Last Summer, I rolled up my sleeves and got working with Tableau, a software package for doing “visual analysis” of databases and other raw datasets. I was amazed. That is one of the coolest pieces of software I had ever seen or heard of until then.
In a nutshell, Tableau makes it incredibly easy to visualize the patterns and relationships in just about any dataset you point it at. These visualizations are primarily driven by drag-and-drop and let you quickly explore and analyze data to find structure, trends, and insights. These visualizations are all interactive so you can zoom in on individual items, filter subsets of data, link several different data visualizations into a multi-pane dashboard — all point-and-click.
It’s fun, creative, and inspiring.
As Jock Mackinlay, Tableau’s Director of Visual Analysis, said, “The human visual system is very good at looking at data presented visually — compared to being very slow at “mental math” with just tables of numbers.” Tableau was designed to tap into our visual intuition, and it does so marvelously. The software proves to be vastly superior to the typical Excel report or a powerpoint presentation. Pie charts are a no-no here.
Marketers understand that when providing insightful analytics to clients, or reporting to executives and other business units, it’s important to know how to unlock the value of data.
If you’re into marketing analytics, budding as a data scientist, you should run — not walk — to download their free trial. The professional desktop version runs $1,999, which isn’t cheap, but if you’re an analytics professional, it’s well worth it. And if you are a student like I was with Coursera at the time, you could access a free version of Tableau Desktop 10.3 for the Coursework and Certification
Most Asked-About Tableau Competitors
- Qlik Sense
- Microsoft Power BI
- Tibco Spotfire
Top User-Rated Tableau Competitors
- Sisense BI
I totally recommend checking out Tableau Public, a free software that can allow anyone to connect to a spreadsheet or file and create interactive data visualizations for the web. It’s primarily meant for journalists and bloggers and includes some terrific examples of what Tableau can do — such as an example of how fast, successful tech companies grow.
Think about this – Across sales, email campaigns, social media, and online sites firms deal with hundreds, if not thousands, of interactions each day – so how can marketers aid colleagues and serve customers better with data-rich insights that don’t require hours of effort or specialist knowledge?