Tableau Review

Provides the story behind the data giving stakeholders the necessary insights and metrics

What is most valuable?

Operations Perspective:

The most valuable aspect of this product is the ease of deployment from the Tableau Desktop to the server, providing the ability to either connect live to a data source or create a cached dataset that can be published and updated separately. The deployment of a Tableau Workbook can even be packaged up and sent to someone with a Tableau Reader installed. This makes the solution very agile and scalable.

The ability to deploy is the added ability to centralise the Tableau repository for all Tableau Developers. We have initiated a central shared directory for each Tableau platform, Dev, UAT, and PROD with each containing subdirectories for each Tableau Site and Project. Being a financial institution we must provide data segregation to comply with legislation and Data Governance policies enforced by brand segregation.

Development Perspective:

Ease of use is the most common call out from the developers. There is a thriving user group online that provides any number of ways to build reports quickly and easily, but the most important ability is to allow the Developer to storyboard the information in a dashboard. Tableau provides the developer a means to provide captions and business information on the dashboard to tell the story of each Workbook. This ability to break down a complex Workbook into an easy to digest narrative provides the business stakeholder a way to really understand and discover the story behind the data giving them the necessary insights and metrics.

How has it helped my organization?

Tableau has provided the organisation a means to allow business people to explore their data at their pace. They can either review the reports online, or on their Tableau Reader or they can download it into other formats for use in data analysis. The key insights and graphic representations through the dashboards has also provided them a quick and painless overview of their current status, whatever that may be.

What needs improvement?

At this stage, we haven’t had any suggestions since moving to Tableau 10.3, so there may be improvements requested further down the line.

For how long have I used the solution?

Six years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We did have issues with Tableau 10.1 server with the brokers failing on heavy load but since moving to 10.2, then to 10.3, this issue seems to have been resolved and the environment is now quite stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This is no longer an issue in Tableau 10.3.

How are customer service and technical support?

A nine out of 10. With all first line support, sometimes these support people need to read the question a couple of times before responding, but this is typical of any first line support for any vendor.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We are still using another solution. However, this will be shutdown next year due to the decline in development on this platform. The development cycle on this legacy platform has been too slow for any type of turnkey solution and the end result did not provide a proficient self-service capability that satisfied the customer. Performance has been another factor in this platforms decline.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of Tableau had been developed with a DevOps lens. I wanted to build a platform that had rigor and a platform with a level of governance of aspects which could guarantee report certification and certainty for the business stakeholder. These processes were carefully thought out even before the product was installed.

Once the process was developed and tested, we rolled out the solution to the business with a migration form for developers to fill out as we needed to meet audit policy guidelines and brand segment legal requirements. We allocated several business people to be software advocates whom were familiar with the migration requirements and liaised with the business to guide them in their approach to using the Tableau solution.

After six years, we can confidently say that any report in production is guaranteed to be correct (within limits) and the data source has been certified for provisioning.

At the time, this did have pushback from the vendor, but we’ve seen the chaos caused in other organisations that we mitigated right at the start.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Buy 50 at a time. Project your use base every three months, and project your requirements forward, so you can meet demand for licenses by having them available.

We have also added the vendor into our internal order system for ad hoc requests that we meet the needs of those that want a license on their own terms.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Actually no. This was a spontaneous purchase by an executive and we basically ran with it.

What other advice do I have?

I’d strongly advise going to the forums, attending the Tableau conferences, and ask questions about governance, report certification, and capacity. These questions and the corresponding answers should guide you on how you would best implement your own solution. We did not want to be dictated to by Tableau to install it as a free for all. We wanted to future proof the product and provide certainty around the reports being developed and deployed to the business.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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author avatarBusiness Intelligence Applications Team Leader at a energy/utilities company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User

Good insight into the usefulness of Tableau. Interested in the stability improvements for server at 10.3 as we are looking to upgrade, thanks.