Tableau Room for Improvement

Sai Krishna J
Data Scientist at a retailer with 10,001+ 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 »
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 »
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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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
Pete Marshall
Operations Manager with 11-50 employees
The cost of the solution should be improved. Reports should be downloadable as PDF files. emails containing images of dashboards can be shedeuled, but there is still deman for creating printable PDF snapshot views of dashboards. 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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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, SAS, Microsoft and others in Business Intelligence (BI) Tools. Updated: February 2020.
396,781 professionals have used our research since 2012.