What is Tableau?

Essentially, Tableau is a member of the Salesforce product family. While Salesforce helps its users collect and manage customer data, Tableau takes that data (or data from any source!) and performs visualisation and analytics processing. Tableau complements Salesforce so well because it extends the CRM’s ability to visualise information in a way that makes it really easy for anyone to read and understand. 

What does Tableau do?

So, as we’ve said – Tableau is a data visualisation and analytics tool that helps users understand their data more fully. 

The data you might want to analyse can come from all kinds of sources, like spreadsheets, databases, and cloud-based applications (amongst others), and as a Tableau user, you can create customised dashboards, charts, graphs and maps to analyse and explore this data even further!

What are Tableau’s key features?

Tableau’s drag-and-drop interface makes it incredibly easy for users to organise their data, connect to data sources, and create visualisations. 

Interactive dashboards allow users to explore, track and develop insights into data in real-time.

Tableau is also compatible with a bunch of devices and platforms. So whether you’re exploring your data via desktop, tablet or smartphone – you’ll get full access to the tools you need. 

Who would benefit from using Tableau?

Really, anyone who deals with data! And if you think about it, who doesn’t deal with data these days? 

Tableau has applications across a whole range of industries and sectors – here are a few:

    • Banking and Finance: think tracking performance, analysing risk, and creating projections.
    • Healthcare: think patient data, treatment outcomes, and monitoring outbreaks.
    • Retail: think sales data, inventory levels, and customer behaviour.
    • Marketing: think campaign performance, engagement, and identifying trends.
    • Education: think student data and academic performance.
    • Government: think public data, social trends, and economic indicators.
    • Nonprofit: think donor/donation data, fundraising and volunteer performance.

Is Tableau better than Excel?

Welllll, that kind of depends on what your goals are. Excel is great for organising and manipulating small to medium-sized data sets, and you can create simple diagrams and charts within the programme too. 

Tableau, on the other hand, is a specialised tool that deals with data visualisation at its core. It’s designed to handle much larger data sets and offers a much wider breadth of visualisation options as well as interactive exploration (something that Excel can’t really do right now).

So it kind of depends on what you want to get out of the software, but if effective visualisation of complex data is at the top of your list – well, Tableau wins every time. 

Is Tableau easy to learn?

If you’re well-versed in picking up new digital tools, you shouldn’t have a problem with this one. Tableau is designed to be intuitive to use, though, like any piece of software, it does require some familiarisation to use quickly and efficiently. 

That’s not to say it’s a basic piece of kit! The more proficient you become with Tableau, the more advanced features and techniques become available to you. For instance, building interactive dashboards, or working with complex forms of data.

Basically, the more you put in, the more you’ll get out.

There are also loads of online resources available to help you upskill at pace, as well as a large user community where you can find tips, tricks, and best practices to help build both your skills and your confidence.

Does Tableau use SQL?

OK, first of all, what is SQL? SQL (Structured Query Language) is a programming language specifically used to communicate with databases. 

Is this information helpful? Well, yeah if you want to use SQL to write custom code that manages data in a specific way. 

Tableau has a built-in SQL editor, so if you want to, you can write and execute custom SQL queries directly from the platform. 

Do I need to know SQL to use Tableau?

No, not really. While it could be helpful to have some knowledge if you’re dealing with seriously complex data sources, Tableau’s intuitive design means you can build most types of visualisation without writing any code at all. 

But if you did want to get fancy with it, the option is always there. 

In conclusion…

Overall, Tableau is a beast of a data visualisation tool for anyone who wants to quickly understand and interpret a large amount of data. It’s also a great tool to communicate ideas with non-technical people such as investors or board members. It allows you to get the most out of your data and make informed decisions as a result.

SQL programming knowledge isn’t a requirement for using Tableau, however – having some knowledge of SQL can help you reach the full potential and flexibility that the software provides, all helping you to analyse and present complex data in a visually compelling and interactive way.