Happy New Year! Forbes 100 Must Watch Trends in 2013* Ok, so it is not my article but I did feel that it was a “must include” for my readers to stay at the top of their professions. I also had an appreciation for “22.Data Scientists: The New Hotshots (Tableau is great visualization software for data science types).” 59.Mobile-Optimized Goes Mainstream, 72.Personal Data Ownership, 77.Responsive Web Design, 80.Self-Service and 88.Tablet Shopping.

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to drink a little less Microsoft Kool-Aid and become more open minded to combined analytic solutions that have best in class offerings. Don’t take that the wrong way, I still LOVE the Microsoft data platform, SQL Server, confess to using Microsoft Office daily and even pay for an Office365 personal account – BUT – I also feel it makes a lot of sense to supplement Microsoft products when there are voids or the basic, “for the masses”, features become a limiting factor or even a liability. I believe that BI and analytics tools are strategic market differentiators. Organizations that have the best BI and analytics will have a competitive advantage, period.

Let’s look at a scenario where I was unable to easily explore or visualize a large data set in Excel 2013. I  needed something much more robust that could deliver interactive data visualizations, at the speed of thought, with data sets having hundreds of thousands or millions of records – a scenario that even the latest Excel 2013 and/or Power View version simply can’t do or compromises with data sampling techniques.  Power View starts sampling at 1000 data points to guestimate the display of large data sets. Tableau on the other hand was rapidly rendering over 800,000 data points with ease in the last TCC Keynote demos. The Microsoft Yahoo! case study and Klout case study are other excellent scenarios where it just made sense to supplement the largest Microsoft data platform projects with Tableau for the large scale visual analytics.


Having said that, let’s get on to the real title content of this blog. I wanted to test taking the Tableau v8 “Kraken” beta and combine it with Microsoft SSAS Prediction Queries (DMX) to showcase the power of combining two best of breed offerings. To see this in action I posted a live demo on Tableau Public.

Better yet, by combining these two solutions together I can finally take my insights securely on the road using Tableau’s mobile business intelligence native apps. Tableau has touch-friendly, native mobile apps for Android devices, and the popular iOS iPad. With the native mobile apps, I can visualize existing predictive findings or even author new analytic views on my mobile device “on the fly” while in the field. The heatmap data visualization above illustrates predicted bike buyer Clusters from SSAS Data Mining predictive models. To follow along and try this yourself, I used the  AdventureWorks 2012 SSAS Mined Customers cube and ran a prediction join on the Decision Tree data mining model.  The prediction query (DMX) result data set included buyer prospect demographic attributes and a prediction score obtained from the PredictProbability function.  I simply imported that prediction query (DMX)  resultset into Tableau 8 beta, used the new heatmap data visualization with predicted score colored at the lowest level of detail (prospect). The heatmap does a good job of visually outlining specific Clusters of predicted buyers. As I hover over an individual prospect, I can get the buyer predicted score (how statistically likely a prospect would be a buyer), see additional demographic attributes,  or launch the source data application using an Action.  If I were an ISV, I could easily embed the interactive data visualization with a URL, pass in parameters for what-if type analysis or use the Tableau JavaScript API to integrate other systems. I see endless possibilities of combining SSAS predictive queries (DMX) with Tableau’s data visualization platform. Being able to rapidly and effectively analyze large data sets with many attributes in the age of big data combined with the power of predictive is soooo cool!