Tableau is among the most popular business intelligence and data visualization tools available. Currently owned by Salesforce, Tableau offers enough power and speed to simplify raw data and make it easily accessible to employees at all levels of a company. Tableau facilitates the use of techniques such as data blending, real-time analysis and data collaboration, requiring little or no technical or programming expertise.
Why Use Tableau?
Tableau is a suite of products comprised of desktop, public, online, server and reader tools that streamline the visualization and sharing of data. The software is capable of connecting and extracting data from every data storage platform available, and the tools that make up Tableau can essentially be broken into two subfields: developer tools and sharing tools.
Developer tools are used to create dashboards, charts, reports and other visualization methods so that data imported into Tableau can be organized, manipulated and displayed in a way that relates it to other data. These tools help users answer questions with data, discover trends and form hypotheses about business performance. Tableau’s desktop and public products fall into this category.
Sharing tools are the tools within Tableau that are responsible for sharing visualizations like reports and dashboards with others inside and outside of the organization. Data visualizations can be exported in a variety of ways and can be accessed by users via desktop, mobile or email once the visualization has been moved from Tableau Desktop to Tableau Server.
Does Tableau Use SQL?
Tableau does not require SQL knowledge, but the software can connect to a SQL server database to access data stored within.
Tableau is not a database, and accordingly, does not store any data within its software. This means that there is no need to query data within Tableau using SQL.
That said, Tableau is capable of connecting to and accessing virtually any kind of database in existence, including Microsoft SQL servers. This offers a number of advantages and added functionality for data scientists who are used to working with SQL, and Tableau goes so far as to provide an optimized, live connector to the SQL Server that integrates and allows users to create visualizations while working directly with data from the SQL database. External filters can also be created and applied to data that allows data visualizations to be queried with SQL and applied directly to Tableau.
Is Tableau Difficult to Learn?
No programming abilities are needed to make use of Tableau, which makes it incredibly user-friendly and allows users from all levels of a company to play a role in manipulating valuable data.
Users should possess basic awareness of how data should be organized and labeled, as well as an understanding of the different visualization tools available such as a bar graph, line chart, histogram, pie chart and others. Additionally, some database management skills are key to making the most out of Tableau, including data types, joins, drill down and drill up, as well as how to set filters, assign rows and columns, and mark data.