3 Replies Latest reply on Oct 12, 2019 12:35 PM by Heyward Drummond

    Is Tableau a solution for me?

    Nathan Currier

      I want to know if Tableau could be a solution for me, but with all of my reading I don't fully understand any potential roadblocks.


      I operate a company that tracks and analyzes player injuries for teams in the 4 major North American sports leagues. The teams register as members at my website (Wordpress CMS) where they access weekly player and team updates, tables of data, and some data visualizations. Only clients with accounts (Wordpress username and password access) can view the updates, data tables, etc on the site.


      I've been searching for solutions to the cumbersome process I now have to update the data on the site, and how it is stored outside of the website. All data is stored and processed (lots of data manipulation and processing required and Excel remains the solution) on my local machine in Excel with backup copies on OneDrive. Data tables viewable on the website are uploaded as csv files to a Wordpress plugin that gives some nice functionality for the data (sorting, searching, etc.), but they are static. If I redo an analysis locally, I then have to re-upload updated csv data tables to the site.


      My data visualizations are created in Google Sheets and uploaded to the site. Again, they are static and if updated locally have to be re-uploaded to the site.


      I also have an enormous data table that I can only send to clients by email. It contains all players and all teams and their games and is 900+ columns and 1500+ rows by season's end. It's not feasible to display this table on the site with the current Wordpress plugin I use for displaying interactive tables.


      So, all of this to ask if Tableau is a reasonable solution for me.


      I would need to

      1. Determine if Tableau Public, Server, etc. is a reasonable solution

      2. Provide views of Tableau spreadsheet data on my site, including the 900 column 1500 row monster. Have all table views be interactive (sorting, searching), but read-only.

      3. Have Tableau create my normal visualizations for me, and provide views on the site.

      4. Block access to data in Tableau for anyone who isn't a client. Ideally to have client log in credentials on my website also control access to the Tableau data. I wouldn't want clients to have to log in to Tableau or require me to create a Tableau account for them.

      5. Securely store proprietary data with Tableau, or have Tableau access the data securely stored in me OneDrive (or elsewhere).

        • 1. Re: Is Tableau a solution for me?
          Chris McClellan

          Without spending tons of time on this, but addressing some of the points you've numbered :


          1  If you're using Tableau Public, everyone in the world can see your dashboard and data but you can embed in the website and show the visualisations with no login required.  If you want to use Tableau Server (or Online) you have to buy the license for each user and do the maintenance of the server as required.


          4. With Tableau Public you have no choice - all or nothing.


          It sounds like you need to use Tableau Server (buy the license, but host the software yourself somewhere) or Tableau Online (Tableau do the hosting for you and the upgrades, and you pay for each user.

          • 2. Re: Is Tableau a solution for me?
            Esther Aller

            Hi Nathan,


            I'll help fill some gaps as well


            2. Tableau is not a great tool for creating large tables (also called crosstabs in Tableau) as there are some limitations.


            For example, in Excel or Google Sheets rows and columns can contain any arbitrary data you want. Tableau uses the structure of the data to structure the final view. Thus, you might have to add something like [Row ID] to your underlying data if you need a row in Tableau Desktop for every row in the underlying data.


            A text table with 900 rows by 1500 marks would have over a million numbers that Tableau would be computing on the fly, so you might also see performance issues. A common way around this is to create a dashboard that combines higher level graphs (maybe something like injuries per player for the entire season as a bar chart), then when the user clicks on a mark in the view (for example clicking on the bar for a particular player) a Filter Action runs that shows the text table with injury data for just the selected player. AKA force your end user to filter the data before Tableau tries to render all those marks. Ultimately I think this is a better user experience, as no one can really read through 1500 columns of data at once.


            Tableau has a free trial and you can also use Tableau Public with dummy data to play around and see if you can make the views you're looking for. Some resources that might help creating the crosstab you need to give your clients:

            Build a Text Table

            Building a Text Table with Multiple Measures | Tableau Software

            Quick Start: Filter Modes

            Sort Data in a Visualization

            Dashboard Interactivity Using Actions (video)


            Tableau also needs the raw data to be structured in a particular way in order to more easily create views. Check out Tips for Working with Your Data for more info


            2b. Tableau is 100% read-only


            3a. Tableau can create a lot of different views. A lot. Tableau may not be able to replicate all of the views you have exactly, but we can't really help you with that if we don't know what your views are. Check out Solutions | Tableau Software or Gallery | Tableau Public to see examples of what kind of views are possible.


            3b. It is possible to embed views into webpages: Embed Views into Webpages You would probably want to talk to a sales rep to see what the best licensing solution would be for you (aka what would be cheaper). It seems like the options would be: you would need to have a viewer license for each of your clients, or get core-based licensing to have the guest account. The guest account can be seen by everyone, but only if they have access to the webpage in the first place.


            5. Tableau does not store data, it only accesses it. Check out the All Technical Specifications | Tableau Software page to see all of the data sources Tableau can connect to (you have to scroll down). If all of your data is in Google Sheets, you might consider getting Tableau Personal (cheaper, but has fewer data connections)


            Hope this helps

            • 3. Re: Is Tableau a solution for me?
              Heyward Drummond

              Tableau Desktop Personal was eliminated and now there is just Tableau Desktop Professional. If anyone is in the evaluation stage like the original author, it would behoove you to contact the appropriate sales team for your country and area. Tableau is located in many cities around the world and the sales team includes technical people like myself to help guide you, give pointers, answer questions and get you started. Please see this page to call the right office to find out who your sales team is:


              Contact Us: Tableau office contact directory


              If you have any issue, please let us know.