Tableau Room for Improvement

Data Visualization Specialist at Data Catalyst
I attended a Tableau conference recently, and a quick improvement came to mind. When I am training people how to use it, I've come across situations where I've found it difficult to explain relationships. For example, when you want to blend data or when you want to show relationships, like when linking multiple tables; well, if you're an IT guy, that's easy. But if you are not an IT guy, you don't know anything about entity relationships, and it becomes a bit difficult for others to follow along. It takes me a long time to get people to understand, even up to the point where I feel that this is the lowest level that I can go in terms of explaining it. I realized that many people don't really have any experience or knowledge about relationships between objects, and it makes it hard for me to get my teaching across. So I was suspecting, and I think I made this recommendation, that Tableau could find an easier way to introduce relationships. For now, if you want to build relationships in Tableau, or even in Excel, you have things like Access modules and Sheets. But how do I know that I need to use one object with another for the relationship. And if you then put in a table, what do you do after that? You have to double click, but people don't know that you have to double click. I was hoping that there's a way that they can make that process a bit easier, though I don't know how they will do it. Perhaps when you load Tableau and connect to a data source, there would be a prompt that asks you if you want to link two tables together. So if you want to link two tables together, maybe you do A, B, C, D. That might help with the self-service idea. If you're talking about self-service, then it should be easy for people who do not have the time, or who do not have that IT background, to pick the data and use it correctly. In addition, and more generally, what I would like to see more support for is predictive analytics. When you're doing descriptive analysis, Tableau is excellent, and it's easy to do. But when you are trying to predict something, like in Tableau's forecasting feature, it seems to require date fields, or it won't work. But I can forecast something without relying on date fields; maybe I want to predict that a branch has to close if it doesn't want to make something soon. I don't need dates to do that. For this reason, I'm using Alteryx for predictive modeling instead of Tableau. Overall, the only major frustration that I have had so far is with Tableau Public. I first used Tableau Public when I was building capacity, and when there was a later release to download and you wanted to upgrade, all your work would have to be manually re-entered. I don't know how they can solve that. I was expecting that they might make a release on this upgrade, and then I can hit upgrade and it will install over what ever I have already. Otherwise, for now I think they are doing well and I know they're still adding a lot of features. But it does sometimes make our work difficult, for those of us who are building capacity, and who are regularly changing people around. It means you have to keep learning all the time. Another small detail for improvement is that when you draw bar charts, the default color could be something more neutral like gray. Instead, the default is blue, and I don't exactly get why this is the case. View full review »
Sai Krishna J
Manager, BI & Analytics at a consultancy with 11-50 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 »
Sreekrishna Mohandas
Chief SAP - ICT (Digital & IT) at a energy/utilities company with 1,001-5,000 employees
The licensing costs of Tableau are on the higher side and probably if you wanted more adaptability in usage across business divisions you need to have more reasonable pricing of licenses of Tableau. Tableau is a standalone product. That is a disadvantage. Due to the fact that it is a standalone product, it has to extract the data from other ERP systems or other bespoke systems and other data systems, etc. If you have big data systems and you have got other informed decision-making tools and the data is being extracted into Tableau it is dependent on many other platforms. In contrast, if you use SAP vertical data systems and you have SAP's Data Hub, etc., then everything is vertically integrated. The whole data pipeline is vertically integrated and there is a visualization screen right there as well. Therefore, you don't normally have to go for a separate integration process altogether or need a data extraction solution. In the end, Tableau has got two or three disadvantages in the sense that it is not a seamlessly integrated platform, end-to-end platform. It's purely a standalone reporting tool. On top of that, the licensing cost is extremely on the higher side. Thirdly, IT divisions probably are a little bit hesitant to use Tableau due to the fact that separate training is required, and separate skill sets are needed to develop everything. The cost of owning the solutions from Tableau is much higher compared to any other analytical solutions. View full review »
Learn what your peers think about Tableau. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: December 2020.
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Gaurav Chakraborty
Senior Team Lead at Peristent Systems
Tableau would be really good if we could have predefined templates. I was doing a POC another newer tool, Einstein Analytics. They have predefined templates already set up. These predefined templates do the heavy lifting for the initial dashboards. We don't have to build them from scratch. Our dashboards look really good and 20 to 30% of the look and feel of the dashboard completes with the predefined templates. If Tableau works on the predefined templates, that would be so helpful to a lot of companies. It would save time for the developers. The pricing is a bit higher than the competition. They'll need to lower it to stay competitive. They need to move more into machine learning AI. Right now, in a POC that I'm doing with Einstein Analytics, they are more into machine learning and AI. Tableau is lagging as of now. If they want to have a long run in the market, they need to integrate machine learning and AI. It has to be very robust. View full review »
Data Visualization Specialist at Data Catalyst
I think predictive analytics is the main driver of business decisions and hence Tableau should strengthen the ability to make predictions. The forecasting feature in Tableau in my view is too limited because it must have dates but I should be able to predict the outcome of an event without having a date as part of the input. In situations where you are analyzing or using just one measure such as Sales, Tableau does not create the header for you. Furthermore, it is not straightforward as to how to create it. I would like to have the ability to perform multiple pivots and creating different variables. For example, if I have the regional population for six regions and branch offices, together with the number of clients per branch, all as a record or observation, then I should be able to pivot them separately resulting in the Region, Population, Branch, and Clients. 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 »
Manager at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
I'm not sure if the solution needs any improvements. It's the best solution we have here right now. The pricing is high. I'm using a student license, however, I know that even this license is very expensive. I've tried to have this product in our organization, however, it's quite expensive. We don't have the internal budget. If you're looking for other kinds of data, for example, non-structured data, they could make it much easier to use this kind of data. Tableau could create other features just for data visualization and non-structured data. It's a beautiful solution when you've got frames and tables. It's structured. However, if you don't have this kind of information on the data, it's quite difficult to use Tableau. I would say that if you have any feature that opens the opportunity to work with non-structured data, it would be excellent. For example, we do end up creating a lot of word clouds. With unstructured data it just doesn't translate quite right. If you could use non-structured data to count the frequency of important words to find which word is more important, for example, that would be useful. I don't see Tableau doing this - counting the frequency of important words in a specific kind of text. It would also be great if there was statistical modeling for non-structured data. 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 »
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 »
Product Manager at a computer software company with 201-500 employees
The solution requires a lot of user training before reports can be created. That can make things difficult and require us to have Tableau specialists. It's difficult for a newbie to start developing reports. Tableau queries and analytics, as well as development could be improved. The solution could also include an option to incorporate more open source libraries. I know Tableau has this closed loop so they might not want to provide that but if they did have integration capabilities with open-source libraries, I think that would be great. View full review »
Venkateswarlu Paturu
Service Delivery Manager / Architect at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
Scalability for large amounts of data needs improvement, as well as its performance. From a scheduling perspective, if there is a sync up of the desktop dashboard into the server that we can publish as a web version, in an accessible way, that publishing scales and keeps on executing for hours. This can go on for eight to nine hours, but you have no indicator, you don't even see that it is processing. For example, there is no spinning wheel and all I see is a black screen. The interface can be improved, in part because there is no indication that something is running or that it's processing. I would like to have some kind of indication that there is something processing on the interface. Technical support could be faster or if they have any limitations of the product, they should openly communicate it. They could also just tell you that this product is intended for small volumes of data and may even suggest another solution. View full review »
Lead Data Scientist at a financial services firm with 11-50 employees
It will be good if the server could be more stable, and I would like to have the technical service to be more reliable. I would like a better response time without having to wait for a week just to get feedback. View full review »
Manager at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Data cleansing and data transformation functionality need to be improved. Tableau is not a full-stack BI tool, like Sisense. Including this type of functionality would add flavor to the tool. The main point is that Tableau requires the data to be in a certain format for the end-user, in order for them to create charts. If it's not in a certain format, or in a certain structure, then the user will have to manipulate it. The charts in Tableau are quite limited. View full review »
Performance and Business Intelligence Specialist at a transportation company with 1,001-5,000 employees
All of the BI tools have graphical interfaces but when it comes to the learning environment, not every tool has everything. To be the best in the market, Tableau has to improve its user interface and also look into developing implementing the best machine learning algorithms. Including data storage capabilities would be helpful. During the data crunching phase, it takes time for Tableau to connect, integrate, and download the data. In general, it takes a lot of time for the ETL process. Increasing the trial period to six months would allow people to better learn and assess the tool to determine whether it suits their needs. Given the price of BI tools, Tableau should consider giving a scholarship to people so that they can learn how to work with the tool. It would be helping some of the people who lost their jobs during this pandemic. If the users learn and become certified on Tableau, it would help to get more people interested in the tool. 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 »
Alejandro Moscoso
General Surgeon at a healthcare company with 51-200 employees
Some of the functionality of the dashboard can be difficult to operate and the color pallets are limited. They need to improve the icons and the filters, because they look too old, resembling Excel from 1997. It would be helpful if the solution was less difficult to use. View full review »
Ratna Sekhar Aradhyula
Architect at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
I am a BI consultant. I have worked on different reporting tools, such as Power BI and MicroStrategy. As compared to other tools, Tableau lags behind in handling huge enterprise-level data in terms of robust security and the single integrated metadata concept. When we connect to large or very big databases, then performance-wise, I sometimes found Tableau a little bit slow. It can have the single metadata concept like other tools for the reusability of the objects in multiple reports. View full review »
Technical Architect - Sr. Manager at a consultancy with 1,001-5,000 employees
The data processing in Tableau is pathetic compared to Qlik. In Qlik, I can replace my ELD layer for an application. This can't be done in Tableau. The initial processing of data in Tableau takes a lot of effort. If there could be a feature that a particular visual can be exported or just the data behind the particular visual can be exported in one single click, just one button on a visual and it exports the relevant data out to Excel or a CSV output, that would be good. View full review »
Cristobal Rodriguez
Director Consultoria at tecnoscala consulting
The SQL programming functionality needs to be improved. View full review »
Bin Wu
Lead of Business Intelligence at Canadian Natural Resources
The Hyper Extract functionality is not as strong as that provided by Microsoft SQL. Tableau is not as strong as Oracle OBIEE in some regards. View full review »
Project Development Coordinator at ALIMENTOS ITALIA
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 at iWantGreatCare
The cost of the solution should be improved. Reports should be downloadable as PDF files. Emails containing images of dashboards can be scheduled, but there is still demand for creating printable PDF snapshot views of dashboards. UPDATE - In fairness to Tableau, with the right design, dashboards that are downloadable can be created ad-hoc. View full review »
Sr Business Intel at WestJet Airlines
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 »
Director of Professional Services, Analytics at a computer software company with 5,001-10,000 employees
With Tableau, there is a gap in its ability to handle very large-scale data. I would like it to be similar to the rest of the solutions, which can handle terabytes of data. View full review »
Senior Software Engineer at a comms service provider with 501-1,000 employees
It should offer better features for customization. It would be nice to have features such as border design. 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 »
Learn what your peers think about Tableau. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: December 2020.
455,962 professionals have used our research since 2012.