Tableau: Powerful, Flexible, Agile
December 28, 2018
Tableau: Powerful, Flexible, Agile
Score 9 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with Tableau Server
Tableau provides agile, easy to use, and effective ways to visualize data. We have used Tableau visualizations to inform decisions regarding our strategic goals. It took very little time for our data analysts to become familiar with the Tableau toolset. We had several data dashboards up on day one of our implementation.
- It's extremely intuitive to use the visualizations. Users can manipulate and construct meaning and additional questions from the data quickly.
- Tableau is very flexible -- it's completely data source agnostic. It will take data from any source.
- Our development team learned it very quickly.
- While it took little time for our data analysts to crank out visualizations, it did take some time(longer than I expected) for our technology operations team to configure the server to share the sizes.
- The server update process is rather cumbersome -- requires a full uninstall/re-install.
- Again, while it took our data analysts next to no time to start creating, I've been in other organizations that have struggled with the feature-rich interface and complexity of the Tableau client. So, it requires the right personnel, with dedicated time, to fully leverage the tool.
- Tableau does take dedicated FTE to create and analyze the data. It's too complex (and powerful) a product not to have someone dedicated to developing with it.
- There are some significant setup for the server product.
- Once sever setup is complete, it's largely "fire and forget" until an update is necessary. The server update process is cumbersome.
We host our Tableau sever (ritualized) on-prem. Given the nature of the sensitive and often confidential data we are analyzing with Tableau, we felt the on-prem solution suited us better than a cloud-based solution. The local solution also gave us much more flexibility to connect with various data sources as well. In our view, this maximized our implementation.
We use Active Directory for Tableau account provisioning. Our long-term plan is to link our role-base permissions with our the permissions in our student information system. This will ensure that personnel in our organization can only see data related to their essential job functions. So, by and large, we are satisfied with the granularity of the permissions.
This is one of the best features of Tableau. We have used data from our student information system, our human resources system, and data from spreadsheets to create visualizations. The flexibility is outstanding. If we have the data captured in an electronic format, our data analytics team feel confident they can represent it in Tableau.
Once the data is captured and represented in a visualization, it is very simple to assign user and role-based security to each representation. We use Active Directory for account provisioning. We also use existing AD security groups to assign permissions to Tableau visualizations. In addition, we use our student information system to provide security as well.
Tableau is a complex product. It does require dedicated personnel to fully leverage it. Our data analytics team took very little time to get up to speed with the Tableau client. They primarily used the online resources to do this. So far, they have not run into a question that they have not been able to answer using the online training and documentation.
Tableau is a fully agnostic tool for simply representing complex data. If thought is given to the design of the visualizations, they are very powerful and intuitive to use. We recently used Tableau to go deeper into our staffing. We looked at various demographic profiles of attendance centers to see which ones should receive more FTE. This would have taken much longer and been much less insightful without Tableau.