Tableau Server - Solid, still evolving to become a true enterprise solution
July 07, 2014

Tableau Server - Solid, still evolving to become a true enterprise solution

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

Software Version


Overall Satisfaction with Tableau Server

Tableau is being used as user friendly ad-hoc reporting tool for end users who may or may not have a technical background. The vendor provided on demand training is very well done and someone who has never heard of Tableau can become a functional Tableau user in about a day. It is a nice, flexible tool to complement OBIEE 11g, the enterprise BI tool. It is available to any department within the bank and is being used by roughly 30 or so different groups within the bank. There are about 3,000 Tableau Server users currently, with substantial user growth projected by year end. Each of these groups have their own unique website on Tableau Server and site administrators control who can see what. This can be done on an individual basis, or on a group basis. Also, a member of site A can not access site B.
  • Tableau Server is a great tool for sharing meaningful reports. Members of a site simply access their site through their web browser, and then can view reports that drive business decisions. The navigation is very user friendly and the learning curve is minimal, even for someone who has never used a BI tool before.
  • Reports housed on Tableau Server are either made out of a "live" data connection or a data extract, where data is brought in in memory. Within Server, it is very easy to set up your extract report to be refreshed based on whatever timeframe suits you (daily, weekly, monthly etc). It is easy to control how up to date the data in the reports are for site members viewing the reports.
  • Site administrators within a site manage and control the permissions within the site. There is a three tier hierarchy within the content that's published to a Server site (Project level, Workbook level, View level) and site admins can quickly and easily control which members have access to which content within the site.
  • There is no easy way to extract a Tableau site user list. (It can be done with using Tableau Desktop) but having an icon to export a user list to Excel seems like a simple enhancement that could go a long way.
  • From a system admin perspective, there is no way to kill a task within Server. We ran into an issue where the subscription feature (an option where a user can have reports emailed to them on a schedule they determine) was gumming up our background task processors. The subscriptions would never execute, though it would hog the associated background task processor. Without having a simple kill task button, the system admins would have to stop processes and restart the actual Windows Server. It was a pain.
  • Tableau Server vendor support can be frustrating at times. The turnaround time is inconsistent, it's almost like the luck of the draw for who gets assigned to your case. Many times they give canned copy/paste replies until you can get a WebEx session to show them what's going on.
  • Tableau has cut down on a ton of hours spent on report creation and Server allows those reports to easily be shared to the appropriate people.
  • It is almost universally well liked by the user base. The Tableau users feel very empowered.
  • It is safe to say that through the ease of use (minimal learning curve, user friendly interface, well done free vendor training videos) Tableau has increased employee efficiency and improved customer service.
  • Tibco Spotfire,QlikView
Three "self service" BI tools were looked at: Tableau, Spotfire & Qlikview. To put it very simply, Spotfire had a lot of overlap with a tool that was already present at the bank, SAS. QlikView's biggest negative was that everything was brought in via RAM, and there are gigantic datasets being connected to, so that took them out of the running. All three products were very similar, but Tableau seemed to fill the niche the best, and the free vendor training resources was a big positive as well.
A relationship has been established between Tableau reps and management. Tableau has been pretty flexible in some demands and they are going out of their way to do things such as lunch and learns and have an additional more personal layer of support that's being worked on, where our admins can discuss issues/ideas on a regular basis. The user projections provided by many different site admins show that more than 10,000 users will be brought on board by year end. The MIS folks and business users really like this tool.
Tableau Server is still a product that's not very mature. It is great for quick ad hoc analysis. Site members can do more than just login and view a report. Depending on their rights/permissions, they can actually interact with the reports (click drop down boxes, radio button filters, set customized views and save them etc). However as an enterprise level BI solution it still has some limitations. All of the data connections that start the report developing process occur at the local machine level. Once the report is published to the Server site, managing the security from a enterprise perspective is a challenge. Things such as metadata layers are not as robust as the bigger enterprise options.