- It provided a way for us to host our visualizations and avoid distributing out the data.
- We could manage external users on this system.
- We were able to create one model but then limit which users could see various "views" of the data based upon what product was purchased.
- The licensing model was very expensive and required us to continually buy more seats all of the time. Long run, it's best for very small teams or when you get over the ~100 user mark, you can buy a server license which avoids the per-seat issue. Keep in mind that you still need to purchase the Tableau Desktop license for each of your data scientists/engineers who will be developing the visualizations ON TOP of these costs.
- We had to contract with a 3rd party to establish and manage an IIS server since that is the requirement for Tableau Server. It was unlike anything else that we were using.
- Tableau will tell you that the license grants you the ability to have three instances (dev, staging, prod), but in reality you likely won't use more than dev & prod, as the workflow was rather awkward for us.
- Suited for better visualisations for reports and dashboards and for basic drill down.
- Not so great with slice and dice data.
- The ease of use - you don't have to spend countless of hours training users how to maneuver around the product. It is straightforward and self-explanatory.
- Ease of administering - I never took any formal training for this tool but have become rather good in creating groups with pertinent access and the role level security and administration is phenomenal. You can fashion your security just the way you want it.
- Updating and deploying the system is earth-shattering - it is very flexible and the cost is rather transparent.
- While it is easy to deploy and administer, it is also a very powerful monitoring and management tool as well.
- Alerting - is one area that tableau could improve on. I have submitted this as an enhancement feature, there is no way yet to state that when an account is reached a predetermined threshold, you can send an alert to a group to make decisions or act accordingly.
- Some other functionality that you have to use add-on tools to accomplish.
- Aesthetic value of reports generated is a plus.
- Intuitive system, not overly complex but not too simplistic either.
- Reliable platform, haven't had many notable issues of crashes, security penetration, or misinformation.
- Tutorials don't always help 100% - typically you have to go through their support team for special integrations. Once set up however, things run efficiently.
- You need to have reliably fast internet, otherwise it can get overloaded and you can possibly lose data.
- Visualizations - everything from a heat map to pie chart and in between
- Mass data - file size importing is important to work with, and big data sets have it all
- Databases - SQL backend to make an application more robust
- Cost - expensive
- Too many features - more support
- Space - really a lot of space on the computer
- Easy for non-technical users to learn how to access and manipulate reports
- Workbook editing features provide a lot of customization potential without having to buy desktop -- as long as the defined data source does not change
- Wide variety of role and content-based permissions settings
- Great for distributed enterprise implementation and support -- lots of flexibility and use can be tailored lots of ways to meet the needs of different user groups
- Love that all the user and content data is easily available for analysis.
- More ways to organize content would improve. For instance, sub folders within the project folders would assist greatly.
- Tags used to label and organize should be able to be assigned and managed at the project level. Having just one set for a big, distributed implementation like ours makes them useless.
- Either updates need to be bundled more and released less frequently, or Tableau workbooks need to work in any version of Tableau Server and Desktop. A big challenge with our distributed approach is that some desktop users want to do every update, but IT can't be updating the server every month. It should not be a problem to have different versions on server and desktop, but neither product allows earlier versions to open files generated in new one
- Easy to use
- Mobile device support
- Good investment return
- Lacks some functions in enterprise BI like robust scheduling reporting.
- Cannot build data source when you use a browser to create a new report.
- Monitoring capabilities are not comprehensive.
- Scalability: one can easily add workers to the primary computer and thus increase performance of the enterprise tableau server.
- Security: Tableau server allows user to define security on multiple levels (server, site, project and workbook).
- Distribution: makes it easy to distribute tableau dashboards across the organization since it's web based.
- Making any change to the tableau infrastructure needs a restart of tableau server.
- Extract refresh once started cannot be canceled.
- License management is not possible using tableau server.
- Tableau server is well suited for hosting tableau dashboards showcasing KPIs and other business specific metrics.
- It is extremely helpful when it comes to refreshing tableau extracts on a schedule
- Tableau server is totally not able to track the licensed tableau desktop users which makes license management a pain
- Tableau should also improve the way tableau server scales up and down on a user managed cloud without forcing the user to restart it.
- Heat mapping
- Accessability to data sets directly
- Could use with programming shell; able to do mild SOAP API programming
- Could use with programming shell; able to do mild RESTAPI programming
- A bit expensive for initial engagement without a trusted referral
- Connects to disparate data easily
- Reduces the need for IT personnel to extract custom datasets
- Compresses and visualizes large amounts of data for quick display
- Helps keep dashboards organized
- Allows for flexibility by making published dashboards accessible anywhere
- Limited functionality of executing stored procedures and analytical cubes]
- Would like to see a stronger partnership with AWS and Azure
- For cases of "tell me something about X" for a data set I've never seen before such as data collected about blood transfusions, Tableau is fantastic at helping to make sense of the data and creating insights.
- In cases where the data is really messy, even though Tableau does not do full ETL it speeds up the analysis and distribution of analytics process by an order of magnitude or more over Excel, which is a huge win for us.
- Tableau's ability to aggregate at a variety of levels via table calculations is something that I haven't een done in other BI products (except via a ton of SQL), it makes a number of advanced computations easier for users to accomplish.
- Tableau's model for filtering and sorting is based on the individual worksheet. Though extensions have been made over time for filtering at the dashboard level, the level of functionality for filtering and sorting at the dashboard level isn't where I'd want it to be.
- Dashboard layout has definitely improved with version 8.0, and it's not quite the pixel perfect rendering that I want.
- Tableau Server can be up and running within 30-60 minutes on a clean install since their installation wizard is extremely easy to use.
- Tableau Server is easily administered by a small technical team of 1-3 people. The majority of administrative needs can be addressed through the web application directly. Others can be configured easily in configuration files or utilities.
- High level business users LOVE the rich, interactive visualizations that are possible using Tableau. No experience is needed to interact with and draw meaningful conclusions from your data using the web application.
- Analyst-level users can quickly learn to use Tableau Desktop in harmony with Tableau Server. With Tableau Desktop, users can create/modify reports and draw even deeper analysis.
- The Tableau Community and Forums are extremely active. However, Tableau Support is also proactive in terms of troubleshooting issues. They are responsive, follow up, and work on a first name basis.
- In Tableau Desktop / Tableau Server you can add micro-ETL processing, mapping, and other business rules directly in Tableau reports. This quickly becomes a danger to undermine existing back-end systems and their business logic. To avoid this, enforce concrete rules and structure for where business rules live.
- The Tableau ecosystem is fantastic and flexible, but there is a learning curve. Creating meaningful reports is difficult and it takes time to learn.
- Tableau Server introduced such a fast moving paradigm to reporting and visualization that it flipped our business users and technical team upside down. Suddenly we saw the millions of ways we could be slicing and dicing our data. Tableau Server opens up enormous windows for creativity and out of the box thinking. It's important to slow down and define a vision and long term goals for the reporting suite.
- Tableau does not offer any solution for version control on its workbooks / dashboards / reports.
- There is no clear way on how to QA/test Tableau reports given that it is primarily GUI-driven.
Tableau Server is a commitment. It is well suited for a diverse, large audience of consumers that are supported by a full-blown technical team of administrators and developers. The primary benefit of Tableau Server over Tableau Desktop is that your data published from Tableau Desktop is available dynamically through a web application to all users. If a small to mid-size company is interested, I would suggest simply getting a Tableau Desktop license as a low-risk entry point. Tableau Desktop is a single application that one technical person with direct access to the data warehouse can utilize to build reports on their own computer. These local dynamic reports can be emailed or turned into .pdfs.
In short, a key question to ask is: how large is the user base that will consume reports and how actively will they interact with the data? Tableau Server offers high levels interaction and may be overkill for a smaller company with more basic reporting needs. Tableau Desktop is a low-cost alternative for a single user to own and distribute visually rich yet non-interactive reports manually via email.
- Allows you to quickly visualize your data.
- Great for viewing data that has geospatial elements.
- Easy to share with others via publishing to Tableau Server.
- Not a one stop shop for summarizing large data sets (>1 million rows).
- Does not work well with Teradata (in my experience). There was a host of connectivity issues that were logged by Tableau support as bugs/defects that were going to be addressed.
- Performance is solely based on the amount of RAM your individual machine running the client app has (I would regularly see the Out of Memory error when trying to connect to Teradata).
- Requires customization in order to force a refresh of the the webpage when publishing the dashboard on Tableau Server (data refreshes in the background but webpage does not update at the same time).
During implementation, I was heavily involved with the Tableau consultants, stakeholders, and project managers to make sure that all requirements were met. I did testing myself and signed off on testing that others did. I provided my manager with constant feedback on our progress. We were able to get Tableau installed in one month based on a very aggressive deadline set by management. During this phase, I spent countless hours side by side with Tableau consultants to describe the performance issues we were facing at the time. Here are two of the main hurdles we faced during implementation: One of the main issues we faced was the use of Custom SQL to build our visualizations. Because the roles within my team were highly segmented, we preferred using Custom SQL vs. connecting live to the data. The reason for this is because I was tasked with building the visual. I was not tasked with building the query. The DBA I worked with would hand me the query and I would build the visual from there (creating the necessary calculated fields and formatting the data). Tableau advises its clients against the use of Custom SQL for performance reasons. In addition to performance, there are other drawbacks. We would notice that certain functions in the SQL statements themselves would not get translated correctly into Tableau’s Native SQL (there are workarounds for this). This issue was starkly apparent when connecting to Teradata. Towards the end of my role at SCE, I was working daily on improving the connection to Teradata. Before I left, I was able to take certain reports built in Business Objects and build them in Tableau (but this was only accomplished when connecting live to the data). Another issue was refreshing certain dashboards that were meant to run 24/7. Tableau has the capability to refresh the data behind the visual as frequently as every 5 minutes (I believe). But that refresh does not update the visual. In order for the refreshed query to update the visual, you are required to force the browser to update on an interval of your choosing. It is only with this combination that you can come close to seeing what is happening in real time. The workaround for this issue was to create an .html file that had the URL of the dashboard, which was published to Tableau server embedded in it. From here, you simply double click on the .html file and you would have your dashboard updating both the data (handled by Tableau Server) and the visual (handled by the browser).
Here is a list of the data sources that I would connect to when building visualizations:
1. MS SQL Server
3. MS Excel
5. MS Access
Data Blending – There were several instances where business requirements made it necessary to join data from two separate data sources (i.e. - MS SQL Server and Oracle or MS SQL Server and MS Excel). Tableau has an intuitive capability to recognize a data blend. This will be indicated by the use of the link icon next to the primary data source (it looks like an infinity sign). The ability to blend data together was very appealing in the conceptual sense. But there are limitations on the number of rows that you can blend together (I noticed a significant deterioration in performance after 100k rows). This seemed to always be our problem at the SmartConnect Operations Center. We would relentlessly push Tableau’s performance only to find out that our local machine didn’t have the RAM necessary to do what we wanted, or that Tableau was not intended for that specific application. Regardless, I learned a tremendous amount about how the application behaves in different scenarios.
Incremental Refresh – Sometimes it can be useful to use a Tableau generated extract. This is essentially a mini-Tableau database. My manager tasked me with building a report that would store historical data. The purpose of this report was to keep a running total of certain events in the network. The benefit of this report would be that it would automate a manual process that the end users were responsible for on a daily basis. Prior to the implementation of this new report, the end users were tracking the historical data using MS Excel. The challenge I faced was to find a way to store data from the daily query results. Because the original data source did not store historical data, it was necessary for me to take advantage of the “Incremental refresh” option available in Tableau. I do not advocate this method if the daily query results are on the scale of several hundred records or greater. This solution was feasible because the number of records were less than 100 per day. In addition, I worked with the end users and their team lead to create a backup method to get to the final row count in the instance that the Incremental Refresh option failed.
Experience with Teradata – SCE’s 5 million meter network produces around 15 million records per day in just one its tables. The data warehouse team built a set of views that could be accessed within the Teradata schema. After several attempts to connect to Teradata (unsuccessfully) using Custom SQL, I worked with both Tableau’s technical staff and SCE’s DW team to diagnose the problem. We spent multiple WebEx sessions documenting application behavior under various scenarios. Initially, my thoughts were that the problem was that the client application was trying to connect to a View versus a hard coded table. But Tableau assured me that the client application has no problem connecting to views. In this instance, the workaround was to connect live to the data. This worked on certain tables (with several joins in place) but not all. Finally, I was able to re-build a few reports taken from Business Objects. In order to do this, I extracted the SQL from the BO reports and then connected live to the same tables. The result was a visual that came very close to what was found in BO. The report reflected data that was aggregated in the form of a percentage. The percentage represented the performance of a particular district over a time interval (i.e. – 98.99% over a 3 day period).
Integration with ArcMap – The SmartConnect Operations Center’s business requirements made it necessary for me to find ways to enhance the mapping capability within Tableau. The default background map that is offered by Tableau falls short in the areas of zooming and satellite imagery rendering. Therefore, Tableau offers its users the ability to connect to a geospatial (WMS) server. To Tableau’s credit, the steps and information needed to connect to a WMS server are very simple. If you have the URL of the WMS, then you can connect to the server. In my experience, the biggest problem with using the layers from various WMS servers is in the rendering of the image. If your application requires a certain level of detail and/or the ability to zoom in to a certain extent, you may find that the static image stops rendering at a certain zoom level. In the SOC’s application, it was necessary to validate the latitude and longitude of meters in the field and their proximity to other meters (aka – the “mesh” network in wireless meter terminology) by visual inspection. When I left the SOC, I was in high-level discussions between Tableau’s technical team and SCE’s GIS team regarding the rendering of the different layers available through SCE’s internal WMS servers.
- You can "easily" add equations to the data that is displayed in your charts.
- We are able to provide "real time" reporting in Tableau. As the data in our service process occurs, it updates the report.
- We particularly like the mapping function. Again, we can easily provide data points in a map format in a multiple ways with dynamic icons.
- Great support.
- Drill down function: You can select a data field and drill down into the underlying data.
- Well, the viewer does not provide "drill down" capability. One of the nice features is the ability to drill down into the data that is displayed on the chart. It is easy to send someone the viewer to review a report, but it lacks this functionality.
- Tableau server is incredibly fast to deploy and easy to manage different permission levels for different roles and individuals
- Tableau server helps to share dashboards via cloud and it can be connected to live data sources so that the dashboard gets updated automatically when the data is refreshed. This was not possible with traditional dashboards.
- Tableau server enables integration of dashboards with existing enterprise applications so that data can be used by various departments to analyze business issues.
- Tableau server allows safe and secure connection to virtually any data source.
- The pricing plans should be made more affordable for small and medium businesses and continuous emphasis should be on reducing high maintenance costs which range from 20-25%.
- Tableau server is very user friendly and does not require much of technical expertise after the initial data preparation has been taken care of or if you are using basic data sources like a csv or an Excel file (which is highly unlikely to happen with an enterprise). So, there is still a need for someone with good technical skills to create the initial database and integrate it with Tableau server.
- It has a limited set of capabilities when it comes to advanced statistical or predictive features. So, Tableau server is best used to describe and analyse the past events but fails to predict the future events.
- Integration with other enterprise systems and applications is not possible and even customization is out of question.
- There is no provision for efficient reporting by scheduling reports and notifying the users once a new report has been generated. Also, data security is enabled by providing database access to the users which itself poses a threat to data security.
- Strength 1. Dashboards & visualization rendered in a browser looks almost the same as the original design in Tableau Desktop. As a developer, the last thing you want is to realize your published dashboard is a distorted reflection of your original design.
- Strength 2. Permission control. Although a bit more complex than other products (note I say "complex" and not "complicated"), Tableau Server provides great object and role-based permission control. Highly customizable.
- Strength 3. Workbooks decoupled from their sources for reuse (not mandatory but best practice). Although source/s can be monolithically embedded in a workbook for refreshing, they can be deployed as "stand-alone" sources (live or extracted) to be used and reused to feed into multiple workbooks.
- Strength 4. User-credentials management. Admins have the option to manage users and user groups via ad-hoc internal functionality or leveraging an existing Active Directory infrastructure. For large organizations, the latter allows adding a security layer by moving credential-granting responsibilities away from Tableau Admin's scope to an organization-wide security department.
- Data Governance. Adding functionality to make it easier to manage fields in a centralized manner, having a centralized data dictionary with synonyms, an impact analysis tool, etcetera, would be a big asset for large organizations (or smaller ones that do manual information lineage control).
- Simpler permission interface. Some improvements done recently, but still missing some functionality to see the big picture instead of having to review calculated user permissions at object level (project, workbook), same for data sources and a combination of the three.
- A graphic interface to see how extract schedules are designed to flow (using serial/parallel sequencing and priority values), as well as a report to show plan execution on a particular date or time-frame (highlighting where the extract failed).
First, the obvious: is Tableau Desktop the best tool for building organization dashboards? Does it cover all needs or falls short on some particular requirements that may become rather impractical when designed in Tableau?
Second: Out of the current (or expected) reports/dashboards, how many are (or will be) shared? Is it just a few, with the balance of them being in a tabular-format ? Do they require or would thy benefit from viewer comments or filtered shared views?
Third: Who will design visualizations and what's their complexity? Is it the IT department, a set of Power-users or a Reporting Expert? What's the weight of each of those roles in the overall dashboard inventory?
While the above only scratches the surface in the decision process, please think of it just as a bullet list on points you don't want to miss in your journey to a productive decision.
- I liked that it is self manageable, so I can access Tableau outside and inside of the VPN of the organization.
- The workbooks it generates can be shared online via its cloud online feature. It made it easy to share amongst the team.
- It is easy to access after sharing a workbook, and works in a fashion similar to a web browser.
- Data storage is easier and manageable.
- Security is the main concern for me when it comes to sharing it online in the cloud.
- More detailed documentation is a need. API documentation is missing.
- There is an integration issue when it comes to social integration among the different zones of users.
- Displaying highly customizable graphs
- Aggregating unstructured data and establishing a relationship among them
- Realtime analytics of data and updates on the fly
- Adding social integration with Tableau
- More good API descriptions
- Platform independent and backward compatible
- We have a quality department responsible for gathering large volumes of quality data (are the correct medications being dispensed at the correct time, etc). This department had been using Excel spreadsheets to create visualizations of the data for sharing with other parts of the organization. The switch to Tableau allowed this team to build excellent visualizations much more quickly and easily. It essentially reduced the required cycle time form 30 days to 5/6 days. The tool is also used by other hospital departments like epidemiology.
- Tableau made it possible to offer a self-service BI solution. We really wanted to have a BI / visualization solution that empowered the end-users to do their jobs as well as possible without having to involve the IT department. Tableau democratizes the visualization process by allowing users to build the visualizations they need with no IT assistance required.
- The Tableau Server UI is quite basic. It's a drag-and-drop metaphor which is very easy to understand by end users. The design enables users to do what they need to do with a minimum of complication and clutter.
- New releases tend to very substantive with lots of new features rather than just bug fixes. For example, upgrading to Version 8 provided us with 10 new pre-built visualizations and some statistical tools that customers had been asking for. They are very good at listening to their user base.
- Product is quite affordable compared to some competitive products.
- The product itself is great. The only issue has been the high cost of the annual conferences which we try to attend. Conference passes are in the $1,500 range.
- Tableau's core strength is how easy it is to use. This was a key attraction to me in the early stage and remains a key consideration for many who want to visualise and understand the data in which they are subject matter experts without it requiring them to become experts in the software tool itself. As you use it more and more you also realise that while Tableau is deceptively simple to use it also has real depth and real power.
- This ease of use addresses a key business problem for many organisations which is that other solutions will require people who know a lot about databases but little about the data to produce solutions for people who truly understand the data but aren't database administrators. Tableau places very little demand at all on IT departments, many of whom are overworked and have long request queues to satisfy. Tableau allows the IT departments to work on the provision of simplified data connections with helpful metadata, leaving end users able to access the data, design and share meaningful dashboards from that data with anyone they wish in their organisation. This approach is very powerful and very productive.
- In browser animations
- Speed of rendering dashboards - this is getting faster all the time but it is there and can be a consideration. When we're so used to web pages rendering almost instantly it can feel unusual to wait 2-3 seconds for something to render on screen.
- auto update - Tableau does not automatically render new points if the underlying data changes. The browser page has to be manually or programatically refreshed to display new data.
- Simple and elegant analytics.
- Speed to value.
- Scalability – ability to start with a Desktop dashboard and seamlessly move to a server version when ready.
- Ability to do simple calculations.
- Ability to investigate and clean data sets quickly and easily.
- Dynamic data connection options.
- Unable to write information back to a database (example: what if analysis engine).
- Difficult to perform complex table calculations.
- Challenging to join different tables or views and perform meaningful calculations.
Currently Tableau Server is used to rapidly develop and distribute ad-hoc reporting to limited to senior level stakeholders, as such it's currently mainly used by finance department users.
It addresses the problem of slow development process of traditional SSRS based reports and lack of flexibility and self-discovery.
- One version of the truth, instead of passing around Excel workbooks which are prone to errors and lack of updates. A universal 'version' is used and is automatically updated based on new information fed by the data warehouse.
- Ease of integration with active directory allowing user level access restrictions based on existing infrastructure, as well as flexibility to easily override user level restrictions if needed.
- Intuitive interface, gold standard amongst a myriad of other products.
- Pricing can be a bit daunting compared to a desktop license, it should be cheaper.
Tableau Server facilitates the secure, controlled, sharing of work done my Tableau Desktop analysts and developers.
- Ease of use - connecting to different data sources, and, in visualizing data.
- Rapid and intuitive analysis.
- Easy to share (Tableau Server)
- In Tableau Desktop version 8.1, a direct interface to the 'R' open source statistical library was implemented. This allows for a major enhancement in the ability to do high-end statistics. I would love to see an interface where I did not, also, have to know 'R' syntax. But, for now, this enhancement is great!
- Connection to different data sources
- Quick setup for default visualizations
- Easy to construct dashboards, and easy to share and publish.
- Speed. If tables are large it can be very slow.
- Usage can result in many database connections active
- Some of the defaults are not easily modified.
Folks who aren't into visual charts and want spreadsheets: not well suited.
Tableau Server Scorecard Summary
Feature Scorecard Summary
About Tableau Server
Tableau Server allows organizations to deploy self-service analytics with a scalable, secure, enterprise-grade platform.
The vendor says key benefits include:
- Deploy the way that makes the most sense for your organization - on-premises or in the cloud, on Windows or Linux even integrate with your existing security and authentication protocols.
- Provide governed data access while promoting sharing and collaboration with data, reports and dashboards, all with the scalability and security requirements you require.
- Automate processes and workflows.
- Manage content, define access for individual users and groups, and ensure accurate insights.
In other words, Tableau Server aims to give you the visibility, security
and controls you need to empower your people with data. The vendor says Tableau helps
organizations of all sizes unleash the power of their two most valuable assets:
their data and their people. The product aims to support the
entire analytics journey, from data preparation, to deep analysis, to the
shared insights that drive the business forward.
Tableau Server Screenshots
Tableau Server Video
Tableau Server Downloadables
- Why IT professionals choose Tableau for modern BI and analytics - Features and capabilities aren't the only aspects of a modern BI platform that offer value in your analytics investment. It's also critical when evaluating modern BI solutions to understand how the mission, philosophy, and community that surround your analytics platform contribute to lasting customer success and data-driven enterprise transformation. Read this whitepaper to learn how Tableau offers the greatest flexibility and choice in deployment, unmatched analytical breadth and depth for users of all skill levels, and the most passionate community of data enthusiasts, making Tableau the industry-leading choice for modern analytics.
- Governed self-service analytics at scale - Today’s organizations seek an approach to self-service analytics that balances the needs of both IT and the business. People in your organization are already using tools to answer their questions. So how do you take charge and enable self-service analytics while also making sure the data is governed, trusted, and secure?
Tableau Server Integrations
Tableau Server Competitors
Tableau Server Support Options
|Free Version||Paid Version|
|Video Tutorials / Webinar|
Tableau Server Technical Details
|Deployment Types:||On-premise, SaaS|
|Operating Systems:||Windows, Linux|
|Mobile Application:||Apple iOS, Android, Mobile Web|
|Supported Languages:||English, French, German, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Chinese|