Tableau for Embedded Analytics: Pros and Cons

March 9, 2024

Mile Zivkovic

Tableau is an excellent BI tool. But how does it perform in an embedded use case? Here are the pros and cons of Tableau for embedded analytics.

Even if you’ve never worked on business intelligence, there is a good chance you’ve heard of Tableau. Owned by Salesforce, this analytics platform allows businesses to analyze, explore and visualize data from a variety of data sources. On top of their standard offer for teams, there is Tableau Embedded - for those who want to add interactive dashboards to their website or app.

If you already use Tableau, then using the Embedded portion of the app is a logical choice. But what if you’re looking for your next embedded analytics solution and wondering if Tableau is the right choice?

Today, we take a look at Tableau for embedded applications. We’ll cover everything from ease of use, features, connectivity, pricing and more.

What is Tableau Embedded?

Tableau Embedded is an offering that allows you to add Tableau dashboards to a website or app. 

tableau embedded

Traditionally, within Tableau, you can share your dashboard via Tableau Public - which is a link that you can share with people inside your organization. Tableau Embedded, on the other hand, is all about taking those dashboards and integrating them into your SaaS product or website, so that they look like a part of that website, rather than a standalone dashboard. Thanks to Tableau’s powerful API, you can easily take their dashboards and embed them into various web portals and apps. For end-users of your app, it allows for easier decision-making through visual analytics.

Tableau Online vs Tableau Embedded

Do you need just Tableau or some of the many additional tools in their offering? If you’re just getting introduced to this app, you may be confused with some of them. For example, what’s the difference between Online and Embedded?

If you have your own app, you may be wondering if it’s worth going through the trouble to get Tableau Embedded, when the Online tool will do the job.

Here is the difference: Tableau Online is just that, an online version of your dashboard that registered users can access with single sign-on. Just give your users access to the platform and they can log into Tableau and view your dashboards.

Tableau Embedded allows you to make the dashboard an integral part of your website or app. There is no need for additional authentication and it encourages the user to stay in the app and explore their data, rather than going to Tableau.

Building dashboards in Tableau

No matter if you want to embed them or not, Tableau allows you to create interactive visualizations fairly easily. Once you get started and connect your data sources, you have a wide choice of visualizations for modern analytics. It’s not particularly beginner-friendly, but thanks to a huge Tableau community, you’ll find your way around it fairly quickly.

Embedding the dashboards 

The embedding playground is actually easier than building the dashboards in the first place. When you have a finished dashboard that improves your customer experiences, you’ve done the hard part.

The dashboards are embedded using Tableau Embedding API, which is a type of JavaScript API that almost every good web developer is familiar with. It injects the functionalities of Tableau in a web environment, allowing the developer to add Tableau content to the website or app in a few clicks.

Basic knowledge of JavaScript and HTML should be enough to embed the most basic dashboards on your web page. For anything more complex, you’ll have to do extensive research or have a Tableau expert on demand.

For example, if you want to show different versions of one dashboard to different users, customize your language, timezone or currency, or show different types of dashboards on different devices. For this kind of embedding, you’re going to need a Tableau expert.

The cons of using Tableau for an embedded use case

If you’re already using Tableau for on-premises or cloud data analytics and you need real-time embedded analytics, it may make sense to use Tableau Embedded. However, if you don’t already use a data analytics platform, going for Tableau immediately is a bit of a risky move.

Getting started with this tool can be extremely difficult, especially if you don’t have team members who worked in Tableau before. The embedding is not the difficult part - creating the dashboards and making them work is.

Speaking of which, many Tableau users will complain that getting anything more complicated than a simple pivot table is going to require some workaround. You’ll need to do a bit of digging to find alternative solutions. Luckily, the community is pretty active and supportive - which can’t be said for the Tableau customer support team.

Then there is the issue of performance - many users complain that dashboards keep crashing because of poor server performance. And if you have lots of data that you’re pulling, the dashboards will load very slowly and impact your end-user experience.

Tableau Embedded Analytics pricing

Unlike the main aspect of their product, the pricing for the embedded analytics part is not transparent. If you want to find out how much it costs to embed a dashboard you built in Tableau, you have to reach out for a custom pricing quote.

If you do just a few minutes of research, you’ll figure out that just getting in touch with sales is easier than finding the answer on your own. You’re going to need a Tableau Creator license to get started, and each creator in your team needs one for themselves.

So, that’s $75 per license for your dev team. Also, you need to pay for every person who accesses your dashboards. On top of that, you’re going to need a core Tableau Server or Tableau Cloud license, depending on whether you want to deploy the dashboard on a local server first before pushing it to the cloud.

Then there is the issue of end-users. Tableau embedding offers different options. You can use it for self-service analytics, where the users can access the dashboards and create their own analytics experience by changing the data visualizations, widgets and more. Or they can be simple viewers who need access to Tableau Analytics.

tableau embedded pricing

Depending on the level of access, each user will need one of three licences: Creator, Explorer or Viewer, priced at $75, $42 and $15, respectively.

Account for the analytics capabilities your end-users should have and then purchase the right license for that functionality. For example, if you have 100 end-users who should be able to explore your Tableau dashboards, you’re going to spend $4,200 per month on embedded analytics.

And this is on top of your core licenses and the ones for your internal team.

To cut to the chase, pricing can get very expensive, very fast, especially if you have a large data analytics team and lots of end-users who need to explore their data.

Should you get Tableau for embedded analytics?

If you’re already using Tableau internally, maybe. You should be well aware of how complex the tool is to use and you should have a basic understanding of how to create functional, interactive dashboards.

But if you have a SaaS app and you need embedded analytics to increase product usage, drive more revenue and provide an exceptional user experience… Then Tableau should not be your first choice. Here is why.

  1. To set everything up, you need to pay quite a bit of cash - for creator, viewer and explorer licenses
  2. Tableau is not built embedded-first - it’s primarily a BI tool for on-premise and cloud analytics 
  3. Customization limitations - while Tableau is easy to embed, it does not have the customization and whitelabeling capabilities of modern embedded analytics tools
  4. Limited real-time analytics - Tableau excels in situations where you need to analyze historical data, but gets glitchy and slow with real-time use cases

In short, it’s expensive, not as functional as tools built specifically for embedded analytics and it might drive away more users than it attracts.

Luzmo - your embedded analytics partner

A great embedded analytics tool needs to meet a large number of conditions. It needs to have an excellent API, a wide variety of dashboard templates and visualizations, be easy to use and add to your existing workflows… And not cost an arm and a leg. And if possible, to have transparent pricing that is easy to understand.

At Luzmo, we help SaaS companies add beautiful dashboards to their product, improving the product experience while driving revenue for your business. Your developers don’t need specialized knowledge or skills - they can embed a Luzmo dashboard in just a few hours.

Unlike Tableau, Luzmo is built with an embedded use case in mind. Let us help you save time and money and improve your product.

Book your free demo and get a tour of Luzmo today.

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