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Tableau Review
When mixing structured and unstructured ‘Big Data’, it suggests the best graph.


Valuable Features:

The most valuable features are the ability to use various data sets from different platforms, the intuitive graphs, and the ability to play around with the data and graph selections for different views of the data. As the course work is focused on ‘Big Data’ - both structured and unstructured - the ability to mix some of these sets and have Tableau suggest the best graph was very helpful. Because the product is so flexible, other graphs can be selected and a new ‘view’ of the same data presents a different insight.

Improvements to My Organization:

All product use was through the school.

Room for Improvement:

Version-specific work did not automatically version up with the upgrade. Since the version change occurred during the course and the majority of us had never used Tableau before, this static versioning for the projects caused some anxiety and some rework. There might have been an easier way to move these projects to the new version, but it was not transparent how to do that and online resources referenced an older version solution that did not work in the newer version.

Use of Solution:

I was introduced to the product through a few courses in my master’s program in Business Analytics, and was able to use Tableau Desktop for one of the course projects.

Deployment Issues:

I did not encounter any deployment, stability or scalability issues. All product was through the school.

Technical Support:

I did not interact with Tableau staff; all support was derived from the school’s IT staff.

Initial Setup:

The initial desktop setup was phenomenally easy and straightforward. Access to test projects and videos are available to ensure that the product works as expected.

Implementation Team:

Desktop implementation is user-based and although the setup is easy, it is necessary to be cognizant of where the base files reside and how projects and data sets are stored.

Cost and Licensing Advice:

I am unable to provide pricing/licensing advice; the licensing is provided through the school with keys for each student to obtain a desktop version.

Other Advice:

Tableau is a very robust engine. As attractive as the speed to combine data sets is and the great visuals it can produce, it is well known that it is not an affordable product if you maintain small datasets. To use a phrase, you don’t need an army tank where a red wagon will do. Because of this, Tableau would need to have a Tableau-lite for smaller businesses, so that it wasn’t so hard to start using the tool, then as the business grows, so does the product if need be.

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

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