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Tableau Desktop Review: "100 Reasons why Tableau can help you!"
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Brad Llewellyn profile photo
September 26, 2013

Tableau Desktop Review: "100 Reasons why Tableau can help you!"

Score 10 out of 101
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Software Version
8.0

Overall Satisfaction with Tableau Desktop

  • Tableau is extremely good at turning large amounts of data into useful analyses. Once you are comfortable with the tool, you are rarely more than a few clicks away from a useful visualization/analysis.
  • Tableau's simple, clean, drag-and-drop interface allows for a business to go from 0-60 in record time. There are many types of useful analyses that can be done with no IT knowledge at all. For example, a business analysis can slice his/her Sales or Profits in almost any fashion simply with a few clicks.
  • Tableau is exceptional at answering the five basic questions "Who?", "What?", "When?", "Where?", and "How?". If you can phrase your problem as one of these five questions, then Tableau will likely be of great value to you.
  • Tableau is somewhat restrictive in the type of data it will work with. It likes relatively clean data in a tabular format. This means records on the Rows and values on the Columns. If your data is very messy/inaccurate, then Tableau has limited ability to deal with this easily. There are other tools on the market that are designed to help you clean/reformat your data. Tableau is a visualization/analytics tool, and a great one at that! Use it for its strengths.
We have evaluated QlikView as well. QlikView is another tool in the "Self-Service BI" world. However, it's focus is mainly on creating ad-hoc data models and using these models to make visualizations. Tableau, on the other hand, will take an existing data model and make much more impressive, and useful, charts than QlikView would.
Tableau is an exceptionally useful tool when you want to know what's happening inside of your data. It is extremely powerful and intuitive. We will definitely renew this tool.
  • It is very difficult to quantify the effect that using Tableau has had on our clients. The one major benefit I can think of is the reduction of operational expenses. Tableau allows them to keep one person who maintains ten dashboards instead of the twenty people it took when they were using Excel.
  • Having a series of relevant, automatically refreshing dashboards allows for "quick response" to business problems, which could save tremendous amounts of money. If a problem is occurring, you would see it on your dashboard the next day, instead of an analyst finding it a month later.

Using Tableau Desktop

5 - We are all consultants. Therefore, we take the product to the Business Analysts, IT professionals, and Senior Executives at our clients, which span many industries.
1 - Given the size of our organization, I am Mariner's primary Tableau resource. In the rare case that a client is having issues with their Tableau Server/Desktop, I will be the one to answer it. As for the type of person needed, either an IT professional or a business analyst could support this product.
  • We use this product to help a Shipping client examine an automatically refreshing set of about 60 KPI's. This client has users all way from Business Analysts to Senior Executives.
  • We use this product to help multiple Retail clients slice-and-dice their sales data. They can now answer questions such as "What are people buying?", "Who are we selling to?", and "How much are they buying?"
  • We use this product to help an Equipment Repair client track how all of their equipment nationwide is operating from one central, automatically refreshing, location. They also use this product to handle most of their ad-hoc reporting needs.

Evaluating Tableau Desktop and Competitors

Tableau Desktop Implementation

There is a Server installation training video on Tableau's website. I highly recommend that everyone watch it. It only takes a few minutes and could save you quite a bit of time.
  • Implemented in-house
Tableau Desktop is a local machine application. This means that implementation is very simple. The real implementation comes when you combine it with Tableau Server. We offer Tableau Server implementation to our clients.

Tableau Desktop Training

It was my job to learn this product on my own, with only a little help from the others who knew the tool. I found this task quite easy due to Tableau's simple interface. I also appreciate that Tableau is complex enough to keep my interest after having mastered the basics. I truly believe that anybody can learn the basics without training. However, if you want to master the tool, there is no substitute for learning from an expert.

Tableau Desktop Support

I personally have no had any experience with the HelpDesk. However, our clients speak highly of it.
No - We personally do not pay for support. However, our larger clients do pay for support and have made good use of it. The HelpDesk always seem to be very responsive.

Using Tableau Desktop

Tableau's main selling points are the fact that you can connect to almost any data source within a couple of clicks and the fact that you can slice-and-dice your data with just a few drags. Tableau also has the ability to grow with the user's comfort level. The most advanced you get, the more you can utilize Tableau's advance features, such as table calculations, to create truly amazing analyses.

Tableau Desktop Reliability

When used as a stand-alone tool, Tableau Desktop has unlimited uptime, which is always nice. When used in conjunction with Tableau Server, this tool has as much uptime as your server admins are willing to give it. All in all, I've never had an issue with Tableau's availability.
Tableau's connections to third-party sources can be somewhat slow due to the time required to speak to a source over a network. However, if you properly utilize Tableau's Data Source Extracts, then the speed is incredible. On the other hand, Tableau makes it very easy for the user to put too much data into one dashboard, which can impact performance. All in all, if you use the tool properly, speed should not be a concern.

Integrating Tableau Desktop

  • We have integrated Tableau with virtually every tool in the Microsoft Eco-system. This includes SQL Server, SQL Server Analysis Services, Power Pivot and Excel.
  • Tableau offers this same connectivity to many other data sources. Odds are very good it can connect to your data as well.
Tableau has built-in compatibility with these tools and integration is only a few clicks away. Integration was not difficult in the slightest.
  • I can't think of a single system that Tableau cannot already connect to.
Tableau is constantly upgrading to allow for connectivity to new sources. If it does not connect to your source, simply let them know and they will do their best to achieve it.

Relationship with Tableau

Unfortunately, I am not aware of this type of information. Tableau was already implemented here before I began employment.