Power Tools for Tableau is a suite of tools that InterWorks has provided to the data community over the last several years. You may have seen a demo on our blog or at one of the many Tableau conferences and events that take place throughout the year. If you’re still wondering what the real-life scenarios and benefits are of Power Tools, then this latest blog series is for you.
I first came face-to-face with Power Tools when I worked with an OEM Tableau partner a few years ago. They were in desperate need of the Deployment tool’s help. They were building hundreds of data sources and workbooks. Every report built also needed slight modifications applied across 30 different clients. Essentially, this OEM partner was offering starter kits of workbooks for their clients that included 30 Tableau reports. Let’s do the math: 30 individual reports for 30 different clients equates to 900 reports!
The scale of the project was impossible. Sure, it was relatively easy to make small permutations if you were handling it for a single workbook, but it was an exponentially large task when it needed to be applied to this number of clients. At five minutes per report, that totaled 4,500 minutes of work. This could have taken weeks to complete with plenty of opportunity for human error.
A New, Automated Workflow For All Reports
Luckily, we had a trick, or I should say tool, up our sleeve. We approached the OEM partner with an automated solution for their deployments and they were immediately interested. For each of the 30 standard Tableau reports, their workflow looked like this:
- Change the name of the workbook for each client
- Switch the data connections to client specific schemas in Oracle
- Deploy across 30 clients
As you can see, this doesn’t look that complicated, but keep in mind we’re working with 900 reports. It only took a couple of days for this workflow to be configured in the Deployment tool. During this time, all the workflow steps were built into standard deployment plans which would then automate the process from start to finish for all 900 standard reports. After setup was complete, it only took five minutes to actually run through the changes and migration for the 900 reports!
Ultimately, Power Tools Deployment is not only saving this particular OEM partner thousands of dollars per week, but also enables them to better scale their process. In an ongoing basis, the Deployment tool simply becomes the “Tuesday morning machine” where they can set it to run and basically walk away, because the tool handles the entire process for them from start to finish.
No Internal Support Required
With a mature tool, such as Deployment, that is supported by a team of developers, there’s no reason for OEMs to consider building an internal solution. There is simply too much upfront cost associated with a tool like this built in-house, not to mention the ongoing maintenance cost that will only add up over time. Power Tools does all that work for you, at a fraction of the cost.
And now, I don’t send out a proposal without Power Tools: Deployment included. Even if a client isn’t familiar with the tool, it is easy for us to set up some sample deployment plans and quickly demonstrate how the tool delivers immediate value.