Update: Tableau 10.3 is here! Download now to try out the feature outlined below.
The first thing Christian Chabot, our then-CEO, said to me when I joined Tableau was, “I’m so glad you’re here to help. Our customers really need alerts." I could see the need was real, but what was the root cause? What was the underlying business problem people wanted solved with alerts? Our team hit the road to learn more. From finance to construction, manufacturing to retail, health care to high tech, we met with customers to understand their use cases.
What we learned: People needed our help to save time. That journey reminded us that people are busy and don’t always have the bandwidth to check in on dashboards to see if things are on track. We heard that people look to dashboards for certain data, even when the dashboard includes many views. People told us that subscriptions are good, but they weren't smart enough, telling them whether or not the data they truly cared about was updated.
We learned that our customers want Tableau to tell them if there is an important change in their data automatically. Alerts need to work on their existing data, and they need to reach them using their primary work notification channel: email.
Back in the office, we asked ourselves how we could design alerts to be both powerful enough to address underlying business needs our customers had, and approachable enough for non-authors to understand and use. Tableau is about seeing and understanding your data with intimacy. To retain that personal connection, we developed a plan to enable users to create a data alert directly in the context of the data they already have.