Tableau’s new Slack capabilities democratize data

Just four months after closed its acquisition of Slack, another of its subsidiaries, the data visualization platform Tableau Software, is retooling to give Slack a new user interface.

Over the last few years, Tableau has built a chat interface it calls Ask Data that allows users to drill down to large datasets using natural language. It now allows users to ask questions about their data — and share answers — through Slack.

At the ’21 online-only Tableau Conference this week, the company is demonstrating these and other new features that it hopes will further democratize the use of data.

Democratize but manage

Slack integration wasn’t even on Tableau’s roadmap this time last year, and for good reason: details about Salesforce’s plan to buy Slack only leaked at the end of November 2020. However, since the agreement ended in July 2021, Salesforce integrated Slack with everything.

Now it’s Tableau’s turn to give Slack three new capabilities:

  • Ask Data in Slack, allowing users to make requests for data or visualizations and get answers they can share with other Slack users right in the chat window;
  • Data Interpretation in Slack, a tool that provides natural-language explanations in Slack for why differences in data visualizations buck the trend, and
  • Einstein Discovery in Slack, relies on Salesforce’s artificial intelligence platform to make predictions and recommend next steps based on business data.

Elsewhere in the enterprise, Tableau is rolling out other tools to further democratize data, including automating some of the more complex tasks around data preparation and data governance.

“We need to turn what is often the work of a few into a skill for everyone,” Tableau’s new President and CEO, Mark Nelson, told reporters ahead of the conference. Nelson ascended to the top position in March 2021 after three years as executive vice president of product development. (His predecessor, Adam Selipsky, is now the CEO of Amazon Web Services.)

tableau francois ajenstat Tableau software

Tableau Software Product Manager Francois Ajenstat

On the administrative front, Tableau is adding centralized row-level security so administrators can control who can access what data and virtual connections, a new feature that enables centralized management of connections. Connect your organization’s Tableau data, according to Product Manager Francois Ajenstat.

“Centralized virtual connectivity and row-level security will underpin the security, governance and trust of our platform, but we are also integrating better with a number of portfolio providers businesses in the marketplace, vendors like Collibra, Alation, and Informatica, where all of that business’s metadata can easily flow into Tableau and any richness can flow back those categories,” he said.

Take advantage of the community

Despite Tableau’s efforts to simplify and speed up data preparation with AI-powered and intuitive tools, that’s still a hit point for many businesses. “Customers tell us that 80% of their time is spent preparing data instead of analyzing it,” says Ajenstat. “We want to flip that round of ratios.”

One way it aims to do that is by allowing users to apply community-developed data preparation tools through Prep extensions and share their preparation processes with the community. broader than in Tableau Public. “This will essentially enable the Tableau community not only for visualization but also for process and data preparation, so that they can share best practices and leverage the power of this community to learn and collaborate,” says Ajenstat.

kate wright scene Tableau software

Tableau Software Senior Vice President of Product Development Kate Wright

However, Tableau’s ambitions go beyond just allowing everyone in the organization to analyze and visualize data: It also wants to bring data analytics into every application by helping developers connect with Tableau makes it easier and delivers those connections to customers through Kate Wright, Senior Vice President of Product Development for Tableau Exchange, said.

“Tableau Exchange is an expansion of our existing hub with integrated products, solutions and services,” she said. “Customers will have a one-stop shop to find services that can help them get started with analytics, like our new accelerators, connectors, and datasets.”

A window for collaboration

Other tools, soon to be released in public beta testing, will allow developers to let users create Tableau dashboards right inside their apps, she said.

Tableau isn’t the only one looking to make it easier to embed data directly into documents and collaboration tools.

Microsoft showed off its own vision of how this could work at its Ignite 2021 conference last week, in the form of a new app, Microsoft Loop. This will include components that tie into Microsoft’s competitors with Salesforce, Dynamics 365, and with Teams, Microsoft’s answer to Slack.

But there is also a window for cooperation between the two sides. When asked about the potential to bring Tableau capabilities to Teams, Wright carefully said: “Flexibility is one of Tableau’s core differentiators, and we want to accommodate our customers anywhere where. We don’t necessarily want to force them to use any particular toolkit or toolkit, and so we’re definitely looking at how Tableau can integrate with other collaboration apps.”

Ten million data learners

Tableau CEO Nelson talks about Tableau’s plan to not only make it easier for employees to access and analyze enterprise data, but also address the data skills shortage from another direction: training.

nelson sign animation Tableau software

Tableau Software President and CEO Mark Nelson

The company has pledged to help train 10 million data learners over the next five years. Tableau’s current programs will train half a million people over the next five years, he said: “This means enhancing our existing programs, partnerships and e-learning. We will be adding new training programs and expanding existing ones to help people from all backgrounds and countries build essential data skills. ”

For businesses that can’t wait for that program to succeed, Tableau will provide a shortcut to fill their data skills gap: the “hire me” button that users Tableau Public, the visualization platform. free data encryption, can add to their profile. Potential employers can contact.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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