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Tableau as a Publishing Platform

by Matt Manning

Most data publishers are familiar with Tableau‘s data visualization tool through Tableau Public. Few, however, realize that the software can be a robust platform for delivering their data to subscribers.

Tableau-based information services are visually stunning and functionally robust. They act more like local applications than web-based services. A notable example comes from Inside Mortgage Finance. The company deployed and sold a large, expensive, full-blown information service based on their massive mortgage loan origination database. Development time: less than nine months using Tableau as the platform.

Installing software to access data sounds a bit like the old CD-ROM days, or may evoke Microsoft’s ill-fated attempts to add bloatware on top of the Internet’s mercifully light publishing platform back in 1995. When the product is compelling, though, it turns out that customers are more than willing to take that leap of faith.


  • No worries about CSS, HTML, or responsive design. Simply buy without building.
  • Data is updated in real time.
  • Looks great.
  • Some customers already license Tableau for their internal corporate applications.
  • The interface is incredibly intuitive and flexible.


  • Subscribers must purchase a Tableau license to use the information service, adding another expense on top of their subscription license.
  • Users need to learn the third-party software.

In the end, it’s still the data that sells the product. Beautiful presentation doesn’t help unless there’s something accurate and useful underneath. Still, the time may have come when data-hungry clients, many of whom are already Tableau users or who are wishing for a license, will leap at a robust alternative that can be customized to their specific needs rather than accept the one-size-fits-all approach of most other web-based information services.

posted by Shyamali Ghosh on September 2, 2014

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