Getting up and ready with a great data visualization platform in a few days with Tableau Server
Mathieu Gaouette | TrustRadius Reviewer
January 24, 2019

Getting up and ready with a great data visualization platform in a few days with Tableau Server

Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Tableau Server

Tableau is being used mostly by marketing to get a good view of their customer base. It covers the present footprint in terms of product ownership and the trend in usage of services.

Tableau is used by data scientists to present data to managers and executive. It has a storytelling approach that facilitates the understanding of data and eases the decision-making process.
  • Tableau server's portal and general look is really convenient and pretty. Users feel comfortable using it.
  • The learning curve of Tableau Server from an end-user perspective is really short. For the creator of content, it is a little more complex but easy to learn. Tableau has really succeeded in creating a user-friendly software.
  • From an administration point of view, Tableau is great. Installation and housekeeping are really easy and quick.
  • Visuals are really appealing and will help "sell" your presentations.
  • Tableau allows connectivity to a huge selection of data sources and data formats.
  • Online training for software is free and of very good quality.
  • Tableau doesn't (at least when I used it) have custom widgets or elements in the creation of dashboards. Its main competitor, Power BI, allows this. Because of that, some visualizations are challenging and need the use of advanced tricks that most users don't know about.
  • Tableau logs a lot of information, and sometimes, getting the right information from these logs when something goes wrong is challenging.
  • Tableau support is not the quickest. This sounds bad, but I have to specify that I very rarely had to contact them. However, when I did, the answer took a few more days than with other providers.
  • ROI wasn't really measured but the time to market was really quick. Within a few days, the Tableau server was installed and fully usable by analysts. The installation process of this software is really well documented and easy to perform.
  • An administrator should be appointed to manage the platform. In our case, we went with an existing administrator of a different platform as this was not a full-time job. A few hours a month is generally enough to manage the platform.
  • Tableau creates really dazzling reports and dashboards. I suggest establishing upfront the targeted audience for the consumption of data if you want to keep the license count under control. It is very tough to achieve that if you grant one to anyone who asks for a license.
Tableau was installed on-prem.
  • We installed it on a windows server OS.
  • People are creating content in Desktop Tableau then publishing it onto the server.
  • End users consult the dashboards through a web browser with LDAP authentication.
Tableau access model is really nice. It allows user-level access and group level access. You can also simply import users from an LDAP server (easier housekeeping by the administrator). Obviously, with great flexibility comes a risk for an environment to become complex with weird rules. I strongly recommend administrators/users to set some guidelines and best practices that are part of a data governance approach.
I've never seen a data tool that could so easily connect to data sources and a lot of them at that. Not only can you connect to pretty much every DBMS, but you can also do it without any additional components (licenses). Tableau doesn't have data connectors that they sell, you can connect to everything out of the box. You might have to buy drivers at the OS level but nothing at the Tableau level. You can also read in SAS tables and SPSS tables (I was not expecting that!).
Tableau Server is built on the approach of collaboration. It is great for publishing, sharing, and everything in between. You can set alerts for dashboard refresh. All of this must obviously be managed through user/group rights but nevertheless, the sharing capacity is great and convenient.
Online user training is great. You get lots of free videos for base Tableau usage. The production value is great for these clips and being numerous and short, it's easy to go at your own pace. I also experienced the online classes (for administration). The online courses that I took were always of good quality with good teachers. The content and exercises were adequate for my needs. I also consulted the free product documentation. It is among the best product documentation that I've consulted so far in my line of work. Information is sometimes wrapped in useless sentences in technical documentation but it is not the case with Tableau. The documentation makes it easy to find what you are looking for.
Tableau Server should be considered in organizations where you have several consumers of data and fewer creators. The licensing of the server will make you save and allow you to have some governance over your dashboards.

In an environment where you have a lot of creators, the use of a server might not bring a lot of benefits, because creators using the desktop version can open and modify other people's dashboards.

Tableau Server Feature Ratings

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

Using Tableau Server

100 - Marketing (mostly), HR and asset management.
In these groups, analysts use Tableau to get insight on data.
1 - Supporting Tableau server requires and IT person with a general OS knowledge (installing softwares, updating, ...) and some Tableau knowledge (always better to understand how users work with the tool).
Unless there are several hundreds of users, it's probably better to have someone to do that in addition to another role. This is not a full type job (usually).
Tableau being so easy to install and maintain as a software, I recommend keeping the software install "inhouse" and not outsource it.
  • Creating dynamic dashboards on customer buying trends
  • Follow evolution of customer base through time based on several criteria
  • Market share analysis with graphical representations (heat maps)
  • Use of command lines functionalities to allow automated ETL process to prepare data, refresh datasources and Tableau object all without any intervention.
  • Use with mobile for executives
It simply is used all the time by more and more people.
Migrating to something else would involve lots of work and lots of training.
The renewal fee being fair, it simply isn't worth migrating to a different tool for now.