Qlik vs Power BI: Differences And Comparison Guide

Published: June 7, 2024 - 8 min read

Julian Alvarado

Meta Description: Explore key differences between Qlik and Power BI in this comprehensive comparison guide to help you choose the best solution for your business.

Qlik and Microsoft Power BI are two widely adopted Business Intelligence (BI) platforms, offering extensive features for analyzing data, creating interactive dashboards, and sharing insights across organizations.

However, beneath the surface, Qlik and Power BI have distinct differences that can significantly impact your data analytics experience and outcomes.

In this comprehensive comparison guide, we will explore the core features, capabilities, and differences between these two powerful BI solutions to help you make an informed decision for your business.

What Is Qlik?

a laptop and a cell phone on a blue background

Qlik is a data analytics platform that was founded in 1993 in Lund, Sweden. It has evolved over the years to become a leader in the BI space, with two main offerings:

  • QlikView: A guided analytics solution that enables users to create interactive dashboards and analytics applications
  • Qlik Sense: A self-service data visualization tool that allows users to freely explore data and create their own visualizations

Qlik’s associative data model is a key differentiator. It allows users to freely explore data relationships without predefined query paths, uncovering insights that query-based tools might miss.

What Is Power BI?

a screenshot of a dashboard showing data

Power BI is a business analytics service developed by Microsoft. Launched in 2014, it has quickly gained popularity due to its seamless integration with other Microsoft products and powerful data visualization capabilities. Power BI consists of three key components:

  • Power BI Desktop: A free application for creating reports and visualizations on your desktop computer
  • Power BI Service: A cloud-based service for sharing and collaborating on reports and dashboards
  • Power BI Mobile: Mobile apps for accessing your data and insights on the go

Core Features And Capabilities

Data Integration

Qlik’s Data Associative ModelPower BI’s Data Connectivity Options
Combines data from multiple sources in a way that makes it easy for users to find relationships between data sets. Provides a broad range of data connectivity features, such as direct access to cloud and on-premise data sources.
Connects data from various sources and enables users to make connections without having to use specific queries.Enables real-time data update, which can be used in real-time dashboards and reports.
Refreshes data and all the views based on the user interactions to ensure that all the views of the data are in sync.Offers enhanced data preparation capabilities in Power BI Desktop with connectivity to Excel and Azure Data Services.

Usability And Interface

qlick vs power bi, displayed by their logos

User Interface Comparison

Qlik Sense has a clean, intuitive user interface that makes navigation and visualization creation easy. QlikView, while powerful, may have a steeper learning curve for new users.

Power BI’s user-friendly interface resembles Microsoft Office products, making it familiar for users. Drag-and-drop functionality and pre-built templates simplify report creation.

Ease Of Use For New Users And Experts

Overall, Qlik is less user-friendly than Power BI but provides a rich set of tools for data analysts and other highly skilled users.

Power BI is easier to start with for beginners because of its simplicity, well-documented nature, and availability of training materials. At the same time, it provides functionalities that are appealing to data scientists.

Data Visualization

Visualization Capabilities in QlikVisualization Types and Customizations in Power BI
Includes interactive data visualization techniques such as charts, tables, and graphs that change in real-time as the users interact with the data.Offers a wide range of charting options, basic and advanced graphs, and visuals from the marketplace.
Enables users to develop dynamic visualizations that help in identifying the associations between different data sets.Enables users to set axis properties, labels, titles, and many other aspects of the visualization to their preference.
Comes with a responsive design feature, which means that the visualizations will adapt to the screen size of the device being used.Adds AI-based graphics like decomposition trees and key influencers to give more detailed information.

Advanced Functionalities

Advanced Analytics

  • Qlik provides advanced data analysis capabilities in the form of predictive models right within the application. It enables the development of a dynamic model that can be used to make changes based on current data inputs. Also, offers great data modeling features for enhanced predictive analysis.
  • Power BI is equipped with artificial intelligence, it is capable of providing insights and even predicting the results. Enables users to deploy and use Azure Machine Learning models in Power BI. Offers AI-generated visualizations and data analysis tools for further investigation.

Streaming Data

Qlik Sense supports real-time data streaming, enabling users to analyze and visualize data as it comes in from various sources.

Power BI allows users to set up:

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  • Automatic page refreshes
  • Real-time dashboard updates
  • Connections to streaming data sources like Azure Stream Analytics and PubNub

Mobile Features

Qlik and Power BI both offer mobile apps for iOS and Android devices, allowing users to access and interact with reports and dashboards on the go.

Qlik’s mobile app provides:

  • Offline access
  • Responsive design for optimal viewing on different screen sizes

Power BI’s mobile app includes:

  • Touch-optimized navigation
  • Support for real-time data updates

Comparison Of Sharing And Report Distribution Capabilities

FeatureQlikPower BI
Report SharingSupports sharing through Qlik Sense CloudDirect publishing to the web and mobile
Scheduled ReportsAdvanced scheduling options in Qlik NPrintingPower BI service offers report scheduling
Access ControlsRobust user access control settingsExtensive security through Office 365 integration
IntegrationStrong integration with non-Microsoft productsSeamless integration with Microsoft products

Security Features

Security Features In Qlik

  1. Data Encryption – Qlik also protects data through encryption both at rest and in transit to avoid the reach of unauthorized users.
  2. Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) – Provides fine-grained access control mechanisms, where the administrator is able to set the roles and privileges of the users to determine who has access to what data and resources.
  3. Audit Logging – Maintains comprehensive records of the user’s actions and the changes made to the system to assist in tracking and evaluating access and usage.
  4. Section Access – Enables the definition of fine-grained security within Qlik apps by limiting the data that is available to users based on their roles and characteristics.
  5. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) – Improves the security of the login process by making users provide more than one identification detail before being granted access.
  6. Secure Deployment Options – Enables multiple deployment options for on-premise, cloud and hybrid environments to maintain the security of data in all the environments.
  7. Data Governance – It has strong data governance capabilities that handle metadata, lineage, and data quality to meet the regulatory requirements.

Security Measures In power BI

  1. Row-Level Security (RLS) – Enables data access to be controlled at the row level depending on the roles or profiles of the users.
  2. Azure Active Directory (AAD) Integration – Uses Azure AD for authentication and identity management to ensure secure and centralized user and group management.
  3. Data Encryption – Secures data both when stored and when transmitted to prevent leakage of confidential information.
  4. Audit and Compliance Logs – Creates detailed records of the user interactions and the administrative operations to facilitate compliance and auditing processes.
  5. Sensitivity Labeling – It also works with Microsoft Information Protection to label and safeguard sensitive content through sensitivity labels.
  6. Service Principals for Automation – Supports the use of service principals in automation scenarios, which means that the application can authenticate using secure non-interactive means.
  7. Governance and Policies – Responsible for ensuring that data governance policies and procedures are followed and implemented to control the access and usage of data in the organization.

Integration With Other Tools

Integrations Available In Qlik

  • Supports direct connection to multiple data sources like SQL databases, Excel files, and cloud services.
  • Offers Qlik DataMarket for accessing external data from within the platform.
  • Integrates seamlessly with enterprise systems such as Salesforce, SAP, and Oracle.
  • Provides APIs for custom integration with other software and applications.
  • Features Qlik Connectors that facilitate the use of social media and web-based data.

Integrations Available In Power BI

  • Allows data import from a wide range of sources including Excel, JSON, XML, and SQL Server.
  • Connects directly to services like Google Analytics, Salesforce, and Azure.
  • Includes Power BI Gateway to integrate on-premises and cloud data in a secure manner.
  • Supports custom connectors built using Power Query SDK for tailored data integration needs.
  • Offers extensive REST API for integrating with other applications and automating workflows.

Qlik vs Power BI: Which is Right for You?

Choosing between Qlik and Power BI ultimately depends on your organization’s specific needs and priorities. Both platforms offer powerful data analytics and visualization capabilities, but they have different strengths and use cases.

If you value a flexible, associative data model and advanced predictive analytics, Qlik may be the better choice. If you prioritize ease of use, integration with Microsoft tools, and AI-powered insights, Power BI may be the way to go.

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Julian Alvarado Content Marketing
Julian is a dynamic B2B marketer with 8+ years of experience creating full-funnel marketing journeys, leveraging an analytical background in biological sciences to examine customer needs.
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