Recently, one of the largest CRM providers in the world called upon InterWorks to handle a Tableau Server installation. Right off the bat, it appeared to be very straightforward, especially for someone like Brad Fair who has done them for so many years that he could probably walk through the process in his sleep. Brad handled the installation in no time. In fact, the client was so impressed with his work that they started thinking through the other areas where it made sense to make additional investment.
That’s where InterWorks’ unique position as experts in both Tableau and IT came into play. With offerings that also include the daily monitoring and maintenance of various server environments, we offer comprehensive coverage beyond installation. This client was ready to bring in as much help as possible, so Tim Rhymer stepped into the picture to discuss the benefits of InterWorks hosting. They started to see that it made way more sense to have InterWorks manage content, users and upgrades for them.
Ongoing Help with InterWorks Assist
Once Tableau Server was set up and a plan was in place for hosting, the client knew that it made sense to have a way to address any ongoing questions that would inevitably come up as they continued to grow in their use of Tableau Server. This is where my colleagues gave me a heads up that it was time to introduce InterWorks Assist.
Clients turn to InterWorks Assist when they run into difficulty troubleshooting critical, one-time scenarios or when they have just hit a roadblock that won’t seem to go away. Sessions can be as short as 15 minutes, or they can be much longer if necessary. The goal is to get things addressed as quickly as possible so you can get back to spending time on what matters most.
After this client decided that InterWorks Assist was a no brainer, I was able to have a few initial discovery sessions with them. I quickly began to realize that they were experiencing some of the same exact scenarios that we tend to hear about all the time from other clients. For instance, they needed to wrap their arms around how their data sources were connected to the workbooks on Tableau Server. Their environment is massive and it would normally have taken forever to go through the large number of workbooks to get an audit of everything.
Enter Data Source Audit
Fortunately, our development team (a.k.a. the Power Tools for Tableau team) built a tool that can quickly scan workbooks across entire sites on Tableau Server and provides a Tableau workbook that contains audit results. It’s called the Data Source Audit tool and it can be found in our Power Tools for Tableau: Desktop application.
Above: The Data Source Audit tool in action.
The export out of the Data Source Audit workbook now gets published to this client’s Tableau Server at the beginning of every month, so everyone has access and can see the results. They are now able to effectively monitor anything new that’s coming into their environment. Beyond that, an audit process that would normally have taken days to complete now takes less than an hour with this tool.
What’s great about this scenario is that the client didn’t even need to purchase the tool. Since they had already purchased hours through InterWorks Assist, I was able to use the tool on their behalf and provide the export at no additional cost. The next step in optimization for the client was syncing up their workbook staging and production environments. This could be handled with another tool called Power Tools for Tableau: Deployment.
Easy Workbook Migration
The client wanted their staging environment to look just like production so they could modify workbooks in the staging environment without messing with production. I was able to use Power Tools: Deployment to find the workbooks and data sources that existed in production but did not exist in the staging environment. The tool quickly migrated everything over to staging and again eliminated a manual process that would have taken several days to complete. Beyond this initial one-time migration, Power Tools: Deployment can also be used to handle these updates automatically and on a scheduled basis.
Diagnosing Tableau Server Performance
With those two Tableau Server hurdles behind us, we took on the issue that was quickly becoming the most critical. They were running into several bottlenecks with Tableau Server performance. Usually, those types of bottlenecks mean that performance testing will consume a week of someone’s time just to narrow down exactly what is happening on both the hardware and software sides of the scenario.
There was yet another tool that I could leverage called Power Tools for Tableau: Server. It not only gives the client all of their important performance stats in real time, but also provides several convenient alerting and reporting capabilities that give immediately actionable insights. Again, this saves valuable time and effort, eliminating more tedious, manual processes.
Above: The Power Tools: Server Environment Overview dashboard.
The Total Package
It was amazing to see this conversation progress from a Tableau Server installation to a comprehensive Tableau Server management approach. InterWorks wants to get you to the level of sustainability where you can confidently move forward with the right understanding and tools to manage your own environment. Leveraging out breadth of experience across both data and IT, we’re able to give clients a solid foundation on which to build.
Perhaps you need to install Tableau Server, or perhaps you’re already set up. Wherever you are on the path to sustainable Server management, we have a variety of tools and services to help you reach the next level and beyond. Getting started is easy. If you’re interested in improving your Tableau Server environment on your own, you can learn more about each of our Power Tools below. If you’re looking for expert Tableau Server installation and management services with the added benefit of the Power Tools suite, get in touch with the InterWorks team.