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Tableau: the benefits it can bring to your business

The Tableau software has been designed by an American software company also named Tableau. This software is largely used for data visualization and graphical representation in the field of business intelligence & market research. Though Tableau handles the development and marketing rights of the Tableau software, the software was originally developed as a research project of the computer science department of the Stanford University. The software was first developed during 1999 to 2002 by Prof Pat Hanrahan and Phd scholar Chris Stolte who specialized in visualization techniques for exploring and analyzing relational databases and the use of table-based displays to browse multidimensional relational databases.

With regards to data representation, Tableau is much more advanced when compared to Microsoft power point as well as Microsoft excel. Transforming raw data into useful information is what it’s all about. Tableau is an amazing tool for reading and displaying data. However, the outcomes are still dependent on the quality and organization of the input data. Great visualizations require great data. Like all big data software, Tableau requires heavy data for a good quality output.

Tableau enables many features that cannot be achieved using excel dashboards or other tools. The main advantage of this software is that it is user friendly, it’s features can be accessed by just using pick and drop functionality and it is blessed with a wide range of graphs. Further, tableau works amazingly with huge data sets. The primary purpose of tableau is the graphical representation of a data set of any range. By Using Tableau, map graphs and area graphs can be generated in addition to conventional simple graphs such as bar charts, pie charts, scatter plots and line graphs. Further, the wide range of coloring and representation enabled by Tableau allows for unique graphical representation of data. Furthermore, one can use the “calculate” field, create parameters and code using loops (if else, do, do while etc.) to create region wise graphs or graphs that explain the sales growth of a company. The graphs are generated in accordance with the input parameter range. Also, overlapping graphs can be created using dual axis.
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The above picture clearly describes the wide range of graphs that can be generated using Tableau. Further, sometimes we need to have all the information in a single page. Tableau provides the facility of having multiple data sets and graphs in a single page. For instance, in the geographical map, all related information of the concerned region can be obtained in a single click.

Tableau is also known to be an ideal tool for presentation and other business purposes.  It has the ability of relieving hidden data secret inside the data set, thus serving as a boon for data analysis. The tableau Software provides astonishing quality of representation; as a result, the software has several awards to its credit including the “Best Overall in Data Visualization” by DM Review, “Best of 2005 for Data Analysis” by PC Magazine and “2008 Best Business Intelligence Solution (CODiE award)” by the Software & Information Industry Association. Further, the fact that the software has more than 23,000 customer accounts that are still growing, lends witness to its success.

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Despite being far better than the classical excel dashboard and Rattle, the application of Tableau is still quite restricted to visualization. The biggest disadvantage of the software is its data sharing and collaboration features. Even though it contains a help option, it is not that great as compare to Rattle, MATLAB or Qlikview (direct competitor of tableau). Still it is considered as the best analytics and business intelligence tool in the market. Moreover, its lenience costs are also pretty good. It is easy to blend data from different data sources, so one can analyze data sets which would otherwise be difficult to handle in other tools. Let’s hope that in the forthcoming days, the software works efficiently for small data sets too.

This blog was written by Pooja Hegde, Sr Analyst with DART Consulting.

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