A Tableau Revisit

Back during my Westat days, I was always a little surprised by how few Tableau licenses found their way into employee’s hands.

We had a lot a data and the kinds of projects that could clearly afford to foot the bill for a license or two.  But there were a couple of things that really held it back.

First off, Tableau server costs.  A project wanting to use the tool and share the results privately and interactively with their clients and collaborators would need to invest at least $12,000 in licenses alone.  The license fees were front-loaded, so the over time costs weren’t all that high, but that’s a lot for what would be at first an experiment.

But today, you can get started and still keep the data in-house for under $3,000/year.  And that would include 5 annual server licenses and desktop professional for the visualization author).  If you had fewer license needs than that and could use Tableau Online, you could go even cheaper.

But Tableau had other issues too.  We live in a time where data floats around everywhere.  Who wants to have to download their data to then upload it to Tableau?

But guess who added some special new data connections?  Now along with the usual connections to traditional data storage platforms like SQL and Salesforce, Tableau also offers direct connections to GoogleSheets, Dropbox, and OneDrive.

Long story short.

I had at one point given up on Tableau for use on my projects.  It just wasn’t scalable and interoperable enough to work in my real world projects.  But times have changed, and sure there are a few more things I would change if it were up to me, but Tableau is now a viable option.  Time to add back into my day to day work.