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Tableau Review
There are some best-practice shortcuts for tables, which can facilitate implementation.

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Valuable Features:

  • Drag and drop: It's easy for beginners to use Tableau as it's very intuitive and simple to create insights.
  • Quick table calculations: There are some best-practice shortcuts for tables, which means Tableau can be implemented very quickly.
  • Data Connectors: Tableau has many different connectors for different databases. It's very easy to connect to MySQL, SQL Server, Amazon EMR, Presto, Redshift, BigQuery, and so on. Just name it and they have the connector; the work they do is very impressive.

Improvements to My Organization:

Three years ago, Viber didn't have any visualization tool to present its massive data inside the company. One month after implementing Tableau, inside Viber we were able to understand much better the business, opportunities and technical problems.

Room for Improvement:

Data science: Tableau lacks machine learning algorithms that you can implement using R, SPSS Modeler, and Python. It has clustering and time-series forecasting abilities which are helpful, but adding machine learning capabilities like decision trees, CHAID analysis and K-means would make this product perfect! Tableau has a connector to R; you can use the ML algorithms there and visualize it back in the Tableau.

Use of Solution:

I have used it for 3.5 years.

Stability Issues:

Previous versions suffered from instability but that has been fixed in later versions. The current version has no issues with stability as far as I can see.

Scalability Issues:

Tableau is not scalable on the desktop version. On the server version, you can scale it by adding more machines and configuring Tableau to use all of them.

Technical Support:

One of Tableau’s secrets is that they have one of the best tech support in the world of BI. The community of developers is great, with a lot of contributors; very nice and helpful – for beginners and professionals.

Previous Solutions:

In the past, I used QlikView as the BI solution. It's also a great tool with many features and great support. The problem with QlikView is that it's expensive and it takes longer to implement inside organizations.

Initial Setup:

It's very simple and quick to implement Tableau in an organization; you can have helpful dashboards in a matter of hours.

Cost and Licensing Advice:

Tableau pricing is low compared to other solutions that are in the market; for small-medium businesses, that would provide good cost-effectiveness. For big business, Tableau could be expensive as having a lot of Tableau server users (entering with a browser to reports) could be a bit expensive.

Other Solutions Considered:

We compared Tableau to QlikView, Panorama Necto and TIBCO Spotfire. We evaluated them by:

  • Price
  • Ease of use
  • Speed of implementation
  • Use-case visualizations

Other Advice:

Don't visualize more than 2M data points in a report. Use extracted data and not a direct connection to the database; it will run faster. Don't use too many sections in a report; 3-4 at most. Make most calculations during the ETL process and not in Tableau; every calculation that Tableau does will make the report go slower.

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