An Introduction to Tableau

An Introduction to Tableau

Welcome to our introduction to Tableau. In this blog post we will explore how businesses are transforming and democratising their data with self-service analytics. This high-level overview will ensure you are all caught up on the power and the business benefits of data visualisation in Tableau. 

Tableau Simplifies Analytics
Data is growing at and exponential growth
Tableau helps people see and understand data

Tableau disrupted the Business Intelligence field in 2003, helping people to see and understand data whilst democratising analytics with their platform. In 2019, it was acquired by Salesforce, a global leader in CRM and, more recently, the 2020 Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms by Gartner marked Tableau’s eighth consecutive year positioned as a leader.

Tableau’s analytics platform includes three main products:

These products can change the flow of analysis to make data more accessible to users through visualisations and an easy to use interface. Since its early days as a research paper by its founders at Stanford, it was focused on several key ideas including interactivity with its drag-and-drop user interface and live querying of data from the database.

These user-focused innovations have led the platform to be widely integrated with many enterprises’ analytics workflow. Today, Tableau is helping anyone that works with data to get answers and insights more rapidly through visualisations and dashboards. It also encourages more users to join the ecosystem and perform self-service analytics.

So, how can different types of users utilise Tableau?

Tableau has split their licenses into three types:

Tableau License Types Overview

To put this into context, let’s look at four different user profiles and how they can utilise Tableau in the context of a sales company:

C-Level Executives

Viewers who make data-driven strategic decisions


Explorers that use existing dashboards and create their own to derive insights


Viewers/Explorers monitoring their performance in real-time


Creators who create & update dashboards for business users

C-Level Executives – Tableau Viewers

These are the top-level management who play a strategic role in the organisation. They are in charge of decision making for the entire business and setting the direction in which the organisation is headed. These executives need to understand how the business is doing as a whole and how they compare to the competitors in their respective industries. This calls for their data to be aggregated to a level that encompasses the entire company – with enough interactivity for them to drill down to a regional or country level. They are mainly viewers of dashboards and they utilise the information provided to make data-driven decisions. In a sales organisation, this type of user will monitor sales performance and compare them against targets and KPIs that have been predetermined. The dashboard will allow for a holistic view of the entire organisation so they can find opportunities and recommendations for the organisation.

See below an example of an Executive Sales dashboard. This dashboard is an actual embedded Tableau Dashboard, made by one of Billigence’s BI Consultants.

Managers – Tableau Explorers

Next, we have the managers who are responsible for customer complaints. They are required to report to the top level and execute the goals set out for them. They will need to monitor the number of complaints in each State and categorise the complaints by issue or classification. They can integrate the data with their on the ground knowledge to  enhance their recommendations and make better decisions. Although they will look at the data in a different level of detail to the top level, it is still important that they are able to make data-driven decisions. Managers can take on the Explorer role, where they can not only use existing dashboards but create their own from existing data sources to find their insights.

See below an example of an image of a Complaints Summary dashboard:

Tableau Software Complaints Dashboard

Employees – Tableau Explorers or Viewers

Third, there are the people responsible for responding to the complaints. They can be anyone from the first level management to the front line employees. This category would perform the day to day activities and deal with the operations involved when responding to customer complaints from all the different channels. They are generally required to meet a quota, e.g., ensuring that complaints are acknowledged within 24 hours. They can be either Explorers or Viewers; they can monitor their performance in near real-time and work with up-to-date information on their mobile devices even when they are on the ground. They have access to important information required to perform their job efficiently.

See below an example of a Complaints per Channel dashboard:

Tableau Software Complaints by channel

Data Analysts / Data Stewards – Tableau Creators

Finally, there are the analysts or data stewards, who are in charge of creating the dashboards for the other users in the organisation. They understand the business domain and how the data interacts with the business process. They are the Creators in the Tableau ecosystem who are tasked to create and update the dashboards for the business users. With Tableau Prep, they can easily pull out the information from various databases and transform it for analysis. This prepped data source will then be published on Tableau Server, where other users can utilise the data without going through the whole preparation process again. Then, they can use Tableau Desktop to create the visualisations and dashboard that will finally be published on the Server for the users to view. The ease of use of the Tableau drag-and-drop interface allows the analyst to quickly create useful, interactive visualisations and allow them to experiment and prototype their dashboards in an agile fashion.

Tableau Software Fast Insights

Tableau Blueprint

Tableau also came up with Tableau Blueprint for organisations that choose to employ the platform in their analytics workflow. This is a step-by-step prescriptive guide to broaden, deepen and scale the use of data.

The Tableau Blueprint aims to help companies transform into a data-driven organisation by integrating Tableau with existing technology investments. Based on a repeatable four-step process, the Blueprint guides companies through key decision points by offering concrete plans, recommendations, and considerations.

Become a Data-Driven Organisation

Billigence has worked with organisations from different industries around the world to utilise Tableau and derive insights from their data. We can provide you an introduction to Tableau, training or help you implement it organisation wide. We’re here to help!


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