Tableau Review

Great for following KPIs, good performance and good for presentations


What is our primary use case?

We have been using Tableau for all sorts of analytical tasks. When I was having an ERP SAP practice, we used SAP analytical tools and IBM Cognos plus Tableau for dynamic display session purposes. Tableau ended up being the best solution. That is why we moved over to Tableau. We predominantly implement and use Tableau. 

How has it helped my organization?

It's a pure data platform. Everyone relies on Tableau. Our departmental meetings and reports for monthly meetings and reviews happen live on Tableau. We can prepare all of our KPIs on it. In fact, all of our KPIs can be placed onto one single screen and divided into nine tiles that can be further divided.

We can easily review and define all of our KPIs. The data is perfectly validated. It allows us to run corporate and board presentations purely on Tableau's visualization center.

What is most valuable?

It's an extremely good product with respect to performance and analytics. 

All the transactions that are happening are happening in SAP and some of the solutions are in Oracle as well. The combination, the data extraction which is filtered into authenticated, validated financial data, sales data, material data, etc, into Tableau platform is very useful for us.   

The solution makes for very productive and really informative decision making. It can lead the whole business and build a strategy across whole working departments.

What needs improvement?

The licensing costs of Tableau are on the higher side and probably if you wanted more adaptability in usage across business divisions you need to have more reasonable pricing of licenses of Tableau. Tableau is a standalone product. That is a disadvantage.

Due to the fact that it is a standalone product, it has to extract the data from other ERP systems or other bespoke systems and other data systems, etc. If you have big data systems and you have got other informed decision-making tools and the data is being extracted into Tableau it is dependent on many other platforms.

In contrast, if you use SAP vertical data systems and you have SAP's Data Hub, etc., then everything is vertically integrated. The whole data pipeline is vertically integrated and there is a visualization screen right there as well. Therefore, you don't normally have to go for a separate integration process altogether or need a data extraction solution.

In the end, Tableau has got two or three disadvantages in the sense that it is not a seamlessly integrated platform, end-to-end platform. It's purely a standalone reporting tool. On top of that, the licensing cost is extremely on the higher side. Thirdly, IT divisions probably are a little bit hesitant to use Tableau due to the fact that separate training is required, and separate skill sets are needed to develop everything. 

The cost of owning the solutions from Tableau is much higher compared to any other analytical solutions.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've used Tableau for the past two and a half years or so.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is okay. It depends on the countries. I was in Australia for some time and there the support is much better than in India. This is probably due to the fact that a number of users are struggling with it and you get delayed support here. It's better to use Tableau proactively and develop a center of excellence in our organization. That is what I did and it helped us out a lot. I don't have any complaints about technical support per se.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Tableau is undisputedly the number one analytical product in the world. I have given a long presentation to management and the CEO about what differentiates Tableau over other products such as Cognos and Hyperion, SAP, etc. Lumira also is a strong contender, however, Tableau is way ahead because of the dynamic reporting that is possible and the whole virtualization that is very easy to produce, or reproduce. The business users themselves enjoy working on Tableau much better than other solutions like SAP, Cognos, Hyperion, etc.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing of the solution is a bit high.

What other advice do I have?

We're only customers. We don't have a business relationship with the company.

We have not moved to the cloud so far with this product. Only SAP Ariba is on the cloud. The rest of our solutions, all analytical solutions, are on-premise solutions only.

Businesses should know what exactly they can do with Tableau. It's not just a visualization center or dashboard. You can contact a lot of assets that are in use - such as institutional analytics, predictive analytics, and prescriptive analytics. It can integrate with any artificial intelligence learning solutions and analytic solutions. That is where big data analytics play an important role. Modern business is more focused on all sorts of big database analytical solutions, especially for retail and other larger CRM business.

A company needs to decide answers to questions such as "how do you extract data?" or "Which department wants what data?". They would definitely need to have an initial, extremely focused approach of implementing it, with the full participation of the business teams. That is how a successful Tableau implementation needs to happen. However, it doesn't end there. You also need to educate business users or corporates on the solution as well.

Tableau is an extremely good product. I'd advise other users to use all aspects of and take advantage of its capabilities. Tableau has many licensing products available and a whole analytical model should be under one platform rather than going for bits and pieces from Oracle, IBM, SAP, Microsoft, etc.  Tableau is undisputedly the leader of the whole analytical solution and it should remain so only because it should have a larger use phase.

The training of Tableau is good, however, users should be aware that the consultants' availability across various countries is limited. I'm from Bangalore and if I need a Tableau consultant it's very difficult to locate one. You can, however, often find freelancing consultants. They can also get the job done.

Overall, I'd rate the solution seven out of ten.

There are so many solutions on the market. Primavera solution is a project management software. There is no product that can beat Primavera in the project management functions so you have many such project management products, SAP Project Manager, Product and Portfolio management is there, Microsoft Project is there. There are other Oracle project management solutions out there and then Primavera is there. 

When Oracle purchased this solution, the popularity of Primavera died out. I've personally stopped recommending that particular product. There are others that cost less, so why use that one?

Tableau should learn from Primavera, and ensure it builds its user base and market its abilities so that corporates understand the depth and breadth of its usage. Many only use 10-20% of its capabilities. It's the duty of Tableau to ensure potential use cases are advertised and more information is disseminated to corporates to help them understand how it can benefit them and why that should adopt it.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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