How To Pick The Right Tableau Product For Your Requirement?

It is a well-known fact that Tableau is one of the most powerful, reliable, and flexible end-to-end analytics platform for data. It is all about visualizing the secrets hidden within data. It provides a robust and highly scalable platform and tools that allow you to unleash the true potential of data. Tableau allows for enhanced interaction, collaboration, content discovery, data governance, data prep, data access, and easy deployment. Basically, it can take care of all your data needs.

However, one thing you should know about Tableau is that it is not a single product but an ecosystem that comprises of a suite of products. Today, we’re going to focus on Tableau products and their attributes. More specifically, we’ll talk about Tableau Reader, Tableau Public, Tableau Server, Tableau Online, Tableau Desktop (Personal), and Tableau Desktop (Professional). Learn more about how to become a tableau developer.

But before we get into the details of Tableau products, the decision of choosing which product is best suited to cater to your requirements depends on a few key aspects, like:

  • Connectivity – What data sources can you connect to?
  • Distribution – Who do you want to share your dashboard with, and how do you wish to do so?
  • Automation – Does your work need to be updated and refreshed automatically according to a particular schedule?
  • Security – Do you need on-premise level security, or can you save your work in the cloud?
  • Development – What can you develop?

Now that you know the aspects to look out for let’s talk specifics!

Top Tableau Products to Pick From

1. Tableau Reader

Tableau Reader is a free Tableau tool that lets you open and access “packaged workbooks.” Tableau allows users to save these workbooks in such a way that both the data and visualizations remain in the same file.

However, although you can open and interact with packaged workbooks, Tableau Reader does not let you develop them. This is a drawback of this Tableau product. In this sense, Tableau Reader functions similarly to a PDF-viewer, wherein you can save a document in a specific way so that you can open it using a PDF-reader.

Aspects of Tableau Reader:

  • Connectivity: TWBX files only (packaged workbooks)
  • Distribution: Offline 
  • Automation: Not available
  • Security: It is on the same level as your personal computer/server’s security. Thus, the security level is pretty low.

Best-suited for – Users or projects that demand an affordable way to view and interact with the Tableau workbooks of team members.

2. Tableau Public

This is another free Tableau product. Essentially, it is a free version of Tableau’s visualization software that allows you to use most of its functionalities for free. From creating rich visualizations to connecting to CSV, Tableau Public lets you perform a host of visualization tasks. It also comes with development capabilities.

However, there’s a catch – in Tableau Public, you have to save the workbooks to Tableau’s public cloud. Naturally, this is not a safe and secure choice for working with sensitive business data.

Aspects of Tableau Public:

  • Connectivity: Text and Excel files
  • Distribution: Public cloud
  • Automation: Not available
  • Security: Since data is stored on the public cloud, it can be accessed by anyone on the Internet. With Tableau Public, the security level is pretty much non-existent.

Best-suited for – Users who deal in public data (like journalists) and those who want to get hands-on experience with Tableau software, minus the cost. 

Also read: Tableau Developer Salary in India

3. Tableau Server

Tableau Server is the tool that offers you a 360-degree view of the data stored in your Tableau environment. It functions as a central repository for your Tableau workbooks that can be accessed by you and your clients/customers through a web browser.

Along with data refresh capabilities, Tableau Server allows your organization/business to store all your data and workbooks on-premise or deploy them to the public cloud, according to your unique business and security needs. With Tableau Server, you can share your data and dashboards with your team and clients to boost your business impact. However, to use Tableau Server, you must have additional user licenses, even if you have a Tableau Desktop license.

Aspects of Tableau Server:

  • Connectivity: Workbooks that you have published to Tableau Server and/or those that you have access to.
  • Distribution: Cloud
  • Automation: Yes (via data refresh schedules)
  • Security: It depends on your on-premise or server host’s security.

Best-suited for – Users who want to access and distribute workbooks in the cloud; who want to automate workbook refreshes; who wish to edit workbooks in the cloud, and those who wish to store their data and workbooks on-premise.

4. Tableau Online

Tableau Online is pretty similar to Tableau Server, with the only difference being that it is hosted via a third-party partner of Tableau. Since it is fully hosted in the cloud, it offers all the advantages of cloud distribution along with automatic refreshes. You can use the public dashboards to share your discoveries with your team and even invite your teammates to collaborate with you.

However, as it follows an off-premise model, and this often leads to various security challenges for businesses dealing with sensitive data. Just like Tableau Server, even Tableau Online requires additional per-user licensing, even if you have a Tableau Desktop license.

Aspects of Tableau Server:

  • Connectivity: Workbooks that you have published to Tableau Server and/or those that you have access to.
  • Distribution: Cloud
  • Automation: Yes (via data refresh schedules)
  • Security: It depends on the third-party host’s security.

Best-suited for – Users who want to access and distribute workbooks in the cloud; who wish to automate workbook refreshes; who want to edit workbooks in the cloud, and those who are comfortable in storing their data and workbooks off-premise.

Learn more: 19 Reasons You Should Learn Tableau

5. Tableau Desktop (Professional)

Tableau Desktop (Professional) is essentially the version of Tableau designed for development. With this tool, you can take advantage of more than 65 native data connectors along with the ability to securely share vizzes with Tableau Online or Tableau Server.

Also, since it lets you publish the workbooks to Tableau Online or Server, you can share and collaborate in a secure environment. It also allows you to connect to and analyze all types of data – from flat files (like CSVs or Excel docs) and databases like SQL Server or Amazon Redshift to web applications like Salesforce and Google Analytics.

Aspects of Tableau Desktop (Professional):

  • Connectivity: All connections that are possible in Tableau
  • Distribution: Offline, Tableau Server, or Tableau Public
  • Automation: Not available
  • Security: It is as good as the security of your personal computer or server. 

Best-suited for – Users who need to connect to data in databases and those who need the capability of publishing to the Tableau Server or Tableau Online.

6. Tableau Desktop (Personal)

Tableau Desktop (Personal) is the perfect tool who private users. Although it allows you to keep your workbooks private, the connection and distribution options in Tableau Desktop (Personal) are limited. Unlike Tableau Desktop (Professional), this tool can only to flat files and can only save locally or to Tableau Public – you cannot publish to Tableau Online or Tableau Server.

Aspects of Tableau Desktop (Personal):

  • Connectivity: Excel, text files, access, statistical files, and Tableau files
  • Distribution: Offline or Tableau Public
  • Automation: Not available
  • Security: It is as good as the security of your personal computer or server.

Best-suited for – Users who only need to connect to flat data files and those who need a cost-effective version of Tableau to keep their data private.

Wrapping up

We hope this article will help you decide which Tableau product is best for your personal data needs and that of your organization!

If you are curious to learn about data science, check out IIIT-B & upGrad’s PG Diploma in Data Science which is created for working professionals and offers 10+ case studies & projects, practical hands-on workshops, mentorship with industry experts, 1-on-1 with industry mentors, 400+ hours of learning and job assistance with top firms.

Rohit Sharma

Prepare for a Career of the Future

UPGRAD AND IIIT-BANGALORE'S PG DIPLOMA IN DATA SCIENCE
ENROLL NOW @ UPGRAD
×