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Tableau Review
Data cleaning: helpful in showing you where there are holes or mistakes in your data.


Valuable Features:

For visual data analysis, discovery analysis and usability, it is the best product on the market.

For data cleaning, it can be very helpful in showing you where there are holes or mistakes in your data.

Improvements to My Organization:

In our Project Management office, it has provided us better insight into the breadth of our work and made it much easier to see which projects are at risk. Once we retire our old reporting system (Word docs/PowerPoint), we will be saving about 20 people four hours per week. You can do the math on the annual impact.

Getting buy-in from all of the department leaders has been the toughest part. They are tentative about letting go of the old systems, we have to really prove that our Tableau dashboards fully meet their needs.

Room for Improvement:

This is tough to answer. The company puts more $$ into R&D than any other in the industry and I don't even use all of its current abilities. They put out releases regularly, so at this point this is more about keeping up with the changes and understanding how they are useful to us.

The tool was not created for data structuring, but does provide some functionality.

Use of Solution:

I have been using it for about 15 months, off and on, at times more than others. I use it on any piece of analysis I can.

Deployment Issues:

We were unable to use LDAP or Active Directory, so all server users have to be created locally. Stability and scalability are not issues; we are just trying to grow adoption. Of course, we have experienced some growing pains but that is normal with any new technology.

Technical Support:

Customer support always gets back to me within 24 hours. However, they are not always able to help me resolve my issue.

Previous Solutions:

We have the EBI tool, Oracle OBIEE. Although I never used it personally, our department has experience with several of the top competitors of this product. Despite owning licenses to those tools and using them, the decision was made that Tableau offers self-serve BI better than any of the others. (I was not a part of this decision process, but was moved over from another team to manage the product once the decision was made.)

Initial Setup:

Initial setup was straightforward. One thing Tableau excels at is documentation that is user friendly. We did bring in a consultant to help this go smoothly but honestly I think he did more harm than good. Could have just followed the playbook.

Implementation Team:

Implementation was done by a vendor team and in-house. Our middleware team did the heavy lifting and we brought in a vendor team with experience to help us.

ROI:

ROI has yet to be determined as the implementation is less than a year old. Adoption has been slower than expected but gaining momentum lately. I attribute the slower adoption to the fact that using Tableau is a shift in thinking for those wanting to use it and therefore involves some growing pains that some are hesitant to embrace. However, those that have embraced it are beginning to reap the benefits.

Cost and Licensing Advice:

The pricing is a little steep. However, if used correctly, the improvements in productivity will more than outweigh the cost.

Other Advice:

It does require you to think about your data in a slightly different way as this is totally different than Excel, so take a little extra time when starting out.

Tableau helps people see and understand their data, answering valuable business questions and giving insight into mountains of information collected over time.

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

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