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Tableau Review
It has provided more effective involvement of business users in defining business requirements and reporting needs.


Valuable Features:

The most valuable feature of this product is that business people with no technical background can autonomously design and implement their visual reports, relieving the IT staff from this burden. On the other hand, despite its ease of use, the tool does not support highly complex visualization and filtering mechanisms.

Improvements to My Organization:

The adoption of this platform has improved the interaction between the IT and the business departments, through an increased awareness and more effective involvement of business users in the definition of business requirements and reporting needs. Now, the IT people can mainly focus on the setup and administration of suitable data sources published on the server that business users can directly connect to and explore with Tableau's visual tools.

Room for Improvement:

I would give it a perfect rating if it weren't for a few flaws and limits that make it slip off from perfection.

There are some weaknesses in the desktop tool that could be greatly improved, concerning the dashboard layout management and the initialization of parameters.

There are also some frustrating limitations in its data engine that sometimes make it hard to handle filtering and combining data from multiple data sources in the same dashboard. Hopefully such limitations are expected to be solved in the next upcoming release, version 10.

Use of Solution:

We have been using this product for more than two years.

Deployment Issues:

We have never encountered relevant issues with our deployments. Only once, and for a limited time, we encountered a JavaScript incompatibility with Google Chrome browsers.

Technical Support:

The technical support is very responsive, as well as customer service. They easily escalate to the developers if a bug or a performance issue arises.

Previous Solutions:

Previously, we had been using the SAP BusinessObjects suite for BI reporting. There were too many issues regarding the complexity in development, the deployment of reports and, mostly, the performance and stability of dashboards.

After the bad experience with SAP BusinessObjects, we evaluated and adopted Tableau for its amazing straightforwardness in the representation of geo-referenced data on maps, which was a strict requirement from our sales & marketing department.

Initial Setup:

This is probably one of the major strengths of Tableau: It enables organizations to set up and run a collaborative BI reporting platform in just a few days, with a smooth learning curve.

Of course, fine tuning of operating parameters - when it comes to optimizing performance - requires some more care, but really the administration of the system is easy compared to other equivalent platforms.

Implementation Team:

We first started alone with in-house activities. Then, at a later time, we got some support from a local consulting company that was a Tableau partner.

In my opinion, a medium-sized company could adopt the platform without any significant support from outside.

Cost and Licensing Advice:

I’m not in a position to make a reliable evaluation of ROI. However, I can firmly say that the cost of licenses is pretty fair and surely more convenient compared to other competitors.

Other Advice:

The best way to have a clear perception of the potential of this product is just downloading a trial version of the desktop application and play with it a few days. In my case, that experience was clearly decisive in making the decision to buy.

Its desktop application is a beautifully designed tool - very powerful and intuitive. It allows a business user, with no knowledge of databases and query languages, to build in a matter of minutes complex and compelling visual dashboards that enable users to detect and highlight interesting patterns in data. The dashboards created can be published and shared through Tableau Server, a powerful web platform where dashboards are rendered efficiently in HTML5. A cloud version and a free public version are also available.

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

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