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Tableau Desktop Review: "Perfect analytics tool"
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Updated March 08, 2016

Tableau Desktop Review: "Perfect analytics tool"

Score 10 out of 101
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Software Version
8.0
Modules Used
Desktop, Server

Overall Satisfaction with Tableau Desktop

  • Tableau is being used to retrieve data from multidimensional relational databases, spreadsheets and from cloud databases and then to present the data in visual format to the users in Sales, Marketing, Operations and Finance.
  • Tableau is being used for analyzing sales metrics, capturing web data from customers and used for marketing analytics, reporting financial analysis data to senior management to visualize the performance of the company within a few minutes, instead of tedious report generating processes from other third party applications.
  • We started using the latest version 8.0 and many of the features that we would be using were included in the latest release 8.0. Did not come across any areas that the product does less well, but we are somewhat new to Tableau and still trying out many features.
Oracle OBIEE.

The primary factors for choosing Tableau were the licensing costs; ability to view data from multiple data sources; the ease of infrastructure to setup; and ability for users to create and maintain their own worksheets without the need for IT assistance.

With Tableau it allows us to mesh data from various data sources from Salesforce, Oracle, Web and Engineering servers.
Tableau is very easy to implement and work with. Typically the skill set required would be someone from the finance reporting analytics group or a business analysts to develop and implement the key dashboards.

Unlike some other tools that rely more heavily on IT resources, Tableau Desktop is easy to setup and configure and saves IT costs.
Tableau is one of the best analytics tools on the market; it's easy to implement, and work with and has many capabilities that analytics professionals like to use. The licensing costs are much lower than for a few other vendors out there, and affordable even for small businesses.

Using Tableau Desktop

6 - Finance, Support, Operations, Sales and Marketing, and IT
1 - With some training many of the users can start using the desktop, but advanced training is recommended for users to take advantage of the various functionality that Tableau provides.

Analyst with technical background in data model and architecture proves to be an advantage when defining new data sources and how to establish connections to different data sources to pull the data into Tableau for analysis.
  • We would be developing additional dashboards for supply chain to measure their metrics.
  • Financial Analytics.
  • Marketing and Sales Analytics.
  • Operations Analytics.
  • Engineering and Web Analytics.
  • We had setup and developed database on Amazon RDS to store data from web analytics from the engineering servers, and meshed the data with CRM data in Salesforce to determine the potential customers for our cloud product.
  • We had to create custom functions for the ones that Tableau did not have, and created views in Oracle database and used that as a source to publish analytics on Tableau.

Evaluating Tableau Desktop and Competitors

Yes - We had replaced Oracle's discoverer and some adhoc SQL reporting from SQL development tools.

Oracle discoverer had become outdated and did not have the functionality to publish dashboards. Users needed the ability to have dashboard capabilities to view, modify or update the worksheets on the dashboard instantly without the need for IT assistance.

Users now have the capability to view the published dashboards that were periodically synced with the latest data and had to just refresh the page to view the latest data rather than having to refresh the sheet in discoverer that usually took very long to view the data.
  • Price
  • Product Features
  • Product Usability
  • Product Reputation
  • Third-party Reviews
Product usability was one of the biggest feature in selecting Tableau. Unlike Oracle's BI Solution that required IT help and days to create dashboards and publish those, with Tableau the users with minimal help had experience to publish their dashboards with their respective data sources within hours.

Users were able to create their own interactive sheets and publish those sheets for their teams to review the data. Along with the usability the price was also the factor in the decision.
We would keep the similar process that we had used to evaluate, but probably would include some of the newer or other software that are out in the market.

Tableau Desktop Implementation

Installing the desktop was very easy. We downloaded the installation and went through the installation video prior to installation and then implemented it. I would recommend watching the online installation video prior to installation.

Tableau also has a user forum with most active and enthusiastic users out there who are always willing to help, and that would be a good source finding some key insights.
Yes - We took the new software implementation approach.

We evaluated the BI products to replace discoverer and adhoc reporting, and concentrated on financial reporting as the intial phase. We gathered the requirements for the financial reporting dashboard, and mapped the requirements with the Finance team. We had then designed the data model and views in Oracle, and had setup the data source on Tableau. Created the sheets and dashboard and published on the test instance of Tableau to review and refine the dashboard and finally had migrated the setups to the production instances.

We used the similar approach as above to publish dashboards for Sales and Marketing, Support cases and Engineering data.
Change management was a big part of the implementation and was well-handled - With the experience with Change management we had been using within CRM and ERP implementations, we had rolled the change management for Tableau as well and was well-handled.
  • There was nothing major during the implementation, except Tableau had launched the newer version of the desktop and server during the implementation that had us upgrade and re-setup some of the configurations.

Tableau Desktop Training

  • Online training
  • Self-taught
The training documents that are available online are very detailed and interactive. The instructors were very clear and concise in their presentations and demos and it was very easy to understand.
It would be better to have some training before starting to work with the tool. There are many advanced features available and they are all explained in the training videos and online documentation.

I would recommend going through the basics and then, once installed, it would be beneficial to go through the advanced training sessions and try them out.

Configuring Tableau Desktop

Configurability is just right for now and is good for regular business users who would like to create their own sheets and reports, and does not need extensive technical skills to get off the ground with the usage.
No - we have not done any customization to the interface
No - we have not done any custom code

Tableau Desktop Support

We experienced good and fast response from the account manager, and Tableau employees are open and enthusiastic to answer questions on the technical forum.
ProsCons
Quick Resolution
Good followup
Knowledgeable team
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
No escalation required
Immediate help available
Support understands my problem
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
None
Not Sure - The skill set we have is sufficient to support Tableau and there are training documents available online, and forums with active highly qualified Tableau implementers and also an enthusiastic community to answer or solve issues for others on the forum.
We ran into an issue with the Oracle driver for 64 Bit server when setting up the connection to our Oracle database, and when posted a question to the support they were able to provide the immediate reply with the correct driver to use.

Using Tableau Desktop

Its pretty simple to use for users to navigate through the desktop, and Tableau does provide templates for users to start developing their sheets.
ProsCons
Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Well integrated
Consistent
Quick to learn
Convenient
Feel confident using
None

Tableau Desktop Reliability

We are currently hosting Tableau server ourselves and is easy to maintain. With the ability to connect to many data sources and probably with Tableau adding new ones it would just be as easy as setting the new data source in the future.

Integrating Tableau Desktop

Tableau has native connectors that make the integrations easy.
  • Salesforce
  • Oracle E-Business Suite
  • Amazon RDS
  • Internal MySQL Engineering databases
Tableau provides native connectors to integrate and are simple to setup but would need some technical help to setup the connections.
  • File import/export
  • Single Signon
  • ETL tools
ODBC connector for Oracle

Relationship with Tableau

The salesrep was easy to deal with and was approachable during the purchase process and had provided the necessary information we had requested.
Our salesrep had followed up about the newer release upgrades and was easy to add additional licenses we needed.

Upgrading Tableau Desktop

Yes - The upgrade was seamless and was able to upgrade with minimal downtime. The only issue is that every user with the Tableau desktop license had to upgrade as well. It would be nice to have an auto upgrade feature for the desktop as well.
  • We were able to use some of the additional functionality that came with the upgraded release that we saw limitations when developing sheets in the previous releases.
  • We would like to see added functions within Tableau that would allow us to display the data without having to create custom objects in source database and pull the data into Tableau.
  • We would like to see some temp table creation in Tableau to have perform calculations against the data and display the data without having to create the calculations in the source database.
Yes - We had used Trial version to evaluate the software and then upgraded to Enterprise when we decided to purchase. The change was seamless and did not impact any downtime nor any functionality changes.