What is most valuable?
The best feature of Tableau is the usability. It allows a business user to prototype something without going through IT and spending a lot of time and money trying to translate requirements. Going back and forth, it allows you to rapidly develop things that you need to analyze the data.
I also think, as I used SAP Business Objects before that and built out the reports, that you can build almost anything you need to, but it's a little more complicated. I would say Tableau is more like Apple, it just looks nice. It formats things. It just gives it to you in one way, as it assumes that is the way that everybody wants it. So it might be frustrating if Tableau doesn't give it to you the way you want. But usually, it does give it in a good enough way. So, it saves you a lot of time.
What needs improvement?
The thing I don't like is the refresh feature . The users can have the web page open and there's a browser refresh every 10 minutes, or every 30 minutes, whatever IT sets as the refresh rate. You lose everything when you have to refresh the page and it may take 30 seconds. So, that's a bit frustrating too. You expect that when you leave a browser page open, you want it to keep that view there.
I don't know if they've introduced it yet, but there is a connector with Smartsheet. We use Smartsheets a lot for project management and capturing data. We are basically exporting from Smartsheet to Excel, and then creating in Tableau and publishing it. I believe there is a connector now but I haven't actually used it. So that would be one useful feature; more connections to data sources.
I would sometimes get an error message stating “out of system resources”, but when I checked the RAM/CPU utilization in my laptop, it would appear that I had lots of resources.
For how long have I used the solution?
Cisco has been using it for about seven years. Teams that I work with use it. I've contributed to the requirements of building dashboards with IT. I have been using Tableau for about three years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
There can be a memory hang, or the memory crashes sometimes. I'm not sure, but generally it's stable. I think it's when I build complicated data sets, like too many worksheets or too many reports in my workbook, this can happen, which is annoying.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
I don't think it is scalable because of the stability issue. I think it's good for desktop; it's quick and dirty, making things you need, and you can actually build some really nice dashboards. It's scalable when you publish it to the server. Also, you can have as many users as you want accessing it. I have some impressions on how much data you can actually use at a time when you're building your reports.
How is customer service and technical support?
I think technical support is OK. We have in-house support at Cisco, which is a team that supports Tableau as well, but we can go outside to Tableau support itself if we need help.
How was the initial setup?
I found it easy to get started. I'm more of a technical user with an IT background, so I had no problems setting it up.
What other advice do I have?
Get started using Tableau as it serves the purpose for most people.