Today  Tableau v8 “Kraken” is officially released to the general public to download and enjoy. This is a  significant release with over 90 new features. For my Microsoft Analysis Services readers – there are even rarely talked about improvements like Query Scope Isolation in it for you too! There is a micro-web site detailing many of the Tableau v8 enhancements at BeIng the geek that I am, I prefer the online docs for learning – Desktop and Server online docs. I also have been evangelizing this new release and shared my latest overview deck on SlideShare. Please feel free to grab that to fast track your initial review of v8. As time goes on, I will do deeper dive blogs on technical topics like mobile BI, the JavaScript API, and Data Engine APIs that I think open up a world of possibilities for enterprise technical implementations, ISVs, and app developers.

When I first saw the “Kraken” covered in the TCC Keynotes last fall, I was performing global BI vendor compete analysis. During the engineering presentations my eyes swelled with tears of appreciation and respect. I kept rewinding and replaying it. I must have watched some of those demos ten times. I recognized Kraken as an amazing engineering feat across many different, critical success factor areas of modern analytics. I saw with v8 that Tableau had matured into a global competitor that had gorgeous, quite compelling, deep visual analytics that could be stand-alone or embedded, could scale out to large enterprises or be deployed to external global audiences.   Tableau had an incredible array of direct data and cloud data source connectivity that they further enhanced, as well as, offered optional in-memory extracts. Tableau already had one of the largest global cloud BI  deployments with Tableau Public for a few years now. Other BI vendors such as SAP had been trying to emulate Tableau but Tableau was far ahead of them…I was seeing a right time, right place magic. I knew that in the past Tableau’s growth numbers had doubled year over year over year. I kept hearing about Tableau everywhere I went. Customers LOVE it. If you ever read the book, The Outliers, that is how I felt about Tableau v8 – growth was going to be exponential. At that time I was struggling to code JavaScript D3 treemaps/heatmaps into the Excel Office Apps framework so I could  have them in my Excel 2013 BI demos.  Despite best practice extremists that no-no them, treemaps/heatmaps were a top customer requested item since the days of Proclarity and multiple years later I still didn’t have them. I saw many other top customer requested features in that Tableau TCC Keynote and I had to get my hands on it myself. I can share that having used v8 for a while now, I am not disappointed. It  is sooooo much better than any of the other Tableau releases that I tested in the past.  I want to put Tableau on top of my beloved Analysis Services, Power Pivot and SQL Server projects to finally have the best user interface on the world’s best data platform…and it just so happens to be mobile friendly across iOS, Android and other popular mobile OSs. If you follow me, you know that mobile is a HOT button topic  .

My favorite enhancement by far is the totally overhauled data rendering engine that can paint a million plus data points on the screen at the speed of thought. That alone is a really huge engineering accomplishment. I honestly don’t think that there is another vendor that can come close to it. Most of them use uncontrollable sampling with large data set rendering. In the world of big data finding exceptions and seeing patterns in large data sets is a competitive advantage. Some of my other favorite new features include the treemaps/heatmaps, seasonaility and trend forecasting, the JavaScript API, the server enhancements, stored procedures with parameters in Custom SQL, enhanced data source filters, customizable server audit report framework, targeted filtering across data sources, freeform dashboards, subscriptions, blending/mash up improvements, and last but not least web/mobile viewing, editing and authoring.

So that wraps up another late night blog post. I was not expecting this release today and was pleasantly surprised when I saw the Tweets. My next planned blog post will be on Self-Service ETL covering the new Microsoft Data Explorer, Alteryx, and Lavastorm Analytics.