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Thursday, 14 February 2019 15:48

Tableau 2019.1 delivers major new features

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Tableau Prep Conductor Tableau Prep Conductor

Analytics platform Tableau has delivered some major new features in its first update of the year.

New features in Tableau 2019.1 include the Ask Data natural language processing capability, the Prep Conductor data preparation tool, a Google Ads connector, and PowerPoint export.

Ask Data allows users to ask data questions in plain language and instantly get a visual response, without having to do any programming or set-up.

For example, typing "What were my sales this month?" returns an interactive visualisation of sales figures that can be explored more deeply.

Ask Data's algorithms work by understanding the user's intent, not by merely spotting keywords.

So when someone types in "APAC furniture" for their sales data, they want to filter "Product Name" to "Furniture," and "Region" to "Asia Pacific." According to the company, Ask Data combines statistical knowledge about a data source with contextual knowledge about real-world concepts: "Furniture" is a common value for the "Product Name" field and "APAC" is an acronym of "Asia Pacific."

Ambiguity is resolved by combining knowledge about the data source with past user activity in order present a number of valid options to choose from, with the ability to refine the results if needed.

"Data is the currency of those Australian and New Zealand businesses driving innovation and success today and should be accessible to all. Ask Data makes it easier than ever for anyone, regardless of expertise to analyse data," said Tableau Software ANZ country manager Nigel Mendonca.

"This new integrated natural language capability provides businesses of all sizes with a more intuitive and natural way to interact with data, lowers the barrier to entry for analytics and allows users to ask questions in plain language and get insights faster. Ask Data is the next stage in the evolution of self-service analytics for the digital business economy."

Prep Conductor – part of the new Tableau Data Management subscription package priced at US$5.50 per user per month – automates flows created in Prep Builder (the renamed Tableau data prep product). Prep Conductor helps organisations use Prep Builder more broadly, ensuring clean and analysis-ready data is always available. It also provides added visibility and detail behind cleaning history and data connections, and raises alerts when processes do not occur on schedule.

Further, it allows customers to build permissions specifically around data flows and data sources in order to maintain control and stay in compliance.

More capabilities will be added to Tableau Data Management later this year, including data discoverability enhancements, and audit trails for data and workbooks.

The Google Ads connector simplifies the analysis of website data. It joins more than 60 other native connectors (including Google BigQuery, Salesforce, Amazon Redshift, PDFs and SAP Hana).

The Export to PowerPoint feature converts visualisations and dashboards to presentation slides at the click of a button.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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