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SAS Visual Analytics or Tableau​; Which Do You Recommend?

Nurit Sherman - PeerSpot reviewer
Content Operations Manager at PeerSpot (formerly IT Central Station)

One of the most popular comparisons on IT Central Station is SAS Visual Analytics vs Tableau

Which of these two solutions would you recommend and why?



PeerSpot user
3636 Answers

it_user97749 - PeerSpot reviewer

From my perspective, SAS is very rich but its origin lies in the programming. Therefore, knowledge in setting up programming use and direction is somewhat implied. Targeted to a more technical data science audience.

Tableau, on the other hand, is focused on a visual end-user perspective. Therefore, the target is a business analyst who focuses on what the data implies - somewhat agnostic to the statistical techniques focus.

it_user802398 - PeerSpot reviewer

I have more experience with SAS VA not with Tableau. Weak points and strengths


- Probably one of the best visualization analytic tools for final users

- Cloud or on Premise

- Quickly to deploy

- Some specific functions to predictive analytics out of the box (linear regression, etc.)

- Connectors to Big Data, etc.

SAS Visual Analytics

- See new features with Cloud SAS Viya (new architecture and integration with other SAS Solutions)

- Powerful vision of analytics and statistics with SAS Visual Statistics in the same framework

- You don’t need a Data Scientist people to develop predictive or advanced analytics models

- Deploy a powerful analytics model in few moments

- It supports a Big Data and a lot of connectors. Some payments

- No needs code as easy to use

- You can use and specific and free App for mobile users

- Price: Pay for cores, not users.

Weak points

It needs a lot of machine resources (RAM and CPU)
Very complex to install. You need specific SAS partner support
Poor graphics vs Tableau or Qlik Sense
Normally you need the Enterprise Guide or other ETL solution to data prepare

it_user653898 - PeerSpot reviewer
Real User

Selection of a tool depends on your tech environment and the intended use of the tool. If you have a strong staff with a data mart, data warehouse or data lake in place then a number of tools would work. Tableau is the 500 lb gorilla, but it isn't as nimble as Qlik, Yellow Fin, Looker or Sisense. If you don't have a large team and want an automated data mart then look at Birst. It isn't as "beautiful" as others, but does a good job of delivering what the customer requires with less work on the back end. Good luck!

it_user354627 - PeerSpot reviewer

Tableau over SAS.

Flexibility, speed in execution.

Shallower learning curve.

Talks to a very large set of databases and file types.

it_user647910 - PeerSpot reviewer
Real User

I am not the expert in SAS and Tableau.
SAS being the market leader may have better standing over Tableau.

Tableau being one of the most popular Visual analytics software might not be too far from SAS.

reviewer467193 - PeerSpot reviewer

Tool or platform selection is not often as clear-cut as we would like. We have to consider the existing platforms, skills, biases, org size, the maturity of data governance and budgets!

Both Tableau and SAS VA are powerful tools. I like them both. Skilled users can achieve comparable results using either toolset. The licensing models are very different and may be the first cut at product selection.

I think one way to compare them is to consider the average user (report creator, not report consumer) and the data organization.

If your average user is more classically trained (methodological, disciplined), then SAS VA may be a better choice. That is, if you are looking for more execution and less innovation with a lot of structure then SAS VA is probably the stronger candidate. However, discipline and methodology is also very important to long-yet success with Tableau.

If the (predominant) user is more innovative and needs to be quickly responsive to lots of stakeholders, Tableau is the best candidate in most cases.

For me, the behind-the-scenes issue is really data governance. Tableau is so flexible in terms of how sources are admitted and configured that it is easy to find yourself with competing data in the boardroom. So if you go with Tableau you must strictly control which source data are used and keep everyone in synch on versions.

SAS shops generally are more methodological and disciplined. Using a single set of source data would be natural. Taking more time to get new reports built is also typical of SAS shops.

In short, nimble, agile and disciplined teams may be more successful with Tableau. More traditional shops may find that SAS VA fits the culture better.

In general, if the client is not already running SAS, I will probably turn to Tableau. The learning curve is more shallow and talent is cheaper in most markets.

If the client is a SAS shop, SAS VA is probably the winner. SAS is its own animal.

it_user74499 - PeerSpot reviewer

I think SAS VA is superior in two main aspects:
1) Performance: The in-memory server works very well and outperforms any other tool.
2) User scalability: it is more easy scale CPU cores than users. It is more comfortable to have unlimited user access, and if the server starts to turn slow then you can have more cores and problem solved.
It also has a native connection to social networks which tableau doesn't have.

it_user838320 - PeerSpot reviewer


As both tools are in use in a lot of companies and do the job, the answer is: I would recommend both tools. These are the points to further take into account.

Both Tableau and SAS VA are no corporate BI tools, like SAP Business Objects, MS Power BI or Qlikview. These are more analytical tools, which enable to create nice visualizations and dashboards in a Self-Service way. To make it even more complex other tools like Spotfire or Qliksense can be considered as well

Pros for Tableau are:

- More and nicer visualizations

- Easier to Use

- Lighter product to administer

Pros for SAS Visual Analytics

- More advanced analytical capabilities (Visual Statistics, Forecasting, Decision Trees)

- In Memory technology (LASR or CAS for SAS Viya is in-house technology vs integration with Spark for Tableau)

- SAS has in most countries a good local support team. In case of issues the consulting team will help you out, where Tableau will be more sold off the shelve, in case you go for Tableau ensure a good support from reselling partner. In case you have no SAS at all in the company, consider a cloud version. Administration can be quite difficult.

In case you have a SAS platform in use for other purposes, I would consider VA as a tool as a natural extension of the platform. If you are looking for a light solution, to make nice dashboards and visuals, go for Tableau.

Price will be comparable

it_user657921 - PeerSpot reviewer

A choice you should see beyond Tableau is Qlik Sense

Ashutosh Misra - PeerSpot reviewer
Real User

Tableau is way ahead.

Puneeth Manupati - PeerSpot reviewer

Tableau is my personal choice.

PaulOhuche - PeerSpot reviewer

Please i requested to compare Qlik vs Tableau

Ricardo Salas - PeerSpot reviewer


it_user645366 - PeerSpot reviewer

I don ’t know Tableau, so I can ’t help you with this question. The tool the I am familiar with is Qlikview from Qlik.
I am very satisfied with that tool, especially the visualization, so you could consider looking at that tool.
Qlik also has Qlik Sense, which is very easy to learn and user-friendly.

it_user153477 - PeerSpot reviewer

I can strongly recommend Tableau without reservation but I have not worked with SAS Visual Analytics and therefore I don’t think I can provide a comparison.

it_user837285 - PeerSpot reviewer

SAS Visual Analytics. It is the most sophisticated visual analytics platform and is best suited for larger companies with complex needs. SAS VA is a complete platform for analytics visualization which will help you to find patterns and relationships in data. It has a powerful in-memory technology for quicker analytic computations. It is more easy to use and has a self-service environment that can deal with a large amount of data. SAS VA comes with SAS Visual statistics which will help you to do modeling.

PaulOhuche - PeerSpot reviewer

We are Qlik resellers and our clients shared great views about Qlik Sense and Qlikview

Ashutosh Misra - PeerSpot reviewer
Real User

Depends on what you want to achieve. If you can be specific on your requirements then I can suggest.

it_user783555 - PeerSpot reviewer
Real User

For me Tableau is the only BI tool that really let's you ask any question to your data it's like drawing and finding different picture insides erased it and star over, blend it with other data a go deeper in your analysis just dragging and dropping

it_user581268 - PeerSpot reviewer
Real User

I have proposed both SAS and Tableau to several of my customers as it has both its pros and cons, but we recommend to see where the real potential opportunity for a business to leverage the tool in their type of business.

1. SAS - Highly IT dependent ( Business users may need to depend on IT for all types of support)
2. Tableau - High performance for small - mid user groups (e.g., 100 - 250 for a say) great for dashboards and score cards, visualisation is on top of the mark.

But there are more better tools than SAS & Tableau - which was also recommended such as Qlik sense (self service BI - less IT dependecy, cost effective in licenses,) (Cognos Analytics - Dynamic dashboards, mobilty for reports, Self service enabled in Cognos 11.7)

you need to choose these tools based on your requirement and it's evaluation parameters, like

skill availability inhouse
self service
traditional BI

it_user394521 - PeerSpot reviewer
Real User

Tableau does great , it is pretty fast using any sort of aggregation or formulae calculation .. it works great with Oracle,Amazon redshift and snowflake database.... it's better than obiee and Hyperion essbase cubes.

it_user721593 - PeerSpot reviewer

Currently i am using Pentaho, so this is robust, but for end user i think about Power BI or Tableau, these are so easy for learning and use, but their cost is not cheap. as others tell you, that depends about your budget and the size of the company.

it_user378444 - PeerSpot reviewer

Both tools are nice and easy to use. Sas VA is easier to use for business users than Tableau. For using tableau as a business user you will need a few skills, at least Excel level.
Now depends on a lot of things and most important is the business and the budget you have to invest on implementation.
If your amount of data is huge then SAS Va is the solution.
Is like the difference between Mercedes and Renault, both companies are making cars, both of them responds to your needs but you have to make a selection. Of course, Sas Va is the Mercedes.

it_user690591 - PeerSpot reviewer

Tableau for the versatility and rapids in the handling of the data. It allows connect all your data to a dashboard, no matter where they are, combine data from multiple sources to get a comprehensive view, share dashboards to collaborate with colleagues, partners, and customers.

it_user278022 - PeerSpot reviewer
Real User

It depends upon the requirement on the company, like, Infrastructure capability, report needs, development Time, data mining need, Budget,
and the size of the company,
Overall, required enterprise level or department level.
As per my recommendation, use Tableau for the department or small segment of the report.
But for enterprise level only 3 tools: Cognos, BO & Microstrategy.

it_user421155 - PeerSpot reviewer
Real User

I don't know SAS Visual Analytics but given the choice between Tableau and Qlik Sense, it would definitely be Qlik Sense. It's easy to learn, very customizable, robust, and has ETL capabilities.

John Trevino - PeerSpot reviewer
Real User

We tried Qlik and PBI, and no longer have SAS. Tableau met our needs as our core databases are on SQL Server, and Tableau readily lends itself to that environment. We were able to leverage existing code, and our SQL skill set to quickly create core operational vizzes. After a year of initially using Tableau Desktop and Tableau Reader, we are implementing Tableau Server next week.

Larrison Agbo - PeerSpot reviewer

Even though they have varied purposes and also have some similarity, Tableau comes easier because of the usability and in relation to real-time analytics.

You can easily get going with Tableau but needs extensive implementation efforts around SAS. Tableau also has better visualization capabilities than SAS.

it_user592053 - PeerSpot reviewer
Real User

I'd recommend that you consider other tools like Power BI, Qlik, and Sisense at a minimum before deciding. All of these are great tools, and all have their strengths and weaknesses.

it_user374598 - PeerSpot reviewer
Real User

Tableau because it is at par with SAS, and not expensive and easy to learn and use.

it_user425802 - PeerSpot reviewer

SAS for the traditional approach, building data warehouses and let some experts do some pre-defined analytics.
Tableau for real-time insights directly done by the business and shared across business entities (data, findings, and templates to be used on other parts of the business). Tableau can be used as an enabler. I know that SAS is working on similar concepts but it is years behind.

it_user657921 - PeerSpot reviewer

"SAS" is a platform that allows data preparation and consolidation while "Tableau" is aimed at presentation level. Surely it is easier to use but the choice depends on the type of infrastructure of the project at your disposal.

it_user584865 - PeerSpot reviewer
Real User

In my experience, Tableau is the best as it has all the advanced features like world map integration, automation scripts can be embedded too... also Tableau is cost-effective when compared with SAS Visual Analytics.

itmanage407160 - PeerSpot reviewer
Real User

SAS has a target to big companies, Tableau is better in SME. If you have a big team of people that make analysis then see the solution of SAS.

Tableau is better in single person analysis with unlimited capabilities to a specific range of data.

I think that it is better to try the solutions and to find out which one fits your company.

it_user796053 - PeerSpot reviewer

I am not really familiar with SAS, but Tableau is very good for data analysis and visualization.

it_user782181 - PeerSpot reviewer

While I am probably out of date now SAS was built to be used by mathematical people and effectively process large data volumes. Tableau I think is easier to learn.

Buyer's Guide
SAS Visual Analytics vs. Tableau
May 2022
Find out what your peers are saying about SAS Visual Analytics vs. Tableau and other solutions. Updated: May 2022.
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