Create, Interact and Share your Insights with Tableau
September 17, 2014

Create, Interact and Share your Insights with Tableau

Steven Bohlender | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review

Software Version


Modules Used

  • Desktop
  • Server

Overall Satisfaction with Tableau Public

Tableau Public is used by potential customers to evaluate both the Desktop and Server applications. In addition, visualizations that our company and / or customers want to publish on their website and share with community members are excellent applications for these tools.
  • Tableau Public offers free tools for creative people to learn the products with minimal investment "up front", as well as providing a place to share data visualizations and insights with the world. Visualizations are hosted (for no charge) by Tableau Software and may be accessed by members of the local community (via links from an organization's website) or from anywhere in the world. Workbook(s) published to Tableau Public may be downloaded by viewers to see techniques used by the creator, and get good ideas.
  • Tableau Public Premium is similar but removes the download functionality. This works well when the publisher wants to share access to the visualizations (e.g. on the organization's website) but NOT share the underlying workbooks nor data, keeping both confidential.
  • Tableau Public (both Desktop and Server) like their "for a fee" counterparts offer very easy to learn and use tools to transform data into pictures and gain insights into your data. Most organizations report a reduction in development time of 10x vs. other similar tools, due to the intuitive user interface. That said, with Tableau Public, published workbooks are "disconnected" from the underlying data sources and require periodic updates when the data changes. Users are limited to 1 Gb of storage space per user ID and password as well.
  • I would like to see better options for public sharing of visualizations and data from within the "for a fee" products as more and more organizations are moving in the direction of data sharing with partners and their communities.
We evaluated about 15 products when we selected Tableau 7 years ago, and periodically review products from other vendors (e.g. Microsoft, QlikView, Tibco Spotfire, Birst, Pentaho, etc.). To date, Tableau offers the widest variety of options and functionality at a reasonable price and delivers great value for the money.
In the end, Tableau continues to innovate and deliver new functionality every year. Technical support is good, they also provide user forum(s) where experienced users share their knowledge and insights, as well as assist newer users with specific questions. This space (Business Intelligence) continues to grow and is very competitive with new vendors and products coming out all the time. That said, we've yet to see a product that can match Tableau.
Tableau Public products (for free) work well during the product evaluation phase, as well as for sharing data with partners and the community for no charge. A key question is what security the customer wants with the data, and how frequently the underlying data changes. If the data does not change frequently, and the user is not concerned about securing the data, then Public is a good choice.

Using Tableau Public

30 - Internal sales and accounting functions, call tracking analysis, training evaluation analysis, project tracking analysis are all used internally. CIC has also developed over 1,400 visualizations for our vertical industry customers (K-12 Education and City / County Government) that are integrated with our supported applications in each vertical.
5 - The Tableau tools are very intuitive. A background in Excel Pivot Tables is helpful, I've often described Tableau Desktop as "Excel on Steroids". More important is a knowledge of the underlying data (what is needed and where to find it). While programming can be done easily within Tableau (similar to Excel formulas and more), it's not required. Common Systems Analyst functions (being able to meet with end users, document and understand their needs, then writing up the project) are essential.
  • Internally, we use Tableau to monitor support call staffing and usage, monitor training class evaluations (by trainer and by topic), manage development projects, and visualize customer data (products by geographic location).
  • K-12 Education customers use Tableau for analyzing assessment data, attendance, grades, behavior (discipline), demographic data and trends. Many visualizations integrate multiple data sources to understand the "big picture" of what factors affect student performance, risk of dropping out of school, etc.
  • Government users have visualizations for financial, payroll and human resource applications, tax collections, appraisals, and records management.
  • One recent example is tracking support call data. Our company delivers 25,000+ support call tickets in a given year, and the workload varies dramatically during the year, with different peaks and valleys for K-12 Education and Government customers. We created a visualization where we report prior calls by month and project out staffing needs for the next 6 months using Tableau. Since we deployed this about 6 months ago, our staffing numbers have matched our workload requirements signficantly better, leading to improved customer service and reduced wait times.
  • K-12 Education - we are developing some new Balanced Scorecard visualizations for school districts to set district goals / targets and use Tableau to monitor progress against these targets throughout the year.

Evaluating Tableau Public and Competitors

Yes - Previously we were using a combination of Crystal Reports, Excel, and SQL Reporting Services to deliver information and reports to our internal users. Most were row and column text reports that were boring and took a long time to develop. With Tableau, we can develop pictures with interactivity built in to each visualization in less time and deliver much better insights and an interactive tool instead.
  • Price
  • Product Features
  • Product Usability
  • Analyst Reports
  • Third-party Reviews
The single most important factor was ease of use, followed closely by price. In our vertical markets (K-12 Education and Government) value received for the price is very important. Also, most of our customers are not replacing another BI product, but are still trying to understand what BI can do for their organization.
Would not change the process.

Tableau Public Implementation

Start at the end and work backward. Identify the business case / issue and questions the end users have, then identify the data needed, and where to get it.
Yes - As what we recommend to customers, we started with 3-5 visualizations and implemented those first, then expanded into other data areas / departments.
Change management was a major issue with the implementation - Change management is critical for any software implementation, With Tableau, the hardest part is changing end users from requesting multiple variations of text and number based reports to visualizing their data in a picture and also interacting with it "live". We've found the "crawl, walk, run" approach to start small, be successful, and then expand from there to be the most effective approach.
  • Getting end users to describe what they want and know what is possible.

Tableau Public Support

The Tableau support team is responsive and easy to work with. Tableau also provides user forums, where experienced users can help new users with their questions and best practice ideas. Documentation is solid as well.
Quick Resolution
Good followup
Knowledgeable team
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
Immediate help available
Support understands my problem
Support cares about my success
Yes - High-quality technical support for any product is essential.
Yes - Tableau issues monthly releases with their products. There have been a few situations in the past 7 years where we reported a bug (many of which ended up being data quality issues and not really bugs). Those few actual software bugs were corrected in the next monthly release.
One recent example was a problem we were having with an internal support tracking visualization. We escalated the issue to Tableau, their research identified the problem really was with our data having unexpected values in a specific field, and was not really a Tableau issue at all. With this information, we were able to correct the database and correct the offending data quickly.

Using Tableau Public

By far the most easy to use and intuitive user interface I've seen with any tool.
Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Well integrated
Quick to learn
Feel confident using
Lots to learn
  • Connecting to data, creating visualizations and dashboards are all significantly easier with Tableau vs. other products.
Yes - Works very well on both iOS (iPad) and Android tablets.