I think you need to speak to one of the UK sales team - that'll be Steve Morse, in the first instance (firstname.lastname@example.org).
From a user's point of view, if you ultimately want all your users to be able to create dashboards and then publish them to the public web, you'll either need to invest heavily in Tableau Professional and Tableau Server, or use Tableau Public (although you will some come to some size issues with Tableau Public if you're trying to use it on an enterprise level).
If a dashboard is published to Server or Tableau Public, then the user does not need Tableau Reader.
Thanks for your reply Andy. Does that mean that we would definitely need a Tableau server license in order to be able to upload the dashboard to the web? Or can a dashboard be published on to the web with a desktop professional license as well?
Desktop is the authoring/creation tool, while Reader / Server / Public are all viewing/consumption options. Reader is free but you have to deal with file distribution issues. Public is free but is limited to a small amount of usage. Server costs money but is the most flexible and unrestricted.
Tableau Offers 5 products that work very well together, each solves a situation, and as a customer we can select the combination that fits our needs with the best value.
Tableau Desktop Personal
Tableau Desktop Professional
Public is free, and can create and publish workbooks to Tableau's Public server, so you can include the vizes in any webpage, for any number of viewers. It does have two limits on data connections, it can only connect to files on your local PC, and a max of 100,000 rows. There is no privacy on your data saved in Public, downloadable by anyone with the URL. Two practices to consider: pre-aggregate your data if you do not want to share the raw details, and remove columns of data you do not want to share with the general public. It is without question the best value.
Reader is also free, but cannot edit/save a workbook. In some cases, distributing workbooks to viewers for opening in Reader can be better than Server or Public. It can be a better presentation with full screen viewing, and you can make use of inter-worksheet actions for navigating the workbook without using the sheet tabs.
Desktop Personal has a few more features than Public, the ability to export as a PDF, use your own WMS server for background maps, and maybe a few other commonly unused/non-vital features. The big advantage of Personal over Public is the ability to save locally and connect to local file data sources with more than 100,000 rows. Personal can also publish to Tableau Public for embedding in web pages. It cannot Publish to Tableau Server, or connect to live database servers.
Tableau Desktop Professional has all the features of Desktop Personal, but without the limitations. It can publish to either Public or Server, and can connect to local files as well as live database servers. If you have Tableau Server, you need Tableau Desktop Professional to publish workbooks.
Tableau Server is the best way to distribute workbooks within an organization. Viewers only need a web browser to interact with the workbooks, workbooks can be connected to a live database server or scheduled extracts. Generally you do not have Tableau server public facing, as for each viewer or interactor, you need a license and setup user credentials.
To answer your question, what is the best combination for me? You need to know a few things:
Where is your data located? (local files like Excel/Text/Access, or a live database)
How many rows are in your data sources? (over or under 100,000 rows)
Do you want to distribute internally only, externally only, or both?
Do you have data that you do not want the general public to gain access to?
Whit answers to those four questions, you can know what combination is the best fit for you.
Additionally, you can grow into Tableau's products.
You can start with Public, play, share and learn about your data and how Tableau enables you. Then Personal for saving files locally, and/or Professional for connecting to live database servers, and finally Server for distributing within your organization.
Thanks for the excellent summary comparison of the Tableau product suite. If you don't mind, you can count on it being widely distributed for others to consider. Almost an elevator pitch, too.
Again, brilliant, as always.
Peace and All Good!
Thanks for the detailed and clear response. Our data is located in a live SQL database and has over 10,000 records. We want to distribute internally to start with and once we get settled with the application be able to distribute to external stakeholders. We do not want general public to access any of this data due to confidentiality of information. Hence I get a feeling that we would need Tableau desktop professional on the individual analysts' machine for them to create the dashboards and then purchase a tableau server license to be able to distribute to stakeholders.
Thanks once again
I'd recommend downloading a free trial of the Desktop software. You can save to Tableau Public using that app, so play around with it. I expect you'll reach the limits of Tableau Public quite quickly, from what you're describing, in which case you'll have to go with the server. However, to make things publicly available you need a core license - that's a big cash outlay (but worth it!)
I understand that Tableau Server can automatically schedule updates (similar to a cron job) for workbooks within an organization's intranet. Now is it possible to have it update charts stored on Tableau Public? So a public facing chart is updated in real time every one to five minutes? If so, would a user need to refresh the browser, or is can it be done automatically (i.e., via AJAX)?
That feature is not provided with Tableau Public. But, there is no reason you can't have public facing charts on your own Tableau Server.
I downloaded the Tableau Desktop Professional software and am currently evaluating with my own data. My question is about data privacy. Is all my data imported, manipulated and stored on my own PC - or it is, in any manner, uploaded to a Tableau Server for analystics?
When using Tableau Desktop Professional, your work is only published when you publish it.
So only when you select "Server->Publish" or "File->Tableau Public->Save to web" are you publishing.
Beyond that, where you get your data from and where you store it and how secure that process is up to you. If you are unsure if your process is secure, I recommend you speak with a IT professional and review your processes.
Can desktop professional allow me to create a dashboard and embed a custom image behind the dashboard? Moreover after embedding the image and "publishing" the dashboard locally on my computer (I have a macbook pro so I would need to use my VM Ware program to work twith Tableau) will I be able to interact with the dashboad locally on my computer as if it was published on the web for viewers to see? So said differently if I purchase Tableau desktop for my laptop can I do all that tableau server would do but the "published" dashboard can only be viewed locally on my local computer?
Short answer: No, Tableau Desktop does not have the same capabilities as Tableau Server.
For a longer answer and discussion, I recommend you contact your sales representative to discus your options and what combination of software would best enable you to accomplish what you are looking for.
With Tableau Digital, you will be able to suppress underlying data. Can Tableau Server do the same thing? If I publish my dashboard through Tableau Server, will people be able to download it to their computer?