Friday, May 22, 2015

14 Days of Tableau

I recently trialed Tableau, a data visualisations tool used for Analytics. My initial impression as a novice user (based on loading data from an excel and doing a few online trainings) is that it is a fantastic tool for following scenarios:
  • We have database acceess, or want to analyse data coming directly off a known client system (SAP, Salesforce)
  • The data available is structured inline with database tables
  • We need to monitor KPIs over a period of time
  • To extract regular insights from predictable management information
  • It is a dedicated tool with sole purpose of getting insights out of data, and is therefore more powerful than excel for charting/ data visualisation
  • The ability to connect with and combine varied data sources makes it a class apart for large data sets that would simply kill excel
  • The ability to build graphical, interactive storyboards that can be shared online take analysis and engagement to a new level
  • Very strong for the four scenarios identified above, especially for building dashboards that refresh based on an underlying, changing data
  • Needs data in a database format. This may need extra effort and planning. E.g. Converting a simple monthly Management Information for balance sheet to a database friendly format can be quiet a task. This would especially hurt if the model changes often, or the number of rows is very large.
  • Missing data points and incomplete excel data can be tricky to deal with
  • Without training, too many options for data cutting can be confusing
  • May not always be worth the effort as there may not be enough time or resources for it (vs doing a simpler excel based analysis)

After this, I intend to trial Qlikview (another BI tool) and compare. Will keep posting my thoughts.

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