Warming up to Tableau Desktop
March 20, 2017

Warming up to Tableau Desktop

Charles Saulnier | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Tableau Desktop

We currently use Tableau Desktop to provide dashboards to managing departments in an investment company. We use two main types of data sources: an SSAS cube and views on an SQL Server database. Once dashboards are approved, we publish them on Tableau server for the company's internal clients.

At this time, Tableau is mostly used to automate reports analysts and managers used to fill periodically with Excel.
  • Connection to data sources, and variety of connectors available
  • Easy-to-use data blending functionality, once you experiment it a few times
  • Makes visual analysis accessible to a wide variety of users
  • Publication of dashboards on Tableau Server is a breeze
  • Tableau is ill-suited to work with SSAS cubes, at least when you are used to analysis within Microsoft tools
  • Data preparation is not up-to-par with other leading vendor tools (although can be improved through Alteryx if you have access to it)
  • The ease-of-use is true for basic analysis, but rapidly gives way to a steep learning curve with more complex queries or when the business context is more mathematics oriented
At this moment, while both products have active communities and champions, Power BI has shorter release times and is actively trying to overtake Tableau's spot as the leading data visualization tool. For a company which has already started to deploy Tableau Online or Desktop, the obvious choice is to keep building with Tableau's tools as long as they suit your needs. It seamlessly integrates with a MS BI environment and a good number of other platforms, and publication to Tableau Server is easy.
I have personally only used SQL Server and Microsoft Analysis Services connections; both are easy to setup and responsive. However, as mentioned earlier, the way Tableau deals with SSAS cubes can be limiting for casual and intermediate users, and forces advanced users to multiply the calculated fields and members to have the exact result required.

Data blending is pretty straight-forward to use and works well from what I have had to do.
My experience to publish dashboards to Tableau Server has been very positive. Both publication and security management are fast and easy to setup. I have not had to share data sources therefore cannot comment on that functionality.

Users currently only access reports through Tableau Server and are used to the process. They do not frequently print them out, so formatting outside of web browsing is not a priority when designing dashboards. However we will have to adjust to make sure we have a smooth transition to access from mobile devices.
With a well curated self-service environment, Talbeau Desktop can empower business users and add value soon after implementation. It is also well suited for intermediate and advanced users when end-users welcome visualization of data over tables. Strangely enough, it is often harder to build tables than visualizations in Tableau.

I currently use version 9.3 of Tableau at work, we will soon migrate to version 10.2, therefore my comments do not reflect the latest version's characteristics.

Tableau Desktop Feature Ratings

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

Using Tableau Desktop

Entry-level data analysis is accessible even to beginners, some advanced analysis is possible, but it is not at this time an end-to-end solution for analytics, though imprvements are coming from version 10.2.
Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Well integrated
Quick to learn
Feel confident using
  • Visualization
  • Creating calculated fields
  • Changing data types from the source
  • MDX queries
  • Building tables where you need to align text
Yes, but I don't use it - I only use desktop functionalities at the moment