Tableau in Small Companies
The companies that have purchased Tableau range in size from giant corporations, such as General Motors and Bank of America, to mid-market companies to sole proprietorships. Through our involvement in the local Tableau User Group, we find that many companies have only one person developing views in Tableau Desktop, and have not purchased any Tableau Server or Tableau Online licenses.
Why Small Companies Buy Tableau
There was a time when data discovery tools (other than Microsoft Excel) were expensive, so only large companies with big budgets could afford them. Then came Tableau.
Once data discovery with Excel isn’t sufficiently easy or visual, Tableau becomes the obvious next stepping stone. Tableau is very affordable; an investment of $2,000 in Tableau Desktop (that’s for license cost + first year maintenance) can supercharge the data analysis capability.
Many companies find that a single Tableau Desktop license is sufficient. After the dashboards are updated, they share the findings in these three common ways (at no additional cost):
- Screenshots from Tableau Desktop are pasted into PowerPoint decks
- PDF files are generated directly from the Tableau Desktop authoring software
- Consumers install Tableau Reader, and the authors provide them packaged workbooks (.TWBX files) for viewing and interacting with the dashboards
Many companies have continued to do this for months or years for large numbers of their employees.
Moving Beyond Tableau Desktop
Each of the above three methods for distributing Tableau reports have their disadvantages. So, what most companies do is invest in either:
- Tableau Online, or
- Tableau Server (on-premise)
Tableau Online is the cloud offering of Tableau Server. With Tableau Online, the server administration and performance tuning is not your responsibility. Both Tableau Server and Tableau Online enable dashboard authors to publish their workbooks, and then users can simply view the dashboards via a browser.
Metric-X is an analytics consulting company that sells and supports Tableau. Located in Michigan, USA, Metric-X services clients throughout the United States. It counts among its Tableau clients Fortune 500 companies, mid-market companies and small businesses. Metric-X’s “Analytics ROI” process for pre-sale and post-sale activities helps its clients see a positive return on their investment in analytics.