Welcome to the party, Tableau

Tableau today shared its roadmap to enter the data preparation market with a future product offering that is separate and distinct from Tableau Desktop. As a vendor that has been doing data prep longer than any other vendor and sells to over 40,000 organizations globally, we’re uniquely positioned to offer some advice to Tableau.

First, understand that data preparation is essential for both analytic and operational use cases. It’s not just about delivering data to Tableau BI users. The real value comes when you can prepare once and deliver to a wide variety of users and use cases. And to do this, you’ll need the cooperation of your key competitors (like Qlik, IBM and Microsoft) to support output to their native BI file formats. You’ll also have to partner with other vendors that provide predictive analytics tools, data warehousing, ETL functionality, and more.

Second, don’t make the cost of data prep a barrier to deploying throughout the organization. Respondents in the last Gartner BI Magic Quadrant expressed dissatisfaction with Tableau license costs, earning you a dubious score as the second highest license cost in limiting broader BI deployment. And to compound the issue, your early partnership with Alteryx for data preparation didn’t sit well with users as they were the third highest vendor indicated where cost is a barrier. Users need the flexibility to license data preparation based on the different use cases and pricing that matches the value delivered.

Third, don’t shy away from the dark data. The vast majority of enterprise data is not structured and is locked in a variety of formats. Often it is multi-structured in formats like PDF reports, web pages, log files, XML and more. But unlocking and blending this data is often essential for providing more complete insights and better predictive models.

Finally, welcome to the party. Your entry will help educate the market that there are robust data preparation tools available that can significantly reduce the time and cost to deliver insights throughout the organization.