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Tableau – Nice to meet you

With this years’ introduction of cadran-analytics.nl my horizon expands. It is no longer just about JD Edwards, but also about Exact and AFAS, SAP and eBusinessSuite, and any other source system. Within Cadran Analytics we work with Tableau, of which we are now a full partner, and with Shiny-R.

Today an impression of my first explorations in Tableau. Tableau is a relatively new player, but has been in the top right-hand corner of Gartner’s quadrant since its introduction.

Tableau is an American company that is dedicated to their versatile BI solutions. These are offered in the following product lines:

  • Tableau Online = the simple web-based cloud solution for small subscriptions and solutions
  • Tableau Desktop = the PC-variant (both Mac and Windows), with which offline analysis can be done, but also the development work for Tableau Online and / or Tableau Server
  • Tableau Server = the big brother of Tableau Online with the full range of possibilities. Can be placed both OnPremise and in the Cloud

In addition, there is an ETL solution, called Tableau Prep.

The look & feel is almost identical and an end user will not see the difference. The differences are more under the hood. For example, Tableau Server facilitates connecting with Microsoft Active Directory for user authentication and Tableau Online can not.

The user interface is very intuitive and I quickly find my way. The screens look simple and clear. Where I am used to working with three layers (physical, logical, presentation), Tableau is more double layered (physical, presentation). In addition, the Tableau website is a great source of inspiration full of documentation, videos, tutorials, knowledge documents and a very open support structure. There you find an extensive user community, which includes the employees of Tableau. During our first demo by Tableau, we are even asked to contribute directly to the development of the software by sharing missed or improvement points.

Tableau also offers an online playground, on which everyone can get an impression of the endless visualisations, user interface and operation. This playground is a large Tableau Server, which Tableau uses very cleverly as a test platform. Because many thousands of users worldwide ask thousands of questions, Tableau gets a good impression of how a large environment remains stable and well performing. This gives them perfect insight from the field about the size and infrastructure for an installation of Tableau Server at a customer.

You develop in Tableau Desktop. You unlock a physical data source of any type, and easily model the data in Dimensions and Measured values. With that you create Analyses and Visualisations which you place on Dashboards. This complete package is stored in a Workbook. This therefore contains all these metadata. This can be published to Tableau Server (or -Online) and thus made available to the organisation.

I play with JD Edwards as a source system and have some nice graphics appear in front of me within a very short time. This dashboard is based on our demo environment from JD Edwards and shows data from the JDE Finance Accounts Receivables module.

Cadran Analytics welcomes customer MYLAPS since this month (December 2018) and the implementation of Tableau has started. With MYLAPS, Cadran Analytics has yet another very interesting customer. We are looking forward to implement Tableau at many other organisations as well!

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