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Tableau Review
Easy and intuitive chart creation. Easy conversion between different chart types and crosstabs.


Valuable Features:

  • Easy and intuitive chart creation
  • Easy conversion between different chart types and crosstabs
  • Easy map-based charting
  • Built in geo coordinates for cities, states, countries- Easy-to-create fields with formulas
  • Ability to connect so many kinds of data sources

Improvements to My Organization:

  • Now, the business decisions are "data driven" based on Tableau
  • There are standard interactive reports/dashboards.
  • And there is a dedicated data analyst role.

Room for Improvement:

  • Tableau can handle only one joined/denormalized table, e.g. students, classrooms, teachers.
  • Sometimes I need to analyze the joined/denormalized table from multiple perspectives in one single workbook.
  • Create analysis both for students, teachers and classrooms
  • To use simple drag-and-drop is not enough to show
    • Average student age per classrooms or teachers because some students have classes multiple times in the same classroom
    • Average grades per teacher
  • Sometimes I would like to analyse both student-classroom and teacher-student or classroom-student relations out of the original joined/denormalized table.
  • I think the Qlik Sense approach is better for this very specific case.

Use of Solution:

I have been using it for nine months.

Scalability Issues:

Tableau 8.3 did not scale properly.
I had four cores, but Tableu 8.3 was single-threaded. Tableau froze once in a fortnight, and without saving either *.tde or *.twb, they lost their sync.

Technical Support:

I used and liked the documentation and user forum very much, and found there either a solution, a workaround or at least an explanation to my problems.

Initial Setup:

Initial setup was easy.

Implementation Team:

  • We bought official basic and advanced Tableau trainings.
  • My local Tableau instances (on my desktop and AWS instances) were installed by me.
  • The central Tableau server was installed by the BI and administrator teams.

ROI:

For a large company, the ROI is really fast.

Cost and Licensing Advice:

Always buying the latest Tableau Desktop Professional is too expensive for an individual analyst/developer.

Other Solutions Considered:

My team evaluated 50 visual analysis tools in 2014. I also was one of the key developers of Cygron Datascope.

Tableau was selected because it is the common platform for both data analysts and regular users. Both groups can use it. Of course, analysts can utilize more advanced techniques, but even an average user can understand charts and do basic things after 60 minutes of training.

Other Advice:

Go for it. It is an excellent product for the majority of analyses. However, for complex reports and decision support cases, custom application development might be needed.

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

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