If you have even a little budget for software, and think at all visually, just get Tableau, ok? DesktopUnspecified8.31387101
Alexander Lubyansky profile photo
Updated May 24, 2016

If you have even a little budget for software, and think at all visually, just get Tableau, ok?

Score 9 out of 101
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Overall Satisfaction with Tableau Desktop

We are using Tableau Desktop to:
  1. Explore data as part of the initial analytics step once data is loaded, to guess at fruitful paths to do the "numbers stuff"
  2. Share our progress internally and get feedback (vs. displaying endless tables)
  3. Create fairly complex dashboards for the client
The project is large (several dozen people), with a large client, and focused on the detection of fraud, waste, abuse, and other unusual behavior in healthcare data.
  • Once data for a given analytics study is CLEAN, this is the fastest way to profile the data and "feel" it out. With a few iterations of looking at Tableau worksheets and massaging the data further, you can get a very good idea of what the data says in a broad sense as well as good places to check for anomalies.
  • At the other end of the value chain, experts in Tableau can design very complex dashboards for clients. This part is harder, but allows the marriage of the data alongside its context. This lets clients who are subject matter experts rapidly understand what the data says without information overload or having to learn all kinds of technical stuff about the data.
  • For visual thinkers, you can play around with the data fairly rapidly (make sure to create an extract to optimize the data model first). Most analytics tools are essentially programming platforms with varying amounts of lipstick atop the pig. In Tableau, it's quite a bit more intuitive.
  • I here there's this thing out there called Microsoft Excel. I'm not sure if anyone has heard of it yet. This magical product has something like 90-95% of the functionality of Tableau at the marginal price of *free*.
  • Tableau costs a lot of money, albeit less than the big legacy guys. In fact, you guys paying for SAS, SAP, generic "enterprise" analytics software, what does it feel like to fuel a barrel fire entirely with your project budget?
Excel is almost as good as Tableau. If you have a few thousand floating around just spring for the Tableau. QlikView is an abomination. Not much else to say there. SAS and friends are like ye olde-timey versions of Tableau in terms of their visualization abilities. Python, R, etc., allow you to go "hard core" in terms of visualization. Programming allows for more complex and precise scientific visualizations, but, obviously the business purpose is somewhat different.
  • Large range of data sources.
  • Live connection, extract (Tableau formats the data the way it likes), and various database connections are possible. I haven't tried their cloud offering but I suppose it can help execution speed once you hit "too much data".
  • Desktop performance is okay, but not excellent. I'm a bit spoiled saying that, but honestly, there is still a lot of room for improvement.
It's easy to share Tableau workbooks, data extracts, or the original data. I cannot imagine anyone having the slightest problem doing this.
Visual analytics: yes. Analytics requiring more than the simplest arithmetic: no. There are calculated columns etc. You can probably rig up any calculation in Tableau that you can do in SQL, but it's just not the right tool for the job. Tableau = visualization, full stop.

Tableau Desktop Feature Ratings

Pixel Perfect reports
Customizable dashboards
Report Formatting Templates
Not Rated
Drill-down analysis
Formatting capabilities
Integration with R or other statistical packages
Report sharing and collaboration
Publish to Web
Not Rated
Publish to PDF
Not Rated
Report Versioning
Not Rated
Report Delivery Scheduling
Not Rated
Pre-built visualization formats (heatmaps, scatter plots etc.)
Location Analytics / Geographic Visualization
Multi-User Support (named login)
Role-Based Security Model
Not Rated
Multiple Access Permission Levels (Create, Read, Delete)
Not Rated
Responsive Design for Web Access
Not Rated
Dedicated iOS Application
Not Rated
Dedicated Android Application
Not Rated
Dashboard / Report / Visualization Interactivity on Mobile
Not Rated

Tableau Desktop Implementation


It's fairly straightforward to set up and upgrade. If you can install a generic piece of modern software like MS Office, you won't have any trouble.