Why discussions is my favourite ‘new feature’ announced at #Data16


Tableau named many many many fantastic new features that are on their product road map. There is Hyper which will make data analytics quicker than ever, there is map layers, allowing us to go beyond a dual axis and there is recommendations, which automatically creates views from our data.

All of these features excite me hugely, but  the one that excited me most is ‘discussions’.

I see them being hugely useful in 3 ways.

Firstly, during the design phase. Dashboard designers can now upload there development workbooks to the server and receive feedback in a centralised location, rather than having to trawl through long email chains from several different stakeholders.

We can now interact with our users in a more social and informal way which is likely to make them think more than ever, that what they are saying is taken on board. With the dashboard sitting directly next to the comments pane, it is also extremely easy to reference.

Next comes the implementation phase, when you are trying to help your users understand the content that they are consuming. Discussions will allow users to ask for clarity on certain aspects, whilst designers can add comments to the discussion board as a point of reference. 

No I don’t think it’s going to bring the end to documentation or implementation demos, but they will act as a quick reference tool, and also allows users to answer questions that may not have come up during the roll-out of the dashboard.

Finally, and this is the area with which Tableau seemed to be selling the feature, discussions will allow users to have, well, discussions about their data. And this is what every business analyst team wants. We want stakeholders to have data driven conversations which then lead to data driven decision making.


A link to the introduction of discussions can be found here: http://tclive.tableau.com/ at circa 1hr:26mins.



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