Small Changes, Big Results

By Wilson Po April 9, 2012

With all of the new features that have been added to the tool in Tableau 7.0, it’s easy for some additions to slip under the radar. I often find that these "small" features can translate into large time savings for customers.

“Replace Data Source”
Ever built a sample dashboard with a CSV and just wished it would work immediately with your production data on MySQL? Or were there times where reports are delayed due to pending data migration or warehousing project? By allowing us to swap the data types of a connection with a click of the mouse, “Replace Data Source” now allows seamless transition between radically different database architectures. Regardless of the type of data source swaps, Tableau simplifies this entire process while still assuring workbooks will be optimized to whatever data source they are swapped to.

Date Improvements
One of the most common analyses is the time series analysis. However, the basic reporting requirements often require complex data setup, such as building full date tables and individual date part dimensions. These efforts can be completely skipped with the improvements done to dates in 7.0. These include a dual date part system for handling dates, the ability to drill down from a continuous time series, and the ability to incorporate missing dates within our analysis. This last feature can be used when you only have data for five workdays a week, but want to show every day. “Show Missing Values” allows you to keep Saturday and Sunday in the view. Drilling down on a continuous time series will allow you to create detailed time visualizations that are not split up into “panes”. The video below explains the value in more detail.

In summary, Replace Data Source and the new date improvements in Tableau 7.0 were not headlining features, but they are still saving my clients time by allowing them to adapt to their data more quickly.

Wilson Po is a Solution Architect with the Tableau Professional Services team. He helps customers across a variety of industries achieve their goals and hone their analytical skills. He can be reached by email at wpo@tableau.com.