Business Intelligence Tools We Recommend 3/4 – Tableau

This is the third part of our series covering some of our favorite Business Intelligence (BI) tools. Our previous two posts covered Metabase and Redash. In this post, we will cover Tableau, a very popular BI tool that came to be very prominent during the last 10 years as the number, and variety, of BI tools, surged to a wave of popularity, and to some extent, hype. Tableau has been recognized as a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms for six years in a row.In this series we will cover the four following applications:




Tableau is a commercial BI tool created to help people see, understand and make an informed decision with data. It was founded in 2003 and currently has more than 150,000 registered users all around the world. It helps users, ranging from Fortune 500 to small startup, to glean visual insights into their business which would be difficult to discover in Excel or other basic spreadsheets. Tableau is used across the industry and in recent years it has beefed up the administrative and data governance capabilities to meet the growing needs of its diverse customer base.
Tableau’s live visual analytics and interactive dashboard allow users to slice and dice datasets to bring out relevant insights and explore new opportunities. Users can create interactive maps and analyze data across state, countries, demographics and more. Tableau with its storyboard feature helps users to create a data-driven narrative story that can be shared with the audience. 

Tableau offers four primary versions of its product.

Tableau Desktop

Tableau Desktop is considered as a gold standard among intuitive interactive visualization tools. You can install a 14-day trial version here. It is available for both Window and Mac users. Its power and ease of use allow users with even the basic technical knowledge to set up everything and get started with designing highly interactive workbooks and dashboard in a few minutes. Most of the activities are a simple drag and drop which makes it more popular among non-technical users. It connects to more than 100 data sources including Excel, Text Files, Google Analytics, Dropbox, Marketo, Salesforce and many more.

Tableau Desktop | Source:

Tableau Server

Tableau Server enables users to publish and share the dashboards they created using the Tableau Desktop. With this product user can easily and securely distribute interactive workbooks to the right stakeholders, making sharing and collaborating simple and decision making more participatory. When a data source is published to the server, other users can connect to it from their own workbooks and when the data is updated, all workbooks that connect to it pick up the changes. Administrators can track and manage content, users, licences and permissions visually. It is available for deployment both on-premise or on different cloud platforms (AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform etc.)

Tableau desktop | Source:

Tableau Online

Tableau Online is an analytics platform fully hosted in the cloud especially for those users who don’t want any hardware or server to maintain. Users can invite colleagues or customers to explore online interactive visualizations which is accessible from a browser or on the go with Tableau’s mobile app. Tableau Online’s infrastructure meets most of the global compliance and security standards such as Sarbanes Oxley, Service Organization Control (SOC) 2, and EU-US Privacy Shield standards.

Tableau Online | Source:

Tableau Prep

Tableau Prep is the latest addition to the Tableau’s product list. It is a personal data preparation tool that empowers the user quickly and confidently combine, shape, and clean their data for analysis. Tableau Prep employs fuzzy clustering to turn repetitive tasks, like grouping by pronunciation, into one-click operations.

Tableau Prep | Source:


1. Super easy to learn and use basic data analysis and visualization
2. Rich online resources and a thriving community forum
3. Saves time and money with simplified information sharing
4. On the go support with a Mobile app which brings statics at fingertips


1. Higher subscription cost compared to other tools available in the market
2. Time and cost-intensive training to use complex visualization features
3. Not up to the mark after-sale maintenance and customer support services



Overall, Tableau is a powerful BI tool that can be used without any programming experience or knowledge. With its impressive data visualisations and intuitive ease of use, Tableau has established itself as one of the leading business intelligence tools for insights. Its benefits are enormous but that comes with a price. 

Do you like Tableau? Dislike it? Is there some other BI application you’d like for us to cover in this series? Drop us a line at!


Photo by Olu Eletu on Unsplash