Tableau Software, the leading analytics platform, today announced a roadmap of product innovations in front of more than 17,000 customers and partners at its annual conference in New Orleans. Tableau introduced Ask Data, which leverages natural language processing to enable people to ask questions in an intuitive, conversational manner that makes it easier for far more people to engage with data and produce analytical insights. The company also announced plans to expand its platform capabilities with a new add-on product, Tableau Prep Conductor, which enables organizations to schedule and manage self-service data preparation at scale. These features, as well as a host of other exciting product innovations aimed at making analytics more accessible and more powerful, are included within the Tableau 2019.1 beta, available today.
“Our customers want to enable more people than ever to use analytics within their organizations, and they are looking for more intuitive and natural ways to interact with data.” said Francois Ajenstat, Chief Product Officer at Tableau. “Ask Data, our new integrated natural language capability, lowers the barrier to entry for analytics so people can ask questions in plain language and get insights faster. And with the growing volume and complexity of data, customers want to ensure that their data is always up to date and can be trusted for decision making. So, with Tableau Prep Conductor and our new data modeling capabilities, Tableau makes managing data easier than ever.”
An Entirely New Way to Interact with Data Naturally
Tableau’s new Ask Data allows people to ask questions in plain language and instantly get a response right in Tableau. Customers can simply type a question such as, “What were my sales this month?,” and Tableau will return an interactive visualization with no need to learn data dimensions, measures, or any data structure. Ask Data uses sophisticated algorithms that are driven by an understanding of the person’s intent, not keywords, which helps Tableau understand a person’s question, anticipate needs, and allow for smart visualization selection.
Fully integrated into the Tableau platform in Tableau Server and Tableau Online, Ask Data works with existing published data sources and requires no additional setup. People can start exploring data already published by simply typing their question, making analytics accessible to a broader group of people regardless of their data skills. Ask Data works with an organization’s governance requirements by leveraging existing permissions and security policies defined by IT. It is available immediately in beta for Tableau Creators and Tableau Explorers.
Bringing Scale and Visibility to the Data Preparation Process
The Tableau 2019.1 beta also introduces Tableau Prep Conductor, which enables data preparation at scale by centralizing the administration, scheduling, and monitoring of data prep flows in a reliable and scalable environment. Tableau Prep Conductor is a separately licensed add-on product to Tableau Online and Tableau Server.
This new capability builds off the success of the Tableau Prep desktop application, already in use by more than 9,000 organizations. It automates flows created in Tableau Prep to ensure that clean and analysis-ready data is always available. IT departments will also gain peace of mind with increased visibility into the health of data sources via centrally managed flows and alerts.
Tableau Prep Conductor is easy to manage because it is directly integrated with Tableau Server and Tableau Online. It uses the same user permissions, familiar administration views, and easy-to-use processes to publish, schedule, and share data in Tableau.
Making Sophisticated Analysis more Intuitive with New Data Modeling Capabilities
Tableau also showcased upcoming data modeling capabilities to help customers more easily analyze complex data without having to learn advanced database concepts or write custom SQL code. Tableau will automatically recognize data relationships stored in databases like Oracle and SQL Server, leveraging common data warehouse standards like star and snowflake schemas. Customers can also create new relationships in the data with a simple visual drag and drop experience.
With these advancements coming in 2019, Tableau will handle multiple levels of detail in a single data source, making it easy for customers to slice and dice multi-dimensional data without writing specialized calculations to control aggregations like averages and totals. And since these enhanced data sources can answer a wider variety of questions, organizations will be able to consolidate the number of distinct data sources they create and maintain.
Tableau and Amazon Web Services Help Customers Seize the Power of Cloud Analytics
Tableau announced a new initiative with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to help customers move to a modern analytics platform in the cloud. The flexibility, scalability, and reliability of AWS cloud services coupled with the intuitiveness of Tableau’s visual analytics platform provides a modern approach that is both agile and secure.
Today, as part of the announcement, the company launched a new Tableau Server on AWS Healthcare Quick Start to help customers deploy more quickly with the support they need to meet HIPAA regulations. The initiative expands on the existing relationship and integrations between Tableau and AWS Services including Amazon Redshift, Amazon Athena, Amazon EMR, and more. The companies also demonstrated a new Tableau Extension for Amazon SageMaker, which provides access to the fully managed machine learning service directly from a Tableau dashboard. Tableau and AWS will work together in the field to bring these and other joint capabilities to customers.
New Developer Program Gives Developers Unprecedented Access and Support
Tableau also announced the launch of the new Tableau Developer Program to help customers and ISV’s integrate, customize and extend the Tableau platform faster. Free of charge and open to all developers, members receive a Tableau Online development sandbox with documentation and sample code, as well as unique access to Tableau’s engineering team and a Developer Community Forum for support. With this new program, Tableau is giving more resources to developers so they can build powerful solutions for embedded analytics deployments, dashboard extensions, custom data connectors, data science platform integrations and rich automation of business workflows. For more information visit tableau.com/developer.
New Entry Level Certification Program for the Next Generation of Data People
As data skills become increasingly valuable across organizations and job functions, recognized certifications can become an invaluable indicator of required skills, as well as a powerful addition to a resume. LinkedIn named data skills among 2018’s most needed job skills while Forbes recently cited a Glassdoor survey that showed Tableau among the Top 10 most valuable technical skill sets. With that in mind, Tableau’s new Desktop Specialist exam will serve as an entry-level certification that indicates mastery of basic functionality and helps data enthusiasts more easily leverage the Tableau certification portfolio. Attendees at Tableau Conference will be able to sit in on the first offering of these certification exams. And in an effort to help raise the next generation of analytics natives, Tableau will extend the new certification at a discount for students. Learn more about the Tableau Academic program here.