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Tableau Review
We use it to illustrate trends in cash balances, research grant expenditure trends, and student metrics and performance.


Valuable Features:

Valuable features include the various “Show Me” graph options; the ability to do forecasting (which is an area that Tableau needs to continue growing its modeling capabilities); and the immediate responsiveness to adding dimensions/measures and their effect on the visualization.

Improvements to My Organization:

We have used Tableau to develop institutional dashboards for the university. We’ve used it to illustrate trends in cash balances, research grant expenditure trends, and student metrics and performance.

Room for Improvement:

I’d like to see the forecasting capabilities expanded from an algorithm standpoint to offer different options for multi-variate forecasting. I think they can improve the ability to integrate with web pages. I’d like to see a more secure option for data regarding HIPAA regulations.

Use of Solution:

We’ve been using the Tableau solution for over three years. We started out with about 30 users and have grown to over 350 interactors and 50 authors.

Scalability Issues:

A strong guide to help determine the scaling up options does not exist; it is still new to third-party support consultants which performance options are the best. I do like the fact that AWS has a one-click solution, but it needs more of a config wizard to better outline what storage/memory impacts choices will produce.

Technical Support:

We have experienced less-than-preferable service with the technical support. For a while, it felt like they were experimenting for answers, even with complete log and infrastructure details. Their response time to issues is not acceptable for customers who are paying for core licenses, and they acknowledge that.

Initial Setup:

Initial setup was straightforward; the upgrade path is also straightforward.

Implementation Team:

We implemented from within our team. We did engage with a consultant about two years later to see how we were doing and discuss the next steps with server admin training. The results were acceptable.

Cost and Licensing Advice:

Pricing continues to be a sore spot. Desktop licensing discounts in bulk do not exist, which is challenging for a non-profit. Server core licensing is also prohibitive from an expansion standpoint.

Other Solutions Considered:

We only went with Tableau based on the feature set and the user base reviews.

Other Advice:

There is a lot of competition brewing with other visualization providers that may be at better cost points. Definitely go in and deep dive/experience the other solutions. Though Tableau has a great reputation for ease of use, there definitely is a learning curve to optimize it, and other solutions like Microsoft Power BI and Qlik are making progress.

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

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