3 Replies Latest reply on Nov 5, 2019 12:18 AM by JKisic

    Tableau for Data Warehouse reporting

    Petar Shumov

      We may consolidate all university reporting and analytics under Tableau.  Our data warehouse currently uses OBIEE for reporting. Assuming we proceed this reporting will need to be converted to Tableau.

      I am interested in gathering information from universities that use Tableau for reporting and analytics on top of a data warehouse.

      Some specific questions we have:

      What data layer strategy did you use?  Did you set up and publish Tableau data sources, do your report writers directly read database tables, or did you do something else (like set up data marts, cubes, etc.)?

      What lessons learned can you share?  What pros or cons did you experience using Tableau for data warehouse reporting?

      Thanks so much for your help!

        • 1. Re: Tableau for Data Warehouse reporting
          Shankar Radhakrishnan

          hi Petar Shumov ,


          Are you looking to

          1.  replace OBIEE completely with Tableau?

          2.  Complement OBIEE with Tableau?


          For #1, an ideal approach is to implement a data virtualization layer that provides RPD like functionality.  An alternative approach is to directly connect to the DW from Tableau and create data sources.  However, the challenge with this approach is the proliferation of data sources and it could quickly get out of hand.  Migrating from OBIEE to Tableau is a long process, typically several months or year(s).  


          For #2, you can directly connect from Tableau to OBIEE Subject Area & Reports and publish as a data source.  We developed BI Connector to simplify the Tableau-OBIEE integration.  It is also used as a transition tool to go from OBIEE into Tableau.


          If you are interested in chatting further about #1 or #2, drop me an email at shankar@guidanz.com.  Happy to connect. 




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          • 2. Re: Tableau for Data Warehouse reporting
            G Marc Turner

            I'm not that familiar with OBIEE (beyond knowing what it is and the basics of what it does), but in general you would have a setup that goes from your student information system to the data warehouse to the reporting tool. So, from this standpoint you could build reports in Tableau directly from the data warehouse. In this setup, I would recommend creating some standard views in the warehouse that could then be used as data sources for Tableau reports. Creating your own published data sources on Tableau Server in addition to the views would be a benefit long term since it adds an additional layer at which data governance can be applied and can allow end users access to the data without needing to know about the underlying structure of the data warehouse. This would also mean that different levels of access could be granted to the data sources in Tableau versus the data warehouse itself.


            In our current setup we are connecting directly to Banner (actually a "real-time backup") and building reports from there. In other words, we don't have a data warehouse which means we spend a lot of time writing SQL in order to pull the necessary data from Banner for each report. Ideally we hope to move to a combination of standard database views and published Tableau data sources to eventually serve as our data warehouse. (The lack of a data warehouse is a long story for another time, but there are ways of working around things without it.)


            Another thing to consider is that Tableau is not necessarily the right tool for everything. For example, we often get requests for lists of students (names, addresses, demographics, etc) who meet certain criteria since these "reports" were available in a prior system. Although these long, tabular lists can be built in Tableau, it really isn't he most efficient solution. Again, there are ways of doing it, it just isn't what Tableau was really designed to do.

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            • 3. Re: Tableau for Data Warehouse reporting

              Hello Petar,


              We are currently installing a Tableau server environment and have the exact same questions you posted.  We are trying to figure out the most optimal way to connect to our data via a live connection to the data warehouse or an extract.  Because we currently have OBIEE in place we did first try the BI connector but received a lot of errors and crashes.  Small extracts from limited live connections do work but as soon as the volume increases our extracts time out and do not complete.  I am interested in how your organization has approached this topic.  Thank you!