Thoughtspot vs Tableau: 2024 Comparison

March 18, 2024

Mile Zivkovic

ThoughtSpot vs Tableau: which business intelligence tool should you get? Let’s look at a detailed comparison to find out the true winner.‍

You’ve decided to get a business intelligence tool for your company. On the one end, you have Tableau by Salesforce, a giant in the BI and data analytics world. On the other, there is ThoughtSpot, a newer and seemingly more exciting tool with a range of interesting AI features. Who wins in this battle of David and Goliath?

Whether you want to build dashboards, explore your data, pull ad-hoc business reports, or turn raw data into a data visualization - both tools let you take care of this. But which one is better for your use case?

Let’s find out.

ThoughtSpot and Tableau at a glance

ThoughtSpot has been around for over a decade in the world of business intelligence and their unique selling point is its ease of use. 

With products such as ThoughtSpot Analytics, ThoughtSpot Everywhere, and Mode, it offers a full stack of tools for data analysis, exploration, visualization, and collaboration in the cloud. In recent years, they became known for their AI-powered natural language processing, allowing their users to explore data using plain English.

Tableau is one of the giants in the world of BI. This analytics platform has been around since 2003, establishing its reign in 2019 when it was acquired by Salesforce. The BI platform offers business users a wide range of tools for data exploration, visualization, data modeling, creation of interactive dashboards and more.

It’s a popular choice because of how user-friendly it is, as well as the variety of data sources it connects to. Data warehouses, APIs, spreadsheets, big data platforms, and cloud services are some of the many things you can connect to this BI tool.

The ease of use

Both tools have a relatively easy learning curve.

However, ThoughtSpot was built specifically for non-technical users, allowing them to do data discovery and analysis through natural language queries. Imagine a situation where you have a dataset and you can just ask ThoughtSpot to pull out the worst-performing months in terms of sales, as well as the lowest performers in your sales team for that date range.

This AI-powered analytics setup should help decision-making and democratize data exploration, in theory. In practice, users complain that for the exploration to happen, someone competent has to do the modeling, data preparation and analysis first. 

Besides the wide range of visualization options, Tableau is known for its user interface. It’s not as simple as ThoughtSpot, but this business intelligence platform has a few tricks up its sleeve. The programming language used is called VizQL, which is a spin on SQL for data visualization. 

Self-service data discovery might be a bit more difficult if you don’t have previous Tableau experience. The good news is that the customer support team is solid and there is a vast number of online communities where you can get Tableau support.

The visualizations

ThoughtSpot has a few strong sides, but visualization is not one of them. Their paying users complain that the visualizations they get are similar to something that Excel produces. Whether you use dashboards internally or for the end-users of your app, there is a lot to be desired in terms of the choice and type of visualizations.

thoughtspot dashboard

One of the reasons why Tableau is a household name in BI is its excellent visualizations. With a drag-and-drop interface and an immense choice of graphs, tables and charts, Tableau has everything you need to create stunning dashboards. It even puts competitors such as Microsoft’s Power BI and Qlik to shame.

tablau dashboard

The embedding

If you want to provide the ultimate user experience for your end users and give them access to real-time dashboards inside a web app, both tools offer this feature.

In Tableau, there are multiple ways to embed dashboards. You can do it with Tableau Public, which means giving access to dashboards publicly on a website or tool. Then there is Tableau Desktop, allowing you to embed them in a website or app. Last but not least, you can turn on SSO (single-sign-on) to regulate who has access to view and edit the dashboards.

If you want to embed the dashboard in your SaaS app, it’s relatively easy but you will need a few days for implementation, as well as someone who is well-versed in Tableau to get the job done.

ThoughtSpot also has a wide range of embedding options. Javascript API, iframes, and ThoughtSpot Everywhere allow you to add dashboards to websites and third-party apps with ease. There are also SSO options with SAML and 0Auth.

Just like Tableau, it seems simple, but to get all the formatting and customization right and have the large datasets display as actionable metrics and insights… You’re going to need a handy developer or five.

The pricing

We’ve discussed ThoughSpot pricing in detail in some of our recent pieces, so we won’t go into too much detail here. What you should know is that there are different pricing plans based on your needs.

thoughtspot pricing

ThoughtSpot Analytics has four plans, starting with the cheapest at $95 per user per month and 5 million rows of data. The problem is that the next plan after that gets you 25 million data rows, and there is nothing in between. That next, bigger plan is called Essentials, and it costs $1,250 per month for 20 users.

ThoughtSpot Embedded has consumption-based pricing. This essentially means that you pay for the data queried, which can be incredibly expensive since ThoughtSpot runs queries in the background, racking up your invoices as you sleep. The pricing is not disclosed publicly and you have to get in touch with sales. Last but not least, ThoughtSpot mode starts at about $300 per month.

Tableau’s pricing is seemingly simpler, but in reality, you’ll have to spend a bit more time figuring out the monthly bill. Depending on the functionality, each license has a different price.

tableau pricing

Creator licenses come in at $75 per user, Explorer ones are $42 and Viewers are $15 per person. You need at least one Creator per team while you can do as many Explorers and Viewers as you wish. Creators connect the data sources and create dashboards while Explorers can drill down into datasets to get the info they need - this is the self-service option. Viewers can do just that - view static dashboards.

Embedded pricing is only available upon request. You need to reach out for a quote based on your number of Creators and whether you want to use Tableau Server (on-premise solution) or Tableau Cloud (online).

Which one is better for you?

If you have a small number of developers in your team and most of your needs revolve around data exploration and dashboard viewing, ThoughtSpot would be the better choice. Your data analyst or engineer can model and analyze the data, allowing the end-users to explore it. This is about the only case where the AI features are actually useful.

On the other hand, if you need a reliable BI tool for on-premise and cloud data analysis and exploration and all the extra bells and whistles, Tableau might be the better fit. It has some of the best visualizations in the industry and chances are that your data team already knows a thing or two about analyzing and modeling data in Tableau.

If you want to do embedded analytics, don’t choose either of these tools. The embedded dashboards are clunky, far from intuitive, they’re difficult to customize and embed and the pricing is unpredictable.

For superior self-service analytics and embedded dashboards, choose Luzmo. Unlike either of these tools, Luzmo is super easy to set up and your developers will love it. Our API makes it effortless to connect just about any app and automate your BI processes.

For your business users, Luzmo has an intuitive drag-and-drop editor, allowing them to easily create dashboards and explore data on their own terms. No coding or learning is required.

These two combined make for an advanced user experience that is easy to set up, use and understand.

Wrapping up

Both ThoughtSpot and Tableau are BI powerhouses that are built with data connectivity and scalability in mind. For the right businesses, they offer a wide range of tools for data analysis, aggregation, exploration, and visualization. But if you need dashboards you can embed in your SaaS app, you should look elsewhere.

Try Luzmo and see how you can create dashboards and embed them in your app within just a few hours. Better yet, hop on a free call with our team and we’ll tell you all about it.

Build your first embedded dashboard in less than 15 min

Experience the power of Luzmo. Talk to our product experts for a guided demo  or get your hands dirty with a free 10-day trial.