4 Replies Latest reply on May 4, 2017 5:10 PM by Shankar Radhakrishnan

    shifting from obiee to tableau

    paresh bhangale



      i have vast experience on obiee now switching to tableau. Can someone please explain what are similarities & difference between tableau & obiee?

      in order to use tableau on DW ? what pre cautions & best practices are required ? Does tableau needs star schema design like OBIEE? Any specific methodology to be followed if tableau needs to be plugged into ERP DW?  Best practices & performance tuning required if tableau will be fetching billions of rows?




        • 1. Re: shifting from obiee to tableau
          Tharashasank Davuluru

          Hi Paresh,

          Explain what are similarities & difference between tableau & obiee?

          For those that are not quite familiar with Tableau, it is a pretty cool technology that also provides very good look and feels of the reports. It is a pretty popular technology in a lot of companies.


          Here are some of the cool things that tableau has to offer:


          Tableau allows developers to bypass the metadata design and go directly into the report building phases. In other words, there is no equivalence of Admin Tool in Tableau. You develop your SQL or PL/SQL, you then create reports and views based on this SQL. This allows the development to be very flexible because there is no needs for dimensional modeling. You can join as many tables, create as many self-joins, making as many snowflake or normalizations of dimensions as you want, as long as your query is giving you the right data, you can put it in tableau and it becomes the report you want. The same thing in OBIEE would probably have to be done through custom views or materialized views, which will still need to be migrated across the 3 layers in Admin tool.



          Tableau makes mapview much easier to build. All you need is spatial data in your table: latitude and Longitude and city. Once these fields are in your query, it will show up in tableau with different Icons letting you know they are available. You can then putting in the mapview and the map will be generated with every city in your table on the map. This process is much simpler than doing the same in OBIEE.



          The latest versions of Tableau provides your calender for any date filters (I am surprised it took this long for such important feature to come up ). The date filter has some pretty cool features that it allows users to not only filter based on dates, but also provides other filtering options such as 'last 2 weeks', 'last 2 months', 'between each Monday' with all just a click away. This can also be done in OBIEE but will require the use of variables, which will table some engineering.



          Tableau report allows users to pick their own filters while viewing the report. In OBIEE, the user will normally have to contact the report developers if they want to change filters and prompts.


          5. The common features that OBIEE has, such as agents and navigation among reports and views can also be found in tableau.


          6 Tableau is less complicated in its server architecture compared with OBIEE and weblogic.


          On the other hand, there are some downside of tableau as well compared with OBIEE:


          1.One of the main thing about Tableau is that it doesn't seem to have a query engine. This means it will try to query the entire DB first before applying any filters. This will cause a lot of overheads and oftenly at a enterprise level of reporting, the Tableau server is less stable than OBIEE because of the size of the Data they are dealing with.


          2.For enterprise reporting, there might be reports that has to go through auditing to meet certain compliance based on the formatting and other things. OBIEE reporting has been tested for this purpose while Tableau will still have to be trialed and tested. What's the use of having all of the fancy reports that don't pass the auditing?


          3.Another disadvantage of Tableau, which can be major for some companies, is that it doesn't allow writebacks. We all know that OBIEE has a writeback feature, which allows report users to update records on the dashboard without having to go to DB. This can be important in a lot of the financial reporting that the users typically would want to update certain records during their month-end closing. This feature is absent in Tableau.


          Overall, Tableau is more of a point solution rather than enterprise-wise solution like OBIEE. But Tableau is way less costly than OBIEE and much more flexible in it's design, which also means that the level of SQL Programming for Tableau is much higher than in OBIEE.


          I hope this helps

          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • 2. Re: shifting from obiee to tableau

            Hey Paresh,


            how are things going? Just curious.

            • 3. Re: shifting from obiee to tableau

              Thanks, Tharashasank Davuluru. It's quite helpful.

              • 4. Re: shifting from obiee to tableau
                Shankar Radhakrishnan

                paresh bhangale


                Directly going from Tableau to the DW behind OBIEE is challenging for several reasons.


                1.  When you connect to the ODW, Tableau will perform a select * from fact table to discover metadata for the table.  This will be a huge performance hit for the OBIEE data warehouse.  Imagine if all the Tableau users do this on the various schema objects in data warehouse, it will bring the database to its knees.


                2.  You pretty much have to reengineer and recreate all the joins, aggregations in Tableau.  This is ok if you are a developer and know the schema.  But for the users it is a nightmare.  They wouldn't know which table to connect with what to get the data that they need. 


                3.  You are side-stepping all the security model that is built into OBIEE.    You have to reengineer all the complex security logic in Tableau. 


                These are the technical aspects.  From the business/cost aspect, connecting directly to the database is significantly expensive from a time + effort + risk perspective since you are not reusing all the metadata, joins, and security model that you built in OBIEE over the last several years. 


                We did a webinar yesterday that discusses the pros/cons of OBIEE vs. Tableau and visualization options for OBIEE data that you might find relevant.  You can find the youtube link and slides below:


                Youtube: BI Connector - What Are The Best Visualization Options For OBIEE Users? - YouTube


                Slideshare: BI Connector - What Are the Best Data Visualization Options for OBIE…  


                Good luck!