Tableau - Make your analysts feel like rockstars
October 29, 2013

Tableau - Make your analysts feel like rockstars

Peter Rigano | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Software Version


Overall Satisfaction

  • Rapid development of interactive visualizations. Tableau offers an ease-of-use comparable to Excel, but allows for more advanced visualization and is much easier to update if your data set is changing or expanding over time.
  • Database integration. Tableau offers the ability to connect directly to most SQL databases, or to read data directly from a flat text file or spreadsheet. The database connection option can be a huge time saver versus pulling data through a query browser and importing it manually.
  • Graphical user interface. Unlike competing visualization in SAS and R, Tableau lets you create visuals without writing any code. All visualizations can be laid out and edited in Tableau's GUI.
  • Almost completely GUI-based. This makes some types of customization impossible, since there are certain parameters that are completely out of the user's control. By contrast, something like ggplot in R allows for a massive amount of customization, but can be time consuming to learn, code and share.
  • No OS X version available. Tableau claims this is coming in a future update.
  • Limited ability to embed into presentations. If your use case involves creating graphics to embed into presentations, you'll need to export your Tableau workbooks as images, embed those images into your presentation, and repeat whenever your data is updated.
  • Easily able to create scalable self-service tools for users. In combination with Tableau Server, creating a tool that provides visualization of an entire data set is only slightly more difficult than providing visualization of a single group of records. This enables me to save many hours each month that were previously spent re-generating different cuts of the same report.
Note: my input has little bearing on the actual purchase decision. I'd gladly renew Tableau, since it gives me capabilities that I couldn't not replicate with other tools given my current skill set. I can create data visualization and BI dashboards in a matter of hours which provide real-time data to my entire department without needing to do any web application development. This gives me an incredible amount of leverage, and saves many hours each month.
Make sure you understand the key differences between Tableau Desktop and Tableau Server and what functionality you are losing with a desktop-only installation. Also ensure that Tableau will easily integrate with all of the data sources you use. It has drivers for many databases including some Hadoop products, and includes ODBC functionaliy, but it's important to confirm that your particular data source is compatible if you want the advantages of real-time connectivity.