The annual Tableau Customer Conference—TCC 2012—was a lot busier and more jam-packed than I thought it was going to be. Last year in Las Vegas there were 1,400 attendees, this year: 2,000 people came. I was on the full go from early on until quite late, barely managed to squeeze in my birthday dinner, and that a day late.
Tableau people are great ambassadors.
As always, everyone from Tableau was engaged, helpful, and committed to helping the attendees have a successful experience. Having worked for a BI software vendor, and with experience of many others, the enthusiasm and passion, the sheer verve, with which the Tableau people approach their work, and their appreciation for their customers, is really good to see.
The game-changing announcement.
This year the big news was transformational:
In-browser, on-Server editing of published Workbooks.
Dashboards and Worksheets can now be edited without downloading them.
This is going to shake up the entire Tableau world once it starts bubbling out. There was a demonstration of it during the main keynote, and it looks great. It opens up the door to all sorts of new possibilities. It also has the potential to dramatically alter the licensing and governance landscapes. I didn't see any information on how they will be affected beyond some recognition that the permissions system will need to accommodate the new Use Cases.
New chart types
Several new chart types were demoed:
- treemaps are really going to be handy and useful;
- treemaps doubling as bar charts open up exciting new opportunities;
- bubble charts are exciting, particularly if they work with pages and have trails a la Hans Rosling (http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_shows_the_best_stats_you_ve_ever_seen.html);
- word clouds are interesting and certainly crowd-pleasing, particularly for the social mediaistas
Tableau now offers forecasting - with an existing time series data set Tableau will extrapolate into the future. The presentation was very cool - a ragged, highly variable series projected forward, and the projected data was a good visual match. They told us that there's a lot of modeling going on behind the scenes. I'm going to be very interested in seeing how this plays out going forward, how today's projected data can be captured and used as history as time passes in real-world scenarios when Tableau's forecasts can be compared to historical fact-will there be a feedback opportunity to improve forecasting over time?
Tableau Desktop has a new Marks card that appears to clarify the visualization characteristics for improved interaction and configuration, making it easier to get what you want.
I didn't get to meet everyone I wanted to, or spend enough time with the people I did manage to get together with. But I did get to spend some really good and fruitful time with some of the people I have tremendous respect for. The Tableau community is one of its great strengths, and I'm frequently humbled by the range and depth the people who make it up.
That's about it for now. More will bubble up once I get ruminating on it.