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Blog | Dec 17, 2015

Key Take Aways from the 2015 Tableau Conference

Tableau Software delivers fast analytics, visualization, rapid-fire business intelligence and is growing at a rapid pace. The Tableau Conference is no exception. There were over 10,000 attendees this year at Tableau Conference, (TC-2015 or #Data15) and that was up 5000 attendees from last year.

It’s a big event with:

  • Keynotes
  • On Demand Sessions
  • Hands On Training
  • Tableau Doctor 
  • Expo Hall

I would like to share some of the many new features that Tableau introduced during TC-15. Some of the features are available with Tableau 9.2 which is in beta and some of the features will be available in 2016.

Tableau Conference #Data15

  • Data Blending –
    • Data preparation plays major role for any Analysis, Tableau is simplifying this with some new features.
    • Excel Cleaning: Tableau excels with its own data interpreter where it can understand without cleaning the messy spreadsheet.
      • Here is an example: In the below spreadsheet there are some headers, footers and more importantly the year is split into two groups - 2004 to 2008 in one group and 2009 to 2013 in another group. When this sheet is loaded in to Tableau and the data interpreter is turned on, Tableau recognizes two groups as two separate tables and can be joined.

Tableau Excel CleaningTableau Excel Cleaning Spreadsheet













      • Dates:  Another big data preparation problem is with dates. There are around 250 different date formats that are used. Converting different date formats into a standard format using 'TO DATE' and 'TO CHAR' is in the past. Take any complicated date format and tell Tableau it is a date and you are ready to move on with your analysis.
      • Multiple Data Files: Have you ever had a scenario when you download data files from internet the file is downloaded into multiple files? This can be for many reasons like bandwidth, Internet speed etc. But say you have downloaded a data file that is split into ten files and all the files has to be used as a single data source, now you need not merge all the files into a single file by copy and pasting. Not any more, Tableau has a brand new feature called UNION, when you drag one file on top of another file in the canvas you see a feature called UNION and the second files data is added at the end. But wait, what if I have hundred files, do I keep dragging all day? No. There is another feature that can be used with UNION so you can specify the wildcards like .CSV and all the files with .CSV will be in the UNION with all the data available as a single data source for analysis.

        • UNION makes it easier than ever to piece back the data that is split across multiple files and save you a lot of time and effort.
      • Cross Database Joins: This is a big one.

        • Cross Database Joins is the biggest feature self service users and developers love. It’s pretty common that different types of information can be in different databases (Customer Data, Product Data etc.) With Tableau you can join two different databases (SQL Server, Oracle) in a single Data Source. Data Sources > Add New Data Source and select the type of Database. 

Cross Database Joins Tableau

Via Twitter: @Nelsondavis

  • Visualizations - 
    • I am not going to go too deep here, however I would like to mention of all the features that are coming in Tables, Maps and Dashboards
    • Usage Patterns: Today totals and grand totals appear at the bottom and right of the table. Now the totals can be at the bottom or top and grand totals can be on the right or left.
    • Data Highlighter: Is a new feature where we can highlight the data in an analysis. Today if we have to highlight something we have to filter but with Data Highlighter we can highlight the values based on a dimensional value.
    • Geographic Data: Tableau is big into geographic data and it is built into Tableau. Adding Postal code level data for 26 countries and 250000 geographical entities in 2016.
    • Spatial Data: Native connectivity for Spatial data and support for many Spatial file types.
    • Map Box support where maps can be used directly connecting to Mapbox from Tableau.
Tableau Visualizations
  • Advanced Analytics - 
    • Outlier Detection: Outlier detection is detecting data that stands out of the crowd. Till now Outlier detection is done only by data mining tools but now Outlier Detection can be done with couple clicks in Tableau.

Tableau Outlier Detection

  • Tableau Server -
    • Home page for every user on the server. This page can be customized.
    • Dashboard Analytics: Now dashboards have their own analytics like number of views based on time and popularity. Users can sort the dashboards based on number of views.
    • Version Control: Dashboards have version control can go back to any version.
    • Permissions at a project level
    • Web Authoring: No need to have Tableau Desktop for authoring because this can be done in the browser. You can create new analysis, new dashboards and edit existing analysis and dashboards.
    • Global Formatting: Formatting can be applied to all the sheets in the dashboard though they are from different data sources. Global formatting is also coming to desktop.
    • Cross Database Filtering: Today filters are associated with Data Sources. Though there are other workarounds with parameters, this feature allows a user to filter data from different analysis in the dashboard with single click.
    • Device Specific Dashboards: Dashboards can be designed for all devices like (Phone, Tablet). There is no need to have multiple versions for multiple devices. Author once consume anywhere.

Tableau Server

  • Brand new product  - Vizable. 
    • Vizable is a brand new iPad app launched at TC-2015. Vizable comes at no cost and can be downloaded from the app store. Who are the audience for Vizable? Anyone who wants to do analysis with data on their iPad or data from email. All the analysis can be done with gestures and can be shared. No Tableau desktop or server connectivity required.

Tableau Vizable

As you can see, Tableau is growing and evolving.  The conference provides users and partners with up to date information. It also provides a forum to connect with Tableau employees, partner and users.  As a Tableau Alliance partner, TriCore, together with Tableau helps you determine the right solution to fit your business’ data needs.

We are already looking forward to TC16 and hope to see you there! In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments about anything tableau/business intelligence related, we encourage you to comment below or contact us. Let your data become the centerpiece of decision making by using it to tell a story with Tableau and TriCore. 



Which Chart or Graph is Right for You?

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Other Tableau Resources from TriCore:

TriCore Solutions Tableau Partner

As a Tableau’s Alliance partner, TriCore not only has experience implementing Tableau but also has deep industry expertise.  Click here to learn more.