Fireside Chat: Scaling Data for Startup Success with Benn Stancil & Peter FishmanSave your seat

Additional Resources


Defining Metrics: A Template 
for Working With Stakeholders


10 Things Modern Business 
Intelligence Should Enable Today


Watch a Product Tour of Mode

Get started with Mode

Tableau Pricing: How Much It Costs and the Hidden Costs for Data Analysts

May 12, 2023

NaN minute read

Tableau pricing & Cost

Tableau is a popular business intelligence and data visualization software used by organizations of all sizes to help users see and understand their data. However, with its various pricing tiers, it may not be the most budget-friendly option for all teams.

We’ve done some of the research for you to help you think through Tableau's end-user philosophy and note where invisible costs can start to add up.

What is Tableau?

Tableau is a data visualization software that helps businesses see and use complex data. It is used by companies in industries such as healthcare, finance, and retail to analyze data to make informed business decisions. With Tableau, users can connect to various data sources, create interactive dashboards and reports, and share them with their team.

Learn how Mode compares to Tableau.

Tableau Pricing by Tier

As of this writing, Tableau offers three different pricing tiers: Creator, Explorer, and Viewer. Here’s the cost and broad strokes capabilities of each package, but you can review the details here.

  • Tableau Creator license lets users have full access to the most advanced features. It is the most expensive at $70 per month (billed annually) for the cloud version or $35 per user per month (billed annually) for the on-premise version.

  • Tableau Explorer license is more limited than the creator license but gives users capabilities for governance, interaction, and collaboration. The Explorer license costs $42 (up from $35) per user per month (billed annually) for the cloud version and $20 per user per month (billed annually) for the on-premise version. 

  • Tableau Viewer license has the most limited capabilities and lets folks view, comment on, interact, and download data visualizations along with a few other capabilities. The Viewer tier costs $15 per user per month (up from $12) (billed annually) for the cloud version and $10 per user per month (billed annually) for the on-premise version. 

Tableau also offers an enterprise package for larger organizations that require more advanced capabilities. The price of the enterprise package varies depending on the needs of the organization. There are some options for a Tableau bundle as well. 

Flexibility vs. Rigidity: Choosing the Best Pricing Model for Your Business Intelligence Needs 

Points to consider about Tableau's pricing model compared to Mode's.

When pricing is locked into capabilities, it limits how much value a company can get from its data by capping self-service opportunities. This kind of pricing does not let end users in your organization interact on the data on the spectrum that they are able to. 

This price boxing limits the answers that people need from data and overall data-driven decision-making across the organization. In contrast, Mode’s pricing lets anyone be a data creator, viewer or explorer on a price that is closer to the cost of most viewer licenses than creator licenses. At Mode, we believe that everyone has the ability to uplevel their analyst skillsets. 

The Tableau price/skillset boxing might work for the short term, allowing for a quick matching of skillset and data access needs, but over time will require maintenance and adjustments to ‘rematch’ licenses with new data power users in the organization.

Some other thoughts to consider from G2 Review about Tableau’s pricing: 

Does Tableau Offer a Free Tier?

While Tableau doesn’t offer a fully free tier, it does offer a free trial. The trial lasts for 14 days and includes access to all of Tableau’s features. 

The Hidden Cost of Tableau for Data Analysts

Time-consuming data extraction may require other tools 

While Tableau is a powerful data visualization tool, some users have identified that it has limitations when it comes to data extraction. Tableau requires you to use multiple tools to do data extraction which creates friction and context switching. 

It also means that technical data analysis teams may need to use additional tools alongside Tableau to quickly do data extraction and transformation. These additional tools come with their own costs and can add up quickly, ultimately making Tableau a more expensive option than it initially appears.

For analysts who are used to SQL, R, and Python, Tableau can lead to a higher total cost of your data stack for more efficient tooling that accommodates that workflow.

Mode: A Powerful Data Analysis and Visualization in One Platform

If you’re in the process of evaluating BI tools, here’s a few points to consider about Mode’s approach that are different than Tableau’s. 

No rigid pricing

We talked about this above, so we won’t belabor the point here—Mode’s pricing structure lets anyone explore data on a spectrum at a price that’s much closer to Tableau’s viewer licenses. This enables much greater self-serve across an organization and unlocks more data-driven decisions.

A single platform approach, but can plug-and-play with other tools

Mode is a single platform that combines both a technical analysis workflow and visualization seamlessly, making it a more complete solution than Tableau for data teams. While Mode was designed to plug-and-play in a modern data stack ecosystem, it can be used by data teams and business users as the single BI tool, which reduces governance efforts as well. 

A single platform that accommodates both data and business teams results in better analysis

A single-platform approach also means that there is less tool switching and rigidity. Data teams get a more fluid technical analysis workflow with SQL, Python, and R, which lets them build an iterative, wall-to-wall data culture and reduce their total cost of ownership for their data stack.

No ownership means faster roadmap and innovation 

Mode is the only major BI player that’s still independent (not owned by Google or Salesforce). We are entirely in control of our own roadmap and have the ability to deliver features in direct response to customers. 

Fast and easy setup. 

With Mode, you can connect to your warehouse and get analysis spun up within 30 minutes. See the tutorial. 

Award-winnning support for assistance. 

Mode’s award-winning support team response quickly resolves issues within an SLA that ensures 99.9% availability.

Mode lets stakeholders can explore data along a spectrum and accommodates fast workflows for data teams

Tableau is a powerful tool for data visualization, but it can be expensive and come with hidden costs for data teams who need faster technical workflows their analytics platforms. Understanding the pricing and limitations of Tableau is essential for businesses looking to invest in their data stack

Mode is worth considering as an alternative to Tableau because it lets any stakeholder access the data they need, without boxing them into limiting licenses and accommodates the technical needs of data analysis teams.

Get our weekly data newsletter

Work-related distractions for data enthusiasts.

Additional Resources


Defining Metrics: A Template 
for Working With Stakeholders


10 Things Modern Business 
Intelligence Should Enable Today


Watch a Product Tour of Mode

Get started with Mode