After a few years of attending tech conferences from our living rooms, in-person conferences ARE BACK! Tableau Conference 2022 in Las Vegas certainly lived up to the hype. A group of about 20 InterWorkers recently returned from the first in-person TC since 2019. Many exciting sessions were made available to the data fam virtually and in person, but for those who were unable to tune in, here are my three main takeaways. Keep in mind: I am only scratching the surface here as a lot of exciting things were announced in Vegas!
Above: Me and fellow Analytics Consultant Danny Steinmetz hanging on the swing in between sessions.
Tableau Moves Deeper into Business Science
Here at InterWorks, we advocate for the tools in our analytics stack because we understand their ins and outs and believe they are the best at “their thing.” When it comes to Tableau, we (along with many others) believe they are the best visual analytics and digital-product creation software on the market.
Because they have proven themselves as the dominant player in this regard, Tableau has steadily grown an audience of analysts, executives and business users for over a decade. What I noticed at TC this year was that Tableau was looking to expand its already strong user base. They’re adding product features to fit more use cases for what they would call “business science” users (think advanced technical users, predictive analytics, machine learning and AI) and less-technical users who want to consume instant insights. These were the new features that resonated with me the most. The descriptions I provide are primarily breadcrumbs, so keep an eye out for more detailed release notes in future Tableau versions!
Tableau Business Science: Tableau Model Builder and Scenario Planner
If you want to understand the one-sentence pitch for Tableau business science, this is the crux of it: Make smarter decisions faster.
If you want to go slightly deeper, the intended workflow is something like this:
Tableau Model Builder
Tableau Model Builder is a new feature powered by Einstein Discovery and will be available via an extension object in Tableau Desktop. The mission of this feature is to transform the data science workflow from linear and siloed into one that is iterative and agile. A primary use case of this feature would be to generate predictions that guide collaborative decision-making in your business. Without getting too technical, the high-level workflow for Tableau Model Builder follows this pattern:
Tableau Scenario Planner
Tableau Scenario Planner, powered by Einstein AI assistance, exists to bridge the gap created by traditional BI tools. That gap exists because we tend to report on what happened in the past to make decisions about the future. Tableau Scenario Planner will focus on creating robust simulations, so users can evaluate multiple outcomes and choose between actions.
Tableau Online Becomes Tableau Cloud
Other exciting news shared during Francois Ajenstat’s keynote includes Tableau’s rebranding what was formerly known as Tableau Online to Tableau Cloud. For those who need a refresher on Tableau Cloud vs. Tableau Server, Tableau has the bullet points for you. A primary difference between the two is that in Tableau Cloud, Tableau maintains the hardware while in Tableau Server, your organization maintains it. Server also allows guest access through Core licensing, while Cloud does not allow guest access and requires authentication through TableauID.
Why does this matter? For one, seemingly more features are being released in Tableau Cloud first before hitting Server as Tableau moves increasingly towards a cloud-first approach. Along with this benefit, we’ve already laid out some reasons for shifting from Server to Cloud if this is a conversation you are having internally. Here are a few notable features that are available in Cloud now or will be upon release:
- Data Stories for Tableau – autogenerated stories from a dashboard powered through Natural Language Processing (NLP)
- Table Extensions – build full-fledged data science applications in Tableau
- Tableau Accelerators for Salesforce – get to instant insights connecting your Salesforce instance to one of the 197+ Salesforce accelerators on the Tableau Exchange
Tableau Knows How to Throw a Party!
I highly recommend attending an in-person tech conference if you can. If you are like me and enjoy traveling, conferences like TC are a great way to further your professional development, connect with new folks in the industry and see how businesses are maximizing their analytics. Events like Iron Viz, Devs on Stage and Data Night Out were fantastic events to enjoy with the community. Having some friends with you doesn’t hurt either:
Equally exciting to me as the new feature announcements and Devs on Stage was hearing how notable companies like Amazon and Bentley implemented Tableau in their business. I am fascinated by company stories who embark on a data-driven approach, and conferences are a great way to hear those stories.
Also, a personal note that needs to be shared: Go from light to dark when consuming liquor, not the inverse. I digress.
InterWorks Can Help You Navigate the Newness
While the new Tableau features and examples I mentioned are really exciting, it can be a challenge to understand which one(s) fit your analytics use case. Again, this post only scratches the surface of what is to come in the Tableau ecosystem. As your organization discusses how you can unlock the power of self-service analytics, we would love to have a conversation and support you in those efforts.