Tableau and Slack: New Beginnings


Tableau and Slack: New Beginnings

Tableau is committed to helping people see and understand data. This translates into many things: building products with intuitive platforms, making AI available in a no-code/low-code environment and investing in data literacy and governance, just to name a few. Ultimately, it’s about removing barriers between people and data in order to generate better business outcomes. Ironically, sometimes these barriers can be bypassed by simply surfacing the right data.

The idea of bringing data insights to your doorstep has been long advocated for by Tableau. Features like Tableau subscriptions and data-driven alerts allow Tableau Server and Online to easily disseminate insights to key stakeholders. It’s safe to say that these two features alone probably saved businesses millions of hours of writing emails, downloading reports and attachments, etc. Here again, we see Tableau’s commitment to helping people see their data, wherever they are, and undoubtedly, where lots of people are nowadays is Slack – the famous workspace utilized by more than 10 million daily active users to collaborate and make daily routines more efficient.

And just when we thought we had seen it all, Tableau pleasantly surprised us again: As part of Tableau’s 2021.3 version (released in early September 2021), you can finally integrate Slack and Tableau. Hooray!

New Ways to See & Understand Data with Slack

So, what can you actually do as a result of this new joint venture? In plain terms: leverage the smooth Slack interface to disseminate and notify your coworkers of relevant updates. And if you are familiar with the Slack interface, this will probably sound like music for your ears. As of today, some of the options now available are:

  • Share Tableau content: Receive an automated Slack message when content (e.g. workbooks, data sources, views, etc.) is shared with you by your colleagues. No more email links every time a new view is created in your dashboard. Let them come to your Slack feed. Easy and convenient.
  • Tableau Comment mentions: No more “I left a comment in your dashboard…” notices you forgot to reply to. With the Slack integration, you’ll be notified of new comments and provided a visual snapshot of the dashboard and a shortcut to quickly access it.
  • Get Tableau notifications in Slack for data-driven alerts: This is funky. Similar to the data-driven alerts mentioned above, you can notify your teams when specific thresholds are met. Let Tableau and Slack do the magic together.

As it’s characteristic of both Slack and Tableau, you and your admin can adjust these notifications to find your right spot of frequency and content. But heads up – to leverage the power of Slack and Tableau together, you will need two things:

  1. Slack workspace administrator role
  2. Tableau site administrator role in Tableau Online OR Tableau server administrator role in Tableau Server

If you meet these requirements, you are set to go. In very simple terms, the integration will be able to create an application that lives in your Slack workspace and is connected to your Tableau Server/Online. Like Slackbot, this Slack app will merely act as a medium connecting your world of data with your workspace. The setup is relatively straightforward (but make sure your IT personnel does the installation!) and with it you and your colleagues will be notified each time someone interacts with your Tableau workbooks.

A Future of Even More Possibilities

Pretty convenient, huh? However, hold onto your hat! There will be many more ways to leverage Slack in the future. According to Tableau’s Chief Product Officer, they are “bringing the full power of Tableau within Slack”. And that’s a lot of power. This new wave of features – called Slack-First Analytics – will make access to your data even more convenient: Slack notifications (bye bye, unread emails) when users comment or share new dashboards with you, a watchlist digest with the right insights and data, discovery predictions run directly from the Slack interface to leverage AI to make better business decisions, and much more.

At InterWorks, we can’t wait to hear more about the ways Tableau and Slack will continue to make seeing and understanding data even more convenient and streamlined! We’ll be sure to share that news here and how you can leverage it in your own data processes, so stay tuned.

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Roger Garcia

Solutions Engineer
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