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Tableau’s Product Ecosystem



Ryan Sleeper

Key differences between Tableau Reader, Tableau Desktop: Personal, Tableau Desktop: Professional, Tableau Online, and Tableau Server

Which Tableau product is best for you? It’s important to remember that Tableau is a brand; not a product. Discover the differences between Tableau Desktop, Tableau Reader, Tableau Server, and Tableau Online, and how to decide which product is best for your analytics requirements.

This is Ryan with Playfair Data TV, and in this video, we’re going to talk a little bit about Tableau’s product ecosystem, because I find this can be a fairly confusing topic for a beginner. And the reason it can be confusing is because when you get started with Tableau, you might have a boss or a stakeholder or a colleague that tells you to go download Tableau.

Well, you don’t simply download Tableau. Tableau is a brand, and under that brand umbrella there are several different products. You see here on the screen just a list of some of the different products they have. Tableau Desktop– personal, Tableau Desktop– Professional, Tableau Server, Tableau Online, Tableau Public. The list actually continues from here. This isn’t even a comprehensive list, believe it or not.

But the choice of what product you choose comes down to a combination of these four things. What type of data do you need to connect to? How do you need to distribute the files once you’ve built them? So once you’ve built a report, do you need to distribute them offline, or do you also need to distribute them to the cloud or to a server? Whether or not the reports that you build need to be automated, and what level of security do you need?

Most of the videos on the Tableau track at Playfair Data TV focus on that second line, Tableau Desktop– Professional. This is the most robust version of the desktop product, meaning that you would build something on your own desktop, and then you’d have the option then to publish it to the cloud or an on-premises server through products called Tableau Server or Tableau Online, but both of those products require incremental licenses for you to do that.

But we’ll be focused on that second line, Tableau Desktop– Professional. This allows you to connect to any data source that Tableau can currently connect to. You can distribute the files, like I said, either offline or in the cloud or on a server. Tableau Desktop itself has no automation. So if you need a refresh a report, there’s one extra step you need to take, which is very easy. We’ll explain that in a future video. The security is going to be as good as your network security. So if it’s offline, it’s going to be as good as your own network security.

So just a quick background on the workflow. You would build something in Tableau Desktop– Professional on your own machine. If you had a license to either Tableau Server, Tableau Online, or Tableau Public, which is a free version of Tableau. You could then post what you’ve built in Tableau Desktop to one of those three products.

This has got even more confusing as of May 2018, because Tableau has released a new product offering called Tableau Creator that bundles some of these products together, including Tableau Desktop– Professional and Tableau Online. They also have a new version of Tableau. It’s a data preparation tool called Tableau Prep.

So this is just something to keep an eye on. I wanted to share this so you know what you’re working with as you get started with Playfair Data TV. But this is constantly changing. It’s a good thing to keep an eye on. But the choice is going to come down to a combination of these four things.

This has been Ryan with Playfair Data TV – thanks for watching!