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Qlik vs. Power BI

To compare Qlik and Power BI is like comparing apples and bananas. Especially as we at Capana are focused on Qlik which makes us subjective.

But since every BI-customer have different needs, we will do our best to give you an objective comparison.

Throughout the years as a Qlik Partner, we have both won and lost to Power-BI vendors. Read below if you’re interested in getting firsthand experience from our “battles” against Power-BI.

Our goal is to give you the insight you need to improve your basis for decision.

> Try the Qlik System

> Why choose Capana?

> 10 points where Qlik beats Power BI

The companies.

Both products are exceptional BI-tools and are both accredited by Gartner’s Magic Quadrant as market leaders.

Qlik was founding in Sweden in 1993 and is the most modern dashboard-tool on the market today. The company have since day one been focused on data insights and analytics through an “ah-ha-experience” for the user.

Microsoft Power BI started as a BI-tool in 2013 with a power pivot style component for Microsoft Excel. Since then, it has developed into a full stack cloud based BI-solution which suits your existing Microsoft service-suit.

Main architecture

Collect data – Transform and save data – Analyze and report

  1. Collect data.

Both tools are equipped with connectors, with allows them to connect to most data sources. There is no difference on the products here.


  1. Transform and save data.

Transformation and data storage is done differently in both products.

Power BI needs Microsoft Integration Service and a database to cover transformation and storage. The Power BI-platform will often be a Cube-based data warehouse-solution.

Qlik covers all specifications of transforming data through a powerful Scripting Engine, and store datafiles in flat “QVD-files”.


There are large differences on the tools in this step, Qlik is more agile and simple, while Power BI’s data warehousing has a more stringent data governance.


  1. Analyze and Report

Power BI’s interface is very intuitive, and if you know your excel-pivot tables it’s easy to get started on Power BI.

But, the intuitive design has its limitations, if there is a need for more than pivoting and simple aggregation (meaning complex reporting and analysis) data must be organized for that purpose in the data warehouse – it needs a trip back into the IT-department.

Qlik has an extremely flexible user interface, which in theory allows users to aggregate exactly as a developer. The user can build dynamic visualizations based on complex calculations with a drill-down functionality.

That as well has a limitation because the learning curve is rather steep.

Throughout the last couple of years we have seen both tools work towards each other – while Power BI is working to give users access to complex and advanced data manipulation Qlik is seeking to give user’s faster and simpler ways to analyze and report.

Security and authentication

Both tools are top of the scale security-wise. Both are based on active directory and the option of using integrated security to authenticate users.

Until recently Power Bi had a few gaps to close on row-level security and single sign-ons both issues look as if they have been resolved.

Qlik has had both from the beginning but is currently weak compared to 365-authentication.

Our experience is that Qlik was the better tool security wise, but in recent years Power BI have equaled the playing field and both products are genuinely top of the scale.

Self service, sharing and mobility

Power BI is built for this and have been ahead for a long time. with the launch of Qlik Sense Qlik have manage to improve self-service, sharing and mobility to be parallel with Power BI.

Due to simplification and a better mobile-app we would still conclude that Power BI is slightly ahead.

Preliminary conclusion

To break it down – its about simplicity vs. muscle.

Power BI

  • Simplicity in establishing personal analytics.
  • Better self-service and empowerment
  • Well integrated with Microsoft products- and services.
  • Needs a data warehouse-addition to function as “company BI”
  • Requires more of the IT-department in terms of operation and development
  • Provides better options for data governance through data warehousing



  • Simple to use for standard analysis.
  • Options for self-service but requires development-skills to establish complex analysis.
  • Very simple in establishing a working ETL process
  • Ideal for guided analytics.
  • A simple infrastructure to maintain.


Both software companies are globally actors in the BI-market and are trendsetters in the field. Product pricing is similar, but our experience show that Qlik has the better TCO.

In short it boils down to whether the organization has an IT-department large enough to maintain a stringent BI data warehouse. Where the complexity of the platform is developed in.

Or if the business is more interested in an agile BI-platform that’s driving by the company and is faster to scale and alter.

In Qlik the time from idea to solution is short but Power BI excels with Better IT- and data governance.

> Læs, hvorfor vi udelukkende har valgt at arbejde med Qlik

Contact BI specialist
Anders Frost
Tlf. 5151 2271