Tableau is an disruptive technology that changed the way that people interface with data. This tool allows creatives, data scientists, students, and professionals to level the playing field with beginners by utilizing an intuitive design. This doesn’t mean that it is simple, but exactly the opposite. The tool can scale with the skill of the user, creating opportunities for use cases across business units and projects. The tool, also, allows for compatibility wlith live data and large quantities of data stored locally or through a cloud/server connection. This allows it to be used in pretty much every situation and for any skill levels.
When Tableau started, it’s goal was to “make databases and spreadsheets understandable to ordinary people”. This business case was vast and consuming of most profit and non-profit companies. By focusing most of their profit based work in business intelligence, they found that most companies were looking for less expensive ways to get real time views of their data through dashboarding and reporting. On the non-profit side, they actively look for educational systems and teaching opportunities to get this software in the hands of the people who will be soon paid to virtualize data. They focused in on database and data visualization in their teachings. By creating it as a interactive and transformable software, it allowed them to scale it to different companies and build out their company to what it is today. There were ways to look at data before this, but they didn’t have the intuitive design that Tableau brought to the table. They typically required coding and a number of other softwares to get the outcome that they desired. By giving all this in one package, more people are open to learning it rather than the daunting nature of some other data packages.
This structure has paid off for them, creating vast success in the past 15 years. They went public in 2013 on the NYSE as a growing technology company, something that shows the scale of their reach and the size of their revenues each year. Also, from the years 2012-2017, they were known as leaders in the Gartner Magic Quadrant analysis which tests and compares different virtualization softwares that are currently being offered to the market. This is very impressive because they are up against Microsoft, IBM, SAP, and Oracle for virtualization and up until recently, they were the standard. Recently, Microsoft has brought PowerBI to the forefront by offering it at a much lower price than Tableau. This has forced Tableau to stay agile and create free to use parts of the platform. This agility is how Tableau needs to stay in regards to their business structure moving forward to fend off new softwares and stay a market leader.
Personally, for me, Tableau opened my eyes to embracing data and seeing how I can make that a marketable trait moving forward into work. When I started applying to internships out of the MIS major, there isn’t a singular direction you go because of the vast nature of the technology industry. I decided that I would focus in on data analytics and applied for jobs that had those skill sets. I ended up taking an internship with PricewaterhouseCoopers and analyzing data for an entire summer while providing insights into financial positions to our clients. Without being exposed to Tableau, I would have avoided this and wanted to go into a more traditional route. After finding that passion and spending that summer with the company, I ended up getting exposed to an Oracle team based out of Philadelphia and accepted a full-time role with them. So without Tableau, I may not have been exposed to the kind of experiences I did because I was not initially exposed to data visualization. This software was not only a disruptive technology in the field when it came out, but a disruptive technology within people’s lives who were not exposed to this practice.