Honestly, when I first came head to head to Tableau, I thought it was trash. It wasn’t intuitive at all and the simple things I could do with excel all seemed so difficult with Tableau. Not only that, but it costs A LOT to use. I just didn’t get why it was so hyped and why every company seemed to use it. After toying around with it, I eventually stopped using it and used python and excel instead to analyze data.
But then my team officially adopted Tableau (that means they paid a bunch of money to use it), and I was given the task to set it up. After wrestling with it for a few weeks, I found out the beauty of Tableau.
The main reason why Tableau is awesome is that it can link to practically any type of database and make it extremely easy to use. The reason I hated it at first was because I was simply uploading small excel data on Tableau and trying to do the stuff that I already could do on excel. Of course excel seemed better at the time; the data was excel data! But as you start to come in contact with large sets of data such as Hive or MySQL which need to be queried in order to be accessed, you realize Tableau is just so much better than python, r, or SQL. As long as you set up your data nicely, Tableau becomes a playground.
1. It has every type of graph you know. And probably more than you know.
Yeah yeah we know the basic pie, line, and bar graph. But Tableau has a bubble graph, a tile graph, and even a map graph. And you can change between the types with a simple click. The cool thing about Tableau also is that it only activates graphs that are capable of processing your data. So if your data can’t be shown in a double bar graph, the graph option itself is not able to be activated. It helps you learn how to structure your data and what graphs you should be using.
2. You can send updated daily mails of the data you processed
Basically, what this means is you can automatically update your data and send daily reports to your team via email. This can also be done with other tools and even with python if you have the proper packages. But they aren’t nearly as easy to do. With Tableau, you can change your data form with ease, define the time you want to send your email, to whom you want to send it to, and even be able to send a pdf file of your graphs with your mail. It’s simple, easy, and really really effective.
3. You can basically do anything you want with your data
You want to filter your data by month? Easy with Tableau. You want to make interactive graphs so your teammates can play around with it? Also can be done. If you ask a master of Tableau if you can do something with your data, the answer is nearly always ‘Yes’. But there is a slight catch.
Although you can do almost everything, the process itself isn’t exactly easy. There are some things that should seem super simple but actually difficult with Tableau. You have to learn the loopholes of Tableau and how other functions work and then by pressing this and this, you can nearly always create the result you want.
I’m still in the beginning chapter of using Tableau but I already love how flexible and easy it is. Before it, I would have to spend a lot of my time structuring data with python and then defining various points to create a visualization. Tableau made life much easier and I can’t wait to explore the other possibilities it holds.