Tableau Upgrade Heats Up Cool BI World - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Software // Enterprise Applications
04:25 PM
Cindi Howson
Cindi Howson
Connect Directly

Tableau Upgrade Heats Up Cool BI World

Data visualization software gains in-memory option and data-source flexibility.

Tableau Software's just-released 6.0 version may prove to be one of the company’s biggest releases and one that heightens the business intelligence competition with QlikTech, Tibco Spotfire, and Microsoft PowerPivot.

Tableau previewed its latest release in my "Cool BI" class at The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI) World Congress in Orlando earlier this month. As I wrote in a recent in-depth review, Tableau's visual discovery tool is one of the easiest to use.

For customers with a well-designed data warehouse or data mart, Tableau Software nicely leverages the power of the underlying database, whether relational, OLAP, or columnar. This approach has been in stark contrast to QlikTech QlikView's and Tibco Spotfire's approach of bringing all the data into memory. Replicating data has its advantages and disadvantages.

With Tableau 6.0, customers seem to get the best of both worlds. Tableau's new Data Engine leverages the source database when necessary, or it can bring portions of the data into memory when that offers better performance. Adding support for Windows 64-bit operating environments improves the product's scalability.

The other major improvement in Tableau 6.0 is the ability to handle multiple data sources -- a capability the company calls Data Blending. The lack of this option was one of the oft-cited reasons customers would choose other products over Tableau. With Data Blending, an end user can drag and drop new data sources onto a visualization. As long as the dimension names are conformed, the tool will automatically create the joins.

During my Cool BI class it was interesting to see that many attendees had heard of Tableau but few had actually used the software. I suspect these latest enhancements will change that.

Following my usual practice of surveying class attendees, I learned that dashboards and advanced visualization once again topped the list of innovations attendees most want to pursue. But here's the rub: these BI users would like these capabilities to be delivered in one tool. Currently these capabilities are fragmented. Some advanced visualization products can be used to create dashboards but not all; and not all dashboards support visual discovery.

Predictive analytics was the second-highest innovation priority among the 50 or so attendees of my class. On this front, SAS demoed its new Rapid Predictive Modeler during. The third-highest priority was a split between BI Search, with Endeca demoing its solution, and in-memory analytics, a key innovation gaining momentum in the marketplace.

I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving this week and safe travels! I'm thankful for having an amazing job that connects me to so many wonderful business intelligence practitioners, readers, colleagues, and vendors with cool products! To my family and friends, thank you... for everything.

Cindi Howson is the founder of BI Scorecard, a Web site that offers in-depth business intelligence product reviews.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
9 Steps Toward Ethical AI
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  5/15/2019
How to Convince Wary Customers to Share Personal Information
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author,  6/17/2019
The Art and Science of Robot Wrangling in the AI Era
Guest Commentary, Guest Commentary,  6/11/2019
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
A New World of IT Management in 2019
This IT Trend Report highlights how several years of developments in technology and business strategies have led to a subsequent wave of changes in the role of an IT organization, how CIOs and other IT leaders approach management, in addition to the jobs of many IT professionals up and down the org chart.
Flash Poll