Executive Summary

  • This is the Brightwork Research & Analysis software rating series.
  • We rate both the software and estimate the risk of implementing each application.

MUFI Rating & Risk for Tableau (Forecasting)

MUFI: Maintainability, Usability, Functionality, Implement ability

Vendor: Tableau (Select For Vendor Profile)


Tableau is the most innovative software vendor in business intelligence. Therefore it was most interesting to learn of Tableau entering the forecasting market. One has to understand the history of forecasting software – which is explained in the introduction to this package, to appreciate why we are optimistic regarding the future of Tableau for forecasting. Forecasting software has most frequently placed the mathematics ahead of the user interface and usability, and the result has been that complex forecasting systems have not improved forecast accuracy anywhere near as much as they have been predicted to. With Tableau’s excellent user interface, they are an intriguing software vendor to enter this space.

Application Detail

What is most interesting is how seamlessly Tableau creates a forecast.

Tableau Produce Forecast

No particular application is required to perform forecasting in Tableau – it all comes in one application. Forecasting merely another feature of their primary application. Here we have a trendline selected. A forecast can be generated for future periods by only performing a right mouse click and selecting Forecast from the menu.

Tableau Forecast Specifics

The forecast length and its aggregation, as well as the forecast model, can be selected in this view. One also has the option of “Fill missing values with zeroes,” which tells the application that the data periods were zero rather than non-values that changes the forecast.

Tableau Forecast Generation

Now the light blue line shows the forecasted value. Notice the forecast is picking up the declining trend that is apparent in the history and replicating this history.

Tableau Forecasting Statistics

Tableau will show some forecasting statistics – by selecting to view the Model.

Tableau Data Analysis

Probably the most exciting feature of forecasting in Tableau is the ability to perform analytics in addition to performing prediction. Here the view has been switched to provide the data points in one of Tableau’s excellent analytic views. Multiple tabs can be kept open, allowing the user to change between any analysis and forecasting.

Forecasting in Tableau is one of the most interesting things we have ever tested in software. Tableau is not a forecasting application that is a direct competitor with any of the applications on this list. A standard statistical demand planning application is designed to forecast large numbers of products and product locations combinations. Tableau is just the opposite; it has created what is referred to as an exploratory forecasting application. Tableau’s strength is not the forecasting algorithms; those can be found in greater depth in any of the significant demand planning applications – Tableau’s unique offering is the combination of statistical forecasting along with the most potent analytical front end.

Combined with analytics, it would allow an experienced user to do a very detailed and in-depth analysis of various dimensions and measures. Tableau has the most flexible data environment we have tested, and applying this new technology to forecasting we predict will yield some fascinating results. Tableau can be an excellent prototype environment. Once Tableau is used to determine what to do, the improved forecasting approach can be used then configure other demand planning applications to run the same approach repeatedly. It could also lead to new ways of preparing the data before it is even entered into the forecasting system. We would look forward to using the application for uncovering forecasting relationships that have never been discovered at many companies.

This forecasting functionality is still new. Tableau will we think to develop it more in the future. Tableau does not offer a separate forecasting application, so we struggled with where to categorize this functionality, but we decided upon the demand planning area, as we wanted to make sure that those looking specifically into demand planning applications were aware of Tableau. Its forecasting functionality is just another reason to migrate to Tableau for BI.

MUFI Scores

All scores out of a possible 10.

MUFI Scores

Search for the vendor in this table using the search bar in the upper right of the table. Shortening Key: 
  • Ma. = Maintainability
  • Us. = Usability
  • Fu. = Functionality
  • Im. = Implementability
Average Score for Big ERP5. ERP
Average Score for CRM6.
Average Score for Small and Medium ERP8.386.78.5Small and Medium ERP
Average Score for Finance8.88.888.8Finance
Average Score for Demand Planning7.67.277.1Demand Planning
Average Score for Supply Planning6.76.976.8Supply Planning
Average Score for Production Planning6.86.976.9Production Planning
Average Score for BI Heavy5. Heavy
Average Score for PLM77.26.87.3PLM
Average Score for BI Light7.78.798.3BI Light
Arena Solutions Arena PLM 10101010PLM
AspenTech AspenOne48107Production Planning
Birst 88.5108BI Light
ERPNext10107.510Small and Medium ERP
Delfoi Planner866.57Production Planning
Demand Works Smoothie SP910710Supply Planning
Hamilton Grant RM1098.59PLM
IBM Cognos2.731.53BI Heavy
Infor Epiphany7865CRM
Infor Lawson8767Big ERP
Intuit QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions9959Finance
JDA DM97.588Demand Planning
Microsoft Dynamics CRM2322CRM
NetSuite CRM6433CRM
Netsuite OneWorld7788Big ERP
Oracle BI4436BI Heavy
Oracle CRM On Demand4535CRM
Oracle Demantra533.54.5Demand Planning
Oracle JD Edwards World4136Big ERP
Oracle RightNow6745CRM
PlanetTogether Galaxy APS10101010Production Planning
Preactor8737Production Planning
QlikTech QlikView99109BI Light
Rootstock9899Small and Medium ERP
Sage X38878Big ERP
Salesforce Enterprise88.597.5CRM
SAP APO DP3432Demand Planning
SAP APO PP/DS2243Production Planning
SAP APO SNP3484Supply Planning
SAP BI/BW1.5242BI Heavy
SAP Business Objects32.573BI Heavy
SAP ECC336.53Big ERP
SAP SmartOps4475.5Supply Planning
SAS BI6.5796BI Heavy
SAS Demand Driven Forecasting7897Demand Planning
Tableau (BI)9101010BI Light
Tableau (Forecasting)10859Demand Planning
Teradata86.39.76BI Heavy
ToolsGroup SO99 (Forecasting)7897Demand Planning
ToolsGroup SO99 (Supply)56107Supply Planning

Vendor and Application Risk

Tableau forecasting is not a separate application from Tableau “BI.” Forecasting is simply another thing that Tableau can do in addition to analytics. Forecasting is simply an added benefit that companies that use Tableau receive from the application. The main risks with Tableau are how well the users are trained to configure and set up the application. After this, the forecasting portion is simple. Tableau does not have sophisticated forecasting functionality, and this makes the use of Tableau for low forecasting risk.

Likelihood of Implementation Success

This accounts for both the application and the vendor-specific risk. In our formula, the total implementation risk is application + vendor + buyer risk. The buyer specific risk could increase or decrease this overall likelihood and adjust the values that you see below.

Likelihood of Application Implementation Success and Failure

Estimates are for a typical project. A specific implementation requires details from the project to make a project-specific estimate.

Search for the application in this table using the search bar in the upper right of the table.
ApplicationProb of Implementation SuccessProb of Implementation Failure
SAP Smartops0.390.61
NetSuite CRM0.460.54
Sugar CRM0.620.48
Base CRM0.910.09
SAP CRM0.350.65
Salesforce Enterprise0.720.28
QlikTech QlikView0.820.18
Tableau (BI)0.980.02
SAP Crystal Reports0.460.54
SAS BI0.760.24
Oracle BI0.350.65
IBM Cognos0.230.77
Infor Epiphany0.580.42
Microsoft Dynamics CRM0.260.74
Oracle RightNow CRM0.410.59
Oracle CRM On Demand0.360.64
SAP Business Objects0.320.68
SAP BI/BW0.250.75
SAP PLM0.290.71
Hamilton Grant RM0.890.11
Arena Solutions0.960.04
Delfoi Planner0.70.3
PlanetTogether Galaxy APS0.960.04
AspenTech AspenOne0.550.45
SAP APO PP/DS0.270.73
Demand Works Smoothie SP0.930.07
ToolsGroup SO99 (Supply)0.820.18
Demand Works Smoothie0.960.04
Tableau (Forecasting)0.90.1
SAS Demand Driven Forecasting0.820.18
ToolsGroup SO99 (Forecasting)0.860.14
JDA DM0.570.43
Oracle Demantra0.330.67
SAP APO DP0.280.72
Intuit QB Enterprise0.80.2
Microsoft Dynamics AX0.40.6
SAP Business One0.490.51
Sage X30.620.38
Infor Lawson0.580.42
Epicor ERP0.40.6
Oracle JD Edwards World0.310.69
Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne0.360.64
SAP ERP ECC/R/30.320.68
NetSuite OneWorld0.650.35

Risk Definition

See this link for more on our categorizations of risk. We also offer a Buyer Specific Risk Estimation as a service for those that want a comprehensive analysis.

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