Understanding the Visual Analytics Revolution

Understanding the Visual Analytics Revolution


It’s likely you’ve heard the term “Big Data.”  Seems everyone is talking about it these days.  While the term can have a variety of definitions, a simple one is “Lots of Data, No Insight.”  Otherwise, we’d all be talking about “Actionable Data” or “Our Analytics Advantage.”  Tableau Software is a tool that helps make Big Data small, and small data insightful and actionable.  Their mission is to help people see and understand their data, and after 10 years of daily use of the tool, I’d say they are doing a phenomenal job.

The industry, both third party research firms and clients, seems to agree.  Gartner, the leading 3rd party authority on Business Intelligence software has placed Tableau in their “Magic Quadrant” for five years in a row.  Here are the latest rankings released this past February.

Key BI Leaders

And here are job trends for the different top BI software platforms out there, as measured by Indeed.com’s Job Trends (% of total job postings over time).

BI Job Postings

Tableau helps you do the following really well:

  • Bring multiple data sources into one single point of truth
    1. If you have data in Excel and Access, and SQL Databases, and cloud-based applications, like Salesforce, Tableau can bring all of those together in just a few clicks. No code required.  This helps you see the business holistically and have one definitive source for all business reporting.
  • Perform basic ETL operations quickly
    1. If you need to transform data to get it into the format you need, Tableau can do this very quickly with their automated data reshaper tool. Again, in just a few clicks, you can split fields, concatenate fields, join on concatenated or calculated fields, eliminate white space and headers, change data formats.  What might take a SQL coder several minutes to write code for, or an business person using Excel a day to do, can now be done in seconds.
  • Provide beautiful dashboards and reports
    1. Visual best practices are built in, so even if your end users know little about how to present information effectively, Tableau can go a long way automatically to helping ensure reports are both informative and eye catching, and present information in an understandable way.
  • Conduct investigative or exploratory analysis at the speed of thought
    1. Just like athletes can get “in the zone,” Tableau enables analysts to experience a state of flow – quickly exploring their data, helping them find answers that lead to new questions which then lead to new insights as fast as they can think of them.
  • Automate reporting
    1. You can easily build a report, then set it to point at a certain data set, have that data automatically refresh and you never have to touch it again. Set it and simply see insights and act on them.  No code, no additional time, no additional meetings needed.
  • Control data, access, user permissions, and dashboards in a secure and scalable format both on-premise or in the cloud
    1. Tableau understands that business users need insights fast, while IT needs to ensure security, uptime, and infrastructure meets their standards. They make it easy for business users to get the insights they need, while allowing IT to meet their governance commitments.

And as a bonus, Tableau has the most engaged user community in the world.  Have a question? You can find someone willing to help.

Lightpost Analytics offers Introductory through advanced Tableau training.  We can help you get familiar with the software, going from basic to advanced, and in the process, we can help your team become stronger analysts and provide better, more actionable insights for the whole business.  That’s ROI for everyone.  That’s making Big Data bite sized.


Comments: 1

  1. ig says:

    I couldn’t resist commenting. Well written!

Comments are closed.