1 Reply Latest reply on Feb 15, 2016 6:48 AM by Toby Erkson

    Basic question about managing and updating data sources in Tableau Online for a geographically dispersed, collaborative project

    Casey Lott

      Hello, I am new to Tableau Online, although I've been using Tableau Desktop for a little while. Please excuse my relative lack of knowledge coming in to this post. I need to learn quite a bit pretty quickly to get a new project off the ground. 

       

      I have a project that will be my first implementation with Tableau Online that involves collaborators in different locations across the country. Each of these collaborators is working in a different office environment, for a different employer (some private, some public agency) with different data sharing policies. I am the only one on our team with Tableau Desktop, which I will be using to design dashboards to publish to Tableau Online for the team. This part makes pretty good sense to me from the documentation I've read and the tutorials I've watched.

       

      However, I can't figure out how to get past what seems to me a very basic problem.

       

      1) The main data tables we plan to use (and allow all collaborators to add data to update regularly with new data) have the following qualities:

           a) They are excel spreadsheets.

           b) They currently reside on different desktop computers of people in different offices who don't have Tableau Desktop licenses (only Tableau Online).

           c) Administrators in these offices don't want data to be sent around regularly via email or stored in Dropbox as a central repository. This later point seems a little unreasonable to me, but I'm not an expert in data security, just a biologist/project manager trying to      manage a collaboration. 

       

      This leaves me at a bit of a loss of how to do version control for this project. It seems like I should be able to do something like the following, but I can't seem to figure out the workflow/approach in Tableau:

       

      1) A collaborator sends me the first version of a spreadsheet (in some way that makes their supervisor comfortable) and I publish it through Tableau Desktop as a secure data source on Tableau online.

      2) I give everyone editing privileges for this data source in Tableau Online.

      3) Each time someone wants to make an edit to the data source, they log in to Tableau online and do so (and the data source never gets edited on individual desktop computer files again?). This makes tableau server the central repository for the data source?

      4) I schedule periodic refreshes of the data source using Tableau online (or is it Desktop?) so that everyone can see the most up-to-date results.

       

      Is this type of data/collaboration management possible? Advisable? I would be very grateful for some advice on this and please know that I am not an advanced IT person and again, that I am a beginner with Tableau Online.

       

      Thank you in advance for any help you can provide.

       

      Casey Lott, American Bird Conservancy

        • 1. Re: Basic question about managing and updating data sources in Tableau Online for a geographically dispersed, collaborative project
          Toby Erkson

          Casey Lott wrote:

          ...

          1) A collaborator sends me the first version of a spreadsheet (in some way that makes their supervisor comfortable) and I publish it through Tableau Desktop as a secure data source on Tableau online.

          2) I give everyone editing privileges for this data source in Tableau Online.

          3) Each time someone wants to make an edit to the data source, they log in to Tableau online and do so (and the data source never gets edited on individual desktop computer files again?). This makes tableau server the central repository for the data source?

          4) I schedule periodic refreshes of the data source using Tableau online (or is it Desktop?) so that everyone can see the most up-to-date results.

           

          Is this type of data/collaboration management possible? Advisable? I would be very grateful for some advice on this and please know that I am not an advanced IT person and again, that I am a beginner with Tableau Online.

          ...

          Tableau is read-only so it's not possible.  If it were possible I would not advise it as it would make you fully responsible for all changes, honest or not, thus there would be no accountability as it would all fall on you.

          Casey Lott wrote:

          ...

          1) The main data tables we plan to use (and allow all collaborators to add data to update regularly with new data) have the following qualities:

               a) They are excel spreadsheets.

               b) They currently reside on different desktop computers of people in different offices who don't have Tableau Desktop licenses (only Tableau Online).

               c) Administrators in these offices don't want data to be sent around regularly via email or stored in Dropbox as a central repository. This later point seems a little unreasonable to me, but I'm not an expert in data security, just a biologist/project manager trying to      manage a collaboration. 

          ...

          You are correct, those administrators are being VERY unreasonable!  Also, first issue is, using Excel to act as a database is a no-no.  At least you have the right idea of having a centralized repository so your head is in the game better than theirs.  Find out EXACTLY why they do not want to send you the data via email or why they don't want it placed in a centralized location.  Maybe there's some underlying reason, valid or not, that you could uncover.

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