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Tableau adds natural language explanations to make analytics more approachable

As more and more enterprises continue to double down on cloud adoption, Tableau is expanding its business intelligence capabilities to take analytics into the hands of more business users and make data-backed insights accessible anytime and anywhere.

At the ongoing Tableau conference, the Salesforce-owned company debuted Tableau Cloud as the next generation of its cloud-first analytics platform Tableau Online. The offering brings several innovations, including Data Stories — a solution that makes deriving value from data simpler and faster.

So, what exactly is Data Stories?

While dashboards with visualizations has long been the way to consume actionable insights from data, the feature of Data Stories takes things a step further. It leverages natural language and augmented analytics to automatically surface plain language explanations to Tableau dashboards, enabling any enterprise user to understand and interact with data faster. 

The easy-to-understand story-like analysis delivered through this capability makes data more approachable and eliminates the need for reports explaining dashboard charts/graphs. This way, analysts will be able to focus on other more complicated tasks while business users would be able to access the data more easily, especially those who do not have data literacy. 

According to the company, users could simply drag and drop the dataset to get the story and even use customizations to format it in their preferred way.

“With Tableau Cloud, we’re making it easier for our customers to drive even more analytics success. Tableau Cloud helps our customers deliver the analytics they need to their users, while we ensure the highest levels of trust, availability and performance,” Francois Ajenstat, chief product officer for Tableau at Salesforce, said.

Model Builder

Along with data stories, which is currently in preview, Tableau also announced its official expansion into data science. The company said it will soon offer a model builder within the Tableau workflow to help business teams collaborate, build and deploy predictive AI models around different use cases. This will allow enterprises to use their data to predict what may happen (delivered through visualizations) and take decisions to address that. 

The offering, driven by Salesforce’s Einstein Discovery engine, automates most of the feature engineering and model fitting process and is slated to become available by the end of the year, along with Data Stories.

Other developments 

Among other things, Tableau Cloud is getting an Advanced Management feature to help enterprises gather insights about the performance and adoption of their Tableau deployment. Admins can use this capability to not only understand how Tableau is being used but also to implement encryption keys for data security and ensure teams across the enterprise have access to relevant data only.

To get customers started with the new cloud product, Tableau now offers more than 100 Accelerators, including those built by its partner network experts, on the Tableau Exchange. These ready-to-use, customizable dashboards can be used across multiple industries, departments and enterprise applications. Companies can use an offering directly in Tableau Exchange, without starting a separate download.

Last year, to make data more accessible, the company introduced two key capabilities, Ask Data and Explain Data. The former allowed users to type questions in common language and instantly get responses, while the latter ran statistical models to show key drivers behind specific data points.

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