14 Replies Latest reply on Jan 30, 2015 7:14 AM by Toby Erkson

    My view of Tableau so far

    ali twaij

      Having used this product for about 2 months now it is still impressive but not as i initially thought. Mainly because I found so many bugs and issues with it that make it appear a bit flakey. Although i am using version 8.1 still. Maybe 8.2 will be much better.

       

      My view is that it is excellent and powerful at discovery. Where you want to 'see' the data and garner some new insight that wasnt before available. Excellent at this job. So I now look at it as an excellent discover product rather than a fully fledged reporting tool etc.

       

      I used SSRS before and that has its stengths and weaknesses too.

       

      Hope this feedback is helpful.

       

      regards

       

      ali

        • 1. Re: My view of Tableau so far
          Toby Erkson

          I agree that it is a growing product and not as mature as some other BI reporting solutions.  There is no one tool I've found that covers everyone's bases on what they need for reporting and I laugh at any company that makes such claims.  The great thing about Tableau is that it greatly helps reduce/eliminate the IT bottle-neck of actually getting reports.  You're right, it is a good discovery product.

           

          Have you tried IBM Cognos?  After a week you'll be amazed that people still buy it as a corporate reporting solution.  However, no product is perfect.  One of the things that sets Tableau apart is that it has a single, strong user community (these forums) with many volunteer subject-experts AND Tableau Software is very open to user feedback (i.e., implementing them) in the form of Ideas submitted by the community.  I haven't seen that exploited very well by other BI tool sets.

           

          In my opinion don't bother with upgrading to any later version of 8.x.  Just wait for version 9 to come out.  However, I find Tableau no more buggy or idiosyncratic than other reporting tools.

          • 2. Re: My view of Tableau so far
            ali twaij

            Thanks Toby, I agree the feedback and forums are excellent. But to me the product is still flakey when compared with SSRS. I keep finding issues. Maybe they tried to make it do too many things and so problems easily appear. But the speed of report creation is quite something. Very impressive.

             

            PS: When will 9 come out and why will 8.2 or 8.3 not make a difference? Have they not fixed any bugs?

             

            regards

             

            ali

            • 3. Re: My view of Tableau so far
              Toby Erkson

              While I've provided feedback on Tableau Server 9 I don't have any Desktop 9 experience, however, I have seen peeks of it and know that with each major version of Tableau the product has been improved quite a bit.  If you have the maintenance agreement and can freely download & upgrade then, yeah, do it and get the latest-n-greatest.  You can see what the version updates fixed by going here:  Release Notes | Tableau Software.

               

              I don't know exactly when 9 is due but it's in beta and that's a good sign.

               

              Curious to what you mean by "flakey"?  I know many people expect it to act like Excel and are really disappointed when it doesn't work that way.  Are you comparing it to another BI tool (SSRS)?  It may boil down to just an understanding of how the product works and thus the knowledge of why it does what it does.

              • 4. Re: My view of Tableau so far
                ali twaij

                Thanks Toby, by flakey I mean it isnt consistent and can crash on you and behave strangely. Some stability issues i think. For example if I put a datefield as the first on my rows shelf then it always gives me the continuous options when i use the right click drag technique. But if i put another field first I cant select any continous options. This happens intermittently. Also when i try to sort my legend on some field count it goes into error and i have to refresh the underlying datasource to get it to work right again. Again this is intermittent. Very weird behaviour.

                 

                Also some times i get an error and then when i repeat the second time the error goes. Hence flakey behaviour. Maybe they have been focussing on adding new features more than on making it more stable.

                 

                So i am having to learn to live with the inconsistencies and find workarounds. SSRS also has some issues but not as many and they keep improving its stablity etc.

                 

                PS: This is all with the desktop version.

                 

                ali

                • 5. Re: My view of Tableau so far
                  Tracy Rodgers

                  Hi Ali,

                   

                  Some of the behaviors you've mentioned do sound odd. I'm curious as to what your data source is - this could potentially have to do with the errors. With date issue, I'm curious about. Are you able to post a sample workbook where you are seeing this issue?

                   

                  We strive to make the best product possible, not just in terms of feature/function. If you run into any issues that seem "flakey," I'd definitely recommend sending them into our Support team who can log the issue for it to be fixed.

                   

                  Thanks for your feedback Ali!

                   

                  -Tracy

                  • 6. Re: My view of Tableau so far
                    ali twaij

                    Hi Tracy my datasources are very standard. Just sql server views. Nothing special. I have been contact with the support team and have shown them the bugs etc. They have been very helpful. I have come across people having these types of problems i think especially the one to do with the fields not refreshing when the underlying sql is changed. One just has to accept that no product is perfect and try to make best use of it given its maturity level.

                    • 7. Re: My view of Tableau so far
                      Toby Erkson

                      Okay.  Too bad the error conditions aren't consistent because you could then submit it to Tableau Support so they could add it to their bug list.  I haven't experienced inconsistencies around Server nor Desktop, but to be honest, I don't do much Desktop work so I'm not deeply involved with it compared to you or others.

                       

                      In Tableaus support, they do a good job balancing stability vs. features as can be seen in the release notes.  In the past I've complained they do more bug fixes than feature requests but have learned that features, properly implemented, can be difficult.  I've developed minor software applications myself and even though I pride myself on doing a really good job at error handling there will always be that one person who finds an issue I never thought about and bring the application down to its k n e e s

                       

                      SSRS has got the power of Microsoft and ALL its other technologies/resources to add to the mix, thus providing a powerful reporting environment, no disagreement here.  Tableau is weak in the Server aspect -- I see it more as a glorified file store with a rudimentary subscription service -- but they make big improvements with each version and now that Tableau is becoming very popular in the enterprise environment they are putting a much needed focus on Server as of late.  In time I strongly feel the product will improve to enterprise-level expectations.

                      • 8. Re: My view of Tableau so far
                        Cristian Vasile

                        Ali,

                         

                        I feel that you could be a great 9.0.0 beta tester. If you like to get your hands "dirty" ask your account manager to enroll you.

                         

                        Hope this helps.

                         

                        Regards,

                        Cristian.

                        • 9. Re: My view of Tableau so far
                          ali twaij

                          Can I run it side by side with 8.1 and it not affect 8.1??

                          • 10. Re: My view of Tableau so far
                            Cristian Vasile

                            As far as I know , yes.

                             

                            Regards,

                            Cristian.

                            • 11. Re: My view of Tableau so far
                              Toby Erkson

                              ali twaij wrote:

                               

                              Can I run it side by side with 8.1 and it not affect 8.1??

                              Yes.  I have Desktop 8.1, 8.2, and 8.3 on my QA Server 8.3.

                              • 12. Re: My view of Tableau so far
                                Tracy Rodgers

                                Hi Ali,

                                 

                                Just one thing to note, is that Tableau workbooks will default to opening to whatever version you last downloaded, and you cannot open workbooks in 8.1 that have been saved or created in later versions.

                                 

                                -Tracy

                                • 13. Re: My view of Tableau so far
                                  ali twaij

                                  Excellent and presumably if our server version is 8.1 then I cant publish from any thing other than desktop 8.1 into it correct? So version 9 desktop cannot publish into 8.1 server.

                                  • 14. Re: My view of Tableau so far
                                    Toby Erkson

                                    ali twaij wrote:

                                     

                                    Excellent and presumably if our server version is 8.1 then I cant publish from any thing other than desktop 8.1 into it correct? So version 9 desktop cannot publish into 8.1 server.

                                    Correct.