Why would someone not use Tableau?

The limitations of using Tableau are:

  • Not cost-effective: Tableau is not that cost-effective when we compare it well with the other available data visualization tools. In addition to this, it has software upgrades, proper deployment, maintenance, and also training people for using the tool.
  • Not so secure: When it comes to data, everyone is extra cautious. Tableau focussed on security issues but fails to provide centralized data-level security. It pushes for row-level security and creates an account for every user which makes it more prone to security glitches.
  • BI capabilities are not enough: Tableau lacks basic BI capabilities like large-scale reporting, building data tables, or creating static layouts. It has limited result-sharing capabilities, email notification configuration is limited to admins, and the vendor doesn’t support trigger-based notifications.

Despite its superior visualizing and designing capabilities and its other advantages, Tableau’s limitations are quite numerous, which is why they should be taken into serious consideration.

1. High Cost

Tableau is not the most expensive visualization software, especially compared to such business intelligence giants as Oracle’s and IBM’s solutions. All the same, the license is quite costly for most small to medium companies, which makes it one of the considerable Tableau’s disadvantages. Also, the software requires proper deployment, implementation, maintenance and staff training that come at a sizeable price. Therefore, its high cost makes Tableau the choice of primarily large businesses.

2. Inflexible Pricing

Tableau’s sales team is not flexible enough to provide a case-by-case approach for their customers. Ignoring the fact that each company has its own unique requirements to the visualization tool package, the Tableau sales model requires clients to purchase the extended license from the start. As a result, a lot of companies that use Tableau arrive at the conclusion that they don’t need all their licensed features. They would prefer buying a set of required ones and scale them if necessary.

3. Poor After-Sales Support

On multiple message boards, users complain that Tableau software lacks proper after-sales maintenance. If a customer has a software performance problem, the support team doesn’t settle the matter by investigating the problem’s root and eliminating it. The best they do is to advise purchasing a feature, which will compensate for their software’s shortcoming.

4. Security Issues

Since visualizing solutions manipulate some confidential data, the vendors draw special attention to security enhancement. Despite Tableau ’s deep concern for information safety, it fails to provide centralized data-level security. It just allows establishing a row-level security, which stipulates that every user has his/her own account. A great number of accounts increases the chances that the system may be hacked.

5. IT Assistance for Proper Use

Although the software allows for certain ease in its routine application, Tableau still requires significant involvement of an IT department in its further configuration and basic functionality expansion. Many operations require the creation of SQL queries, which is impossible without using the services of a skilled developer. Even though untrained business users may leverage the solution, they can not get the best out of it without the assistance of IT.

6. Poor BI Capabilities

As previously mentioned, the tool provides best-in-class information visual interpretation. However, it lacks functionality required for a full-fledged business intelligence tool, such as large-scale reporting, the building of data tables and static layouts.

Also, the solution has a limited capacity for result sharing. Its notification functionality is quite simple, and only an admin, not end-users, can configure scheduled email subscription. A piece of code in Python allows us to set robust trigger-based notifications, but the vendor does not support the option.

7. Poor Versioning

Only recent Tableau versions support revision history, while for the older ones, software rolling back is impossible.

8. Embedment Issues

Although the vendor claims that its tool can be easily embedded into any business IT landscape, in reality, the solution’s capabilities do not allow for a smooth embedment. Seamless Tableau’s integration into a company’s product is a real challenge from both the financial and technical points of view.

9. Time- and Resource-Intensive Staff Training

Basic use of the application does not demand hyper-focused knowledge in Tableau. However, the tool’s visualization potential is nearly unlimited, while the learning curve is incredibly steep for non-analyst users. Getting to know all of the tool’s capabilities without comprehensive employee training is nearly impossible. The learning part alone, on both the development and consumption side, may take weeks or months, before one can make the best use of the tool’s functionality and get an immense benefit from it. At the same time, it increases the cost of ownership significantly.