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 – Tableau (BI)

MUFI: Maintainability, Usability, Functionality, Implement ability

Vendor: Tableau (Select For Vendor Profile)


Tableau is a very similar application to QlikView — in some ways. Tableau does a very good job in the BI areas that it covers, but Tableau only covers around ½ of the complete BI functionality, and it is the premier BI Light application.

Tableau has only three offerings – a rarity in BI where vendors tend to offer a variety of applications that are often quite confusing. Tableau offers Tableau Desktop, Tableau Server, and Tableau Online – their cloud/SaaS offering. However, while they are the distinct offerings regarding how they are priced, and only Tableau Server and Tableau Online are the “full” product, they are all upgraded on the same cycle.

Application Detail

Tableau makes in our opinion the most exciting application in the BI space, and along with QlikView, it has the highest buyer satisfaction level in the BI software category. Tableau is easily the user adoption leader, with users preferring Tableau over any other BI application by a wide margin.

Tableau Matrix

Tableau’s are in our opinion the best application ever developed for analytics. Many of the changes are so simple they are effortless. For instance, with the data of Region in the Column entry and Product Category in the Row entry, the graphics that are applicable are colored, while those that are not applicable are greyed out. Dimensions and Measures may be easily pulled from the left window pane and dragged to a variety of locations – much like the PivotTable functionality in Excel. Switching between different report types is quite easy.

Tableau is a downloadable application but in 2013 Tableau offered a SaaS-based solution.

Tableau Data Connect

Tableau does an excellent job of both connecting to multiple data sources and quickly uploading this information. The types of data sources Tableau can connect to continues to expand.

Tableau Spreadsheet

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that BI will often just connect to a spreadsheet. Sometimes a flat file is all that is required.

Some of the commentaries regarding the speed of Tableau raises eyebrows.

Tableau Venture Financing 1

Some BI applications claim to have the ability to create stunning reports, but Tableau is one of the few that does. Many of the reports we have seen created in Tableau deliver the ultimate objective of any analytical medium, in that they transit educational knowledge.

Tableau Venture Financing 3

Tableau allows just portions of the report to be selected, which provides targeted information on just the on the item selected.

Tableau Vehicle Fuel Efficiency

Tableau reports allow for precise detail, which allows in-depth views into detail. This type of report is groundbreaking, and the interfaces provided by Tableau is highly articulated. 

Tableau Hurricane

Tableau works very well with mapping, in fact, the best we have seen. This report efficiently shows a huge number of hurricanes, their location and their severity for 2005. 

Tableau Land Based

This report taught us which countries have the most land-based oil rigs.

Tableau Offshore Oil

We were quickly able to switch this report to show the offshore rigs, and from here it became apparent that the UK and Norway are the major European offshore oil companies.

We have learned quite a bit from various Tableau reports, both those created by Tableau for marketing purposes as well as those produced by clients that we interview. Tableau seems to have the ability to show information in a way that other BI applications cannot match. Although QlikView is close on their tails in this regard.

It should be recognized that these are sample reports from Tableau, and put together by very highly skilled Tableau resources – and the average Tableau report will be less impactful on average than these. However, users report also being quite satisfied with the daily reports that they can create with Tableau.

Something very interesting about Tableau is that they are getting into forecasting software. Forecasting relies upon a business intelligence back end and is a primary reason that the software vendor SAS is prominent in both forecastings as well as business intelligence. We cover this in our Software Selection Package for Demand Planning.

Tableau is growing faster than any other BI software vendor because of the strength of its application. We see the possibility of Tableau becoming a standard for advanced analysis to a smaller degree than Excel is today – and think the release of a less expensive desktop version of the application – with some disabled functionality would be a fine idea. Tableau is an application, which will continue to grow, benefiting from the overall growth of BI market, but also taking business, particularly from some of the large and inefficient BI applications.

Much is stated about the usability of Tableau, and the term “self-service” is an appealing term and easy to throw around as it is such a desirable objective. However, Tableau is not Excel, (although people with a significant amount of PivotTable experience will have a leg up in using the application) and requires training.

So one should not carry away with its user interface. In recorded videos, Tableau appears amazingly easy to use, however, that is in the hands of an experienced Tableau resource. The application has a high ceiling, but to do the types of powerful analytics that Tableau has become known for, it’s best if a superuser is assigned to help other business users build the reports that they need.

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

The only real issue with Tableau is that the application can seem to be so easy to use that the project ends up being understaffed. We explain in the BI category analysis that none of the BI applications are truly self-service. Users can be expected to make variations on previously created reports when they gain the experience, but should not be expected to create new reports, particularly original reports from scratch.

Likelihood of Implementation Success

This accounts for both the application and 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.

Risk Management Approach

Our staffing estimations in our Project Planning Package for Tableau provides the necessary guidelines to staff Tableau implementations, and these are based upon evaluating actual Tableau projects.

Finished With Your Analysis?

To go back to the Software Selection Package page for the BI Light software category. Or goto this link to see other analytical products for Tableau.