Monthly Archives: October 2015

Business Intelligence Tool series – Tableau, Part – 2

Here is the part 2 of the series on Tableau BI platform.

Tableau Dashboards
Using Tableau, users can create interactive real time dashboards and stories. Dashboards are a combination of individual data visualizations. Tableau Dashboards have data visualization best practices built in.

Users can interact with a dashboard by filtering data, drilling down on specific elements etc. Sharing of dashboards is also very simple and is just a click away from embedding them into company portals, websites etc.

An interactive dashboard created using Tableau Desktop can be used to display the sales and profits of various products in a store. It can display the following visualizations:

  • Sales per product category as a Tree Map
  • Sales per product sub-category as a Heat Map
  • Profits per product category as a pie chart
  • Profits per product sub-category as a Bar Chart
  • Sales/Profit per customer segment as a Bar Chart

In this manner the sales and profit values for different consumer segments like Corporate, Home Office etc. across different regions like East, south etc. can be visualized using Tableau Dashboards.

Tableau Story Points
Tableau goes one step beyond the dashboards with the introduction of Story Points. Using Story Points, users can build a narrative or a story using the data visualizations and dashboards for easier sharing with others. People find it easier to grasp and remember concepts when told in the form of a story like in case of books or movies. Story Points enables users to share data in the form of a story. As said by Francois Ajenstat, Tableau’s director of product management, “People tend to remember concepts through stories. It’s the oldest form of communication. You can highlight interesting points in your views, and put it together in a sequence with a narrative.”

How it works
Most data visualization presentations today using other Business Intelligence involve users copy pasting the visualizations to a PowerPoint presentation. Tableau’s story point template has the option of having multiple blocks with captions arranged in the form of a strip at the top and a pane for arranging visualizations and dashboards. Visualizations can be easily added, removed and arranged in the pane with simple drag and drop motions, and required coding or programming knowledge. Users can click through the blocks sequentially to move through the panes. As in the case of dashboards, story points are fully interactive with options for filters and other controls.

Tableau Server
Tableau Server is browser- and mobile-based insight anyone can use. Publish dashboards with Tableau Desktop and share them throughout your organization. It’s easy to set up and even easier to run.


  • Turn everyone into your best analyst with interactive dashboards in a web browser or mobile device.
  • Embed dashboards in company portals across your business.
  • Comment on dashboards to share your findings.
  • Subscribe and get regular updates.
  • Filter data, drill down or add entirely new data to answer to your analysis.
  • Edit any existing view, on the web. And do it all with Tableau’s blazing fast data engine so you get your answer when you ask it.
  • Publish shared data connections from Tableau Desktop. Define data sources, add metadata, and author entirely new calculations and data fields for everyone to use.
  • Publish shared data connections from Tableau Desktop. Define data sources, add metadata, and author entirely new calculations and data fields for everyone to use.
  • Have permission settings to manage access to data connections.

Flexible data architecture
Tableau Server leverages fast databases through live data connections, or can extract and refresh your data in–memory with its blazing fast data engine.

Automatic updates
Refresh local data on schedules, at set intervals, or incremental levels. Or just refresh it all. Get alerts when data connections fail. Set up subscriptions so you get your data when you want it, as often as you want it.

Embedded analytics
Embed dashboards within your organization’s existing workflow. Whether you need native database connectors, APIs or a suite of authentication methods, it’s in the bag.

It scales with both hardware and memory, and comes with many features to ensure it is a reliable enterprise backbone.

Author a dashboard once; view it anywhere, on any device. All dashboards are automatically optimized for mobile tablets without any programming. Use familiar tablet gestures to view and interact with dashboards in mobile web browsers or using native iPad and Android apps.

End of Part 2 of 2.


Business Intelligence Tool series – Tableau

In this blog series we plan to feature some popular BI platforms, in the first of the two-part series we bring to you Tableau.

Tableau is a visualization tool with a focus on Business Intelligence. It is built on the Visual Query Language for Data, pioneered by tableau as VizQL™. VizQL™ is a technology that optimally converts the user’s drag and drop action into a database query and outputs the results visually in the form of data visualizations.

Analysis and visualization at the speed of thought
Another impressive technology of Tableau is its data engine capable of visually querying petabytes of data with billions of rows in mere seconds, or to put it more aptly, at the speed-of-thought. Combined with the drop and drop functionality, it enables users to follow their train of thought in analysing data. It also allows users to connect to a data source and obtain the visual analysis without any coding or scripting.

Connecting to data
Tableau allows users to connect to data in multiple ways. Using its powerful data engine, users can connect to multiple sources of data at once, connect live or take a snapshot of the databases to take advantage of its breakthrough in-memory architecture etc. The types of data sources that can be connected to Tableau can be found here.

Why Tableau?
Tableau has been the industry leader in Business Intelligence products and solutions for the past two years. Each year, Gartner analyses every vendor in the Business Intelligence and Analytics market. Their research has particular significance because it often identifies the innovations that drive the market. As part of that report, Gartner also releases the Magic Quadrant, which shows the relative positions of the market’s competitors.

Tableau has once again been recognized as a Leader in the Magic Quadrant for 2014.

Product Offerings
Tableau offers three types of products namely, the Public, Personal and Professional Edition. The Public Edition is a free edition that allows workbooks and dashboards to be published ONLY to Tableau’s public website. The personal edition, while allowing workbooks to be saved locally, does not have the ability to connect to databases. The Professional edition is the full-fledged product from Tableau.

Part 1 ends here