Tableau Software Review

Tableau Software
Tableau Software
Seattle, WA
Deployment Model:
Free Trial:
Cloud, On-Premise
Download Comparison Guide

Tableau At A Glance

Good: Robust drill-down and visualization tools make data understandable for all types of users.
Bad: Customers have mentioned a steep learning curve for executives, and the system tends to be slow at times when dealing with large datasets.
Bottom Line: Tableau provides users with intuitive BI tools to enhance data discovery and understanding.

Product Overview

Everything Tableau does is fueled by one simple mission: Help people see and understand their data.

Tableau provides all types of users with intuitive business intelligence (BI) tools to enhance data discovery and understanding. With simple drag-and-drop features, a user is able to easily access and analyze key data, create innovative reports and visualizations, and share critical insights across the company.

Tableau has three main products for robust data discovery:

  1. Desktop – Desktop is used to connect and analyze disparate data, and create highly innovative reports in just a few clicks.
  2. Server – Server allows users to securely collaborate and share critical insights and information through comprehensive dashboards created in Tableau Desktop or directly in Tableau Server.
  3. Cloud– Tableau Cloud is a cloud-hosted version of Tableau Server. It not only saves time and money by skipping hardware setup, Tableau Cloud also supports mobile access.

In addition to the tools above, Tableau has other products to make your BI efforts simpler:

  • Mobile – Tableau Mobile is a free companion app for Tableau Server or Tableau Cloud that allows for streamlined access to analytics stored in either solution.
  • Public – Tableau Public is a completely free version of Tableau Desktop and Tableau Cloud for data intended to be shared publicly.

In addition to the product above, the Tableau Prep Builder allows users to combine, clean and prepare their data more efficiently. Tableau Prep Builder includes a drag-and-drop interface for complex tasks, such as joining and pivoting. Users can edit values or re-order steps, and see immediate results. Tableau Prep Builder uses smart algorithms to combine repetitive tasks, such as common misspelling of names, into a one-click operation.

We also want to note the Tableau CRM solution that gives Salesforce users AI-powered analytics that’s embedded within their workflow. Formerly Einstein Analytics, the software offers automated data discovery, smart recommendations, single-screen visualizations and the ability to take action from the point of insight with a single click.


Tableau offers robust visual analytics and data drilling tools across all of its products. We’ve listed the main features that make this possible:

Numerous data connections – Tableau can connect to hundreds of data sources, both live and in-memory, without any programming. Notable connectors include: Redshift, Cloudera Hadoop, SQL Server, Salesforce, Google Analytics & Google Sheets, MongoDB, PDF files, spatial files, Dropbox, Amazon Athena and more.

Live and in-memory data – Easily switch between extracted data and live connections, set up automatic extract refreshes and be notified when a data connection fails – all through the Tableau platform.

Secure collaboration – Use Tableau Server and Tableau Online to securely share and collaborate on key insights.

Mobile optimized designs – Device Designer is a tool that allows users to design, customize and publish dashboards that scale for desktops, phones and tablets.

Embedded dashboards – Embed dashboards into your existing applications, such as Salesforce, SharePoint and Jive, for quick analytics where you need them most.

Drag-and-drop integration – With drag-and-drop abilities, easily integrate data and create visuals to pinpoint patterns with a few clicks.

Unlimited data connectors – Tableau can connect to any data source on-premise or in the cloud.

Relationships – This feature allows Tableau to automatically create relationships between data tables and run queries only on the data that’s relevant to the user’s analysis. It enables users to analyze data at the right level of detail.

Metrics – The Metrics feature lets users monitor their key performance indicators (KPIs) from their desktop or mobile device. They can access the Metrics from multiple dashboards at once and create a Metric from any visualization in a single click. Users also have access to data in real time as Tableau updates the Metrics in the background.

Set control – With this feature, users can change the members of a set using the drop-down menus. The set control then automatically refreshes the domain so that the data is up-to-date.

Tableau has announced a few enhancements in its Q4 2020 release:

  • The Tableau Prep Builder that lets users prep their data within a web browser
  • The ability to add unlimited marks layers from a data source to a map
  • Offline map support in Tableau Server
  • Redshift spatial support
  • A resource monitoring tool for Tableau Server on Linux machines

Target Market

With over 86,000 customer accounts, Tableau serves a variety of industries, including major corporations and banks, educational institutions and healthcare providers.

Below is a list of some of its major clients:

  • Charles Schwab
  • Chipotle
  • Hello Fresh
  • Henkel
  • Honeywell
  • Lenovo
  • Lufthansa
  • Nissan
  • Red Hat
  • Verizon

Free Report: Selecting The Right BI Vendor

Choosing a BI vendor is all about finding the right fit. Our exclusive report will walk you through the process and help you select the perfect solution.Download Now


Tableau provides a variety of implementation and consulting services. For enterprise-level deployment, there’s a four-step process:

  • Phase 1 – This phase involves IT planning, architecture consulting, pre-install checkup, server installation and verification, and validation of security configuration.
  • Phase 2 – Phase 2 involves working with data and data migration, including data modeling, data mining, data extraction, data sources and business workflow.
  • Phase 3 – In Phase 3, there’s a two-day classroom training covering Tableau Fundamentals, hands-on advanced coaching, and building and formatting visualizations.
  • Phase 4 – This final phase helps companies expand Tableau usage across their business. It includes implementation workshops where topics such as evaluating action plans and defining measurable outcomes are discussed.

Regardless of your company’s size and deployment method, Tableau offers a Quick Start Service for your needs. Examples include:

  • Server Rapid Start – For small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), Tableau plans, installs and implements its server in a four-day time frame.
  • Server Kick Start – In two days, Tableau helps companies plan, install and implement out-of-the-box deployments of its server.
  • Desktop Kick Start – In two-hour increments, companies can use Tableau’s phone sessions to help them implement its Desktop version.

Customer Service & Support

Tableau offers complimentary online access to all users that include:

  • Knowledge base
  • On-demand training videos
  • Live online training
  • Product documentation
  • Tableau Community forums

In addition, it has a Technical Support Program with three tiers:

Standard – Standard support is included in the subscription purchase or in the first year of the perpetual license. Coverage is during Tableau’s regular business hours (e.g., 6AM-6PM PST Mondays to Fridays). In addition to the online access, the Standard tier has:

  • Priority 1 (Critical) issue response time within eight hours
  • Priority 2 (High) issue response time within 24 hours
  • Three named contacts

Extended – The Extended Support tier includes all of the features of the Standard tier, plus:

  • 24/7 coverage for Priority 1 issues
  • Priority 1 (Critical) issue response time within two hours
  • Priority 2 (High) issue response time within eight hours
  • Five named contacts

Premium – The Premium Support tier includes all of the features of the Extended tier, plus:

  • Phone support
  • 24/7 coverage for Priority 1 and Priority 2 issues
  • Priority 1 (Critical) issue response time within 30 minutes
  • Priority 2 (High) issue response time within two hours
  • A technical account manager
  • Service level agreement for Tableau Online users only
  • Deployment reviews for Tableau Server users only
  • Recurring status calls and service reports
  • Online update guidance
  • Upgrade assistance for Tableau Server users only
  • Strategic planning
  • Access to the Senior Support team
  • Case escalation and oversight
  • Product roadmap participation
  • Prioritized feature request reviews
  • Root cause analysis
  • Sandbox site for Tableau Online users only


Rather than offering pricing of each of its available products, Tableau’s subscription pricing strategy focuses on individual users and their data needs. Each subscription includes maintenance, product upgrades, and support in one cost, so there’s no surprise fees.

  • Tableau Creator – Tableau Creator is designed for individual analysts and power users, and costs $70 per user per month (billed annually). It includes access to Tableau Desktop and Tableau Prep, as well as one Creator license to either Tableau Server or Tableau Cloud. Note that the Creator price is the same, regardless if Tableau is deployed in the cloud or on premise.
  • Tableau Explorer – Tableau Explorer is designed for users that want to explore governed self-service analytics, for example, exploring available data to answer their own questions, rather than relying on data from others. It costs $35 per user per month (billed annually) if deployed on-premise, and includes one license to Tableau Server. If deployed in the cloud, this plan costs $42 per user per month (billed annually) and includes one license to Tableau Cloud.
  • Tableau Viewer – Tableau Viewer is designed for users that just want to access, but not have to create, dashboards and visualizations. When deployed on-premise, it costs $12 per user per month (billed annually) and includes one Viewer license of Tableau Server. When deployed in the cloud, it costs $15 per user per month (billed annually) and include one Viewer license of Tableau Cloud. Note that Tableau requires a minimum of 100 Viewers for this plan.

Finally, Tableau provides an Embedded Analytics platform for companies that don’t want to build analytics within their own programs. Pricing is not publicly available, so you’ll want to contact Tableau directly for a quote.


Some customers have mentioned that Tableau has a steep learning curve for executives. Others have mentioned that the software can be slow to load, especially when working with large datasets.

If interested in alternatives, we’ve compared Tableau with other top BI solutions, such as IBM Cognos, Power BI and Domo.


Tableau Software Screenshot 1
Tableau Software Screenshot 2
Tableau Software Screenshot 3


Tableau Software focuses on business intelligence and data analytics products that both liberate data and empower people. It was founded in 2003 by Chris Stolte, Pat Hanrahan and Christian Chabot, and it’s headquartered in Seattle. Tableau is consistently ranked as one of the “Leaders” in the business intelligence marketplace by Gartner in its annual Magic Quadrant Survey.

Download Comparison Guide
Send feedback or corrections to

Related Solutions

  • User Rating
  • Rated 4 stars
    4 / 5 (3 )
  • (3)

Rated 4 stars
4 / 5 (3 )

  • Features
  • Ease of Use
  • Ease of Implementation
  • Support

Rating: 5
5 /5 stars

  • Features
    User: 90%
  • Ease of Use
    User: 90%
  • Ease of Implementation
    User: 90%
  • Support
    User: 90%

The tool of Century

on 2019-08-29 11:25:26

We love Tableau. We have rolled it in our organization, throughly. from Executives to Junior all are now motivated to do more with data.

Rating: 2
2 /5 stars

  • Features
    User: 50%
  • Ease of Use
    User: 50%
  • Ease of Implementation
    User: 50%
  • Support
    User: 50%

Too complicated

on 2017-10-11 09:59:23

Tableau used to be easy to use but now it’s packed with too many features and confuses everyone. We had to switch from Tableau because of usability and cost.

T Biskup
Rating: 5
5 /5 stars

  • Features
    User: 90%
  • Ease of Use
    User: 95%
  • Ease of Implementation
    User: 95%
  • Support
    User: 95%

Quick and Easy

on 2014-08-19 13:43:06

Getting set-up, connecting, importing data, analyzing data and visualizing data is fast and easy with Tableau. The speed of processing 8-digit data sets is amazing and hard to believe at times. Tableau is also one of the few I tools I have used that handles calculations distinctly as discrete or aggregate. It is keenly aware of doing the calculations at the right level throughout the process. When doing calculations on calculations it keeps track of which are discrete vs. aggregate and won;t let you build a calculation mixing the wrong types at the wrong levels.

We had Tableau desktop and server up an running inside a day, and it takes only minutes to connect and extract large datasets.

The main drawbacks are that it sometimes tries to overthink what you are doing … if you bring in a measure that is numeric to be a row, it automatically assumes you want to create a a plot and switches from chart view … in order to avoid this you have to create a new calculation that makes a string of the number and make that a dimension … it’s only an annoyance as it is doing what should be done, it just doesn’t allow for shortcuts at times. In addition, the licensing structure is a bit off … developer license is too big and expensive and the interactor license dos’t allow power users enough flexibility to make quick changes to calculations and groupings. Either increasing allowed functions for interactors or creating a super-interactor (or junior developer) license would help make the process a it more efficient and agile.