My day consists of cramming 10 hours of work into an eight-hour day. If I weren’t using Tableau, I'd cram 20 hours into an eight-hour day. I’d like to highlight some critical functions of Tableau that benefit me and can benefit you.
Live data connections
Your first reaction may be: How can I connect live to company data? A key Tableau feature is data source connections, which don't require coding. You can connect to most databases, if you have the right permissions (like in the image below). With a live connection to your CRM, Tableau reports update in real time or on a schedule. And if you’re set on using an Excel spreadsheet, you can also connect to those. Below is the first screen you see when launching Tableau:
Above: The first Tableau screen shows a selection of data source connections.
How many of your reports are manually produced in Excel monthly? The number of reports isn't important; rather, it's the time invested in them doing data prep, formula building, data checking and production?
Tableau performs all the data updates to save considerable time. We’ve published several dashboards that are split into two categories: performance and compliance reporting. Insights from the data inform our decisions, so we want up-to-date data in the hands of decision makers.
Whatever your reporting needs, a dashboard made and published with Tableau supports self-service analytics. Minimal maintenance is required with automated data refreshes or filtering to isolate aspects of the analysis most relevant to your audience.
As an example, could an Excel workbook:
- Automatically update every hour
- Provide users 24/7 report access by browser
- Enable filtering of data by individuals
- Offer subscription so users automatically receive it daily
- Have different edit, interaction and download permissions based on user credentials
Unions, joins and blending
Once you've connected to a data source, you'll see all the sheets or tables in your database that can be joined. In Excel, you'd have to consider VLOOKUPS, SUMIFS or cross-sheet links from other formulae.
Once you decipher the framework of the union or join, Tableau remembers your choice for future use. No need to update lookups and audit formulae when rows or columns are added.
This view reflects multiple tables from Salesforce that are joined together by a simple drag-and-drop feature.
This dashboard allows teams to view equity performance by sector and get details on the underlying securities.
The three functions highlighted above have transformed the way I work with financial data, but I’m just scratching the surface of what Tableau can do. The deeper I dive into the platform, the more value I find. If you want to learn more ways that Tableau’s visual analytics can drive value and return time to your finance teams, read the full report here.
It may be unfamiliar territory, but you'll realize how easy it is to get started.