Power BI vs Google Data Studio: A Comprehensive Comparative Analysis

on BI Tool • July 29th, 2020 • Write for Hevo

POWER BI VS GOOGLE DATA STUDIO

Introduction

Both Power BI and Google Data Studio are Business Intelligence tools. BI tools are used by companies to make the right decisions about business problems. BI tools deliver data-driven evidence to help the decision-making process. Today, it is not just the upper management that has access to data. Every level in the organizational hierarchy is leveraging BI tools to dig into the data that they need. This helps them build dashboards and reports to measure their performance, set goals, and take advantage of so many other functionalities of BI tools without having to code.

Here are some of the primary benefits of using a Business Intelligence tool:

  • Identify trends and patterns in your data.
  • Tracking performance metrics.
  • Visualize data.
  • Track bottlenecks and manage operations.

But for this to be effective for your purposes, you need to identify the right BI tool for you. There are several amazing tools in the market. But today, let us compare two important BI tools- Microsoft Power BI vs Google Data Studio.

Here is an outline of what you will cover in this blog:

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Power BI

Power BI is a cloud-based analytics software developed by Microsoft. It is very popular in the BI market and it is also very powerful. Like with any Business Intelligence tool, Power BI is used to generate interactive, appealing reports and dashboards to share your data story.

Power BI Dashboard
Image via Microsoft

Power BI connects to various on-premises as well as cloud-based sources and you can either import or upload your files for transformation and analysis. You can mash up this data, model it, and build schemas too. 

Power BI has components like Power Query for data transformation, Power Pivot for tabular data modeling, Power View for visualization, Power Map for geospatial data, and Power Q&A for questions and answers.

Google Data Studio

Data Studio is Google’s cloud-based visualization tool that lets you create sleek and compact reports with the help of its interactive dashboard. It tightly integrates with Google based data sources like Google Ads, Google BigQuery, and Google Analytics.

Google Data Studio inherits Google’s intuitive interface and it is aimed at giving non-technical users the ability to visualize data. Data Studio has 17 connectors provided by Google. There are also several other connectors provided by Google’s partners that are mostly paid utilities. Once connected, you can add data sources to Google Data Studio, and using a point-and-click interface, generate charts and tables. You can build interactive reports and share them with your team or clients.

Google Data Studio Dashboard
Image via Google

Power BI vs Google Data Studio

Both Power BI and Google Data Studio are leading BI tools. But if you need to find out which tool better suits your purpose, then read on. Here are some features that you must consider:

Power BI vs Google Data Studio: Installation

There are three types of Power BI available. They are Power BI Desktop, Power BI Pro, and Power BI Premium. Power BI Desktop is the free version of Power BI that can be installed on your desktop. Power BI Pro and Premium are paid versions. More about them later.

Google Data Studio is totally cloud-based. It is a browser-based tool and all you need is your Google Account to use it. There is no desktop tool.

Power BI vs Google Data Studio: Data Sources

Power BI has integrations with Microsoft products such as Azure, Sharepoint, MS Office, Excel, etc. along with marketing applications such as Google Analytics, Salesforce, Zendesk, Marketo, Facebook, and several others. You can also connect to databases, CSV files, etc. You can also scrape data from a webpage.

Google Data Studio integrates with Google products such as Google Analytics, Ads, BigQuery, Sheets, etc. But it does not natively support many other cloud-based sources which is one reason why people seek out alternatives to Data Studio. Google allows its partners to develop connectors but they are usually paid utilities.

Power BI vs Google Data Studio: Data Transformation

Data rarely is available in the format you need it in. Cleaning and transforming data is an important part of the analysis. Power BI has the features of Power Query, which is a data connection technology that lets you clean your data. It is an ETL tool that you can connect to several types of data. You can also use Data Analysis Expressions (DAX) to build formulas and expressions. Power BI has the capability to perform a lot of complex data transformations.

Google Data Studio lags behind in this regard. The only real transformation you can do is blend data from different sources using a JOIN key. So, Data Studio assumes that you have clean data that is ready for visualization.

Power BI vs Google Data Studio: Ease of Use

If you are comfortable with Excel, you might get an easy start into Power BI. So it might take a bit of a struggle for the novice to connect and integrate with your sources. Power BI also has more functionalities than Google Data Studio. Still, Power BI lets you create reports easily with its drag-and-drop feature.

Data Studio is very easy to navigate and the learning curve is minimal. The interface is extremely intuitive and as long as you have clean data, all you need to do is drag-and-drop to create a neat looking report very quickly.

Power BI vs Google Data Studio: Sharing

Power BI reports can be shared with others with a paid Power BI account. Google Data Studio is the winner here because you can share your reports just by sharing a link or through email with anyone. You can also download it as a PDF.

Power BI vs Google Data Studio: Cost

Power BI Desktop is free, but that might be useful for only beginners who want to get a hang of the tool. For business purposes, when you need to share your dashboards, you will incur $9.99 per user, per month for Power BI Pro. Power BI Pro is a cloud-based BI, that can be used for collaboration, publishing, sharing, etc. If you need cloud and on-premises reporting, support for big data and advanced analytics, dedicated cloud compute and storage resources, you can opt for Power BI Premium at $4995 per month, per dedicated cloud compute and storage resource with an annual subscription. Check out the pricing page for more details.

Google Data Studio is free! All you need is a Google account and you are good to go.

Conclusion

To conclude, if you mainly use Google-based data sources such as Google Analytics with data that is readily usable, with no need for complex transformation, then you should use Google Data Studio. It is great for quick reporting if you are not a data professional.  Also, it is free, unless you need the community connectors.

On the other hand, if you have a wider variety of data sources and you need a BI tool that has great data transformation capabilities, customization options and you don’t mind paying, then you should consider Power BI. Bear in mind that, since it is more powerful and robust, you also need to face a steeper learning curve, especially if you have not used Excel in a while.

In the case of both the BI tools, database connector support is still not comprehensive enough and lacks native support for many cloud-based services. You can have a good working knowledge by understanding Google Data Studio Calculated fields.

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Using a cloud-based ETL tool like Hevo can solve this problem of lack of connector support. Hevo supports connections with most data sources to both of these tools and provides a completely code-free experience.

Hevo supports rich transformations on the fly and allows your analysts to focus only on the analysis part rather than writing code.

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Which BI tool do you think wins in the comparison- Power BI vs Google Data Studio? What suits your purpose better? Share your thoughts in the comments below. We would love to hear from you!

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