What to expect from Tableau Conference 2019

The Computer Weekly Developer Network team are big fans of business intelligence and big data analytics, interactive data dashboard technologies, data visualisation specialists and companies that brew their own craft ale for their technical conventions.

That’s lucky then, because we’re off to Tableau Conference 2019.

It’s a seminal time for Tableau, the firm has obviously just closed up being acquired by CRM cloud giant Salesforce… a deal that went through for $15.7 billion.

Since the June announcement, rumours that Tableau’s hometown of Seattle will become Salesforce ‘new HQ2’ have flown and we hope to see ebullient CEO Benioff to make some sort of appearance at Tableau Conference 2019, which is staged between 12-15 November in Las Vegas.

“Tableau is an extraordinary company, with an amazing product and team and an incredibly passionate community. Together we can transform the way people understand not only their customers, but their whole world — delivering powerful AI-driven insights across all types of data and use cases for people of every skill level,” said Benioff.

Although he obviously didn’t really mean ‘together’ (he arguably more likely meant ‘as part of my firm’) one can only hope that some of the original Tableau hardcore geek-goodness survives.

Tableau Conference 2019

At the conference itself, we can expect around 18,000 attendees over the four-day show. Indeed, the last time Computer Weekly attended we found the ‘party’ zones extending out into the hotel car parks to gain a little extra room.

“At Tableau Conference we unite behind the mission to help people see and understand data. [Attendees can] immerse themselves in a data-driven culture that is unparalleled in the industry,” notes the show preview statement.

Opening remarks will be presented by Tableau president & CEO, Adam Selipsky and guests. Selipsky will welcome live data-developer demos and there’s even an Iron Viz Championship (like Iron Chef or Iron Man/Woman, but for data viz gurus) where three contestants will compete live for all the glory. Data will be provided by Pitney Bowes.

So who’s all coming?

The sessions, activities and networking will be tuned specific to different attendee interest and industry.

Attendees will include data and business analysts, business users (and comparatively non-technical team leaders) developer and programmers (and the perhaps more tangential world of data-developers) and other IT professionals in team leadership and management.

Vertical industry focus will span all sectors… but if we’re going to get specific, then we can say that Tableau looks at financial services, healthcare and public sector as key areas of customer interest.

Part of the event is the Data Village… and the company says this ‘conference hub’ has plenty of ‘surprise and delight’ features and lots to explore. “From streaming content at the Data Cubes, Aha! Theater, Story Points Theaters, and Data Pool to all the latest swag at the Tableau Store, this is your go-to-spot throughout the week,” notes the company.

We also expect to get a closer look at the latest product features including the recently announced 2019.3, which introduced new AI and machine learning-driven discovery capabilities.

“As the amount of data increases and the pace of decision-making accelerates, the need for data management has never been more critical to foster a thriving data culture,” said Francois Ajenstat, chief product officer at Tableau. “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 organisation.”

Recent product updates likely to be discussed at the conference saw the company launch Tableau Catalog, a set of capabilities that provide a view of all the data used in Tableau to enable visibility and data discovery i.e. ensuring the right data is always used for analysis.

Tableau also recently announced the general availability of the Tableau Server Management Add-On, a new offering designed to help customers manage their enterprise-wide deployments of Tableau Server.

Explain Data

Also worth looking out for in terms of product sessions are periods devoted to Explain Data, a new capability built directly in Tableau that enables users to perform advanced statistical analysis with one click.

With no complex data modeling or data science expertise required, any user is promised the ability to uncover AI-driven insights about data.

Explain Data uses statistical algorithms to analyse all available data on behalf of the user and automatically explains the most relevant factors driving any given data point. In doing so, Explain Data brings analytics to more people and helps them discover insights that would be difficult or time-consuming to find.

Explain Data is available at no extra charge as part of Tableau’s latest release, Tableau 2019.3.

We can hope for an explanation of where the company is going to fit into the Salesforce vision and few other similarly related forward-looking thoughts. Whether you spell it visualization or visualisation, Tableau promises that there’s going to be a lot to feast the eyes on.

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