimize business processes. Beyond other Microsoft products, Power BI can also integrate with on-premise applications you use and third-party cloud services.

Power Query

Since Power BI commonly handles large sets of diverse data, being able to run queries on this data is vital. Power Query gives you the ability, through the Power Query Editor, to transform, edit, and cleanse your various sources of data before working with them in Power BI to create visualizations. The design allows beginners to find insights into their data through its Q&A functionality.

9 Power BI alternatives

Depending on the attributes you are looking for in a potential business intelligence software, such as integration options or capabilities, various alternatives exist to Power BI. Exploring similar products allows you to determine the right choice for your situation. Below are descriptions of nine of the top Power BI alternatives available today.

1. Salesforce Tableau

Tableau features many key functionalities behind modern business intelligence software, such as transforming data sets, creating visualizations, and building dashboards to showcase critical insights to drive business decisions. Tableau emphasizes making its product user-friendly to enable professionals at all levels to gain insights from their data. Additionally, regarding simplicity, Tableau utilizes a drag-and-drop feature to make creating visualizations intuitive for all users.

Pricing: In addition to the free version of Tableau, the basic license costs $15 per month for each user [1].

2. Qlik Sense

Qlik allows you to work with your data on its associative engine throughout your company, on personal devices, in your applications, or even within the cloud. Qlik’s business intelligence software, Qlik Sense Enterprise, provides self-service data visualization while featuring guided and embedded analytics to help you accomplish any business case you need to. A few of Qlik Sense’s additional features include AI insights and options for sharing your insights throughout your organization.

Pricing: The standard monthly fee is $825 per month for each user, with a 10-user minimum [2].

3. IBM Cognos Analytics

The IBM Cognos Analytics business intelligence offering combines many of the features you need, including reporting, dashboards, and modeling, into one product. A few of the advanced features include AI to optimize your data, automated tools to identify trends, data protection functionality, and options to share your visualizations through email, the mobile app, or Slack.

Pricing: The standard plan option is $10.60 per monthly user [3].

4. SAP BusinessObjects BI suite

SAP BusinessObjects BI suite is a centralized tool and analytics platform offering enhanced user autonomy, real-time functionality, and the ability to scale your user base efficiently. This software features a robust reporting analytics offering, providing you with ad-hoc reporting capabilities and an enterprise reporting system. It also has a role-based dashboard feature that enables you to customize what information different users receive and when.

Pricing: Pricing information is only available after requesting a quote.

5. AWS QuickSight

AWS QuickSight allows you to use natural language queries to create visualizations and reports, which you can share throughout your business. It can also generate executive summaries for your data, enabling you to grasp its contents and critical insights. You also can build and share paginated reports with other users.

Pricing: The basic package without an annual commitment is $24 per month for each “Author,” someone who can access all the program’s features, while each “Reader” costs $3 per user per month [4].

6. MicroStrategy

MicroStrategy utilizes AI to improve user experience (UX) and elevate your audience's engagement. Its emphasis on UX is a key differentiating factor for MicroStrategy from its alternatives. Microstrategy also has cloud-native technologies, containerization features, and an AI chatbot named “Auto” to help you conduct business intelligence analysis.

Pricing: You must request pricing information from MicroStrategy.

7. Datawrapper

Datawrapper enables you to create advanced visualizations from your data sets, such as charts, tables, and maps. It also focuses on being user-friendly, featuring a simple process to upload your data and begin generating visualizations. Additional key features include live updating, no limit on the number of visualizations you can create, multiple export options, and the ability to customize your style through a set theme.

Pricing: In addition to the free version, the next package costs $599 monthly and includes 10 user licenses [5].

8. Google Charts

Like Datawrapper, Google Charts focuses on creating data visualizations within business intelligence. Google Charts features a robust gallery of charts and graphs to choose from to begin your visualization creation, an extensive list of customization options, interactive dashboards, and the ability to update your data in real-time.

Pricing: Free.

9. Zoho Analytics

As a business intelligence software, Zoho Analytics is easy to learn. It offers a free option if you seek a business intelligence tool to try or use as an entrepreneur. Within Zoho, you can access many cool features, such as artificial intelligence (AI), predictive analytics, and the ability to create as many reports as you need without a limit.

Pricing: Beyond the free introductory plan, the base plan for Zoho Analytics is $24 per month for two users [6].

Getting started on Coursera

Power BI and its alternatives provide valuable functions, including the improved ability to analyze data, create data-based visualizations, and perform analysis to derive essential insights from that data. To learn more about Power BI and other alternative business intelligence tools, consider completing a course or receiving a relevant Professional Certificate. For example, if you already have some experience in business intelligence, consider the Google Business Intelligence Professional Certificate on Coursera. This advanced-level program focuses on in-demand skills such as data modeling, visualization, and dashboarding.

If you’re relatively new to business intelligence software, check out a course like Data Visualization and Dashboards with Excel and Cognos, offered by IBM, which is also on Coursera. This beginner-friendly course breaks down how to create charts and graphs while explaining the importance of using visual aids to share the insights you gained from studying data.

Article sources


Tableau. “Buy Tableau, https://buy.tableau.com/en-us/.” Accessed May 30, 2023. 

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