There are two things we look for whenever there is a new release of a product.

1. What’s New – Capabilities which were not available  earlier.

2. What’s Better – Enhancements in pre-existing capabilities .

Enhancements definitely make  the workflow simpler, and when you have new capabilities you are able to achieve something you were never able to earlier.

Tableau is considered a leader in the self-service BI market with its presence in a plethora of industries. The line of businesses love Tableau for its simplicity and ease of use in creating instant real time dashboards within minutes making the business user feel like a data super hero. At this juncture, Tableau 9.0 is now available while the Beta version has already been around for quite some time. You can find rolls of blogs over the internet talking about the various enhancements and features that is being offered in this version – LOD, REGEX, Admin views – to name a few . I have tried to capture all the new feature additions using the viz/image below to give a quick overview for users who are curious to know what’s now available.

Tableau Enhancements by Category

Tableau Enhancements by Category

New analytics tab with reference lines and box plots made easy-to-use, slick looking calculated field editor with auto-complete, searchable maps with data preference algorithms in place and responsive tool tips constitute the enhancements on the analytics front. Introduction of LOD expressions is a great relief from handling complex table calculations because now you can aggregate your data based on any dimension you wish. REGEX will enhance textual data analysis by allowing you to extract specific parts off long sentences. With the introduction of REGEX, social media analytics using Tableau has become so much more simpler.

On the data connection front, we have noteworthy additions such as the data interpreter and pivot feature for Excel and csv files. We can also connect to statistical data files such as R SAS or IBM SPSS files. Minor navigational enhancements to the data source page reduce the number of clicks to get to the data screen.

Server side additions include REST API with additional capabilities included, improved admin views and permission assignment views. A considerable amount of work has been invested in performance enhancements in terms of query caching, query fusion, shadow extracts and parallel query processing. Load balancing and core utilization have been improved.

Whoa! That is a lot! Is that what you think? Well, hold on there. Let’s step back a bit and take a closer look. Let us try to classify the additions into the two categories we put down earlier.

Tableau Enhancements by Type

Tableau Enhancements by Type

Binning in this manner shows that almost 50% of the additions in Tableau 9.0 are enhancements. Yes it definitely makes life easier and provides faster analyses.  But, if I were to choose between HEX values for colors and custom color palettes, I would choose the latter. Similarly I would not mind using the older ‘right click-add trend line’ if the trend line allowed improved customization capabilities instead of the same old thing brought out as a drag and drop feature. But again being the ardent tableau fan than I am , I am absolutely excited about the new capabilities especially on the data mashup front. Knowing Tableau as well as I do, I am eagerly looking forward to more new capabilities on the analytics front and am sure that’s already in works !!


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