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Tableau

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Tableau is a software company that offers collaborative data visualization software for organizations working with business information analytics. Organizations use Tableau to visualize data and reveal patterns for analysis in business intelligence, making the data more understandable.

Tableau was created as a way to commercialize research from the Stanford Department of Computer Research from 1999 and 2002. Tableau provides reporting, dashboarding and scorecards, ad hoc analysis and queries, online analytical processing, data discovery, BI search, spreadsheet integration and other data analytics and analysis functions. By making the data easier to understand, managers, analysts and executives can see the relationships between different data points, regardless of their technical skill levels.

Tableau visualization and analytics product offerings include:

  • Tableau Desktop: used to connect to data, explore data, do analytics, and create reports, dashboards and story boards.
  • Tableau Online: a software as a service (SaaS) offering for enterprises, offering the same functionality as the on-premises version and hosted by Tableau on its servers.
  • Tableau Server: a platform that lets enterprises share reports, dashboards and data sources across the enterprise. It's either hosted on premises or through Amazon Web Services (AWS). Tableau Server supports large enterprises by providing governance, security, scalability and performance.
  • Tableau Mobile: a free app for iPad, iPhone, Android tablet and mobile browsers, enabling users to author a dashboard once, then view or edit it anywhere, on any device.
  • Tableau Public: a free platform that can be accessed by anyone and is commonly used by journalists, bloggers and data enthusiasts to analyze public and private data.
  • Vizable: a free app for the iPad, enabling users to analyze personal or business data, and share the results with colleagues through email, instant message or social media.

In 2010, the company was the target of criticism when it took down visual data from Wikileaks about the United States’ diplomatic cables leak. Tableau representatives claimed the move was the direct result of pressure from U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman. The company has since changed to a formal complaint system which is founded on the principle of free speech. Under the new policy, Tableau claims Wikileaks data would not have been taken down.

Tableau is headquartered in Seattle, Washington and was founded in Mountain View, California by Christian Chabot, Chris Stolte and Pat Hanrahan.

This was last updated in August 2018

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