Tableau Enhances Data Visualization Usability, Communication, Collaboration
Tableau 4.0′s usability enhancements significantly lower the bar for entry to data visualization and make customizable end-user analysis easier to share
Data visualization specialist Tableau Software notched a few firsts recently, starting with its first-ever Tableau Customer Conference, held in Seattle.
Tableau also showcased its upcoming Tableau 4.0 release, which — once it ships in next week — will deliver updates for both Tableau Desktop (the end-user analysis component of Tableau’s data visualization stack) and Tableau Server (its back-end counterpart that enable sharing). With organizations consuming more data — at speeds approaching real-time — Tableau says data visualization (in contrast to other, existing BI tools) lets users more meaningfully interact with data — faster than ever before. It’s in this respect, officials argue, that Tableau 4.0 and its raft of usability enhancements significantly lower the bar for entry to data viz.
Many vendors claim to deliver data visualization capabilities, but only a few, including Tableau along with competitors Advizor Solutions Inc., SAS Institute Inc. (with JUMP), Advanced Visual Systems (AVS), and the former SpotFire Inc. (which was acquired last year by Tibco Software) can be considered data visualization best-of-breeds. It’s an important distinction, experts stress.
Business Objects (an SAP company), Cognos (an IBM company), and Microsoft Corp. have upped the data visualization ante in recent revisions of their information analysis or performance management (PM) products. In turn, Tableau, Advizor, and other players keep raising the stakes, focusing on both the arcane (e.g., developing new algorithms and visualization-types) as well as the comparatively mundane (e.g., usability enhancements). Tableau 4.0, for example, is focused on usability: it boasts a new one-click analytical map-creation feature and bundles amenities which make it easier for users to embed and share Tableau views in non-Tableau contexts — such as in Web applications, SharePoint, corporate intranets, or even documents.
Officials cite Tableau 4.0′s one-click analytic map-generation feature as of particular interest to its users. The feature helps users create analytic maps without understanding map layers or geographic parameters; Tableau itself figures everything out, allowing users to drill down into the corresponding information.