A 5 year Tableau journey
My Tableau journey started in 2011 with the Tableau Customer Conference in Las Vegas, their first customer conference outside of Seattle. It was also the first time the customer conference crossed the 1,000 attendee mark. There were less than 10 sponsors; all of us were excited to be part of a movement. Fast forward five years to today: Tableau has continued to grow the conference dramatically and maintain the same intense level of excitement and sense of belonging. That movement, however, has gone from something a bit subversive in 2011 to something more mainstream in 2016.
From conference rooms to concert halls
As Bob Dylan famously sings, “The times they are a changin’.” He was rightly (in my opinion) awarded a Nobel prize in literature. If the Nobel committee gave out a Nobel Prize for business and technology culture, Tableau and the Tableau partner ecosystem would be deserving recipients. Five years ago, IT professionals fought like crazy to keep Tableau out as it broke so many of the established “rules” of business intelligence. It couldn’t possibly be a viable path for a serious company, but Tableau could not be denied. Tableau and Tableau’s partners (like Paxata) worked hard over the past five years to make Tableau champions successful and turn Enterprise IT leaders into advocates.
What trends set the stage for this rapid evolution?
- Big Data – Big Data opened the eyes of the business to the tremendous opportunities in untapped data repositories. IT also acknowledges that one-size-fits-all from a data management perspective wouldn’t work in this new world.
- Data-Driven Consumers => Data-Driven Businesses – The consumerization of data access in our personal lives has crossed over into our business lives and, today, almost every company has a mandate to use data to make key business decisions quickly. Self-service plays a huge role in speeding up the time-to-insight pipeline, not just at the Tableau visualization layer, but at the data preparation layer as well.
- Advances in core data management technologies – Hadoop started as a specialized platform for some pretty sophisticated analytic exercises against “Big Data”, but it quickly became clear that a schema-on-read model with elastic, parallel compute at the point where data lives made a lot of sense from a general data management perspective, especially in a world where agility and time-to-insight is king. However, IT governance, transparency and the ability to operationalize analytics is still critical. Advancements in the Hadoop-based modern data management stack have made a fundamentally self-service, enterprise-grade world a reality.
TC16 is a fantastic opportunity to hear from many companies who have responded to these trends, have adopted Tableau, have put together enterprise-grade technology stacks behind Tableau, and are wildly successful in their journey to becoming truly data-driven. Tableau even has a microsite for IT attendees http://tc16.tableau.com/IT-at-TC.
I also encourage you to speak with a number of vendors (Paxata is at Booth 313, by the way!) to get a sense of the key building blocks that go into making Tableau an enterprise-grade answer to today’s data landscape and analytics demands.
Safe travels and see you in Austin!