Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Visualising Salesforce and Google Analytics Data with Tableau - Initial Impresssions

There seems to be a lot of interest around Tableau at the moment and, having recently taken a close look at Microsoft's Power BI as part of an IoT proof of concept, I thought now would be a good time to investigate Tableau's offering.

Initial impressions are very good. I signed up for Tableau's 14 day free trial, downloaded the desktop client and was soon browsing for interesting sources of data.

Tableau supports an impressive range of file and server types out of the box so it's likely your data bucket of choice is supported. Establishing a connection is simple, just select the connection type and Tableau prompts you for the credentials it needs to access the data source.

I started by exploring our Salesforce instance and within 10 minutes had connected to the back end, selected some objects of interest and generated some nice filtered visualisations, showing the relative sizes of potential opportunities. This is obviously just scratching the surface of what's possible but was impressive nonetheless, both in terms of the final result and ease of use.

I then plugged in to Google Analytics. After popping my credentials into the standard Google OAuth form I was presented with a list of the Google Analytics properties associated with my Google Account. I selected the property associated with this blog and was then able to select the data I wanted to visualise. I thought it might be nice to get a packed bubble chart showing the number of blog visits for the last calendar year, grouped by country, and once I'd filtered out those countries having fewer than 10 visits I was left with the result shown below.

Tableau allows you to share charts in a variety of ways, including good old fashioned printing, PDF export, and image export as used above. There's also the option of combining visualisations to produce dashboards, and to subsequently share these using Tableau Online. This is next on my to do list. :)

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