Tableau Review
Most of the configurations are accessed by drag and drop, so very little actual programming is required.

Valuable Features

I have been using Tableau to visualize data sets. The three features that are most valuable to me are:

  • Ease of use. Most of the configurations are accessed by drag and drop, so very little actual programming is required.
  • Interactivity, especially the ability to use tool tips to identify exactly which points are plotting in an unusual or unexpected position. This is the first step in distinguishing outliers from important data features, which is an important part of data exploration.
  • The ability to easily annotate and export finished plots for presentation purposes.

Improvements to My Organization

I have previously used Excel or R to perform exploratory data analysis. Tableau is easier and quicker, which means results can be obtained more quickly.

Room for Improvement

Some of the command choices have to be memorized and are not intuitive. It could be even easier to learn.

Use of Solution

I have used it for about three months.

Deployment Issues

No issues with deployment, except I wish a version was available for Linux (Ubuntu).

Customer Service and Technical Support

I haven't needed technical support yet.

Previous Solutions

I previously used R for data exploratory analysis. I'm choosing Tableau because it is quicker, and exploratory data analysis by its nature requires a large variety and volume of output.

Initial Setup

Initial setup was very simple; standard Windows installation.

Implementation Team

Just me... No problems. Just note that Tableau workbooks are stored in their own file structure by default, not in the file where the data originated or where the exported charts are stored.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

Tableau has a free trial, free versions for academic scholars/faculty, and a free public version. The paid versions are a little pricey, but likely worth it.

Other Advice

There is a public version you can implement for free. Its main restriction is the variety of data source connections that it supports. You can still work with the typical text or Excel files, but live database connections are not supported.

I think it's great at what it tries to do.

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

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