Tableau announces new pricing structure and data preparation tool

© Tableau
© Tableau

The subscription offering gives organisations a flexible choice of analytics to help them scale

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Data analytics platform Tableau has revamped its pricing model in a bid to reach new customers and subdue the threat of a growing range of low-cost competitors.

The new subscription offerings provide tailored combinations of Tableau’s analytics capabilities that organisations can customise as their needs change.

"What we realised was that not all customers need every single feature, and it’s really complicated for them to know which products to use and when," Francois Ajenstat, chief product officer at Tableau Software, told Computerworld UK.

"We've simplified the model for customers so that they can really get the right capabilities to the right users at the right price."

Tableau previously sold its software as individual products, but will now offer it in three subscription packages designed for different user needs.

The most expensive package, Tableau Creator, is aimed at power users. It provides the full suite of Tableau capabilities, including Tableau Desktop, new data preparation product Tableau Prep, and licenses for Tableau Server or Tableau Online so users can publish and share their work. The price tag of $70 (£50) per user per month is the same fee that customers were previously charged for Tableau Desktop alone.

Tableau Explorer targets customers who analyse data that has already been curated by IT and is available for $35 (£25) per user per month. Users can create new dashboards based on governed data sources, collaborate with others, and set up data-driven alerts and subscriptions.

Finally, Tableau Viewer is designed for the casual user to make decisions based on data that has been analysed by others. For $12 (£8.50) per user per month, they can view and filter dashboards, receive alerts and receive and manage subscriptions.

Why has Tableau changed its model?

The new pricing model was launched amid slowing revenue growth at Tableau in recent years. Gartner attributed this to "downward pricing pressure from low-cost license options" in its 2018 Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms.

Tableau announced it was shifting from perpetual licenses to subscriptions in April 2017, to help the company compete with the growing number of low-cost BI alternatives on the market.

Tableau CEO Adam Selipsky said the move would make it easier for businesses to get started with Tableau by lowering the initial investment, opening up Tableau to a greater variety of customers.

The Gartner report added that license costs were preventing customers from deploying the software more broadly as the fixed prices were limiting their flexibility and potential to scale.

"They said that it was too complicated to go bigger with data," said Ajenstat.

"If they had more casual users that don't need all the functionality, they wanted more flexibility, and for their power users, they didn't want to have to pay for multiple things, they just wanted one offering that has everything that they need."

Tableau announces new data preparation product

Tableau has also launched Tableau Prep, a new data preparation application.

The product is designed to cut the effort required to discover and prepare data more quickly, which takes up 80 percent of a data analyst’s time, according to a recent report from Harvard Business Review.

"They're collecting more data than ever before, it's coming in in more formats than ever before, and the number of people that want to work with that data continues to increase," said Ajenstat.

"Most of the time is spent wrangling different datasets, cleaning up problems across that data, trying to filter the data that they need in order for them to analyse it, and that's a huge problem."

Tableau Prep uses a drag and drop interface to resolve common data preparation challenges, such as turning repetitive tasks like grouping by pronunciation or cleaning based on punctuation into one-click operations.


Cleaning and cropping data in Tableau Prep ©Tableau

Users can combine datasets, filter, reshape and share the final outputs, tracking changes that can be undone in the future if required.

The results can be previewed in Tableau, shared with colleagues, opened as a CSV or Tableau file, or published to the server.

Ajenstat says that the Tableau Prep was developed as there was no data preparation product available for the casual user.

"That's really where we started thinking about how do we do it differently, because all the solutions that are on the market are really designed for specialists," he said.

Tableau Prep is included in the new Creator subscription offering and will be free for existing Tableau Desktop customers for the next two years

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