Tableau brings big updates to its popular data visualization tool

As part of its Tableau 10 release, Tableau has added several new features to the self-service BI and data visualization software in an effort to improve data preparation and deepen analysis.

Each quarter, the editors at SearchBusinessAnalytics recognize a business intelligence or analytics technology for innovation and market impact. The product selected this quarter is the Tableau 10 business intelligence and data visualization tool from Tableau Software.

Product: Tableau 10

Release date: August 2016

What it does

Tableau has been among the most prominent BI and data visualization vendors for several years, but the company continues to add features to its flagship product. Tableau 10, the latest iteration of the software, includes an updated user interface, connectors to new data sources, the ability to join data sources and support for advanced analytics pattern recognition.

Experienced Tableau users are likely to notice the updated interface first. The company said the new layout "gets out of the way" by minimizing clutter on the screen. Features are accessible through side panels, where users can drag and drop filters and graphical elements over their data in the main workspace. Company officials said the goal was to make the data visualization tool feature-rich without bombarding users with too much information at once.

Why it matters

Tableau may currently stand at the top of the data visualization vendor mountain, but it's not standing still in a competitive market. In the past couple of years, advanced analytics has come to be seen as providing much more value than simple reporting, and it's being used by forward-thinking companies as a competitive advantage. The new release of Tableau 10, with support for new data sources and improved integration capabilities, as well as improved advanced analytics features, shows that Tableau is trying to stay relevant in a changing market.

What users say

Matt Chambers, data architect at Clemson University in South Carolina, has been using the new version of Tableau since it was a beta release. He said he likes the new interface from a visual standpoint and feels it is easier to integrate with web dashboards than previous versions. Tableau 10 includes new default view settings that incorporate visual design industry best practices, so users don't have to be expert designers in addition to analysts.

"The new interface is a tremendous improvement from an aesthetics standpoint," Chambers said. "Visualizations look great out of the box."

He also has found value in the new clustering tool, which identifies patterns automatically. Previously, he would have to perform his own custom analyses to identify outliers in data sets, which could be time-consuming. Now, it's done automatically.

"Now, I can just drag the clustering onto the view and it creates it for me," Chambers said.


  • Tableau 10 includes new data source connectors for Google Sheets, Kognitio and QuickBooks Online.
  • The updated data visualization tool supports k-means clustering for advanced pattern detection.
  • Cross-database joins let users pull data from separate SQL Server and Oracle databases.
  • New mobile design features let developers design separate dashboards for mobile and desktop users that pull from the same data sources and dashboards.


Cost for the data visualization tool varies based on the number of users and the number of data sources customers want to connect to, but the desktop version starts at $999 for the personal version. The professional version, which includes support for Tableau Server and Tableau Online, starts at $1,999.

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