SAS vs Tableau – Which Is Better?

Data accumulates faster than we can even see it being written on our computers. Yet analyzing data and staying on top of it can be a struggle without proper software.

SAS and Tableau are two well-known data analytical tools that focus on business intelligence that help companies take advantage of their data and use it wisely to solve problems.

And if you’re wondering which one software is better, you’re in the right place. Down below, you’ll find everything you need to know about each software so you can make a well-informed decision and pick one by the end of the article!

What is SAS?

SAS is best known as a statistical software suite that can handle all types of data for the benefits of improved organization, better management, and even better data-driven results.

Data can affect decisions, and SAS is the tool that helps provide advanced analytics with a focus on business intelligence, among other purposes.

With SAS, you can also do text analytics, mine data, and even forecast predictions that could be very close and accurate to your regular predictions.

All you need to do is import your data and take full advantage of the features available in SAS.

What is Tableau?

Tableau is one of the well-known visual analysis software that is highly focused on business intelligence.

Instead of letting your data pile up and leave it across multiple computers, Tableau allows you to collect your data, import it into one software, and have a visual and analytical view of your data.

Therefore, Tableau is not only suitable for data management and organization. However, it can also help you make data-driven decisions via data visualizations. Still, it can also help you make business decisions and change the way you run your business only using your data.

Also Read: Tableau vs Power BI

How to Get Started?

SAS

To try out SAS, all you have to do is visit the SAS official website, and you’ll immediately see the “Try SAS for Free” button.

This will lead you to a featured trial that lasts for 14 days, where you will get full access to the SAS software so you can truly test it out before you decide if SAS is the right software for you.

After that, you will contact the SAS support for a custom pricing plan if you believe this is the software that can help you improve your business by analyzing your data.

Tableau

To get started with Tableau, you will need to visit the official Tableau website. Upon visiting the Tableau website, you will immediately notice the “Try Free” button.

Just like SAS, Tableau features a free trial that lasts for 14 days. All you have to do to acquire the trial is choose whether you’ll host Tableau on your computer or if you’ll use the online version that’s hosted directly at Tableau.

With full access to experience and test all Tableau features, you’ll be able to choose one of the pricing plans after your trial ends to continue using Tableau.

Verdict

Both SAS and Tableau offer a free trial that lasts for 14 days, and it’s very easy to get started with both tools. Therefore, this is a tie between these two tools.

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Data Analysis Ability

SAS

SAS is a well-programmed analysis software that can analyze anything from simple data inputs to complex algorithms often required at advanced levels.

SAS can compare it to the latest data set from the data you import and even find the differences and correlations between different data sets.

On top of that, SAS includes various data analysis packages built into the software so you can access them at any time.

Tableau

Tableau has an efficient data analysis ability since it takes all the data you import and visually represents the data. Therefore, you can easily understand the data, learn from it, and even take data-driven actions.

Not only can Tableau sort through your data and allow you to manage it in one place quickly, but it combines its powerful visualization features. These features include insights and intuitive dashboards (including charts and graphs) to represent your data in easy-to-understand visual reports.

Verdict

Both SAS and Tableau are brilliant at ensuring that imported data is well managed. In addition, both software take action to provide great analysis with a report that’s easy to understand.

Therefore, this is a tie between these two software.

Data Format Support

SAS

No matter the data type or format, SAS can read it as soon as you import it and work with it thanks to the wide range of data format support.

With SAS, you can import, read, and work with any data file or format, which applies even if you have missing data files.

On top of that, you can combine SAS with SQL for more support, and if you use a full array of SAS support, you will be able to encode characters and import data in the most commonly used languages.

Tableau

Tableau supports a wide range of data formats and layouts, and upon importing your data, you can further manage the data format by changing its layout.

You can change the data layout via categorizing fields, columns, and rows that allow you to import data of any structure and then ensure all your data is categorized under one structure.

On top of that, Tableau supports binning and histograms and various data type icons that can help you visually sort your data.

Verdict

SAS and Tableau support data in all formats and types. Even though Tableau offers great flexibility when it comes down to data format and support, SAS provides more features that can be important if you’re working with data in a particular format which is why SAS wins this category.

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Management

SAS

From the moment you import and sort your data inside the SAS, the software will help monitor, track, and help you manage your data in real time, including real-time data alerts.

On top of that, SAS’s management comes with features such as XML engines, application response measurement interface, and SAS functions in the SAS management control that allow you to take action even in extreme situations such as a failed program.

Tableau

Tableau has very informative management since it relies on portraying your data visually. This means that Tableau will allow you to have a visual of your data from the moment you import and prepare your data, catalog it, to the moment you search for it or governance it.

With additional features integrated into Tableau, such as Prep Conductor and Catalog, you can manually make changes to your data at any point.

Verdict

While SAS can efficiently manage your data and keep you up to date at any step of the process, Tableau has the advantage of data visualization useful when you manage, track, and search your data, so Tableau wins this category.

Advanced Visualizations

SAS

SAS didn’t spend a lot of time on advanced data visualizations, which isn’t necessary. Still, it is very useful when you’re new to data management and analysis or dealing with large amounts of data.

The best SAS can offer is the SAS Studio, which allows users to access data from any device (even in a web browser) and have an insight into all libraries and categories. This includes access to the advanced search engine that offers guidance, pop-up syntax, and a displayed parameter list.

To get access to advanced visualizations, you’ll have to access SAS Visual Analytics and combine it with the data analysis software.

Tableau

Tableau is very well known for its intuitive and visual dashboards that help you realize your data’s potential.

Combined with advanced analytics, Tableau is very efficient at helping you understand the most important aspects of large amounts of data.

Of course, making data more understandable is guaranteed, but advanced visualization can also help you make data-driven decisions that will propel your business forward.

Verdict

It’s always easier to learn or work with anything visual, so Tableau wins this category since SAS isn’t a very visual software. However, even though this feature isn’t necessary, it can bring many helpful benefits that you should consider.

Security

SAS

Keeping your data stored in one place can be a weakness without proper security. That’s why SAS takes this matter seriously by implementing high-end data encryption algorithms.

These algorithms encrypt all your data with the help of a feature called SAS/SECURE. This way, the data is encrypted, and only you can access it and see the data so you can be assured that all your data is safe at all times.

Tableau

Whether you choose to host Tableau on your network or host it in Tableau’s cloud, you can only expect the best security possible, which means your data will always stay safe.

Independent firms consistently audit Tableau’s system to ensure security which means that Tableau has been verified in SOC 2 Type II reporting by AICPA and ISAE.

Hardly anyone can break Tableau’s authentication and permission system for data connection and user access.

Verdict

Both SAS and Tableau worked hard on keeping the data safe by ensuring a high level of security.

Therefore, with great effort and security level from both software, this category is a tie.

Also Read: Bad Data Visualization Examples

Access and Compatibility

SAS

While hosting all your data at one source, SAS has implemented the SAS/ACCESS feature that helps you easily share your data access to more sources at once.

This can also help you connect your data with third-party databases with full access to reading, writing, and updating your data.

When it comes down to compatibility, SAS is available for Windows, z/OS, and UNIX.

Tableau

Tableau gives you the option to either host the software on your dedicated computer and network or host it in the Tableau cloud.

And if you decide to host the Tableau software, you will use either Windows or Mac OS X operating systems.

It would help if you kept in mind that Tableau can be hosted using Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware, Azure, and even Amazon EC2.

Verdict

Both SAS and Tableau feature great options that help you easily host and access your data at any time from anywhere you are, as long as you have an internet connection and a computer that meets the software’s system requirements.

Therefore, this category is a tie.

Collaboration

SAS

SAS is known for providing great collaboration opportunities that even benefit scientists and some of the largest companies that rely on the SAS.

With that being said, great collaboration between users with equal access and permission rights is guaranteed inside SAS.

And with SAS’s recommended data labeling for better management and data sharing/accessing options, collaboration is effortless and efficient.

Tableau

Tableau features built-in collaboration options that help you share your data with other users and instantly share visualized data formats such as boards or sheets.

Just the way your data stays protected at all times, Tableau ensures that your data is safe and secure even when you’re sharing it. Furthermore, with such instant and quickly integrated collaboration, effortless collaboration with feedback and reviews is guaranteed.

Verdict

Both software offer a great collaboration that’s integrated into the software. However, the favor goes to Tableau, which offers slightly more accessible collaboration settings, so it wins this category.

Dashboard

SAS

SAS introduces a very decent dashboard that allows you to monitor your data, track the performance, and spot any issues if they occur.

The dashboard is based on a web interface, making it easily accessible and easy to use, even if you’re using a smartphone or a tablet.

Tableau

The Tableau dashboard is full of visualizations that help you quickly gain as much information as possible at only a glance.

With the collection of several views you get to see in one dashboard, Tableau helps you get accurate and informative data representation in an easy-to-understand way.

On top of that, Tableau introduced a couple of features that allow you to slightly customize the dashboard view according to your needs.

Verdict

Both SAS and Tableau feature a dashboard that helps users quickly gain the information they require. However, Tableau does it better since it combines several views in a visualized way which is why Tableau is this category’s winner.

Ease of Use

SAS

SAS is very easy to learn, and you shouldn’t be afraid of the learning curve. Importing data, sorting your data, and managing it with the benefits of powerful insights has never been easier.

With the help of a user-friendly interface, producing or reading your data reports is simple and effortless.

Tableau

Tableau is very easy to use from the moment you start importing your data when you actively use Tableau to read your data, manage it, and create reports.

The great advantage is that Tableau offers a lot of visualization, which ensures that there’s no learning curve and the users get the most out of their data as quickly as possible.

Verdict

While both SAS and Tableau are pretty easy to use without learning a lot, Tableau wins this category because it has a great advantage with its visualization.

Tableau vs SAS – Pricing

SAS

SAS allows you to try out the software for free for the first 14 days. After the trial ends, you will have to contact SAS support to get custom pricing if you decide to use SAS.

There are no fixed pricing plans in place you can choose from.

Tableau

Tableau allows you to choose between hosting the software on your computer or if you’d like to host it in Tableau’s cloud.

The pricing plans for Tableau’s cloud version are the following:

  • Viewer – $15/month/license
  • Explorer – $42/month/license
  • Creator – $70/month/license

The pricing plans for the self-hosted Tableau version are the following:

  • Viewer – $12/month/license
  • Explorer – $35/month/license
  • Creator – $70/month/license

Similarities

  • Both tools provide features to import, manage, track, and analyze data
  • Both tools support data imports from various formats and types
  • Both tools provide great data security at the highest level
  • Both tools make a great choice for collaboration
  • Both tools offer a free 14-day trial

Differences

  • Tableau provides advanced visualizations
  • SAS is a more command-driven tool
  • SAS is better at handling larger amounts of data
  • SAS costs a lot more than Tableau
  • SAS requires a third-party company to install the software for you

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SAS vs Tableau – Pros and Cons

SAS Pros

  • Can handle large amounts of data which is ideal for large companies and enterprises
  • Great data security
  • Plenty of integrated features
  • It’s easy to learn
  • Excellent customer support
  • A bit more advanced features

SAS Cons

  • It’s pricier than Tableau
  • It doesn’t provide as good data visualization
  • Difficult text mining

Tableau Pros

  • Unlike its alternatives, Tableau is very easy to use
  • Many intuitive visual representations
  • Convenient multi-board dashboard
  • High performance
  • Ability to import data from multiple sources in various formats
  • Mobile friendly accessibility
  • Lower cost

Tableau Cons

  • Lack of after-sales support
  • Embedment issues

SAS vs Tableau – Which is Better?

While SAS is very advanced software that’s ideal for very large companies and enterprises who deal with extraordinary volumes of data, it lacks graphical representations. As a result, it’s a bit pricey for smaller or mid-sized businesses.

On the other hand, Tableau is a lot more convenient software with its graphical elements and a multi-board dashboard.

Both software provides similar, if not the same, features, and the choice will most likely come down to personal preference. Depending on what you’re looking for and with the help of this review, you’ll be able to find out which software fits your situation better.

According to this review, Tableau wins. Still, all of the aspects I considered in the rating are very minimal, so it’s recommended to consider both options to make the best choice for your needs!

Author: Tom ClaytonTom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. Tom has been a full-time internet marketer for two decades now, earning millions of dollars while living life on his own terms. Along the way, he’s also coached thousands of other people to success.
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