When you say Business Intelligence it often conjures up different visions. For example, when I tell people I work in BI, I get reactions ranging from blank stares to “Oh…so computer stuff,” to my personal favorite, my barber asking if that meant corporate espionage. While I do like to entertain the image of myself as a slightly geeky (and perhaps less fit) James Bond, it probably isn’t what most people think of when they think of working in Business Intelligence.
My bet would be that the image in most people’s minds is probably a visual of an analytic dashboard. Dashboards, after all, are the face of Business Intelligence. The software that enables us to convert raw data into dashboards is crucial to enabling business users to consume information in a user-friendly form and then take that information and make informed business decisions. It’s all about taking data and telling the story in a meaningful, actionable way. With the release of Tableau 8, one of the leading BI vendors is upping their game.
Tableau Software is rated as one of the leaders in BI vendors according to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms and this past March they celebrated the release of their best version yet. I’ve had exposure to lot of different BI visualization tools over the years and Tableau is definitely one of my favorites. The tools they provide are easy to use, intuitive, and powerful. This allows for rapid development and deployment of interactive dashboards. These dashboards give the data context and help make it meaningful to the end user.
While Tableau 8 is jam-packed with new features, I wanted to concentrate on just a few of my favorites.
Visvero is consistently reminding our clients that business intelligence is all about finding the stories hidden with the data. All data has a story to tell, but without help it can be difficult to understand what that story is. Giving the proper context to raw numbers allows us to look at historical data and understand the story so far. However, like that ever frustrating cliffhanger ending or “to be continued…” notation after an enthralling TV show, we are always nagged by the curiosity of what comes next. What is the next chapter in our story?
In the business world this isn’t just a nagging curiosity. Many times it comes down to the difference between success and failure. Without the ability to intelligently look to the future and anticipate the demands of tomorrow, you are endangering the future of your business. It’s no wonder then that being able to forecast data (predictive analytics) is one of the most popular demands for BI solutions. In Tableau 8 it is about as easy as it gets. Simply, with a few mouse clicks, you can add a forecast in seconds, and easily tweak your forecasting model to suit your needs.
Of course, one of the biggest parts of any business intelligence tool is what visualizations it can create. In Tableau 8, the visualizations are diverse and very informational. New options like word clouds and bubble maps are great additions. However, my personal favorite is the tree-map. Not only are tree-maps great chart types for giving context, the way Tableau handles tree-maps allows for bar charts of tree-maps. This combination can be a powerful way to show relative proportions across categories in a beautifully simplistic way. It’s easily, in my opinion, one of the most powerful of the new view types.
In addition, Tableau 8 now supports overlapping objects on your dashboard. Anyone who has spent a significant amount of time with visualization tools can tell you, arranging the design and layout of a dashboard can often be a very tedious and frustrating task; especially when trying to make the most of your screen real estate. Tableau 8 makes laying out the dashboard nearly hassle-free by enabling you to overlap visualizations. This empowers you to make more efficient use of screen space and easily mold your layout to your needs.
The concept of groups and sets are nothing new to Tableau, but with version 8 they’ve been shined up and improved. Grouping can now be done visually and on the fly as you select objects in your view. Those groups are quickly color-coded to “paint” pre-defined selections to help guide the user. The sets functionality has also been streamlined and improved to allow for more advanced set comparisons. This gives you more analytic power than ever before. Pairing dynamic calculated sets with painting using visual grouping makes Tableau 8 even more powerful as an in-depth analysis tool.
Building the best dashboard in the world isn’t going to be of any use if the users who need them aren’t even looking at them. We all know that often management is busy in meetings and completely forget to review their reports before heading to the next one. That’s where the new subscription feature in Tableau 8 comes to the rescue. This feature allows users to subscribe to one or more worksheets and get scheduled emails with images of your selected worksheets along with links to the live reports at your fingertips.
Tableau is always pushing the limits, and their new version is certainly packed with features to be explored and used. Check out their website for a more in depth look at the new tool, and try to catch the Tableau team on tour to see more of what Tableau has to offer! These are just a few of the new features in Tableau 8, but they are some of the features I am personally excited to see and use in my own projects. What features are you excited to try out in the new release? Let me know below in the comments.
I have had the pleasure of working with Visvero (Sandi) for almost two years now. She has been an extremely resourceful contact and is always quick to help. She and her team at Visvero were able to find candidates for even the most stringent requirements and job descriptions. She is a pleasure to work with and will make sure any candidate she sends over is a qualified candidate. I would recommend any recruiters working on C2C contract positions to reach out to her.
Process Automation, Budgeting, Applications Development, Google Charts, PHP, Open Source, Pentaho
Visvero helped us develop a industry transforming solution to have a direct profit impact on mid-size landscaping industry. We have been able to help our clients manage the business lifecycle with their clients from the lead generation to contracts execution phase. The application helps our clients identify and independently track and manage each cost component on any project or maintenance contract. Tracking/ managing these allows our clients to better control quality and profitability of each contract.
Business Intelligence, Qlik, Alteryx, .NET, Tableau, Sisense, SpotFire, Machine Learning
As an advisor to various state and national agencies NIC takes on several blue sky technology projects for which we rely on trusted partners for advice and investment of time and treasure. Visvero team invested thousands of person hours helping our team socialize the key analytics technologies and develop and enhance the products for various client projects. The team was always able to take project briefs and create high utility analytics applications. Definitely recommend them for public sector applications projects.
Business Intelligence, Staffing, .NET, Tableau, Flexible
In LA, we are in a competitive market for talent. So, when we had a recent need for specialized Tableau developers, we turned to our trusted friends at Visvero. We were rapidly able to add 3 talented developers on project. Visvero was very flexible in accommodating our request to convert developers as Fandango FTE. I highly recommend Visvero recruiters for being able to find critical Business Intelligence consultants quickly and being flexible with contracts to make the gains permanent.
Business Intelligence, Qlik, OBIEE, Risk Reporting, HR Analytics
“We organized an analytics “bake-off” between IBM using Endeca and Visvero using Qlik. In two weeks the Visvero team was able to deliver a consumer ready Risk and HR analytics application, four weeks later we were just getting started with IBM. And what’s more, my team and I spent over 80 hours getting IBM to start to understand what it is that we needed. Visvero team had a subject matter expert who took all of 6 hours with my team. Engaging Visvero was a “no-brainer” decision.”
Pharmaceuticals, Sales and Research applications, Qlik, SAP
At Allergan, our business team had a very divergent view of output from our analytics roll-out. Visvero was able bridge the gap and deploy a crack team of Qlik and SAP developers who enabled us to deliver the applications in weekly sprints. Our team scaled 1 power user to a team of 8 developers in 10 days. QuikWIN methodology was transformational in how we delivered applications to our customers – the sales organization.
Business Intelligence, Staffing, SAP, Business Objects, Oracle, DB2
This project is a key win for us. Visvero consultants were properly vetted and compliant with our rigorous processes. Consultants appeared to be satisfied with offline mentoring and periodic training on new tools. As a contracted asset the engaged consultants do not have adequate access to same trainings that are available to our FTEs, Visvero closed this gap by creating their internal trainings to support our consultants. It was great for everybody involved. And the teams were super productive!