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Tableau Review
It provides the ability to analyze data patterns in more visual dimensions than are possible in Excel.


Valuable Features:

The ability to analyze data patterns in more visual dimensions (size, shape, color) than are realistically possible in Excel is the functionality most valuable to me.

Room for Improvement:

Calculated fields are relatively simple and may leave a user wanting. Joining between multiple datasets also needs to be improved. (I heard this is an improvement that will be made with the version 10 release this summer.) Source data formatting requirements are a little particular, and reloading for new users can get repetitive.

Use of Solution:

I am a management consultant, and I have used this solution for multiple clients over the last two years.

Customer Service:

I never had to use customer service.

Initial Setup:

Initial setup was extremely easy; when downloading the trial version or purchasing, just accept the defaults. There aren’t many ways you can screw this up.

ROI:

I’d suggest taking the following steps:

  1. Define what you want to get out of the tool. (People don’t always need these types of solutions, and this becomes evident once they actually get in there with the data they have.)
  2. Make sure you have the existing data needed.
  3. Download a trial version and play with the software and develop prototype dashboards and analysis
  4. If you actually have a recurring need, then I’d look at purchasing Tableau desktop. If the need for use and analysis extends to many across the organization, Tableau Server could be your best option.

Other Solutions Considered:

I also evaluated Qlik and Spotfire, but found Tableau to be more intuitive and visually appealing.

Other Advice:

This product is the best visualization solution on the market. My rating is based on ease of use, visual appeal and additional functionality over Excel.

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

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