Tab - Blows away Crystal Reports and Business Objects
Mashhood Syed | TrustRadius Reviewer
Updated May 25, 2016

Tab - Blows away Crystal Reports and Business Objects

Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Software Version

7.0

Overall Satisfaction with Tableau Desktop

It was being used by a department. At the time that I left this position, there were other departments that were also interested in licensing it. It helped the Operations center visualize how the efficiency of the network as a whole and identify where problem areas were happening in near real time.
  • Drag and drop functionality allows a user that is comfortable with MS Excel pivot tables to shorten the learning curve.
  • Ability to quickly build dashboards and publish them to Tableau server.
  • Connecting to your data sources is simple and intuitive. You can connect to multiple data sources easily.
  • If Tableau can make the desktop application web based that would make installation and upgrades much simpler.
I have used SSRS, Crystal Reports, Microsoft Excel, and Business Objects. Tableau offers more functionality than the rest and is pretty intuitive. I think SSRS is the easiest to use. Query speed is excellent with SSRS (at least when you are connected to SQL Server). Microsoft Excel is also intuitive but harder to maintain when the file is being touched by multiple people. I think Business Objects is the worst product out of all of them.

Crystal Reports:
Comes in 3rd place
You are limited in what you can do.
Nothing is intuitive.
Isn't fun to use at all.
The last version I used was 11 and I had to modify someone else's reports. What they left behind was a mess (isn't it always?). So having to go into CR and update the report was doable but just a painful process because of the way the UI is layed out.

If the only tool you have is BO Xcelsius, and you are are trying to visualize anything beyond a few thousand rows do yourself a favor and get Tableau. Xcelsius was the USE CASE that allowed us to get Tableau. Its very limited in what it can do. Its unfortunate that companies have to keep on spending money on new tools but these older tools really are limited in what they can do and the UI's usually suck. I think SSRS has a pretty nice UI. Its simple and it allows you to do drag and drop which saves time. If you are a Microsoft shop, then you know that the best way to build reports is to let the SQL do all the heavy lifting and then just have your SSRS report do the final tweaks. I liked how easy it was to build sub-reports in SSRS. It just matches up a key found in the report and then displays all the details of that key in the sub-report. Creating parameters is also very easy to do in SSRS.

Tableau is fun to use and there is a lot you can do with it. Because of how hot it is right now, you might even get new business if you tell them you are using Tableau :) (and then you can go back and measure the ROI in Tableau desktop).
Because right now its the best option out there (disclosure: I haven't used Qlikview or some of the other direct competitors of Tableau). The big investment is in Tableau Server not desktop. For the cost of the license of Tableau desktop, its a pretty good deal. You can hook it up to pretty much any data source easily. You can easily share the visualizations with your team/colleagues easily. Tableau Desktop is generally easy to use for business users. But the more advanced stuff is better suited for a analyst or someone with a IT/CS background.
The department I worked in had around 30 people. I believe we had at least 15 licenses possibly more.
Its really simple. Wide range of data sources. Merging 2 datasets together is also not too hard (Tableau calls it data blending). I talk about this in my Tableau Server review.
Its easy to share the file (assuming you don't have Tableau Server). You could just put it out on a network drive and your team can pick it up from there and open it in their local app. You have to do some work in making sure everyone is on the same version though. There were issues where one person had 8.0 and others had 7.0 and this caused some problems when opening files and editing them.
This is probably what Tableau does best. Creating charts/graphs is super easy. The colors are really nice too. Geospatial data is also pretty good. You can connect to different types of web service maps as well.
If you have large data sets that you need to aggregate or process, where does the computation occur? On the local machine where the installation sits or remotely on a server? What is the maximum sized data set that you can comfortably work with in Tableau Desktop?

Tableau Desktop Implementation