Tableau Data Day Out

A few weeks ago, the KeyData Team attend the Tableau Partner Conference, and the Data Day Out down in Sydney – A great excuse to get out of the office! It was a huge privilege to be given an exclusive insight into the up and coming features in Tableau coming in the next year. Just a small sample of the upcoming features include:

Tableau Data Prep – Tableau are throwing their hat in the ring for data cleansing and manipulation with Tableau Data Prep. This new tool allows you to connect to databases and files, and produce reusable workflows to clean and manipulate your data before bringing it into Tableau. The best part about Data Prep? It’s completely free with any creator license! We here at KeyData have used Data Prep, and we think it shows great promise, and really helps fill the gap between traditional ETL/ELT Architectures and ad-hoc data analysis. You can try Data Prep out right now with Tableau 2018.1.

Extension API – In my opinion this is potentially one of the biggest game-changers for Tableau. Don’t be fooled by its dull name, the Extensions API allows for a huge leap forward in functionalities in Tableau. In a nutshell, users will be able to create native Javascript applications that run inside Tableau Dashboards, and can interact with Tableau directly. A simple example is now you can create a d3.js animation of your data as a dashboard element that will respond to dashboard actions. The big advantage of this functionality is the potential for new Dashboard objects and visualisations, allowing super users to break the rules of Tableau.

Natural Language Processing – All the power of a search engine, reading directly into your data sources! With Natural Language Processing, you can now ask questions of your data in plain English. You will be able to directly ask your data with questions like “What are my biggest sales regions for 2017?” and it will intelligently search your data for the relevant information, and return the result as a Tableau Visualisation. This functionality can help end-users answer their business questions, bypassing traditional report-oriented approaches. It’s an exciting feature that we believe will help set Tableau apart from the competition.

Dashboard Starters – A welcomed feature is the Dashboard Starter. These dashboards are optimised for displaying data directly from a data source like Salesforce for example. The biggest advantage is for new Tableau users looking to get a quick win and speed up time-to-insight for commonly used data sources. At the moment, the number of dashboard starters is fairly small, isolated to a couple of commonly used data sources, but will evolve as time goes on from what we heard.

New Subscription Offering – Tableau have recently shifted towards a new model for subscriptions, where all users are either Creators, Explorers or Viewers. Creators now have access to Tableau Desktop, Data Prep and either Tableau Server or Online, making it the complete package for data operators. Explorers are given web edit capabilities in Tableau Server, allowing end-users flexibility to create dashboards with existing data sources. Viewers are given access to dashboards in Server. These three categories aligns better with the different types of roles in an organisation.

The Data Day Out itself was a blast. Fantastic talks all around, especially Jason Fox on breaking the cycle of default thinking. Special thanks to Francois Ajenstat (Chief Product Officer at Tableau) for flying all the way across the world to talk about what’s new and exciting at Tableau.

It was great to chat to so many Tableau enthusiasts from so many organisations. It is great to hear the stories about the difference that Tableau has made to improve the day-to-day operations to so many groups. One common trend that was running through most conversations was around data governance, especially among larger organisations. It’s a difficult balance between keeping data secure, whilst empowering data analysts to work effectively.

Anyway, thanks heaps to Tableau for running an awesome event…again! We’ll see you at the next one!


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