Tableau data visualization: 5 tips for stronger integration and insights (benefits + tutorial)

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Tableau data visualization is an effective way to unlock the value of your data and reveal actionable business insights. Ultimately, these insights can help you: improve your competitiveness, deliver better customer outcomes, and streamline your internal processes.  

In this blog post, we’ll explore five tips for using Tableau, as well as how you can integrate it with CloverDX. 

Tip #1: Manual data prep is not enough 

Business users are reinventing how organizations prepare and assemble data. For this reason, demand for self-service data prep is growing. Users are becoming smarter and moving more data around to feed different analytics and insights. 

The reality? Analysts are spending their valuable time massaging data. Manual data prep is no longer enough. Companies must move to small enterprise approaches which govern the data and manage an increased number of sources through automated workflows. 

For Tableau to integrate with your data infrastructure, a fully managed data pipeline is needed.  

Tip #2: it’s simple and intuitive to use Tableau with available data sources 

Tableau has a simple process for accessing readily available data sources: 

  • Access any web source using its new web data connector 
  • Benefit from a robust in-place data interpreter for automated data quality 
  • Simplify automated workflows with a unified SDK  

On the cloud side, Tableau connects to Amazon AuroraGoogle Cloud SQL and a host of Microsoft Azure data warehouses and database services. Also, Tableau has an excellent processing speed for the connection to SAP HANA and SAP BW and The Tableau Web Connector (WDC) is also great. Check it out hereUsing Tableau Web Data Connector (WDC). 

Tip #3: Prototyping is key to successful data management 

Prototyping your data integration and analytics is a very important task. This will feed into effective visualization down-the-road. 

This tends to be a balance between automated governance and workflow. The positive impact of data prep is to achieve this activity cheaply. But, these processes often fall short, failing to take into account the how and the who of the data activity. 

Tip #4: Orchestration of data flow is essential 

Orchestrating disparate data sets enables companies to create their own symphony of business rules and data alignment. This allows businesses to compose automated processes, ultimately limiting human intervention, increasing data quality, and accelerating time to value  

As Tableau users wrestle with more data and a greater demand for analytics visualizationbetter automation will become the key to keeping pace. It’s not just a case of bringing the message to the IT department; everyone needs to become part of the data management solution.   

Tip #5: The cloud pairs well with Tableau, but don’t forget the strategy 

Tableau business users know the cloud is great to get started quickly – anyone with an internet connection can access all the compute and storage they need. But without an architecture strategy based on the value of the data and visualizationsyou could be wasting money on unsubstantiated activity.  

The cloud is expensive when you don’t run your operations efficiently. Business users often avoid making tough decisions with smaller datasets. Buas these systems grow, their friends in IT aren’t going to be happy with a big bill for a small picture. 

Data visualization paired with data integration: the perfect combination 

The problem nowadays is no longer the visual element — Tableau data visualization made that simple and convenient. The problem is efficiently moving all your data from myriad of disparate sources to one centralized application in the correct format. 

Regardless of their industry and field, prospective clients tell us: yes, Tableau can visualize and analyze data. But how can we move our data into Tableau cleanly, efficiently, and inexpensively, when there is so much of it and from so many sources? 

We always manage to show how Clover is easy to operate, yet robust enough to integrate, harness, and funnel different data sources into Tableau for visual analysis. 

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CloverDX takes care of automatically updating, extracting, and feeding Tableau with the most recent data possible. 

The key to success of modern analytics lies in your ability to provide quick and trustworthy business insights. Our customer, EE, changed their approach to analytics by using a Tableau and CloverDX combo. 

With the help of these rapid and easy-to-use tools, EE created a smallflexible analytics team that now works autonomously, bypassing lengthy, rigid, and expensive IT processes. Adapting to their users’ needs now takes a matter of hours and days instead of weeks or months. 

Though our clients come from different backgrounds, we notice that most share a common problem: bringing their data together.  

So, how do I align Tableau data visualization with CloverDX? 

Tableau and CloverDX work well together – from target to source. Clover handles the data integration, while Tableau creates the visualizations 

But how to do you integrate Clover using Web Data Connector (WDC)? Here's our simple step-by-step tutorial. 

How to set up CloverDX as a web service and load data from any source into Tableau using Web Data Connector (WDC). 

Web Data Connector was introduced in Tableau 9.1. Put simply, it allows Tableau users to connect new categories of data sources that are not directly supported with pre-packaged Tableau Data Connector. 

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This is great for CloverDX users, as CloverDX Server can be configured to expose any CloverDX graph or Jobflow as a Web Service. So CloverDX will serve as a Tableau Web Data Connector and provide a simple, flexible gateway for Tableau users to quickly gain access to more corporate data. 

This is a remarkably powerful idea as CloverDX can: 

  • Provide non-intrusive REST façades to legacy system data (and combinations of legacy system data). Let CloverDX orchestrate and monitor complex interactions with your legacy systems, surfacing only a simple, intuitive interface to the Tableau Desktop users. 
  • Eliminate persistent intermediate storage of sensitive data, delivering it on demand directly from the legacy source to the Tableau desktop. 
  • Accept user credentials allowing each Tableau user to receive only data for which they are authorized. 

A simple Tableau Web Data Connector application can then be built to act as a bridge between a Tableau desktop and a CloverDX Launch Service. You can easily deploy such a Tableau WDC application in the same application server that runs your CloverDX Server. 

A Tableau WDC compliant web application need only provide a simple set of callback services: 

  • initCallback() – Tableau calls this first to establish connection with data source 
  • headersCallback() – Tableau expects this method to return the Metadata definition for the dataset 
  • dataCallback() - Tableau expects this method to return the actual data 
  • shutdownCallback() – Tableau calls this method to terminate the interaction with the source. 

The full Tableau WDC SDK, documentation and a tutorial is available for download here. 

Unlock your data value with Tableau and Clover 

Tableau is a powerful tool for visualizing data. – it’s the perfect way to make data more accessible and digestible for techies and non-techies alike.  

However, to get the most out of Tableau, it helps to have automated data pipelines and integration with a tool like Clover. That’s because manual data preparation is problematic. And with the ease of integration with data sources like AWS and Azure, you’ll want to run plenty of data through your data pipelines and into Tableau. 

So, it’s the high-yield, compelling solution to pair software tools like Clover and Tableau together. Then, you’ve got a complete, automated system that provides real insights, unlocks the value of your data, and helps your business grow. 

Posted on June 01, 2017
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