What is Tableau? Read our review
Tableau is one of the best-known examples of self-service BI. This enables end users in organizations to use business intelligence solutions and data analysis tools.
The organization behind Tableau is young and successful
This success is explained by the strong focus on self-service BI, while thinking from the customer’s point of view. Tableau has a different way of product development, so new features become available much sooner. Perhaps most importantly: the product is characterized by a very user-friendly interface. In total, the Tableau platform consists of five different components, namely:
- Tableau desktop
- Tableau server
- Tableau online
- Tableau reader
- Tableau public
Which components meet your needs depends on your data volume, complexity of the questions, and the number of users.
Who is the supplier of this BI solution?
Tableau Software was founded in 2001 and is the result of an investigation into ‘data cubes and visualization’ at the renowned Stanford University. On the basis of this research, ViZQL (Visual Query Language) was developed, a language that has served as the basis for Tableau Software.
The organization is characterized by a strong focus on its (end) customers and the visual customer interaction with data in particular. The company has its own way of developing software which leads to rapid iteration. This is done with relatively few employees (1/3 less than the traditional developers).
Tableau has been listed on the New York Stock Exchange since 2013 and in recent years has shown strong growth in revenue and profits. We foresee a challenge for Tableau in continuing this growth, as more players enter this lucrative market.
On June 10 2019, Salesforce, the cloud-based CRM software provider, announced that it would acquire Tableau for 15,7 billion dollars in stocks. A strong vote of confidence in the software.
What are Tableau Software's weaknesses?
Most suppliers don’t usually mention their weaknesses, but it’s important to know them. The most important are:
- The Tableau organization has, in recent years, experienced very strong growth. Strong growth also comes with challenges. These challenges are now visible in the market.
- It’s a tool for end users, but is not (yet) a complete platform which covers all BI issues. The danger is that if there are multiple BI-products present in an organization, they do not connect to each other, or they overlap with each other.
- The tool gives organizations a push to work more data-driven, but that means there is a risk that the organization creates a proliferation of BI reports.
- They have unlocked a lot of interfaces such as Hadoop, but the link between the different interfaces is not yet sufficiently developed.
- Tableau falls behind in functionality in areas such as cloud architecture, collaborative BI, and social BI. In the field of performance management and planning they fall behind compared to traditional BI suppliers.
What are the strengths of Tableau?
The most notable advantages of Tableau are:
- A very user-friendly (visual) interface, where users can make statements and are able to ‘browse’ in data.
- The licensing structure is simple. There is a single-user version that is relatively cheap and there are business licenses with a clear discount structure. It’s possible to try the product for free for two weeks.
- The functionality offered is growing rapidly and it is expected that they will be able to compete with the traditional enterprise BI suppliers within two years.
- The product can be ‘easily implemented’ in all organizations and often runs alongside existing BI solutions.
- The service and customer support is delivered digitally, with an online help desk, forums, and an extensive set of instructional videos.
Where does Tableau find itself in the market?
Tableau Software has quickly made a name for itself in the BI market as a provider of self-service BI solutions with the desired functionality. The tool is especially popular with medium-to-large organizations who want to meet the increasing user demand for simple and user-friendly BI solutions.
Oftentimes, several Business Intelligence solutions are present within these organizations. The question is how organizations can connect both worlds permanently.
We see Tableau as a very good match to fill the need for ‘self-service BI’. With the advent of new releases, it is likely that within a few years Tableau, in terms of functionality, will no longer lag behind the traditional players in the market. With the Passionned Parabola for BI & Analytics you can see at a glance where Tableau is now in the BI field and you can also see the other players you can consider.
Tableau reviewed and compared to other BI tools
If you’re considering purchasing Tableau or if your end users are already working with Tableau, then it’s good to make a thorough assessment. Independent research, like Passionned Group’s Business Intelligence Tools Survey, 2019 can help you. If you have any other BI solutions in-house, the Survey Tool can show you at a glance where the functionality of the packages may or may not overlap. The various tools are compared to each other on almost 200 aspects. This survey can be ordered through our website.
Should you buy Tableau?
Tableau offers a relatively transparent cost structure. But when purchasing large quantities of licenses, big discounts are possible. If you’re considering a purchase, you need to consider what you want to do with your existing BI solution(s) and what your future BI landscape should look like. Please contact one of our experienced BI specialists.
Tableau BI expertise
Tableau BI is very user-friendly, so why should you hire an expert? BI is more than just quickly creating a report. It’s getting acquainted with data and interpreting it correctly and visualizing it. Our Tableau experts can bridge the gap between the more traditional BI solutions and Tableau. They can jump-start your organization when it comes to self-service BI.
Storytelling with data in Tableau
Databases, spreadsheets, the internet, there is an overwhelming amount of data available. A new way of harnessing this data and unearthing the insights that inform decisions, has arrived with the release of analytics-application Tableau 8.2. It introduces a feature called Story Points which enables ‘data storytelling’.
Story points to create interactive, data-driven stories
Tableau was already meant for quick analysis, visualisations of data and sharing information, but these Story Points allow users to create interactive, data-driven stories that they can share with the world if so desired. The Story Points help to add more context, flow and guidance so organizations can tell a better structured story with their data.
A better connection with customers
Analysis of data is one thing, the real value lies in the interpretation of what it means and how to use it for a better connection with customers. The story points allow users to combine worksheets and dashboards into stories. All the while the underlying data is connected to the output, which means that as the view of the dashboard changes or the data itself has been modified, the output changes accordingly.
Want to learn more about Tableau or Data Analytics?
Besides Tableau experts, Passionned Group can help you with numerous services, such as our unique Business Intelligence course. Our business intelligence consultants can also provide (selection) advice or support you with our well-stocked BI knowledge base. A total package of (independent) services that will help you to apply Business Analytics successfully in your organization. Even when you (have to) run multiple BI solutions together. Contact us about your challenges and we will offer you a customized solution.