Top 10 Alternatives to Power BI:
Free and Paid (2022)

Written by co-founder Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist.

Power BI is one of the best business analytics platforms out there you can use.

However, it’s not what’s best for everyone.

With all its features and benefits, some of it isn’t what others are looking for.

Fortunately, there are lots of other BI tools you can use.

In this article, we’ll show you 10 alternatives to Power BI. Some of them are free while most are paid. Get to know each a little and see if there’s something you like.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Let’s get into it! 🔍

*This tutorial is for Power BI Online (also called "Power BI Service"). If you have Power BI Desktop, then click here and go to the online version.

1. Tableau

If you’re on the hunt for the best BI platform out there, try out Tableau. Launched in 2003, Tableau is known as the “gold standard” in data visualization.

When compared with Power BI, Tableau has a great edge in terms of data visualization which can be seen in areas like user-interface, data exploration, interactive visuals, deployment, and others.

Add to it the fact that Tableau’s community is massive with hosted conferences year-round. With this level of interaction with its audience, Tableau surely knows its users’ needs and wants.

Tableau has lots of products under its wings depending on the use — for individuals, teams and organizations, or embedded analytics.

With this much firepower, brace yourself for its price as Tableau costs as much as 7x that of Power BI.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Tableau

Platforms: Desktop, Mobile, Web
Pricing: Tableau Viewer at $12/user/month; Tableau Explorer at $35/user/month; and Tableau Creator at $70/user/month
Pros: Excel data visualization capabilities, easy to use, multiple data source connections, large community, mobile-friendly, high performance tool
Cons: High cost, security and embedment issues, poor sales support

2. Zoho Analytics

Zoho may be a familiar name to you as they’ve been a threat to Google ever since they started.

Complete with its own set of different tools and services, Zoho relaunched its BI tool as Zoho Analytics from its former name, Zoho Reports.

With a “Very Good” rating on most review sites, Zoho Analytics is easy to learn perfect for new BI users and analysts.

Unlike some of the BI tools listed here, Zoho offers flexible and competitive pricing plans. They even have a free plan that offers unlimited reports and dashboards with a limit on the number of usable rows.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Zoho Analytics

Platforms: Desktop, Mobile, Web
Pricing: Free with limitations on the number of usable rows; paid plans start at $22
Pros: Simple and easy to use, integration with Zoho Books, intuitive design, fast rollout, low cost
Cons: Short of some features, limitations on composed queries

3. Sisense

Sisense is one of the top BI tools in the market with lots of rewards like the “Best Business Intelligence Software 2019 Award” given by Finances Online.

In addition, Sisense is being used by lots of companies from startups to Fortune 500 including Sony, ESPN, Comcast, NASDAQ, and others.

Sisense is also the first tool to offer a “full-stack” start-to-finish solution from an integrated database to analytics and visualization tools.

One of the reasons why big companies love Sisense is its ElastiCube interface which lets it connect with any data source through complex data mashups.

Unfortunately, Sisense doesn’t publish its pricing plans on its website anymore. But a recent evaluator from Yurbi conveyed that the starting price for 5 users is $21,000.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Sisense

Platforms: Desktop, Mobile, Web
Pricing: Custom pricing
Pros: Perfect for large datasets, Elasticube interface, customizable on multiple user levels
Cons: Heavy application, limited customer support, absence of powerful scheduled reports

4. Qlik Sense

Qlik’s self-service discovery and visualization feature

Qlik Sense (and its lesser version, Qlik View) is a data analytics platform with an associative analytics engine designed for everyone — executives, managers, decision-makers, analysts, etc.

For 9 years, Qlik retained its spot as a leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for analytics and business intelligence.

Dashboard in Qlik

Qlik has a so-called “Associative Data Indexing Engine” which helps you consolidate your data, take a deep analysis, and give you insights so you can make better business decisions.

With Qlik, you’ll also see data that are usually not reported or shown in some query-based tools. Combine this with AI-powered insight suggestions and automation and you’ll surely make fresh discoveries as well as unexpected insights.

Qlik is a great tool for any use case and users at all skill levels. Fortunately, Qlik doesn’t cost as much as the other BI tools listed here.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Qlik Sense

Platforms: Desktop, Mobile, Web
Pricing: Business plan starts at $30/user/month; Enterprise are on $70/user/month for “Professional” and $40/user/month for “Analyzer”
Pros: Great for an enterprise ecosystem, easy to use data integration and linking, good scalability and flexibility, robust APIs
Cons: Badly designed email reporting, not for technical use, some issues in loading data

5. IBM Cognos

IBM has been with us ever since 1928 so it’s unsurprising to see their BI tool entry on the list.

IBM Cognos Analytics has your back on the entire analytics cycle — from discovery to predictive analysis.

One of the best features of IBM Cognos is its AI-assisted data preparation. With this, you’re able to collect your data from different data sources and then clean and combine them into one.

And because we know that IBM makes computers, you can take into heart their promise of data protection where you can control who has access to your sensitive information.

IBM makes it easier for startups to invest in Cognos because of flexible pricing. Plus, there’s IBM Financing where you can get a loan and delay payments.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

IBM Cognos

Platforms: Desktop, Mobile, Web
Pricing: Starts at $15/user/month
Pros: Great integration with databases, ability to combine multiple queries in one report, high reliability
Cons: Harder than average to use, data reports takes more time to compile, errors are hard to understand and resolve

6. SAS Business Intelligence

Reports in SAS BI

SAS has been in the analytics industry for more than 40 years. As of 2018 Fortune Global, 92 of the top 100 companies are using SAS.

SAS came from “Statistical Analysis System” which was a program that resulted from the absence of computerized statistics program to analyze large amounts of agricultural data in 1966.

Diagrams in SAS BI

As for their tool, SAS BI could take care of your BI needs like visual data exploration, easy analytics, interactive reporting and dashboards, and collaboration.

Behind the scenes, SAS has algorithms that would help you detect significant and relevant data complete with visualizations to help you assess the findings.

In terms of pricing, you have to contact them to get more detailed pricing information. Since they reply to queries, it’s no secret that pricing starts at $9,000/year/users.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

SAS Business Intelligence

Platforms: Desktop, Mobile, Web
Pricing: Starts at $9,000/year/user
Pros: Easy to learn and debug, dependable algorithms, great customer support
Cons: High cost, needs improvement on its analytics features, troublesome text mining

7. Infor Birst

Sales metrics dashboard in Infor Birst

Infor Birst is another reliable business intelligence and analytics tool designed to cater to your querying and end-user data visualization needs.

One of the things that Birtst does best is managing raw data and convert it using the ETL (Extract, Transform, and Load) process. The data will then be ready for deep analysis and reporting.

With Birst, it’s also possible for you to establish real-time connections to different databases or model your data directly on the tool itself.

Lots of Birst users applaud the app’s design that follows the Kimball methodology for dimensional modeling which makes the dimensional modeling easier to understand.

Unfortunately, there’s no information about their pricing. You’ll have to contact them directly to get a price quote. Before investing in it, it’s always best to get a free trial first.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Infor Birst

Platforms: Desktop, Mobile, Web
Pricing: Custom pricing
Pros: Great data refinement feature on extracted data, updates regularly, easy to use and flexible user interface
Cons: Admin tool and design needs improvement, a bit of a learning curve, slower than average speed in terms of accessing data on live reports

8. Chartio

Chartio is a powerful analytics tool that empowers everyone to explore and discover their own insights.

Lots of popular companies like Trustpilot, Squarespace, Udemy, Prezi, and others are among Chartio’s customers. Also, Chartio is a world leader for self-service BI with lots of rewards from companies like G2, one of the world’s largest tech marketplace.

Chartio’s Visual SQL in Interactive Mode

Chartio is perfect for first-time BI tool users as the tool is easy to use, navigate, and learn. Nothing could be easier than a drag-and-drop navigation interface, is there?

You can use Chartio with or without data warehouse storage. The tool itself allows you to switch storage as much as you need. This makes process automation easier without manually planning the reports.

Compared with other tools on the list, Chartio costs a bit lower with a 14-day trial period. However, Chartio still costs more than Power BI’s Pro Plan.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Chartio

Platforms: Desktop, Mobile, Web
Pricing: Custom pricing
Pros: Nice query builder, easy to set up and use, excellent customer service
Cons: Sharing feature can be improved, creation is easy but customization is a different story

9. Microsoft Excel

New charts and graphs in Microsoft Excel

Surprised to find Excel in here? It’s only natural to include Microsoft Excel here. After all, Power BI was inspired by Excel.

Also, Excel has some of the components of Power BI like:

  • Power Map (for immersive 3D geospatial maps)
  • Power Pivot (for creating memory tabular data)
  • Power View (for graphs and charts creation)
Turning data into insights in Excel

All that power means Excel could also be a BI tool. With more than 400 functions, Excel is great for quick computations and analysis.

Aside from BI functions, Excel is kind of an all-around spreadsheet tool that offers you more freedom over what you can do than your usual BI tool.

Unfortunately, though Excel has advanced plotting and charting features, it’s nowhere near the quality of visuals you see on BI tools like Power BI.

However, compared to Power BI, Excel fails in collaboration. So you would have to take that into account too.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Microsoft Excel

Platforms: Desktop, Mobile, Web
Pricing: $8.25/month/user for the whole Office 365 or $129.99 for Excel alone
Pros: Great for ad-hoc computations and analysis, all-around tool, has more sophisticated graphs and charts
Cons: Fails at collaboration, visuals are not interactive (and not as stunning as in Power BI)

10. Looker

Exploring visualization in Looker

Though placed last, Looker isn’t any bit of a “least” compared to any in this list. Looker is one of the most popular BI products out there and is preferred by more than 700 companies worldwide.

Among the awards received by Looker include “Industry Excellency Award”, “2019 Top 50 Fastest-Growing Products”, “G2 Crowd Leader”, and even “Award for Solution Innovation” given by Google Cloud Platform.

Looker has robust features with great data exploration capability. It’s also easy to use with a web-based interface where you can do your reports and share them with your organization.

Also, Looker can analyze both web-hosted and SQL information. You can also design visuals through code and make them more complex.

Though Looker doesn’t post its pricing plans, they do reply to inquiries. Most likely, their price would range from $3,000 to $5,000/month for 10 users.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Chartio

Platforms: Desktop, Web
Pricing: Custom pricing
Pros: Great SQL modeling feature, easy to use and deploy, amazing customer service
Cons: Not too flexible in sharing with 3rd-party users, needs more technical ability to use all features to the fullest

Conclusion

Power BI is great if your team is already on the Microsoft ecosystem using tools and apps under its wings. At the same time, there are lots of alternatives out there you can try ranging from free to expensive and basic to advanced.

What’s important, however, is that you know what you need — functionality, collaboration, and amount of data. Consider these when selecting your BI tool.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto