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Tableau Server Review: "Usable Analytics for the Right Price!"
https://www.trustradius.com/business-intelligence-biTableau ServerUnspecified8.1575101
Henry Yennie profile photo
Updated October 19, 2018

Tableau Server Review: "Usable Analytics for the Right Price!"

Score 10 out of 101
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Tableau Server

Tableau Server is the backbone for emergency preparedness analytics for the Louisiana State Department of Health. As the lead agency for public health and medical services during an emergency, we collect a large amount of near real-time information from over 1,500 healthcare facilities. This data includes operational statuses, power statuses, fuel usage and needs, and census/bed availability. Tableau takes this data stream and transforms it into user-friendly visualizations for staff both in the field and in the State Emergency Operations Center. On a day-to-day basis, Tableau provides tools and interactive maps to our state trauma network so that they can determine the most appropriate facility for high risk patient routing.
  • Summarize complex data in an easy to understand format.
  • Very fast idea/need to realization timelines.
  • Ability for end users to interact with data sets, giving them filters, groupings and other tools to get the data they need.
  • Tableau's mapping capabilities are "almost there". We would love to have Tableau able to function as our sole GIS product. Each version of Tableau brings us closer to that goal.
  • We would like to have the ability to schedule data transfers. The new Data Prep tool is step in that direction.
  • We still have need to produce lists of summarized data. Making this process a little more straightforward would be nice.
  • We believe that our deployment of Tableau Server has had a large positive ROI for emergency preparedness. While not formally calculated, we have done comparisons with other leading analytics vendors, and there is no competition - Tableau Server is clearly the value leader.
  • The major contributor to our positive ROI has primarily been the time to deployment and the time to adoption for critical visualizations and dashboards.
We are using Tableau Server for these primary activities:
  1. Creating interactive maps that allow our trauma referral agency to quickly determine the distance from an accident to the right trauma resource (it allows us to operate within the "golden hour" principle - that the first hour after a trauma is the most critical to the ultimate survival of the patient).
  2. We have consolidated data on hospital resources (bed availability by bed type, wait times in Emergency Departments, bed holds in Emergency Departments, and the status of other critical resources) into one dashboard that is easily accessible to our regional coordinators and trauma networks on the Tableau mobile app. We are pulling data together from several screens in the primary applications.)
We are able to provide specific permissions to different regional coordinators for specific folders and specific dashboards. This eliminates much confusion when casual users are required to synthesize information from a variety of resources quickly and efficiently. This has reduced the number of support calls to our small staff. It has also contributed to better decision-making when our regional coordinators are able to quickly drill down to the right visualization/dashboard.
It has been extraordinarily simple to connect to our primary Microsoft SQL data sources. We have several data warehouses/data marts that serve up the normalized data to Tableau dashboards. Changes in stored procedures and views enable our technical staff to easily maintain connectivity to relatively real-time data, something critical in emergency situations..
Tableau's interactive charts can easily be shared among responders that need specific information. Using the granular access controls, we have substantially decreased the number of errors reported by field staff. The security is robust, yet quite simple to maintain. We also use the statistics on the number of views of a particular dashboard to fine-tune the dashboard or retire visualizations that are no longer relevant to our users. This has reduced "clutter" and support calls on how to get to the right viz.
Early in the deployment, we utilized technical support services for server installs. After deployment, we have used informal conversations with sales reps and sales engineers to discuss how to accomplish certain complex transformations. Tableau representatives have always been courteous, timely and knowledgable. We often take advantage of "Tableau days" with other Tableau users in the community.
Tableau Server is able to handle our data very efficiently and quickly. The design to publish cycle, using the Desktop Creator tool, is very fast making needed adjustments to visualizations very easy in a rapidly changing event. The ease with which a non-technical person can make changes to a visualization that is connected to our source data is unmatched. We can put this tool in the hands of "unsophisticated IT users" and have them productive quickly. This efficiency and usability is deeper with the mobile application. We now have field hospital coordinators using the mobile app to assist in patient routing and facility evacuations.

Tableau Server Feature Ratings

Customizable dashboards
10
Report Formatting Templates
10
Drill-down analysis
10
Formatting capabilities
10
Integration with R or other statistical packages
7
Report sharing and collaboration
10
Publish to Web
10
Publish to PDF
10
Report Versioning
9
Report Delivery Scheduling
7
Pre-built visualization formats (heatmaps, scatter plots etc.)
10
Location Analytics / Geographic Visualization
8
Predictive Analytics
7
Multi-User Support (named login)
9
Role-Based Security Model
9
Multiple Access Permission Levels (Create, Read, Delete)
9
Single Sign-On (SSO)
Not Rated
Responsive Design for Web Access
Not Rated
Dedicated iOS Application
10
Dedicated Android Application
10
Dashboard / Report / Visualization Interactivity on Mobile
10
REST API
Not Rated
Javascript API
Not Rated
iFrames
Not Rated

Using Tableau Server

Users and Roles

20 - Staff represent emergency preparedness functions across the state of Louisiana. There are 9 principle regional coordinators that use several critical dashboards to monitor the status of Tier 1 hospital resources. These include bed availability by bed type, bed holds, and emergency department wait times and critical service availability (trauma surgeons, orthopedic trauma teams, neurosurgical trauma teams, etc.). This information is based on near real-time data input by facilities as changes occur.

Support Headcount Required

1 - As a small shop, we only have two staff (non-technical) to manage the various emergency preparedness applications, including Tableau. To gain maximum use of Tableau, we contract with a vendor to provide support as needed on an hourly basis. The services provided include maintaining the connections to data sources, maintaining existing visualizations and dashboards, and creating new content as requested.

Business Processes Supported

  • Easy access to critical resource dashboards in one environment. Tableau combines data from multiple applications into one dashboard to monitor resource utilization in user-defined areas and user-selected hospitals.
  • Dashboards that allow staff to interact with certain data sets, using the powerful visualization tools in Tableau.
  • Data-driven maps that allow trauma network managers to identify appropriate hospitals based on the trauma location and service status within user-defined areas.
  • Data maps include hospital status details in a pop-up when hovering over the map point.

Innovative Uses

  • We have been able to extend the functionality of the mapping capabilities of Tableau beyond what is normally available. Using data-based calculations, we have been able to provide end-user interactive capabilities to specify location areas and hospital resources.
  • We are able to use Tableau for data listings that enable us to manage compliance with other vendor usage limitations.
  • We are able to use Tableau to identify duplicates in databases. This allows staff to keep databases current and error-free.

Future Planned Uses

  • We would like to expand the use of Tableau's mapping functionality.
  • We would like to extend the use of the Tableau mobile app by our regional coordinators.
  • We are working at automating and pushing visualization updates to other applications.

Likelihood to Renew

10
We will continue our use of Tableau server due to the following factors:
- Cost effectiveness. This persists from year-to-year. Tableau consistently gives us the best value for the cost
- Reliability. Tableau server has been rock-solid for our users, particularly during emergencies.
- Innovation. You can bet that Tableau will release stable new versions on a regular basis.

We have often experienced the need for a function in Tableau that will be included in a future release.

Evaluating Tableau Server and Competitors

Products Replaced

Key Differentiators

  • Price
  • Product Usability
  • Analyst Reports
This is difficult. Cost was important, but value was the predominate factor. Cost effectiveness and functionality combine to create the value for us. In addition, the ability to quickly deploy new visualizations based on user requests is phenomenal. As indicated earlier, if the current version of Tableau doesn't include some desired/needed functionality, it will be there in future releases in short order.

Evaluation Lessons Learned

We wouldn't change a thing. Now that we know more about the potential competitors, the more Tableau server stands out. As indicated earlier, it has consistently demonstrated high value to our developers and end-users.

Tableau Server Implementation

Implementation

10
Again, if we had incorporated user feedback during implementation, we could have fielded critical dashboards and visualizations earler.

Implementation Details / Implementation Partner

  • Third-party professional services
We used a small IT consulting group, the Myrick Group, to handle implementation and server management. We continue to use this contractor for hourly services to maintain the Tableau server instance and create visualizations/dashboards as we need them.

Implementation Phases

Change Management Lessons

Change management was a small part of the implementation and was well-handled - Better user education before implementation would have possibly increased the value of the initial deployment. We could have fielded critical dashboards earlier with more input from the field.

Implementation Issues

  • User acceptance. This was really an issue of providing training and showing how regional coordinators managing hospital resources could use Tableau.
  • There were no other significant issues. The implementation went smoothly and timely.

Tableau Server Support

Support

10
We have consistently had highly satisfactory results every time we've reached out for help. Our contractor, used for Tableau server maintenance and dashboard development is very technically skilled. When he hits a roadblock on how to do something with Tableau, the support staff have provided timely and useful guidance. He frequently compares it to Cognos and says that while Cognos has capabilities Tableau doesn't, the bottom line value for us is a no-brainer.

Tableau Server Customer Support Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Quick Resolution
Good followup
Knowledgeable team
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
No escalation required
Immediate help available
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
None

Premium Support

No - Tableau server in our environment is so easy to use, we have not required premium support capability. We consistently get positive, timely results from our current support agreement. Unmentioned is the value of our Tableau account manager. Even as a small customer, we get frequent calls/visits from our account manager which gives us the opportunity to request new features and explain needs. The results are often a targeted support engagement with a Tableau engineer that gives us what we need.

Bug Resolution

Exceptional Examples of Tableau Server Support

We had an issue with a particular mapping capability. We wanted to be able to map hospitals state-wide, provide a pop-up of service status upon hovering over the map point, and allow the end-user to specify the location of a trauma and use a slider function to define hospitals located within a radius in miles of hospitals. Tableau support was able to provide a solution, and this dashboard is a key resource used by our state-wide trauma network to provide routing suggestions to EMS agencies.

Using Tableau Server

Usability

10
I think the use case we described earlier about a non-technical user that was copying/pasting data into Word during emergencies is our best reason. This person had little technical ability, and the Tableau mobile solution powered by Tableau server completely resolved the issues. She has since become one of the most vocal proponents of Tableau.

Usability Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Well integrated
Consistent
Quick to learn
Convenient
Feel confident using
Familiar
None

Easy Tasks

  • Dragging and dropping data variables to quickly and easily create visualizations
  • Tableau's "Show Me" function that suggests visualization types based on the data source.
  • Easily mapping data that doesn't have latitude/longitude in the data set. Tableau can use county and/or zip code to quickly provide a map of the data.

Difficult Tasks

  • The mapping function in Tableau continues to improve, but it can't accommodate the use of layers as data filters just yet.
  • Tableau is not really meant for the generation of lists from data. We've found ways to do it, but it takes someone with technical skills.

Mobile Interface Availability and Impressions

Yes - Beautifully! My favorite example is our coordinator in one of most heavily-populated metro areas. This particular area has high hospital resource utilization and a relatively small number of hospitals for the population. This coordinator is not technically skilled and was cutting and pasting information from one of our web-based applications into a Word document. She was using this to assist in patient routing during large festivals (Mardi Gras) and as such, had to refresh the document frequently throughout the day. We were able to give her all of the data she had been using plus more in one single Tableau dashboard that she could access from her phone. This not only drastically improved the quality of her information, it also drastically reduced the time creating it manually and solved a bandwith problem she experienced in a mobile EOC command trailer.