- Browser-based option
- Data connectors
- Need IT expertise
- Inflexible sales support
- Extensive training needs compared to competitors
Tableau has been recognized as one of the best business intelligence (BI) tools on the market. Often compared to IBM Watson Analytics and the widely accessible Microsoft Power BI platform, Tableau offers a series of solutions that support intensive data analysis. While Tableau consists of several platforms, Tableau Online should be of particular interest to those working in campaigns, nonprofits, or as congressional staff.
BI the Tableau way
Tableau Online is sold as a self-service platform for BI and analytics. It’s a cloud-based platform that supports team collaboration and is a lightweight approach to setting up BI capabilities for an organization. Users can quickly access a fully hosted solution without having to configure the necessary IT infrastructure, manage and ensure suitable software upgrades, or scale hardware. Within the platform, users can also create industry standard-setting data visualizations with data connected from mainstream data warehouses. Additionally, Tableau’s platforms can be integrated with other BI and analytics reporting platforms like Google Analytics. There’s also mobile app support for Apple and Android devices.
More on the data visualizations
One high point to Tableau’s ecosystem is the data visualizations, with these features exceeded all of our expectations compared to other BI tools on the market. The company has a pioneering legacy of empowering customers to create stunning and understandable data visualizations within a user-friendly environment. As a result, these data visualizations are used extensively across the industry. For example, online data repository Statista utilizes Tableau integrations to visualize their datasets.
Friendly user interface with a knowledge gap
Tableau has an excellent user interface. It’s responsive, intuitive, and easy to use once you gain the necessary technical ability. Like several other complex BI tools, there is a requirement for some prior experience in analytics software and general IT systems. Tableau Online is a secure system to set up, but the tools and protocol that come with the system, like the data visualizations and how to integrate databases into a BI framework, require extra training.
There is a knowledge base, a tiered support system attached to a subscription plan, and a vast online support community. However, as with any platform, beginners will be able to get the most out of their experience after extended periods of use and training. This knowledge gap is also a significant setback for Tableau because competing platforms have much easier implementation processes.
Sales regime and pricing
Our research revealed that most users of Tableau’s platforms are delighted with their experience. However one of the common issues reported in reviews, customer ratings, and similar outlets focused on the company’s sales team, and our evaluation verified these concerns. After we did our DIY-demo, the reviewer kept receiving emails, and unsolicited sales calls to convert our trial session into a sale. The pricing rates are lacking as well; Tableau’s pricing structure for individuals starts at $70 per month per user on an annual payment model. For teams and organizations, the pricing regime is similar. For comparison, Microsoft Power BI and Klipfolio are cheaper with monthly plans starting at $9.99 and $29, respectively.
What we think
Despite the knowledge gap for beginners, Tableau is one of the most visible BI providers in the market. With industry-leading visualizations and the elements of a global support community, Tableau is an exceptional platform for organizations who have the data files and budget. But, smaller organizations that have limited resources should revert to more accessible platforms like Microsoft Power BI or Klipfolio.
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