7 Replies Latest reply on Apr 23, 2018 8:30 AM by prav.kum

    Bursting a dashboard to create user specific PDFs for 100k users

    prav.kum

      Dear All

       

      I am new to Tableau. Request your help in solving below scenario.

       

      We have a requirement to create a dashboard to show user details like demographics, dependents, purchase history, suggestions (each from one data source) for each user and save it as a PDF. We have 100k+ users. User id values are stored in a column. I used to handle these type of requirements using bursting in Cognos but the number of outputs were less than 20k.

       

      My plan:

      1. Create one worksheet for each data source (user demographics, dependents, purchase history, suggestions) with appropriate filters and add them to the final dashboard.

      2. Filter those worksheets each time with an user id to generate custom content in Dashboard.

      3. Save it as PDF.

       

      I have below questions running in my mind.

       

      1. Firstly, is bursting possible in Tableau ?

      2. Does Tableau have a mechanism to filter a query each time with a different user id ?

      3. Even if it does, can Tableau handle the load of filtering queries with multiple id's, saving the outputs to PDF simultaneously for 100k+ users?

       

      Any help is appreciated. Thanks in advance.

       

      Regards

      Prav

        • 1. Re: Bursting a dashboard to create user specific PDFs for 100k users
          Toby Erkson

          Over 100,000 users to email reports to?!  Holy cow, that's almost unbelievable nowadays given modern BI toolsets   It would be far better in so many aspects to have the user come to the report as needed at a Tableau Server.  They could then manipulate it (filters, parameters), un/subscribe to it, save their own personal view of it, and edit it (add/remove fields, change the chart type, etc.) if given permission.  It could be filtered automatically by who is viewing it since you have a table of user IDs.

           

          Just like trying to make Tableau mimic Excel, you don't want to make Tableau mimic Cognos.  I'm a prior Cognos developer and in our current corporate environment I now administer Tableau and my team-mate does Cognos.  We are getting more and more people and teams leaving Cognos for Tableau due to the simplicity and speed of development Tableau affords.

           

          Cognos bursting was once a viable solution for report distribution but now it's a bit outdated.  By having users go to a Tableau Server there is better distribution with less server resource usage and users can subscribe to reports (they get an email) or get emails only if data reaches a certain point (data alerts).  This way only those who really need/use it will get it and you can easily find out who actually even looks at it! (I'm willing to bet it won't be 100%).  Even if you end up sticking with Cognos you should upgrade to version 11 and wean users from bursting reliance.

           

          Tell us more about why you think sending 100,000+ emails is necessary?  Though highly unlikely it may be necessary given your use-case.

          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Bursting a dashboard to create user specific PDFs for 100k users
            prav.kum

            Thanks for your reply Toby.

             

            I understand that online sharing is the best option to access custom content, for obvious reasons. I have not mentioned anywhere in my post that we need to send emails to 100k users. I am trying to figure out if there is an option of Saving each user custom content as a PDF from dashboard (Point 3 in My plan). Our final plan is to print those PDFs for selected users and post them as flyers, handouts (Still a plan, not decided).

             

            Keeping this requirement in mind, am trying to understand technical possibilities and limitations; to see if there is similar option in Tableau like bursting in Cognos, for such huge numbers.

             

            Thanks

            Prav

            • 3. Re: Bursting a dashboard to create user specific PDFs for 100k users
              Toby Erkson

              Sending or saving (email bursting is preferred where I work thus the assumption) that amount is still......  Okay, at least I understand why.

               

              I'm going to assume you are using a Tableau Server.

              1. Firstly, is bursting possible in Tableau ?  In the spirit of the Cognos ability I'm going to say, "Out of the box & simply?  No."  It could be accomplished by a script using Tableau's REST API.

              2. Does Tableau have a mechanism to filter a query each time with a different user id ?  Yes.

              3. Even if it does, can Tableau handle the load of filtering queries with multiple id's, saving the outputs to PDF simultaneously for 100k+ users?  It depends on the server's hardware and the complexity of the visualization ("viz" for short).  However, broadly speaking I would say yes though it wouldn't be 100K+ exactly simultaneously.

              • 4. Re: Bursting a dashboard to create user specific PDFs for 100k users
                prav.kum

                Thanks for the pointers Toby. I had a look at the link you provided. Can you please provide more details on using APIs with Tableau Server for bursting and dynamically filtering a query with multiple ID's(1,2). It would be helpful to get more information on how to achieve this so that I can try them out in our environment.

                 

                I am planning to breakdown 100k users into multiple, smaller user sets to avoid performance issues.

                 

                Thanks

                Prav

                • 5. Re: Bursting a dashboard to create user specific PDFs for 100k users
                  Toby Erkson

                  prav.kum wrote:

                   

                  Thanks for the pointers Toby. I had a look at the link you provided. Can you please provide more details on using APIs with Tableau Server for bursting and dynamically filtering a query with multiple ID's(1,2). It would be helpful to get more information on how to achieve this so that I can try them out in our environment.

                   

                  ...

                  Unfortunately I'm not knowledgeable with Tableau's APIs so I cannot help

                   

                  Since you mentioned Cognos, is that an option?  Or was it simply how to explain what you're looking for?  Because if you have Cognos I'd recommend using that instead of slogging through a programming solution with Tableau.  Right tool for the right job and all that.

                  • 6. Re: Bursting a dashboard to create user specific PDFs for 100k users
                    prav.kum

                    Yes I agree, Cognos would have made the job easier. We dont have Cognos option now, I used Cognos bursting as a reference to make my requirement easy to understand.   I will wait and see if someone provides more details on 1,2 points.

                     

                    Your inputs provided new insight for my Tableau learning. Thank you Toby

                    • 7. Re: Bursting a dashboard to create user specific PDFs for 100k users
                      prav.kum

                      Bump

                       

                      Below are the highlevel details of our requirement.

                       

                      1. Filtering multiple worksheets on a common field (User id) each time.

                      2. Bursting the dashboard with these multiple worksheets, based on User ids and saving each one of them as PDF.

                       

                      Any help with automating this process (with APIs) is appreciated.

                       

                      Thanks

                      Prav