Following from last week’s article on Real-time Analytics, here is the second of my three-part blog series on Real-time Analytics.

This week we, at CyByte, are excited about the upcoming Real-time Analytics Webinar: Tableau & Power BI which will be held on Feb 2nd, 2018 at 1:00 PM EST. As we prepare for the webinar, I wanted to give you an overview of the two technologies we will be expounding in the webinar.

About Tableau

Tableau dashboardInteractive data garners more attention than plain content. Visual processing is coded into our brains, we understand images, illustrations and graphics better than the text that accompanies it. Tableau leverages this power of the human mind to process visual data and offers us ground-breaking, user-focused, agile analytics tools to take data visualization to the next level.

Having said this, it is important to mention that Tableau is not a stand-alone product, it is a business intelligence-focused brand with a product ecosystem that is all about data visualization, business intelligence and real-time analytics.

What differentiates it from other business intelligence tools is the fact that a Tableau user doesn’t have to be a programmer to use the software. By feeding data into the software, users can create stunning visual reports and dashboards using just their creativity. This makes it a widely accessible tool; it can be used by anybody – a student or an employee – to translate data into actionable insights.

Another distinctive fact is that Tableau can operate with voluminous or miniscule amounts of data depending on the requirement. It can run on ordinary computers as well as advanced enterprise systems and can conduct ad-hoc analysis of massive data sets in seconds. Since it can connect directly with cloud and local data sources, be it enterprise data warehouses or excel sheets or web-based databases, and import data at tremendous speeds, no third-party software is necessary.

Tableau’s Product Ecosystem

Tableau offers a set of five major products out of which, Public and Reader are free versions. Server and Desktop however are offered with a 14-day free trial period, after which they are converted to paid software.

Tableau products

As a data visualization tool, Tableau relies on its own unique invention – a database visualization language called Visual Query Language (VizQL) which is a clever combination of a Structured Query Language (SQL) and a graphics rendering descriptive language patented by the company. Using this language as a base, Tableau offers a comprehensive suite of products to turn any data into stunning, interactive visuals:

  • Desktop – A classic Tableau tool that allows any user to drag, drop and analyze data with using a program, script or code, it can connect directly to data sources, import the information and create interactive, insightful dashboards and analytical reports within minutes. It comes in a Personal and Professional version for individual and corporate users respectively and emphasizes the development capabilities of this tool.
  • Server – Acting as a centralized, on-premise storage for all Tableau workbooks, this product was created mainly for enterprise users. As such, it offers rapid, browser-based analytics without the need for coding, programming and scripting and automatic data refresh. It can be used by anyone, anytime with free online tutorials. 
  • Online – A hosted version of  Server, it takes the headache out of data visualization by offering interactive visuals and rapid ad-hoc analysis with the added ability to share dashboards across the organization and outside the company with customers and stakeholders. It also offers the same cloud distribution, workbook editing and automatic refresh capabilities as Server and can be scaled up or down as business performance and needs.
  • Public – This is a free software that is good for people practicing Tableau or for sharing publicly available data through interactive visuals. Since it offers development capabilities, it is a bit more advanced than Reader but since the developed workbooks have to be saved to Tableau’s public cloud, it is cannot be used for analyzing proprietary information. The Premium version offers data privacy and raises the bar on the size of data sets. 
  • Reader – Another free to use product Reader is ideal for those who want to view and interact with shared Tableau workbooks, but not develop them. It lets users open Tableau workbooks, also called “packaged workbooks,” saved by Desktop users in a distinct way so that the data and the visualizations are saved in the same file.

This is all about Tableau and its product, the next part of the series will talk about the benefits of the software why you should be using it if you aren’t already doing so. Look out for the next blog titled Tableau: Why you should be using it