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Tableau Review
Tableau is an excellent data discovery and visualisation tool, enabling intuitive data analysis without formal training.


Valuable Features:

Easy setup and intuitive drag and drop functionality. Easy connection to a range of different data sources. Range of visualisation models, constantly extending with new releases. Dashboards and story-telling.

Improvements to My Organization:

It has allowed a shift from IT-centric enterprise reporting to business-centered development of ad-hoc and enterprise reporting, in partnership with IT. This brings significant extra agility to the organisation and a model of greater co-operation between business units and IT department.

Room for Improvement:

As with all products there are many areas that can be improved. Tableau actively encourages suggestions from its user community, allowing for voting on what features to include it future releases. http://community.tableausoftware.com/community/idea

Use of Solution:

3 years, starting with Tableau 6.0.

Deployment Issues:

No significant deployment issues. With a sufficiently resourced infrastructure (CPU/RAM/Storage) the product is easily deployed. Tableau helps with the necessary specifications.

Stability Issues:

It is a mature and very stable product.

Scalability Issues:

Scalability is very good, especially with release of Tableau 8 which brought 64-bit and multi-threading. Extends to hundreds of users on a single server in my organisation without any issues and has capability to include clusters of servers for larger organisations.

Customer Service:

Very good. Very little need to deal with them on an ongoing basis due to the robustness of the product but on the occasional time we need some help they are very responsive.

Technical Support:

Initially very good with strong technical support easily reached. As the Tableau user-base has grown quickly there are more formalities to reaching support now but still top-quartile. Again little need to lean on them due to the stability of the product and strong online documentation and forum support.

Previous Solutions:

Oracle Discoverer. Switched because we needed to move to a partnership model between IT and Business units. While Discoverer allowed for power users in the business to author reports its metadata layer and underlying database technology required more intensive IT support. Tableau enables the business user while giving more agility to work together to deliver ranges of enterprise solutions.

Initial Setup:

Straightforward. Get a good server and provision it according to Tableau’s technical advice, install, and you’re away.

Implementation Team:

Mainly in-house, some support from Tableau themselves and also a local Tableau partner. Expertise of partners not great at the time in Europe but has matured considerably over the last few years.

ROI:

Commercially sensitive.

Cost and Licensing Advice:

Commercially sensitive.

Other Solutions Considered:

Sas Microsoft SSRS Qliktech Oracle OBIEE Microstrategy

Other Advice:

Assess your own strengths and create a preferred architecture. Then see if Tableau fits some of your needs. For anything significant in scale you will need a robust underlying data architecture, it won’t do all of your ETL. While it is possible to create and deploy artifacts very quickly without formal training, it is worth sourcing some to help you leverage the best features of the product.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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