Tableau Software’s latest AI helps explain what your data means

Data visualization company Tableau Software Inc. is relying more heavily on artificial intelligence as it tries help users uncover more insights buried deep within their data.

The company is pitching a new AI-powered capability called “Explain Data.” It’s just one of several interesting new features in its latest Tableau 2019.3 release.

Others include a new Tableau Catalog capability that makes it easier for users to manage and discover the most appropriate data; a Server Management Add-On for managing large deployments of Tableau; and enhanced natural language processing capabilities.

Explain Data is all about making sophisticated statistical analysis of data more accessible, the company said. The new capability is essentially an AI algorithm that provides the most likely explanations of the factors that influence changes within data – simple cause and effect, if you will.

It works by using Bayesian statistical methods to automatically evaluate hundreds of patterns and potential explanations across all available data in seconds. Tableau said that’s a very useful new capability, since previously it could take multiple hours to manually determine and validate potential explanations for each data point. Explain Data does all this right off the bat and within seconds, the company said.

“With Explain Data, anyone can quickly and confidently uncover the “Why?” behind their data,” Francois Ajenstat, Tableau’s chief product officer, said in a statement.

One benefit of Explain Data is it helps to reduce the risk of error due to human bias. For example, if people are trying to sift through data to understand what’s causing customer churn, they often limit themselves to several predetermined hypotheses. That kind of bias could obscure many important factors, Tableau said. Explain Data avoids that by exploring every possible scenario for answers, not just the usual ones.

Constellation Research Inc. analyst Holger Mueller said it was good to see Tableau investing in its AI capabilities to make its platform more efficient.

“Helping people make sense of data is key to helping them save time, and this allows them to do their work faster and better,” Mueller said. “AI capabilities are key to this as things need to happen in an automated fashion to shape the future of work and enable enterprise acceleration.”

Deeper insights are always welcome, but it’s only possible to access them if people are looking at the right data in the first place, so the new release comes with tools to help users do that too.

Tableau Catalog is a new capability in Tableau’s Data Management Add-On that provides a more complete view of all the data used in Tableau and enables improved visibility and enhanced data discovery. The point is to ensure that the right data is always used for analysis, Tableau said.

“With Tableau 2019.3, we’re integrating data management directly into the analytics experience, making it easier for customers to curate and prepare all the data needed for analysis and improving visibility and increasing trust in the data for everyone within an organization,” Ajenstat said.

For information technology teams, Tableau Catalog enables them to easily curate all of the company data that’s being used in Tableau, and also track how it’s being used across their organization, and if there are any data quality issues that need to be resolved. As for actual users, Tableau Catalog just makes it easier to find the data they need and help them understand what that data represents.

The release also expands “Ask Data,” which is a feature that enables users to ask questions of their data in their natural voice, rather than typing such questions. Ask Data’s natural language functions were previously accessible only in Tableau itself, but they can now be embedded into company portals or intranet pages. What that means is that workers can ask questions of their data at any time while using company systems and quickly get the answers they need.

Finally, Tableau is introducing a new add-on for companies that use the on-premises version of its software. The Tableau Server Management Add-On helps manage large deployments of Tableau and includes new resource monitoring and content migration tools.

“This should help enterprises to get more out of their Tableau installations,” Mueller said.

Image: geralt/Pixabay

A message from John Furrier, co-founder of SiliconANGLE:

Your vote of support is important to us and it helps us keep the content FREE.

One click below supports our mission to provide free, deep, and relevant content.  

Join our community on YouTube

Join the community that includes more than 15,000 #CubeAlumni experts, including Amazon.com CEO Andy Jassy, Dell Technologies founder and CEO Michael Dell, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger, and many more luminaries and experts.

“TheCUBE is an important partner to the industry. You guys really are a part of our events and we really appreciate you coming and I know people appreciate the content you create as well” – Andy Jassy