7 Features of Tableau you can use in Real-life

Tableau Features with use in Real-life

Every single person who is first introduced to Tableau goes through a sudden fit of creative designing. The Tableau Public Gallery plays an influential role in the same. These people, after getting inspired from the Tableau Public Gallery, starts filling their Tableau Public profiles with dozens of fancy charts. I have even see in Reddit users posting questions on what charts to create to woo those potential clients/employers.

But as time passes by, and they try start using Tableau in their professional lives, the euphoria evaporates! Where will they implement those beautiful, intricate, creative designs? All they get to do is to churn numbers, and create analysis based on those in stale bar charts. What now, is the question they ask themselves, often.

From my experience in working with a Big 4 as a Manager of a Data Visualization team, I would say you would almost never need a fancy chart in your entire professional life. The stakeholders who would view the Tableau Dashboards almost always have their focus on the numbers, and how easily they can interpret them from an analysis, instead of how beautiful they look.

But afraid not, Tableau is not merely a tool to create fancy charts. Here are some of the other features of Tableau which you can utilize in your professional lives:

1. Data Connectors - Tableau can connect to almost anything. From a simple Excel file, to Google Sheets, Cloudera Hadoop, Hortonworks Hadoop Hive, Microsoft PowerPivot, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, Oracle Eloqua, Oracle Essbase, Salesforce, Spark SQL, Teradata, amd a whole gamut of other services. You what makes Tableau because of this feature? Accessible. So it doesn't matter if your data is in a thousand places, which it usually does, you can connect to them all!

2. Data Blending - As I said earlier, real-life data exists in multiple places, and formats. Does not mean that your viewers would like to see separate Dashboards for each of them. Here Data Blending comes to the rescue. Data Blending is a very powerful feature in Tableau, it is used when there exist related data in multiple data sources, which you want to analyze together in a single view. Imagine collecting global data to create a single Sales Dashboard!

3. Big Data Ready - Tableau is Big Data ready. What this means is that it is capable of handling terabytes of data because of it's architecture. Thanks to Tableau Data Extracts (TDEs), and Hyper Extracts, Tableau can process Big Data with ease. You can read more about TDEs from here. Now imagine this in legacy a software like Excel.

4. Working with Live Data - With Tableau, you can either work with Offline Data, or Live Data. This refers to a data source that contains direct connection to the underlying data, which provides real-time or near real-time data. With a live connection, Tableau makes queries directly against the database or other source, and returns the results of the query for use in a workbook.

5. Non-Tableau Outputs - Not all organizations are equally receptive to change. If one fine day you reach out and tell your audience that from today they would receive a Tableau file instead of the regular PowerPoint presentation that they used to, you would hit the wall. People don't like such sudden changes. So, to make these changes palatable, you need to deliver these changes in byte sized events. For example, if they are so used to getting PowerPoint presentations, give them PowerPoint presentations with screenshots of Dashboards created in Tableau. Then after a while, show them how to create those screenshots themselves. Once they see it for themselves how easy it is to work with Tableau, they would be way more acceptable towards change than they previously were.

6. Tableau Reader - For smaller organizations, licensing is a big issue when it comes to Tableau. They would almost always be averse towards buying Server licenses, and the moment they would hear that the Desktop version of Tableau would churn out a file which needs to be distributed among stakeholders, they would go limp. Here Tableau Reader comes to the rescue. It is more or less like Adobe Acrobat Reader, just like you don't need Adobe Acrobat to read a PDF file but the Reader instead, you do not need to buy Tableau Desktop for each and every stakeholder, be it internal or external. All you need is a Tableau Reader, using which you would not be able to modify the data, but view it exactly the way it was intended to be in a Tableau Desktop environment. And the best part is that the Tableau Reader is available for free.

7. Spatial Data - Unlike Alteryx, to process spatial data in Tableau you do not need a separate license for Geocoding. If the Tableau dataset contains spatial data, chances are Tableau can process them on it's own. It's always easier to represent data related to various markets on a map instead of a simple bar charts, or pie charts. (Oh wait, don't ever use pie charts in professional Dashboard. Unless your client asks you for it specifically. I'll tell you later why in some other article.)

So instead of focusing solely on the creative aspect of Tableau, focus on these features too. They would help you go a long way in establishing a career in Tableau and Data Visualization. And if you find this article useful, don't forget to show some Facebook love and share this article on your favorite Social Media sites.