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What is Tableau and its Importance in Data Visualization?
  • Difficulty Level : Expert
  • Last Updated : 03 Jun, 2020

The world will generate 50 times the amount of data in 2020 as compared to 2011. That’s a dramatic rise in data generation all over the world with time. And there are a lot of secrets hidden within this data. Secrets that could improve technologies, solve many puzzles, and lead to greater human advancement. But for that to happen, we need to understand this data first!


Most of the data generated in this world is messy, complicated, unclear data obtained from different sources in different forms and it is very difficult to understand. So this data needs to be cleaned, organized and then visualized so that any patterns and insights in the data can be understood easily. And Tableau is a data visualization tool that is helping with that. Tableau is used to first clean and shape the data and then convert it into interactive data visualizations that help companies to obtain insights from data using data storytelling. Now, let’s see what is Tableau in detail.

What is Tableau?

Tableau is a very powerful data visualization tool that can be used by data analysts, scientists, statisticians, etc. to visualize the data and get a clear opinion based on the data analysis. Tableau is very famous as it can take in data and produce the required data visualization output in a very short time. Basically, it can elevate your data into insights that can be used to drive your action in the future. And Tableau can do all this while providing the highest level of security with a guarantee to handle security issues as soon as they arise or are found by users.

Tableau also allows you to prepare, clean, and format data of all types and ranges and then create data visualizations to obtain actionable insights that can be shared with other users. You can use data queries to obtain insights from your visualizations and also manage metadata using Tableau. In fact, it is a lifesaver for many people in Business Intelligence as it allows you to handle data without having great technical knowledge. So you can use Tableau as an individual data analyst or at a large scale for your business team and organization. In fact, there are many organizations using Tableau such as Amazon, Lenovo, Walmart, Accenture, etc. There are different Tableau products that are aimed at different types of users, whether they be individuals or organizations. So let’s see these in detail now.

Products Offered by Tableau

1. Tableau Desktop

Tableau Desktop is a desktop application that is the fundamental offering of Tableau. You can use Tableau Desktop to create interactive data visualizations, perform unlimited data exploration, create charts and dashboards from the data, etc. It also allows connections to the data on the cloud or in local memory, whether the data is an SQL database, spreadsheet data, big data, or data on Google Analytics, Salesforce, etc. You can get Tableau Desktop as a part of the Tableau Creator package for 70 USD per month with a free trial of 14 days.

2. Tableau Public

Tableau Public is a free software provided by Tableau. It is used to create data visualizations and data charts that can be embedded into blogs, web pages, etc. or transferred using social media. You can create visualizations in Tableau Public using the Tableau Desktop Public Edition. However, the downside of Tableau Public is that the data visualizations created here are accessible by everyone on the internet and cannot be saved privately. So this product is best for students who are still learning Tableau, hobbyists, journalists, bloggers, etc. who are fine with creating public data visualizations.

3. Tableau Online

Tableau Online can be used to create data visualizations, storyboards, data charts, etc. that are fully hosted on the cloud and not on local servers. You can create your visualizations and share them with other people online using a web browser or the Tableau mobile app. There is no need to worry about software upgrades or hardware scaling or server configuration while using Tableau Online as it is a totally online hosted service. So you can set up Tableau Online in minutes and start reaping the benefits as a single user or company. You can get this service as a part of the Tableau Creator package for 70 USD per month with a free trial of 14 days.

4. Tableau Server

Tableau Server is a server product for your organization that needs to be installed on a Windows or Linux server. This is widely used in the industrial domain with many IT companies installing Tableau Server to create interactive data visualizations, perform unlimited data exploration, create charts and dashboards from the data, etc. while being sure that their data is safe and secure. Tableau Server can integrate with existing security protocols in companies such as  Kerberos, Active Directory, OAuth, etc. to ensure data security while also providing data insights. You can get this service as a part of the Tableau Creator package for 70 USD per month with a free trial of 14 days.

Advantages of Tableau

Let’s check out some of the advantages of Tableau:

1. Create great visualizations

Of course, the first advantage of a data visualization tool is that you can create wonderful and detailed data visualizations using data that initially wasn’t very ordered. You can use Tableau Prep to shape, clean, and combine the data into desired forms so that it can be used for creating data charts, dashboards, visualizations, etc.

2. Obtain detailed insights

You can obtain detailed and unexpected insights from the data using Tableau. You can explore the data from different angles to see if any patterns emerge or you can even ask open-ended questions from the data and perform various comparisons to obtain unexpected insights. This effect is heightened even more when you are using real-time data as it changes your viewpoint continuously.

3. User-friendly Approach

Tableau is created for people who don’t have detailed technical skills or much coding experience and so its user-friendly approach is its greatest strength. You can create detailed data visualizations from Tableau without having many technical skills as most of its features use a drag-and-drop approach to put the correct parameters in the rows and columns to create visualizations. This is so simple and intuitive that even a layman can manage it.

4. Support for Different Data Sources

Tableau can connect to various data sources, data warehouses, and files that contain disparate data and exist in different kinds of storage mediums. Tableau can access data from the cloud, data that is available in spreadsheets, big data, non-relational data, etc. Tableau has the capacity to manage data from all these different data sources and blend these different types of data to create complex and detailed data visualizations that are an asset to IT companies.

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