People think in pictures, not in columns and rows of data. You don’t want to view the world or a situation on an Excel spreadsheet, do you? 

Suppose you want to know where you can charge your Tesla on a cross country trip (or even if there are enough charging stations in existence to make this possible), would you prefer a picture where you can click on a dot and get an address, or get a spreadsheet or list of longitudinal and lateral coordinates? You know which one Elon Musk is providing to his customers, and we have it on good word that the visuals are built with Tableau, the company that helps people understand data visually.

Of course there aren’t that many recharging stations yet, so that example doesn’t exemplify Tableau’s power. Instead think about analyzing eBay’s information on a spreadsheet; every three ays the on-line retailer collects as much data as there is in the Library of Congress. How can you possibly understand what’s inside three trillion rows of data? First off, you can’t, because Excel has a one million row limit, but even more so, using a spreadsheet with that much data is cumbersome; so cumbersome, in fact, thateBay analysts were typically looking at only at the top three categories when there were more than 40,000 available. With Tableau they can now load all of their data, look at a lot more categories and do it visually, which is no doubt a big win.

It’s also worth noting that eBay initially bought 300 Tableau licenses, but now they have found it to be so valuable that they’re making it available for users to try out company-wide. And that suggests that Tableau’s software is easy enough to use by people who aren’t trained business analysts or statisticians. It’s proof positive that Tableau is achieving its goal of democratizing data (via ease of use and visualization).

Learning Opportunities

Announcing Tableau 8.1

In keeping with its mission, Tableau has built new features into Tableau 8.1 which include:

  • Web and mobile interactivity:“We like to be wherever our customers are,” says Ellie Fields, Senior Director of Product Marketing at Tableau. And with more and more people on-the-go, Tableau Software can now help end-users answer more questions with an enhanced web authoring mode and improved mobile tablet apps, including a new version for Android that allows you to edit views on the fly.
  • Enterprise class: Tableau now supports mission critical deployments with a full 64-bit product suite which makes it faster; Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) authentication; support for external load balancers; IPv6 support and much more.
  • Build beautiful dashboards faster and with greater ease: Tableau 8.1 provides the ability to copy sheets between workbooks, to leverage more formatting options for dashboards with new quick filter customizations, transparency support and an improved presentation mode.
  • Sophisticated analytics and Integration with R: R is the widely accepted language for data science and business analytics and it’s now integrated into Tableau. Business users who want to leverage statistical depth can now do so with one-click box-and-whisker plots, forecasts with confidence intervals and new rank and percentile functions.
  • Seamless access to data: Connecting and transforming data is easier than ever with upgrades to data connectors.

Tableau Predicts and Delivers on Customer Needs - Make It a Leader

In 2012, Gartner called Tableau a “Challenger” in its Business Intelligence and Platforms report; in 2013 the company finds itself in the “Leaders Quadrant.” Not only that, but its customers and market analysts alike seem to like what they’re seeing. Tableau claims to have more than 15,000 organizations as customers and tens of thousands of people using Tableau Public to share data in their blogs and websites. Add to that that, as of this writing, the company’s stock is trading more than 25 percent above its IPO price when it went public in May.