Spotfire vs Tableau

Nowadays, businesses in every industry are facing increasing pressure to mine their data – that is, to identify patterns, trends, outliers, as well as to predict the future – if they want to maximize profits and thrive over their competitors. This is perhaps the primary reason why the business intelligence software market has been rapidly growing in the last few years. Various business intelligence (BI) tools are available right now, ready to help you turn raw data into actionable insights. These tools can help executives and analysts make better decisions on when to launch a new customer experience initiative, when to give more feedback, and what to focus on.

Right now, Spotfire and Tableau are some of the most popular names in the modern business intelligence industry. Unlike the traditional software giants (IBM, SAP, Oracle), Spotfire and Tableau have been designed to make business intelligence more accessible to non-IT people. Still, you need to make a choice whether to use Spotfire or Tableau. Below, we will see the comparisons between the two software services to help you decide.


As a matter of fact, Spotfire has been around since as early as 1996. However, it didn’t take so much attention until TIBCO Software purchased it in 2007. Since then, Spotfire has become an incredibly popular business intelligence software application. The exact number of users is unknown, but, with at least $1 billion revenue, we can safely assume that Spotfire has a huge market share. Notable users include Cisco, Proctor and Gamble, Shell, and NetApp.

On the other hand, Tableau was founded in 2003, and since then has gathered over than 23,000 customers and at least $413 revenue. Tableau is one of the most used business intelligence software application in the United States, partially because of the heavy US-centric units, measurements, and mechanisms. Notable users of Tableau include SpaceX, Coca-Cola, Dell, and Deloitte.

Take a look : Tableau vs QlikView.

Spotfire vs. Tableau: User Friendliness

One of the biggest strengths of Tableau is, of course, the incredible user friendliness. It is a very user-friendly business intelligence solution that is suitable for all kinds of users, from the most non-technical person to the IT guy, due to providing simple ways to access, analyze, and share data. The simple drag-and-drop system enables the user to effortlessly see key data, construct innovative reports and visualizations, as share critical insights to the whole company.

On the other hand, Spotfire actually has a powerful system that enables the user to drill down data to see the root causes of occurring business issues. You can perform both simple and complex analyses here in real-time without having to call the IT. However, it can be somehow tricky and difficult to customize visualizations; it is also somehow hard to drill down to specific data details.

Spotfire vs. Tableau: Visualization

Visualizing data is important. It enables you to see trends and patterns much more easily and more accurately. Nevertheless, if visualization is an important element for you, you may lean more towards Tableau. Indeed, Tableau is currently the BI tool with the best visualization features available. This solution can import and visualize large data sets, at the same time providing various customizable options. You can drill down into the data and make queries effectively.

Spotfire also comes with several visualization features, but not with as many customizable options as Tableau. The graphic styles are also less diverse than Tableau.

Still, Spotfire can be considered superior if compared to the other BI tools on the market. This is because, just like Tableau, Spotfire is able to visually display outliers. Other BI tools can visualize and interpret trends, but not outliers; if you can’t spot the anomalies that skew the trends, there is a risk that you make inaccurate assumptions. Both Spotfire and Tableau can avoid the flaw by showing outliers in your data sets.

Spotfire vs. Tableau: Data Analysis

One thing that you have to know about Tableau is that it does not provide any data cleansing or analytical capability. It is very powerful to visualize and manipulate large data sets, and, by connecting with over 40 data sources, it can create a variety of reports. However, it falls short for analysis purposes. Well, it can visualize forecasts by repeating the patterns in the dataset, but this is more like extending a trend rather than making a prediction.

One strong advantage of Spotfire is that it has some statistical analysis functionality that enables you to drill down into data relations. Spotfire can perform R, SAS, S+, and MATLAB functions directly to make predictions based on the data. Spotfire is connected with over 25 data sources, and the company can help you integrate data from different sources – something not possible on Tableau without third-party solutions.

Spotfire vs. Tableau: Pricing Options

Tableau is available in three different products; each may have different pricing tiers.
– Tableau Desktop, is required to author content. The Personal tier is $35/month for a single user, able to connect to common files such as MS Excel and Google Sheets. The Professional tier is $70/month for a single user, able to connect to hundreds of data sources including files, web applications, and databases.
– Tableau Server, is used to share and distribute content. It is $35/month for a single user, with a minimum of 10 users.
– Tableau Online, is also used for content sharing and distribution. The Public version is free, whereas the Online personal version is $42/month for a single user.

Meanwhile, Spotfire is available in two versions.
– Spotfire Cloud; for $200/month or $2,000/year, a single user can have authoring capabilities with 250 GB cloud storage.
– Spotfire Platform; an on-premise solution that is designed according to the customer’s requirements with a custom subscription plan.

- Good user friendliness- Great user friendliness
- Limited visualization features, but can show outliers- Excellent, highly customizable visualization features, with the ability to show outliers
- Can perform R, SAS, S+, and MATLAB functions directly for data analysis- No data analysis capability
- Fewer data sources, but can natively integrate different data sources- More data sources, but can’t integrate different data sources without third-party solutions
- Relatively more expensive- Relatively more affordable


Spotfire and Tableau have different strengths, and thus are suitable for different purposes. If you just need a powerful visualization tool without requiring advanced statistical analysis, Tableau is a more cost-efficient approach. However, if you do require a solution with data analysis features, and perhaps the native capability to integrate different data sources, Spotfire is the way to go.

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