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Tableau Server Review: "A BI tool that's unlike most others out there"
https://www.trustradius.com/business-intelligenceTableau ServerUnspecified8.1520101
January 25, 2018

Tableau Server Review: "A BI tool that's unlike most others out there"

Score 7 out of 101
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Tableau Server

It was not sufficient for us to create a Tableau file that could be read by the free reader and sent to our customers. We wanted the ability to provide our visualizations online without the data ever leaving our control. The only way to do so was to set up a Tableau Server instance and then provide our model onto the server for access by our customers.
  • It provided a way for us to host our visualizations and avoid distributing out the data.
  • We could manage external users on this system.
  • We were able to create one model but then limit which users could see various "views" of the data based upon what product was purchased.
  • The licensing model was very expensive and required us to continually buy more seats all of the time. Long run, it's best for very small teams or when you get over the ~100 user mark, you can buy a server license which avoids the per-seat issue. Keep in mind that you still need to purchase the Tableau Desktop license for each of your data scientists/engineers who will be developing the visualizations ON TOP of these costs.
  • We had to contract with a 3rd party to establish and manage an IIS server since that is the requirement for Tableau Server. It was unlike anything else that we were using.
  • Tableau will tell you that the license grants you the ability to have three instances (dev, staging, prod), but in reality you likely won't use more than dev & prod, as the workflow was rather awkward for us.
The choice to use Tableau Server is really made for you if you already have adopted Tableau Desktop. If you're focused on an on-premise solution, Tableau is probably the way that you'll have to go. Looker and Mode are cloud-based (so is Tableau Online) and offer a true SaaS-based approach. Mode is decidedly more developer-centric from my perspective; if your users are not SQL experts the learning curve is pretty high. Looker offers a very compelling data modeling layer and is geared more towards open-ended data exploration. Tableau can take pre-processed, structured data (like a CSV) and make it look amazing. You'll really need to consider your own specific needs to evaluate what's best for you based upon what your users need to do.
Our needs for Tableau Server were very specific. We had developed a basic visualization model (via Tableau Desktop) and then monthly we uploaded the next data set that the model could ingest. We did not take advantage of much automation via APIs at the time, and it was unclear on whether it would substantially help us.
We had some difficulty making some widgets appear as we wanted and we made ample use of groups to manage access to various subsets of our central data set each month. In general, we found that Tableau Server was much better positioned to support internal teams who were collaborating together on the same data rather than our need which was to use this solution to manage an offering to external customers.
It is a good solution for smaller internal teams (or larger teams who can afford the CPU license) who want to democratize visualization capabilities across their organizations. By making data available universally through the server, users can publish models to everyone and then have them update to the entire organization automatically as the data comes in or gets updated. Put another way, this is a user-centric solution within your organization.

Tableau Server Feature Ratings

Pixel Perfect reports
7
Customizable dashboards
6
Report Formatting Templates
Not Rated
Drill-down analysis
8
Formatting capabilities
6
Integration with R or other statistical packages
Not Rated
Report sharing and collaboration
7
Publish to Web
8
Publish to PDF
8
Report Versioning
8
Report Delivery Scheduling
8
Delivery to Remote Servers
Not Rated
Pre-built visualization formats (heatmaps, scatter plots etc.)
8
Location Analytics / Geographic Visualization
8
Predictive Analytics
Not Rated
Multi-User Support (named login)
8
Role-Based Security Model
5
Multiple Access Permission Levels (Create, Read, Delete)
5
Single Sign-On (SSO)
7
Responsive Design for Web Access
7
Dedicated iOS Application
8
Dedicated Android Application
8
Dashboard / Report / Visualization Interactivity on Mobile
Not Rated
REST API
5
Javascript API
6
iFrames
6
Java API
Not Rated
Themeable User Interface (UI)
3
Customizable Platform (Open Source)
Not Rated