The best features of Tableau include:
- Freedom of connection: Its ability to connect to practically any database. There is no need to go through cryptic ODBC or other driver setup procedures.
- Freedom of exploration: The ease one can explore a data table. With simple drag and drop, you can produce easily readable cross tabs and paretos on-the-fly to learn everything you need to know about an unfamiliar table.
- Freedom of expression: You can pretty much build any type of analytic structure you need to analyze your data.
- Built-in visual best practices: Interfaces are clean and simple. You have to work hard to produce an ugly chart in Tableau.
Improvements to My Organization
With the ease of using Tableau, I am able to set up basic analytic structures in the meta data (dims and measures) with some starter chart types, then turn over to analysts who can then ask all the detailed questions of the data on their own without having to come back to me for every minor change.
Room for Improvement
- They still need to improve advanced query functions. Level of detail and table calcs have improved but still are difficult to use, especially when working with large data sets.
- The custom query editor has lots of room for improvement. If Tableau can add features and functionality here, it would be easier to work with the database in one environment, instead of having to open another query editor to develop custom queries for advanced analytics.
- The formatting interface is the one area that has lots of room for improvement, as well as the ability to be more precise in formatting. At the moment, it is much more of an all-or-none proposition.
- More integrated statistical functions.
Use of Solution
I have used it since 2009, Tableau 5.
I have not encountered any deployment, stability or scalability issues. Although I do run into performance issues with Tableau server from time to time, it is not always easy to identify the root cause.
Customer Service and Technical Support
I have had so little need to use customer support, I can’t really rate them. Nonetheless, the few times when I have called, the level of understanding of complex data issues at the first few levels of support seems to be on the light side.
For the desktop edition, initial setup couldn’t be simpler. For the server edition, it is a bit more involved but that is to be expected.
It was implemented in house. For the server edition, an experienced server admin would definitely make the final install better.
Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing
My clients find the price tag for the desktop edition high, so they typically try to use the server/interactor edition, which for an analyst just doesn’t provide enough functionality to get the job done. Hopefully, as Tableau builds scale, they will be able to bring the price of the desktop edition down and get on more desktops, like Excel.
Other Solutions Considered
I have evaluated other competitive tools but in the end, my clients have always gone with Tableau.
The Tableau on-demand learning resources are fantastic to help a new user get going. There is a robust user community that is very generous with their time and knowledge to help you get through the learning curve.
Which version of this solution are you currently using?