Tableau - Why & Why Not???
May 02, 2016

Tableau - Why & Why Not???

Abanish Mishra | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Tableau Online

I work for the business intelligence team which interacts with multiple businesses like product, finance, marketing etc. One of the main responsibilities of our team is to fulfill reporting requirements for these businesses. We use Tableau 9.0.4 as avisualization layer. We use multiple reporting tools which helps us compare them. So I clearly can tell the difference of why and where we should use Tableau.

Standard way of implementation in our environment -

So the way it is used in our environment is we gather the requirements and figure out the data modeling which would suit Tableau. Then we build the SQL and architect the data model and bring in the whole model inside Tableau. So in general words we do all the ETL work as an separate layer before visualization in the case of Tableau. Once we bring in the data model we construct graphs, grid on top of it in Tableau Desktop and publish it online.

  • Data Source Connectivity- It provides lot of data source connection options. Tableau provides and option to connect to a file (Excel, Text, Access, CSV etc. ), connect to DataBase (Microsoft SQL Server Oracle, Amazon RedShift etc.), ODBC connections, Google Analytics, SAP Hana and many more.
  • Creating visualization is very easy. It's pretty much drag & drop options for creating visualizations.
  • Excellent mobile support. Tableau put a lot of effort into developing a robust mobile client. Sensitive Control & Reports are pixel perfect.
  • Good Customer Support & Low Cost Maintenance compared to MicroStrategy, Business Objects etc.
  • There is no concept of Change Management or versioning. The way it works is -i) Connect to your source ii) Build the reports in Desktop iii) Publish them online. Now for example if you did some modification & republished it, Tableau Online would always show the latest version. There is no way to retrieve the previous version of report.
  • Connection with Hadoop (Hive ) using ODBC drive is cumbersome. Interaction is very slow. Not impressive at all.
  • No Distribution and Scheduling options.
  • There is no way to bring in all facts and Dimensions inside Tableau and create your data model inside Tableau.

My work environment uses both Tableau Online, MicroStrategy & SSRS in parallel. Tableau is much closer to the SSRS in terms of visualization tool where as MicroStrategy is an enterprise data modeling and reporting tool.


i) Suits perfectly for SQL Environment( not big data). We have created the [maximum] of our dashboard against SQL Server Database. They are perfectly designed, fast while retrieving data, and has very efficient online manipulation.

ii) I prefer using Tableau online if I want to drill down.

iii) Unlike MicroStrategy we don't have to create attributes and facts inside the tool. Tableau just sits a extra layer on top of my data model and inherits all objects inside the tool.

iv) Unlike SSRS the Tableau Online helps us to create on the fly calculations in the web browser. So no manipulation is needed every time in the dataset v) Good Customer Support Unlike MicroStrategy (In MicroStrategy cases are opened for weeks but no proper resolutions are made by experts).

If you see Gartner's magic quadrant it would appear that Tableau leads in the world of visualization which is true in a sense.

Let me give a perfect scenario where Tableau suits the most -

While creating your data warehouse if you are ETLing the data, creating all your relationship and hierarchy in a separate tool and pushing them to EDW and are expecting to report and visualize out of a reporting tool, Tableau would be a perfect tool to do that.

Let me give a perfect scenario where Tableau shouldn't be used -

If you are planning to ETL the data, create your fact and dimensions and bring them inside tableau for creating your relationship and hierarchies then you are wrong. Tableau doesn't support any sort of data modeling options inside it.

Tableau Cloud Feature Ratings

Pixel Perfect reports
Customizable dashboards
Report Formatting Templates
Drill-down analysis
Formatting capabilities
Publish to Web
Publish to PDF
Pre-built visualization formats (heatmaps, scatter plots etc.)
Location Analytics / Geographic Visualization
Multi-User Support (named login)
Role-Based Security Model
Multiple Access Permission Levels (Create, Read, Delete)
Responsive Design for Web Access
Dashboard / Report / Visualization Interactivity on Mobile