Visualize Business Data with Tableau

Tableau is an easy to learn tool that does an effective job of slicing and dicing your data and creating great visualizations and dashboards. Tableau can create better visualizations than Excel and can most definitely handle much more data than Excel can. If you want interactivity in your plots, then Tableau is surely the way to go.

Tableau Desktop:

Backbone of product offering. Use Tableau Desktop to create your workbooks.

Tableau Server:

A secured intranet portal where user can easily publish and share their Tableau workbooks by simply providing a link to workbook. Does not require Tableau Desktop to consume information, just a browser.

Tableau Reader:

Free tool that allows you to open, but not edit Tableau workbooks. You can only read what others had created.

Tableau Online:

Cloud based “Tableau Server” solution. Tableau will host your server, enabling you to easily scale and publish content right out the gate. It’s a cloud-based solution for creating workbooks over the cloud.

Pros:

Completely Interactive: Tell a story with your data. Filter and step from summary to detail level in real time.

Self Service: Minimal IT involvement throughout the entire development process.

Agile: Easily iterate on your development with no impact to existing business operation.

Short Learning Curve: Tableau makes it relatively easy to build a beautiful dashboard.

High Performance: Tableau Proprietary Datasource (Tableau Data Extract) enables you to take the load off the database and store data in column based, high performance TDE file.

Real Time: Live connections between tableau and your datasource are possible. Keep in mind that an already slow database will not be faster in Tableau when reading.

Easy to Share: Send your Tableau workbook along with all the data you are using in one simple packaged file.

Cons/Limitations:

Not a data warehouse replacement. Tableau is not an ETL tool. Garbage In, Garbage out.

Not meant for operational reporting. If its look like excel in Tableau, you are doing it wrong.

Output Limitation. By default Tableau limits the number of columns (dimensions) displayed in table to 6.

No Version management. Manually save different versions of workbook incase you need to rollback.

Highly formatted Reports. Tableau is not able to create reports that resembles like a Utility Bills.

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