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Is Tableau a good fit for embedding?

Written by Praveen Sam
Monday 1 March, 2021

is Tableau a good fit for embedding?

As a computer enthusiast I have always been fascinated by how computer processors function and how they can be leveraged to make a plethora of tasks possible with our modern day lightweight devices. One of the most important advances in computing architecture was released in the 60’s as an innovation on one of the world’s first supercomputers, the Atlas Computer. This computer introduced a concept known as context-switching which allowed a computer to effectively utilize a single thread processor by switching between multiple tasks depending on which one it was able to progress on at a given moment.

This idea of context-switching, while a powerful paradigm for how a computer’s processor time can be optimized, is a pretty poor analogy for how a typical knowledge worker can process multiple tasks. A computer can move tasks from short term to long term memory instantaneously and purge their buffer for new tasks, however we generally tend to have multiple ideas lingering from prior tasks.

Context-switching can hamper gaining value from analytical solutions and eliminating context-switching for consumers of your enterprise’s analytics could be the start of building up that data-driven organization you have always dreamt of.

How does one begin with this however? By providing a custom-built and white-labelled one stop solution where viewers see only relevant dashboards and can take action immediately on them.

The Hype: Embedded Dashboards

I am a sucker for an interactive dashboard within websites or portals I am looking at, and I am willing to bet I am not the only one. An interactive dashboard within a portal allows for exploration of multiple possibilities which customizes the experience for each user and ensures a truly immersive experience (Black Mirror: Bandersnatch anyone??).

Embedding a dashboard within your website or within a portal that you share with others allows for your viewers to engage in ways that are just not possible with static views. They could for instance:

  • Compare multiple options and review forecasted implications

  • Dig deep into the numbers presented before them

  • Quickly compare insights across multiple business entities

  • Follow the story of how you reached your conclusions and be impressed with your analytical prowess

Wouldn’t it be great if you could leverage a tool that is powerful at building custom dashboards and works well with a plethora of databases and data lakes and if you could combine this seamlessly with a web development kit of your choice?

This is definitely possible, do you want to know more...?

Matrix pills

 

The Toolkit: Tableau and JavaScript

Tableau has been an industry leader in BI reporting solutions for close to a decade for good reason and has been the favourite for many users across a wide range of industries with varying skill levels. Tableau really simplifies the process of connecting to multiple data sources and building powerful dashboards by providing the possibility to build powerful dashboards within its drag and drop interface without the need for extensive training on coding paradigms.

Once dashboards are prepared and published to a Tableau deployment (internal Tableau Server or Tableau Online site or Tableau Public) it is extremely easy to embed them into any existing website using the embed code option provided when selecting the share option.

However Tableau also allows for two-way integration between your portal and Tableau deployment through the use of the Tableau JavaScript API. Combining Tableau with the JavaScript API and your web development kit opens a world of possibilities:

  • Agile deployment: Dashboards can be easily deployed and updated by business users and data refresh requirements can be handled on your Tableau deployment. The website/portal can be updated as required without affecting the dashboard elements

  • Proficient teams: In today’s web development landscape there are countless web toolkits that achieve the same thing, however using Tableau for embedded development allows for dashboards to be developed with Tableau proficient teams and for website/portal development to be handled by developers using a framework of their choice to connect to a standardized and well-documented Tableau JavaScript API

  • Community: As with most things Tableau, there is a very helpful community answering any questions that might arise. Tableau also makes various resources available such as their JavaScript embedding playbook and documentation on the JavaScript API

  • Interactivity: Add interaction between your dashboard and website to trigger dashboard changes from the website or to filter items on the website from the dashboard

  • Compatibility: Tableau Server or Online upgrades do not affect your embedded views as the JavaScript elements are hosted on the instance and will automatically get updated and are also backwards compatible. This promises a setup that is resilient to change

  • Security: Whether you prefer the latest in authentication possibilities or would like to simulate a Single Sign-On option (even though your Identity Provider does not allow for it) or if you would like to open it up for the whole world to see your dashboards - Tableau allows for all of these scenarios and more

Agent Smith Matrix

 

Ave Formosissima!

And just like that you can have your own custom analytical platform that is beautiful, interactive, secure, easily maintainable and accessible by a wide audience where your users can now focus on one problem by asking questions, reviewing analyses and taking action all within one portal.

You can check out a quick example of embedding a dashboard publicly and with interactivity at our Embedded Analytics homepage.

If you still have questions on how Tableau could help you achieve the analytical portal of your dreams you can reach out to us and also check out the following links:

Or if you are certain now that you want to build an embedded portal with Tableau then contact us and we can run an Embedded lab with you to go over the key considerations when embedding and how to set it up for your use case.

And now with these resources and with Tableau we hope you started on your journey of embedded analytics and being a data driven enterprise.


- Praveen