Tableau is expected to release an update to its business intelligence software within the next few weeks.

New tools will improve data preparation and query performance in a bid to cut the pain of “data wrangling” data and business analysts will be all too familiar with, the vendor said.

Image credit: iStock/ Neustock Images
Image credit: iStock/ Neustock Images

The brainchild of a Stanford-educated, Silicon Valley data cruncher who was looking for a way to simplify finding patterns in information, Tableau has quickly become one of the most widely used visualisation tools across the world.

Thanks to its popularity amongst business users and IT heads, a grassroots analytics culture is fast becoming one of the predominant tech trends of the century, founder and CEO Christian Chabot believes.

Tableau Public offers its visualisation tools to data journalists, cause evangelists, charities and data fanatics for free. The recently re-booted online platform saw 36,000 people create an account in 2014 alone.

As an example, the Mayor of London uses Tableau Public to further his goal of making data more publicly available. Being able to easily share data is particularly important in the public sector. The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime shares its interactive crime dashboards using Tableau Public. These dashboards let the public see crime rates in their localities and compare it against all of London. The Mayor’s office also uses these dashboards to measure the success of their crime reduction strategies.

New features include author profile pages to get your datasets seen, improved toolbars and a larger database of free-to-use UK datasets.

New features in Tableau 9.0

Support for statistical data files

Tableau's enterprise-worthy offering already supports Hadoop, Salesforce and Microsoft Excel, but 9.0 will allow you to source data from statistical files from SAS, SPSS and R.

Squeaky clean data tools

Tableau promises to make data cleaning more efficient.

Calculations like in Excel

If you miss the ad-hoc calculation functions you can use in Excel, they will be introduced into Tableau in this update.

Data Engine improvements

The in-memory analytic database, designed for fast queries, will be even speedier, the vendor promises. This is because it will take advantage of your own hardware. For example, if you are using a four-core commodity laptop, Tableau could deliver 10 times the performance improvement on 173 million rows of data.

A new “Parallel Queries” feature will allow you to execute more queries at the same time, using different sources.

By streamlining a user’s queries, Tableau 9.0 promises quicker response time as the database does not have to work as hard.

Mapping tool

Geocodes, geographic search features and selection controls will make it easier to use maps to visualise your data in 9.0.

Administrator views

Admins will get better visibility of data usage, monitoring and analysing data from their own Tableau server. This allows them to detect buds, track user activity, allocate resources and plan upgrades.

Tableau 9.0 is currently in beta and will be officially announced in April.