Quicksight vs Tableau: Which is Better for SaaS Data Visualization?

July 11, 2023

Mieke Houbrechts

Which data visualization tool is better for embedding in a SaaS platform? Read our Quicksight vs Tableau comparison to find out.

Today, SaaS products need to have a wide variety of features to stay afloat. Customers take an intuitive user experience and onboarding for granted. Luckily there are many exclusive features you can add to make your app sticky. One of those is an analytics dashboard.

You could build this feature on your own or use off-the-shelf software. Today, we’re going to focus on the second option and compare two popular BI tools: Amazon Quicksight and Tableau.

Which one is best for embedded analytics? Let the showdown begin.

Why embedded business intelligence matters for SaaS

Embedded business intelligence is the process of adding self-service BI, like creating and viewing interactive visualizations, into other SaaS apps and web platforms. That way, SaaS products can give their customers more power to analyze data without having to leave their application.

With these data-driven insights, customers can make confident decisions quickly, directly inside your application. With this value-adding feature, you’ll see higher customer satisfaction rates and lower churn. And even more, beautiful and engaging dashboards on your website’s homepage can help attract and convert new customers. 

There’s no doubt that Amazon Quicksight and Tableau are both great tools for building interactive dashboards. But are they equally good at bringing that functionality into other SaaS apps? Let’s find out.

Tableau - pros and cons

Tableau - a Salesforce product - is an end-to-end business intelligence platform, handling anything from data preparation to data modeling and data visualization. Similar to Microsoft’s PowerBI, Tableau is popular among data scientists for data analysis and informed decision-making.

Let’s look at some of the benefits and downsides of Tableau.

Example of Tableau embedded in retail platform

On the positive side, Tableau is one of the most versatile business intelligence tools, known for its connectivity and wide range of visualizations. With its many connectors, you can hook up anything from Excel files to popular data sources like MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL and more.

Tableau has a great variety of chart types. Next to the common pie and bar charts, it has more exotic charts like Gantt charts or boxplots. Besides data visualization, Tableau also handles simple data management tasks. It has a lightweight ETL feature that lets you do data transformation directly in Tableau. 

The massive potential of this tool is unfortunately both a blessing and a curse. With so many options, Tableau has a steep learning curve. Unless you’re an experienced data scientist, it will take time to get up and running. And that’s something most SaaS companies - especially startups - don’t have.

With two versions - Tableau desktop for on-premise and Tableau server for hosting online - switching between one and the other is bothersome. And if you want to do embedding, it gets even more complex. Users on G2 say embedding with Tableau is not user-friendly and leaves something to be desired.

G2 review of a user who says embedding Tableau is difficult

In short, this Tableau user puts it together accurately: “Works well for internal BI usage, not for embedded analytics.”

Amazon Quicksight - pros and cons

Amazon Quicksight is AWS’s cloud platform for business intelligence. With native machine learning and natural language queries, they take a clear position as innovators in a market dominated by traditional BI tools like Tableau.

Example of Amazon Quicksight embedded into a web platform

On the bright side, AWS’s Quicksight is praised for its speed. It handles huge datasets really well thanks to its cutting-edge data engine. It connects to many data sources, with easy connections to AWS services like Redshift or Athena.

According to users, Quicksight is relatively easy to use and easy to set up. It’s adaptable and portable - meaning it works well on multiple devices and browsers. Because it’s speedy and adaptable, it is great for scaling to a large user base. This makes it a better choice for embedded analytics than tools like Tableau.

On the downside, Amazon Quicksight is underwhelming in its visualization possibilities. Things like Gantt charts, candlestick, or high-low comparative charts aren’t available. Their charts and graphs are also very restricted in customizations and formatting. So if you want to embed dashboards that seamlessly match your platform’s distinctive style, you will end up disappointed.

G2 user review talking about the lack of customization and good UX in Amazon Quicksight

Although users find the analytics tools easy to set up, the embedding experience leaves something to be desired. Some users point out that the user interface is unintuitive at times. When it comes to user permissions, the options for multi-tenant security are not always clear. And to build real-time dashboards, you may need a few workarounds.

Quicksight review about embedded analytics

Tableau vs Quicksight - pricing

Tableau’s pricing for internal reporting is transparent and easy to understand. Unfortunately, the same doesn’t hold true for Tableau embedded. They have a dedicated pricing page for embedded analytics, but how much you will pay is nowhere to be found. Your only option to find out is to contact the sales team for a quote.

Your costs will depend on many factors, like the number of users, hardware and deployment requirements. What that means exactly is unclear from their website.

On the opposite end, Quicksight embedded is much more transparent about its pricing model. Yet, you’ll need some good math and predictive analytics skills to make a meaningful estimate. They charge different fees for dashboard authors, readers, and capacity, which are explained in detail on their pricing page.

Unless you know exactly how many team members will be creating dashboards, how many customers will use your embedded dashboards, and how often they will check them, you won’t get much further than a rough estimate. For exact Quicksight pricing, you’ll pretty much be groping in the dark.

Which is the better data visualization tool for SaaS?

For embedding dashboards into a software application, Quicksight is the better option. Its relative ease of use and its capacity to handle large datasets makes it more suitable for scaling analytics to many users.

If you’re looking for something more robust, with more visualization options and advanced capabilities like forecasting, we would recommend Tableau. It is, however, better suited for ad hoc reporting, as you’ll probably struggle when you get to the embedding part.

If you don’t want to compromise on ease of use, or on rich visualization options, there is a third tool to consider. Built purposely for embedding into a SaaS platform.

The better alternative to AWS Quicksight and Tableau

If you’re looking for a tool that combines the ease of use of Quicksight, and the robust analytical features of Tableau, look no further. Luzmo’s cloud-based platform was built for embedding into SaaS applications. 

Anyone on your team, whether an account manager or support rep, can easily create and update dashboards with simple drag-and-drop. The same goes for embedding. With just a few lines of code, your junior developers can add an analytics dashboard to your product in days, not weeks.

Example of interactive embedded analytics with Luzmo

Next to its intuitive user interface, Luzmo offers powerful APIs to integrate dashboards just the way you like. It’s a breeze to integrate an analytics dashboard deeply with your product’s core features, adapt them to your branding, and set user roles and permission. All while keeping your data safe at all times.

And when it comes to pricing, Luzmo is a cost-effective alternative for data analytics, with easy and transparent pricing available on their website.

Sign up for your free trial today, and see for yourself how easy embedded analytics can be!

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