After 25 years in analytics, there is nothing I love more than taking data and turning it into something valuable for my clients. Data, by itself, is quite boring and useless. It is what you DO with the data and how you INTERPRET the data into meaningful actions that matter.
Turning Data into a Product: The NI Portal
It was earlier this year that I decided my company would build a product. Until this year, we have been a boutique shop performing custom analytics projects for clients. Now we offer even more.
The first step in building a data product was to determine the best visualization tool to use. My clients need my product to be easy to use, easy to read, and easy to interpret. While I enjoy a good piece of Python code with an API summoning data into a CSV file, I know my clients would prefer to avoid that experience. All of that mess is taken care of by IT gurus behind the scenes and my clients get to view up-to-date information in nice dashboards.
When it came to assessing the various visualization tools out there, it wasn’t even close. For the technical capabilities I needed and the ability to share this product online with customers, Tableau was the only choice. Each tool has its strengths and weaknesses, but for what I needed, Tableau was way ahead.
I Love you Tableau, but…
I have no issue with the technical capabilities of Tableau desktop or Tableau Online. Yes, there are some small features that I would like in Tableau Online, but they’re not urgent. I am more than happy to wait for those.
It’s what Tableau does outside of those technical capabilities that make things way harder than they have to be for someone like me using their tool to build and sell a product. Here are a few examples. I realize some people may say these are technical capabilities, but when I refer to technical capabilities, I mean the ones to create visualizations etc.
First, when I was given a demo of Tableau Online, I asked whether I could FULLY brand the site / product with my own brand. Tableau said yes. When we built the product, we discovered this wasn’t true. The sign-on screen cannot be branded in Tableau Online. I am certainly not the only person out there who has used Tableau Online to build a product and I know we’re all quite irked about this one. I love you Tableau, but I’m still very angry about this one….and I will be until you give me what you said was already there! Clearly your rep was confused between Tableau Online and Server.
The second thing is your license purchasing method. Remember, I’m selling a product. I could have people buying several seats this week, maybe some more next week, etc.
Each time I sell the product, I have to:
- Email my Tableau rep
- Wait a few days to receive a quote
- Click the online button to pay (the only fast step)
I was very excited when your web site stated that you had moved to a monthly pricing model “for greater flexibility and easier growth.” I thought, “That’s perfect! That’s exactly what I need for this growing product.” But alas, you disappointed me again. You only sell annual licenses which is the same as it was before your announcement.
So, here’s what will happen as I sell my product.
- Each license is going to have a different start and end date.
- I’m going to go through a manual quote process for each purchase.
- You’re going to waste a lot of my time.
You’re adding a lot of administration that doesn’t need to happen. I love you Tableau, but what I need, very much, is this:
- Allow me to add and subtract licenses inside Tableau Online (all by myself)
- Bill me for the number of licenses I have in my Online portal each month.
It’s good for me. It provides the monthly flexibility you advertised. It eliminates administrative work for your reps. A win-win for all of us.
[Note: Yes, I understand that I can go ahead and buy a block of licenses, but why would a good business person pay for something until it’s needed?]
Over the Moon with Tableau Online
If you could give me the branded sign-on feature and the automated licensing I describe above, I would be absolutely “over the moon” with Tableau Online and the happiest client you could ever have.
Until next time,
Tracey Smith is an internationally recognized analytics expert, author and speaker. She is one of the most highly respected voices when it comes to business analytics and HR analytics. She is the author of multiple business books and hundreds of articles in a variety of publications. Tracey has worked with and advised organizations, both well-known and little-known, on how to use data analytics to impact the bottom line. If you would like to talk to Tracey about consulting work, the NI Data Portal or speaking engagements, please visit www.numericalinsights.com or contact Tracey Smith through LinkedIn.