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10 Best Power BI Alternatives for Business Intelligence

February 21, 2024

Mile Zivkovic

Looking to replace Power BI as your business intelligence tool? Here are some excellent Power BI alternatives for businesses of all sizes.

One of the easiest ways to see the downfall of your business in 2024 is to neglect data. The typical modern business is drowning in data: about customers and their behavior, purchases, costs, and investments… And not using that data means potentially losing out on revenue, in the best-case scenario.

Microsoft Power BI is a household name in the world of business intelligence and data analytics. For decades, businesses (typically in the enterprise sector) have been using Power BI to collect, store, analyze, and visualize data.

Although powerful, it’s not perfect for every use case and nowadays, many capable competitors are coming for the throne. Today, we talk about the best Power BI alternatives.

Why look for Power BI alternatives?

Praised for its easy integration into the Microsoft ecosystem, great data connectivity, rich visualization options, and others, Power BI is one of the most capable BI tools in the market. But there is a reason why you’re looking for alternatives. For example…

The pricing: the problems are twofold. First of all, the pricing structure for this analytics tool is pretty complex and it can take a while to figure out how much you’ll pay per month. Also, if you have lots of data sources and users and a huge volume of data, it’s very expensive compared to the competition.

The steep learning curve: building dashboards in Power BI sounds like a piece of cake, but it can take weeks to get to this point if you don’t have experienced data analysts. You also need knowledge of the proprietary DAX (data analytics expressions) language. In short, you’ll have to learn a lot or hire a Power BI expert.

Limited data visualization capabilities: you get the basics such as charts and graphs, but if you need more customizations, this BI platform falls short compared to more modern competitors. You don’t have an intuitive drag-and-drop interface that comes with some tools we’ll mention below.

You’re dependent on the Microsoft ecosystem: business users who use apps that are not built by Microsoft will struggle with integrations and connectivity.

Speed and efficiency: when working with large data sets, this business intelligence platform is known to be clunky and it can take quite some time to load or refresh data. If you need real-time interactive dashboards, this can be a dealbreaker.

Online collaboration issues: while this is a cloud-based tool with great analytics capabilities, you still need to install a desktop app to create your dashboards, and publish them to the cloud service. For that reason, users can struggle when collaborating on the same data set or dashboard. Their collaboration and version control are not the greatest compared to some other tools we’ll mention.

The best Microsoft Power BI alternatives for business analytics

If your business needs require a tool that helps you make informed decisions from complex data, Microsoft’s Power BI leaves a lot to be desired. Here are some alternatives you should try.

Luzmo

Luzmo

There is one functionality where Power BI is exceptionally powerless - embedded analytics. Sure, you can use it for data analysis, data modeling and visualization, but embedding that dashboard in a SaaS app? Get ready for a wild ride and countless hours spent on the data integration.

Luzmo makes this process effortless - we’re built specifically for embedded data analytics in SaaS. Once you create an account, you can connect your data sources (through our powerful API, from a data warehouse or someplace else), pick a dashboard template, choose your visualizations and you’re ready to go.

We’re SaaS-first, which means a few things:

  • Multi-tenant access - you get to choose who sees which dashboards, with integration to any modern authentication systems you’re already using
  • Self-service options - you can let your users create their own dashboards, with custom metrics and visualizations
  • Customizable design - make your dashboards look and feel like a part of your app

Perhaps the best part is that, unlike Power BI, you don’t need to set aside weeks to set Luzmo up and get started. You won’t need more than a single developer on board to add Luzmo dashboards to your SaaS app in just a few hours. Your engineering team won’t hate you for taking up their time!

Some of the many benefits of using Luzmo for embedded analytics include:

  • Expansion revenue through your SaaS (by offering add-ons or upselling existing users to higher pricing plans)
  • Providing additional product value to existing users
  • Tapping into new markets
  • Enabling users to make data-driven decisions with your product
  • Faster time to value
  • And many others

Compared to building an embedded analytics setup from scratch, Luzmo is also cheaper to build and maintain.

If we have you convinced by now, grab a free trial and see what Luzmo can do for you!

Looker

looker

As we’ll talk about Looker Studio in a second, it’s important to mention that Looker and Looker Studio are two different products, both owned by Google. Looker is the more capable data analytics tool that allows business users to store, analyze, explore and visualize their data.

Looker requires a solid knowledge of SQL as a starting point, so you’ll need a developer or two to use this tool as a basis for your decision-making. It promises ease of use, but it’s far from it - you’re going to have to spend quite a bit of time figuring out how to build and embed a dashboard.

Speaking of which, this is NOT the tool for embedded analytics - as a weird combination of SSO access and charging money for each viewer means it’s complex and very cost-prohibitive for embedded use cases.

Looker viewers

Tableau

Tableau

In the world of business intelligence tools, the battle of Power BI and Tableau is like Coke against Pepsi. Both are enterprise-grade tools for businesses with hefty budgets and both come with a large variety of features you most likely will not use.

Launched in 2003 and acquired by Salesforce, Tableau is known for its amazing performance and the ability to handle millions of data rows with ease. It comes out of the box with a large number of data sources, such as SAP, PostgreSQL and Hadoop. You can use it on-premise as Tableau Server or online and collaborate with your team.

The problems? Much like Power BI, it’s pretty complex to set up and use. Unless you have a sizeable data analytics team, this will take a lot of time and cost a lot of money. So, while some consider it the best alternative to Power BI, it suffers from many of the same issues.

Sisense

Sisense

Sisense and Power BI are common adversaries. And while Power BI is more of a traditional BI tool, Sisense is more friendly towards SaaS startups and companies that need real-time data in their interactive reports. It’s noticeably easy to use and comes with a great set of visualization choices right out of the box.

In terms of embedded analytics, Sisense is everything that Power BI is not. Thanks to its Embed SDK, you can set detailed permissions for user groups and allow them to do self-service data exploration.

While the dashboard builder in this analytics platform is intuitive and easy to use, embedding those dashboards is not a walk in the park. In this department, Luzmo takes the cake.

Sisense feedback
Source

Holistics

holistics

Promising the best of Power BI without all the added fuss, Holistics is an interesting choice for teams that want something SQL-based and with git version control. Set up a code-based layer in Holistics where you define your main metrics and then allow your users to create and maintain their own dashboards without having to learn a language like DAX.

But as it usually happens, what you get with simplicity and ease of use, you pay later by having limited customization options. If you want to use it for embedded analytics in SaaS, you’re going to have to pay for each user who can view a dashboard.

This is not so much of a cost constraint as it is a hurdle for scalability. Speaking of costs, the available options on the website pricing page are intended for smaller teams with simple BI needs, so you’ll most likely have to reach out for a custom quote.

Coupler.io

coupler.io

If you’re looking for a no-code platform to turn business data into simple reports, Coupler.io is a solution. It allows you to gather, transform, automate your data, and create insightful custom reports. 

The cool thing is that the platform works both as a data integration and data visualization tool. You can pull data from 60+ sources and flow it into one place. Whether the destination is spreadsheets, warehouses, or tools like Tableau, Looker Studio, and even Power BI, you've got the whole picture of your business results within minutes. 

You can also enjoy a gallery of custom dashboards. Coupler.io provides marketing, finance, e-commerce, and sales report templates, which help visualize and analyze data and make growth-boosting decisions.

Metabase

metabase

If you need a no-code tool for business analytics that you can use without a massive team of developers, Metabase might be the right choice. It has an open-source version that you can use for free and paid licences are pretty cheap to get started.

For an embedded use case in SaaS, Metabase is one of the better choices as you can navigate user permissions quite easily, especially compared to Power BI.

On the flip side, the ease of use comes at a cost - there are not as many possibilities for customization compared to some Metabase alternatives. The tool can also be very slow when managing large data volumes. Some users say that you need some knowledge of SQL and that Metabase is not really as no-code as they claim to be.

Looker Studio (Google Data Studio)

looker studio

If you want to create a marketing dashboard that uses Google Analytics, Google Ads or Google Search Console as data sources, Power BI is probably overkill. Looker Studio is a cloud-based platform in the Google ecosystem that has a good range of free data connectors.

It’s the ideal tool for marketing teams and agencies that need to report on the performance of a website or their marketing activities. For anything more complex than that, it falls short. You’ll need paid connectors and third-party apps for just about everything.

Domo

Domo

If you’re after a BI tool that has everything in one place, Domo should be on your radar. Data warehouse, ETL, data visualization and real-time data monitoring. Its advanced analytics capabilities make it a solid choice for teams of all sizes and various industries. 

Domo
Source

However, as many users have said, Domo is after the enterprise sector, which is reflected in their pricing. When you add the fact that it’s difficult to use and will probably require a new hire or two, and that the data processing speed is pretty slow, it’s easy to see why Domo might not be the best Power BI alternative out there.

Qlik Sense

Qlik sense

Qlik Sense is like the concept of an open office. In theory, it sounds amazing. In practice, it’s clamor, confusion and being unable to work because someone two desks away is gossiping about their sister-in-law. Qlik Sense promises extreme ease of use with something called Stories.

You take snapshots of data at different points in time and in the end, compile Stories that are just that - data storytelling through dashboards. Promises of automation and drag-and-drop use cases go out the window as soon as you want to change something as simple as a dashboard widget.

Costs aside, even Power BI users say that navigating Qlik Sense is not for the faint of heart.

Wrapping up

By no means is Power BI a bad tool. If you use other Microsoft products and you need advanced data analytics with visualizations, it’s a solid choice - especially if you can afford it. But if you’re looking for a user-friendly interface, SaaS compatibility, and embedded analytics as well as varied visualization tools, it’s best to look elsewhere.

At Luzmo, we help SaaS businesses with embedded analytics - in just a few hours, even non-technical users can embed a dashboard in their SaaS app. Bring additional revenue for your SaaS and provide more value for your users, all at once.

Get a free demo today to learn more!

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