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Alteryx vs. Tableau: A Guide to Improving Your Efficiency

Editor's Note: Take a look at our featured best practice, Pathways to Data Monetization (27-slide PowerPoint presentation). We are living in the Age of Data. Every company operating today is essentially a data company. However, only 1 inf 12 are monetizing data to its full extent. For organizations to achieve Data Monetization, there are 2 pathways they can take--one with an internal focus and the other with an [read more]

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Alteryx and Tableau are two of the market’s most popular business intelligence (BI) tools. They can be a great choice to improve your business efficiency.

But, which one should you choose? 

It can be hard to choose since Alteryx and Tableau have their unique strengths and weaknesses. That’s why we’re here to help! In this article, we’ll give you a quick run-through of what each tool has to offer and how it might fit into your business.

Alteryx Overview

Alteryx is a business intelligence software that helps you connect and analyze data from different sources. It’s an ETL (extract, transform, and load) tool designed to help you overcome your biggest challenges with simple, flexible tools that apply across your entire organization.

Alteryx has a friendly user interface (UI) that makes it easy to clean and blend data and build predictive models. Additionally, the program features intuitive drag-and-drop interfaces, allowing users to create data processing workflows with minimal training.

This software prides itself on data cleansing, blending, and manipulation to provide excellent and actionable insights and automate repetitive workflows. However, it has limitations when it comes to data visualization. To this effect, the software offers integration to third-party tools like Tableau to enhance data presentation.

Tableau Overview

Tableau is a powerful, easy-to-use analytics tool that can help you visualize and explore data easily. It offers an intuitive interface and drag-and-drop functionality, allowing users to easily create charts, graphs, maps, and dashboards. If you’re new to analytics or an experienced user looking for something simple to use for your projects, Tableau is a great option.

Tableau is known for its impeccable data visualization capabilities.  It has various chart types, including bar charts and pie charts. It also offers maps and dashboards, which users can use to visualize data in multiple dimensions. This software makes strategic decision-making easier by exploring visuals and drawing conclusions. The drag-and-drop functionality makes importing data from different sources easy, even with limited code knowledge.

Although Tableau offers excellent data visualization, the limited ETL functionality makes it less desirable for data cleansing and manipulation. Nevertheless, it provides for integration with other tools such as Alteryx. Thus, you can clean and blend data in Alteryx and export it to Tableau for visualization.

Commonalities between Alteryx and Tableau

Alteryx and Tableau are both powerful data analytics platforms. They share some of the same features and can be used for similar applications. Let’s look at some of their common features below:

Ease of Use

When you’re looking to improve how you work with data, you want to find a solution that will make your life easier. Many people turn to Tableau prep vs Alteryx when they’re trying to streamline their data analysis processes. Both platforms offer user-friendly interfaces that allow users to get up and running quickly. They have drag-and-drop features, making them easy to use even for users with zero programming knowledge.


Another thing that Alteryx and Tableau have in common is they are both cloud-based and allow you to collaborate with other users from anywhere. This means that you can remotely share data insights and visualizations with your colleagues. Just log into your web-based account and start sharing work via the cloud!


Alteryx and Tableau have centralized servers where workflows and data reports are processed and managed. You can use them with any amount of data and number of users as your business needs change.

Desktop Application

In addition to the cloud accessibility of both tools, Tableau Desktop and Alteryx Desktop are potent applications that facilitate data analytics. They have various tools that help business analysts derive helpful insights for making data-driven decisions.

Differences between Alteryx vs. Tableau

Despite their commonalities, Alteryx and Tableau have some fundamental differences. Let’s dive into how the two tools differ.

General Purpose

Alteryx is a better tool for advanced data preparation. You can use it to create and automate workflows. On the other hand, Tableau is perfect for creating data visualizations. For this reason, many businesses prefer using both tools since they complement each other.

Connecting Data Sources 

When comparing Tableau Prep vs Alteryx, Tableau Prep has limitations when it comes to connecting to data sources. On the other hand, Alteryx is not limited to data connections, giving it an upper hand in data preparation and analysis.

Advanced Data Analysis

Alteryx is the better option for enhanced data analysis. Functions such as predictive modeling and geospatial analysis allow you to combine different data types and perform sophisticated modeling tasks efficiently.

Data Visualization

When it comes to data visualization, Tableau is king. It enhances creativity in how users present data, making it more interactive and appealing. Alteryx, on the hand, generates complex reports that may not be easy for some users to decipher.

Which Is Better between Alteryx vs. Tableau?

It is tricky to tell which is better when comparing Alteryx vs Tableau. Both are powerful business intelligence tools in their own right. Thus, the choice of either depends on the intended use. While Alteryx is a spectacular software for data preparation and workflow automation, Tableau is perfect for visual data presentation. Most businesses opt to use both tools since their uses are complementary.

Final Thoughts

Tableau and Alteryx are two tools that help analysts perform data analysis and visualization. Both have strengths and weaknesses, and using them together is advisable because they complement each other perfectly. Alteryx helps with data preparation, whereas Tableau is excellent for data visualization.

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About Shane Avron

Shane Avron is a freelance writer, specializing in business, general management, enterprise software, and digital technologies. In addition to Flevy, Shane's articles have appeared in Huffington Post, Forbes Magazine, among other business journals.

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