The Hardest Part of Data Visualization : Simplicity + Consumability

Published August 7, 2013   |   
Alina Popescu

With visualization, there is an “ongoing challenge with the size of data and disparity of it,” according to Lilford. From a customer challenge perspective, “it’s really about getting to the size of data, all the sources of data, all the scale of things.” With Tableau being a data-driven company, the strategy is to combine all data sources quickly, helping customers make more data decisions at a detailed level. Social, web, third party, ERP — all these data sources have to lead to “something that’s consumable for business users.”

Asked to comment on the channel within the emerging space of data visualization, Lilford said there were a few challenges, one of them being that there were so many companies offering services. The purpose is to offer something that is tangible, compatible and simple, providing an “ease of use paradigm that is unmatched.” Thus the main question to be tackled is, how to keep this complex thing simple? “The thing with any analytics – if I have to wait about for my report, if I have to think about what it’s doing while it’s doing it,” then the natural choice would be to look elsewhere, he explains.

Leverage data where it sits

“Our mission hasn’t changed in 10 years, keeping it simple,” Lilford stated. Tableau focuses on “leveraging data where it sits, allowing data to mash it up. We’re open with our partners. We want to push each other and excel and do better for our partners.” Tableau is a customer-centric company first and tries to keep that mentality in the pace of its growth.

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