Tableau Room for Improvement

Sai Krishna J
Data Scientist at a consultancy with 51-200 employees
I would like to see the inclusion of a template to create a speedometer chart. I can understand that Tableau doesn’t have it as one of its default chart types because it’s not a good way to represent the data. Indeed that’s true, but speedometers are quite popular and once we had a client who was insistent on having highly-customizable speedometers and I had to spend a good amount of time to create them via multiple workarounds. In my experience, I've seen many customers who do not want to consider alternatives to speedometers. I’ll address these two points: * Speedometers/dial charts are a not-so-good way to represent data * I had to resort to multiple workarounds to create a speedometer in Tableau First, I’ll give you a few reasons as to why speedometers are not considered to be a good way to visualize data: * Low data-ink ratio: ‘Data’ here refers to the data that you want to show on your chart/graph and ‘ink’ refers to the aesthetic elements of the chart such as lines, colors, indicators or any other designs. A low data-ink ratio implies that the quantity of ‘ink’ on the chart is very high relative to the small quantity of ‘data’ that is present on the chart. What does a speedometer or a dial chart do? It shows you the current state (value) of any system. Therefore, the data shown by the chart is just one number. Let’s come to the ‘ink’ part. Needless to say, there is a lot of ‘ink’ on a speedometer chart – so many numbers all around the dial, the dial itself, a needle that points to the actual number etc. The fundamental principle of data visualization is to communicate information in the simplest way possible, without complicating things. Therefore, best practices in data visualization are aimed at reducing visual clutter because this will ensure that the viewer gets the message – the right message – quickly, without being distracted or confused by unnecessary elements. * Make perception difficult: The human brain compares lines better than it does angles – information in a linear structure is perceived more easily and quickly than that in a radial one.Let's say I’m showing multiple gauges on the same screen. What's the purpose of visualizing data? It's to enable the user to derive insights - insights upon which decisions can be taken. The more accurate the insights, the better the decisions. So, its best that the visualization does everything that helps the user understand it in the easiest possible way. Hence, the recommended alternative to a dial chart is a bullet chart * Occupy more space: Assume that there are 4 key process indicators (KPIs) that I need to show on screen and the user needs to know whether each KPI is above or below a pre-specified target. If I were to use dial charts I’ll be creating 4 dials – one for each KPI. On the other hand, if I were to use bullets, I’ll be creating just one chart where the 4 KPIs will be listed one below the other and each one in addition to showing its actual and target values, will also show by how much the actual exceeds/falls short of the target in a linear fashion. As real estate on user interfaces is at a premium, believe me, this is definitely better. Now, let me come to my situation where my client would not accept anything but a speedometer. As I’ve mentioned in the review, Tableau doesn’t provide a speedometer template by default. So when I was going through forums on the Internet I saw that people usually used an image of a speedometer and put their data on top of that image and thereby creating speedometers in Tableau. This would not have worked in my case because my client wanted to show different bands (red, yellow and green) and the number of bands and bandwidths varied within and between dials. For example, one dial would have 2 red bands (one between 0 and 10 and the other between 90 and 100), 1 yellow band and 1 green band while another would have just one yellow band between 40 and 50 and no red or green bands. Also, these bands and bandwidths would be changed every month and the client needed to be able to do this on their own. Therefore, using a static background image of a dial was out of the question. So, here’s what I did: I created an Excel spreadsheet (let’s call it data 1; used as one of the 2 data sources for the dial) in which the user would be able to define the bands and bandwidths. The spreadsheet had a list of numbers from one to hundred and against each number, the user could specify the band (red/green/yellow) in which it falls. The other data source (data 2) was an Excel sheet containing the numbers to be indicated on the dials. Then, in Tableau, I created a chart which had 2 pies – one on top of the other. Both the pies had numbers from 1 to 100 along the border, providing the skeleton for the dial. The top pie used data 1 and had the red, yellow and green bands spanning the numbers from 1 to 100. I then created a calculated field having an ‘if’ condition: if the number in data 2 matched the number in data 1, the field would have a value ‘yes’. Otherwise, it would have a value ‘no’. This will produce only 1 ‘yes’ and 99 ‘no’s’ because there will be only 1 true match. I put this calculated field onto the ‘Color’ shelf and chose black for ‘yes’ and white for ‘no’ – this formed the content of the bottom pie. So the bottom pie had 99 white colored slices (which looked like one huge slice) and just 1 black slice (which looked like a needle). I made the top pie containing the red, yellow & green bands more transparent and this gave the appearance of a needle pointing to the KPI value, also indicating into which band the number fell, thereby enabling the client to gauge their performance. View full review »
Lunik Kanungo
Assistant Vice President - BICC - Development at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
I think they have just come out with a tool called Prep, which we just heard about today. It was something that was missing, a little data preparation type of tool. I believe it is an ETL tool but it's not, as far as I know, a robust type tool. The other thing is a data modeling tool, a little bit more advanced modeling. I would like to see functionality like Cognos has in the Framework Manager. View full review »
DHS HQ at a government with 10,001+ employees
It is good for its use if ad hoc, offline, or needed for quick turnaround on reports/dashboards. It is not so great when it comes to data exchange/integration, data mining, etc. I rely on what’s available in current versions to see what APIs and plugins that I can use and they have Open Source on GitHub is a plus to share things to re-use. Room for improvement is more on data integration features that are agnostic to any solution platform but can be plug and play to be able to reuse what was built out Tableau in any other platform of work. View full review »
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Peter Birksmith
(2IC) Senior System Analyst at a insurance company with 10,001+ employees
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. View full review »
Vice President Engineering Intellicloud at a university with 1,001-5,000 employees
I have a lot of experience on the desktop version of Tableau. My recommendations for improvement for Tableau would be: * From the developer perspective, the data connection handling the target data set is what most needs to be improved. * Tableau keeps evolving with each version. With Tableau 192019.2, they're coming again with some more features. * Data preparation is where Tableau needs to work a lot on. Every time with Tableau you have to invest a lot of time preparing the data before you start using the visualizations. * Tableau doesn't perform well on big data processes. Suppose I was working with a file of like 1 or 2 gigabytes, then in that case Tableau is really slow. Sometimes I feel that Tableau is too slow when you have a big data file. View full review »
Alberto Guisande
Director at Decision Science
* Conditional formatting could be an interesting feature to provide to final users. It is a long-term request of our users. * The data preparation/blending options are very basic. They could be improved. * More willing to hear customer/user suggestions. View full review »
User at a insurance company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Tableau is always good at improving, but I typically get so busy with utilizing what is there, I have not had any needs yet for improvement. View full review »
Bohdan Harimovych
Software Quality Assurance Engineer at Syapse
Improvements can be made in template support. The workbook file structure is really hard to version control. If there was some sort of version control support offered particularly for workbooks, that would help big time. Another note is that the interactions within the UI are not fast enough and in certain instances, there have been issues with the intuitiveness of the tool. Such as delays in configuring and achieving some specific effects. I have to say Tableau does have excellent and extensive online support. View full review »
BI Expert at a tech services company with 5,001-10,000 employees
At the organizational level, increasing the servers' capabilities to support us as an enterprise tool: data management, semantic layer, and integration with other collaboration tools. At the analyst level: Better connection with Python data frames. View full review »
Program Manager at a non-profit with 1,001-5,000 employees
I would like to be able to set the parameters in a more specific manner. I feel as if it's not a questions of whether the solution is sufficient, it's whether we understand how to use it to the best of its productivity. View full review »
Enterprise Risk Manager at a transportation company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Improvement is required in the way filters operate when applied on large data sets. Having the ability to select and deselect filters without having to retrace the original path would make it easier to demonstrate the results. View full review »
Business Intelligence Manager with 501-1,000 employees
While noted that the product is specifically designed for visualization, it would be the perfect tool if it had more ETL features. View full review »
ProductEngineer with 51-200 employees
I think dashboard and story can still improve. For example, the placement of sheets on dashboard are quite tedious work, especially when the page is long. The automation of adjusting size of sheets has given us a hard time to place sheets neatly on the dashboard, even though the intention is good. As for story, just wish there could be more templates. View full review »
Carlo Capasso
Partner at a consultancy with 1-10 employees
I would like them to include the Italian language, even if it's not a problem for me to use English, because the Quantrix modeler is only in English. I can also see there is Portuguese, Japanese, and Chinese, so why not Italian? View full review »
Software Development Engineer at a financial services firm with 501-1,000 employees
* Tableau Online does not have any way of automating the usage reports. You can download them as a PDF but have to do so manually to distribute them. There is no way to schedule these reports for business users who would like to measure users activity. * While you can see how many licenses are used, there is no way to see how many licenses are available for use. You have to contact support to get this information. View full review »
Advisor at a retailer with 501-1,000 employees
The key feature of Tableau that has room for improvement is its performance with structured and unstructured data. I'm not sure I would suggest that Tableau go for a hardware oriented solution for this. Nevertheless, that would not be a bad approach to enhance the product and align with current marketing trends and its competitors. View full review »
Senior Director BI & Analytics at Hertz Global Holdings, Inc.
The performance could be better. At times, it can take up to one minute or more to open a workbook, which is very frustrating for the users. View full review »
Ayodele Makun
Pre-Sales Technical Consultant at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
The user interface and ease of use requires a bit of a learning curve to pick up. No drag and drop functionality at the development stage, unlike its competitors. The data preparation is quite good but not as powerful as the one I use or would recommend for data manipulation and cleansing as well. Tableau seems to focus on the data visualization end and provides, or has partnered with, some other software for data preparation. View full review »
Anthony Febres
Ejecutivo de cuentas at a marketing services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
The use of this service in the desktop version is annoying due to the constant updates which lead to reinstalling the application. If they could give support with updates on the same downloaded version, it would be great. View full review »
IT Instructor at a university with 1,001-5,000 employees
Integration with big data platform is a plus for any BI tool. They need to perform ETL/ELT operations with a direct connect to Hadoop ecosystem and RStudio for data quality tasks or offer a similar features. View full review »
Consulting Head
All area where business insight is needed. Also, I would like to see improvement in server capacities. View full review »
Jonathan Friesen
User at a energy/utilities company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Needs a metadata solution plus some enhanced ETL functionality. Edit: v9 introduced some light metadata solutions that are helpful from Excel. View full review »
Cristobal Rodriguez
Director Consultoria with 201-500 employees
The SQL programming functionality needs to be improved. View full review »
Project Development Coordinator at a logistics company with 51-200 employees
To improve the next version, it is important to highlight the use of the tool in other languages. This includes internal handling and updates. View full review »
Senior Principal at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
There are certain things that I would want it to do, but it wouldn't be something that I could easily describe. View full review »
Sunyong Kim
Business Intelligence Specialist
* About Tableau Server, it has to access various OS, not only Windows' server. * When extracting data, it can perform tasks about the update. * Needs tuning for slow work blending technology between dissimilar systems. View full review »
Praveen Yalagandula
Sr Programmer Analyst at a construction company with 1,001-5,000 employees
There is lot of improvement needed on Tableau extracts. Right now, Tableau doesn't support updating extracts with only changed records. We are doing full extracts everyday, which is utilizing a lot of resources. View full review »
Project Manager
* Consultant engagement * Margin analysis * Project break-even point (analysis of the project) * SLE of projects View full review »
Business Intelligence Manager at a non-tech company with 10,001+ employees
Sometimes, when the KPIs or metrics are kind of complex, Tableau could slowdown in the timing of the process and respond (clicks). View full review »
Senior Manager - Analytics at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Number of out-of-box visualizations can be increased. View full review »
Javier Florian
BI & New Project Profesional at a insurance company with 10,001+ employees
Preparation and consolidation of data. Many organizations needs prepare data, changes formats or consolidate sources. ETL jobs waste a lot time and sometimes is unproductive. View full review »
Miguel Molano
‎R&D Manager at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Custom formatting and layout. View full review »
Sr Business Intel at a logistics company with 10,001+ employees
Licensing and pricing options could be made better so that more users would be able to use it. The biggest concern any organization has is its budget when trying to implement a new product. Tableau is an extremely powerful tool and hence expensive, but if there was a way to cut down the cost they would end up attracting more users. View full review »
David O'Toole, PMP
Director, Analytics at a retailer with 1,001-5,000 employees
Pace of improvement to product has slowed. Most additions are now just nice to have. View full review »
Manager Technology at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
We would like a report model, because currently there is no schema that we can create in the tool. View full review »
Dante Garcia
BI Operations Support Leader at a energy/utilities company with 10,001+ employees
Needs bursting email and export to Excel. Many users still need to download the information (to Excel) and export to an Excel macro to merge the info with some other info. Bursting email is also needed to deliver the reports to many people in their inboxes and this functionality is not provided by Tableau. View full review »
MEA Sales Director at DR
* Needs more ETL capabilities, to be able to address the end-to-end BI need. * The ability to use it on MAC machines. As far as I know, this is not possible. View full review »
IT Manager with 1,001-5,000 employees
Deployment of dashboards to viewers and unit supervisors can be prohibitively expensive. View full review »
Vice President, Business Analytics at a logistics company with 10,001+ employees
I would like Tableau to handle geospatial data better in terms of multiple layers and shapefiles. View full review »
Director, Data-Driven Innovation with 201-500 employees
We would much appreciate an option for copying/moving objects between different pages and a possibility for teamwork when working on the same dashboards. View full review »
Fernando Chang
ACS/OPS at a logistics company with 10,001+ employees
Their training. I've been looking for ways in which we can start training more people to it, and it has shown that other platforms have more access to training than Tableau. View full review »
Mariebel Larin
Analysis Manager at a K-12 educational company or school with 51-200 employees
If they could add global filters in the stories, more chart types, and default colours, it would help. View full review »
Rajat Wadhwani
Process Data Engineer (Subsurface and Wells) at a energy/utilities company with 10,001+ employees
Sometimes it crashes because of the huge database. This could be fixed so that it works smoothly with large databases. View full review »
Ahmed Massoud
Senior Java Developer & Software Engineer with 11-50 employees
* Scripting just as loops would be great. * Forecasting on table calculation fields. View full review »
Francisco Lizama
Manager at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Provide additional enhancements in any business process: Operations, Marketing and Sales, Finance, Human Resources, Logistics, etc. View full review »
Robert Meunier
Principal Consultant at a tech vendor with 1,001-5,000 employees
* The enterprise features need improvements. * Improvements in schema security and row/column security need to be made. View full review »
Jayesh C
SVP Technology at a energy/utilities company with 10,001+ employees
They need to improve the bar chart position and width. View full review »
Find out what your peers are saying about Tableau, Microsoft, SAS and others in Business Intelligence (BI) Tools. Updated: July 2019.
353,345 professionals have used our research since 2012.
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