Eliminate data preparation siloes, data inconsistencies, and erratic governance. Use Datameer Spectrum to create an enterprise-wide data preparation hub that covers a wide array of use cases, not just Tableau reporting and BI, and brings together analyst self-service data preparation and data engineering under a single, scalable, and governed roof.
Tableau Prep is a self-service data preparation tool offered within the Tableau product family. It provides a visual, workflow style way to combine, shape, and clean data, making it easier for analysts and business users to start their analysis.
Before Tableau Prep, many Tableau users used Excel for data preparation, then reimporting the data back into Tableau. Tableau Prep was designed to eliminate the need to use Excel for data preparation and give users a simpler way to prepare data on their desktop.
Tableau Prep has two major components:
Tableau Prep Builder provides a visual, point-and-click user experience to filter, cleanse, combine, and shape your data. Like Spectrum, the user interface is interactive, and users can immediately see the impact as they add various functions and how the shape of the data has changed.
Tableau Prep Builder offers many connectors, mostly to analytic data sources (databases, data warehouses, analytics databases) and simple structured files. It contains close to 100 functions to transform and shape the data.
Tableau Prep Conductor is the engine behind Tableau Prep to run your workflows. Tableau Prep Conductor is a part of the Data Management add-on for Tableau Server (at extra cost). Tableau Prep Builder and Conductor also integrate with Tableau Catalog to allow dataflows to be cataloged, tagged, and made discoverable.
Datameer Spectrum is a fully-featured data preparation and integration platform with wizard-driven simplicity and point-and-click transformations for fast, easy data preparation by your analyst community without writing one line of code. Once integration dataflows are ready, Spectrum’s enterprise-grade operationalization, security, and governance features enable reliable, automated, and secure data pipelines to ensure a consistent data flow.
Spectrum offers a comprehensive suite for data preparation and integration. It supports analyst self-service data preparation and data engineering use cases, enabling a single hub for all data preparation across an enterprise. Pipelines can span across various approaches and needs, including ETL, ELT, data preparation, and data science.
The point-and-click simplicity of Spectrum makes it easy for analyst and data scientist self-service. Simultaneously, the deep suite of functions and governance features enable data engineering pipelines of any level of sophistication. The result is a cooperative environment where analysts and data engineers can get your data analytics-ready 10 to 20 times faster at a fraction of the cost.
Spectrum has extensive features to support your hybrid-cloud data landscape, is cloud-native on all three major cloud platforms (AWS, Azure, GCP), and carries with it the elasticity and cost economics you would expect in the cloud. Spectrum can bring together any data sources you have regardless of type, format, and location (cloud or on-premises).
At its core, Tableau Prep was created to eliminate the “Excel use case” for data preparation. The design of Tableau Prep was to make things as simple as possible for the user. Spectrum and Tableau Prep have a few things in common:
Beyond this, Spectrum offers several key differentiated capabilities that Tableau Prep does not, allowing Spectrum to facilitate faster analytics at a lower cost:
Tableau Prep is a desktop data preparation tool devised to support self-service Tableau BI use cases. The primary design point was to alleviate Tableau users’ need to prepare their data in Excel and then re-import the data into Tableau.
Spectrum comes from a different world, being designed for enterprise-class and -scale data preparation and pipelines and supporting a wide variety of use cases. Spectrum facilitates both self-service data preparation and data engineering, can work on large-scale big data and small datasets, and has enterprise-level security and governance.
Tableau Prep has a good number of connectors but is limited to databases and files. It has a highly-specific function set designed to prepare (cleanse, filter, etc.) structured data only.
Spectrum has its roots in the big data world. It has an extensive array of connectors designed to work with structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data in a wide variety of formats. Spectrum has automated capabilities to parse and extract data from complex formats such as JSON and contains an extensive suite of functions to mine insights from semi-structured and unstructured data.
While Tableau Prep can work with a decent number of data sources, it only has one destination of prepared datasets: Tableau BI. Tableau cannot send results to other BI, analytics, or data science tools.
Spectrum assumes an enterprise has not only many data sources but also has multiple BI, analytics, and data science tools. Spectrum can act as an enterprise data preparation and pipeline hub that engineers and prepares data for any analytics destination, Tableau included. One pipeline can have resulting datasets sent to multiple destinations, enabling the same data used across departments with different tools or different use cases such as reporting and data science.
As previously mentioned, Tableau Prep has a workflow-like user interface to create data flows. It offers data previews and statistics but does not provide any tools to explore the data or apply exploratory analytics functions.
We believe it is critical to get a complete handle on what your data looks like before engineering, preparing, and shaping it with Spectrum. Spectrum offers four key ways to explore your data:
Tableau Prep offers a suite of close to 100 functions, but these are mostly centered around cleaning and shaping data. It does provide a limited set of grouping and aggregation functions for analytics within your data flows.
Spectrum offers several vital functions and capabilities for inline analytics and data enrichment within your data flows. We previously mentioned Smart Analytics and Pivot Tables. Spectrum also provides an in-depth array of functions for aggregation, binning, text analytics, and more. Users can enter formulas that can further enrich data.
In addition, Spectrum offers SQL Sheets, a mechanism by which a user can apply a SQL statement on top of a dataset for any purpose, including aggregating data.
Tableau Prep is explicitly focused on Tableau BI use cases for reporting and analytics. Spectrum goes beyond reporting and analytics, with integrated single-click data preparation functions for data science. This includes Smart Analytics and functions for one-hot and ordinal encoding, and data and number binning.
As mentioned, Tableau Prep offers approximately 100 functions, mostly centered around cleansing and shaping data. Spectrum provides over 300 data preparation functions that support a wide range of use cases, including:
Tableau Prep contains a good set of governance features via Tableau Catalog, but the scope is explicitly limited to data within the Tableau environment. Spectrum includes a deep set of enterprise security and governance features that span the multiple environments and tools that most large organizations have. Spectrum’s security and governance capabilities were honed over the years in some of the most demanding environments in regulated industries such as banking, insurance, and retail.
While Tableau Prep is a friendly, easy to use tool for simple self-service data preparation, it does not match the depth and breadth of Datameer Spectrum, which was designed for true enterprise-class data preparation and integration. Spectrum covers both analyst self-service data preparation and large-scale data engineering and lets your organization scale-out and create a data preparation hub across departments, use cases, and analytics types.
|Datameer Spectrum||Tableau Prep|
|Spectrum enables you to gain scale, efficiency, and support more use cases as an enterprise data preparation hub for both self-service data prep and large-scale data engineering.||Tableau Prep supports Tableau-only self-service BI and reporting use cases.|
|Spectrum works with a greater variety of data sources (databases, data warehouses, applications, cloud services, and different file formats) and with structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data.||Tableau Prep only works with structured data from databases, data warehouses, and files.|
|Resulting datasets from Spectrum can be sent to many different destinations and tools, including Tableau, and data pipelines can target more than one destination.||The output from Tableau Prep can only feed Tableau users.|
|Spectrum contains multiple data discovery and exploration capabilities, including data previews and histograms, visual explorer, pivot tables, smart analytics, and more.||Tableau Prep only offers simple data previews and histograms.|
|Spectrum offers many features for inline analytics, including sophisticated aggregations and binning, smart analytics, pivot tables, and text analytics.||Tableau Prep only offers limited aggregation functions for in-workflow analytics.|
|Spectrum contains several single click data preparation and shaping functions for data science, including smart analytics, operations for one-hot and ordinal encoding, and data and number binning.||Tableau offers no features for data preparation for data science.|
|Spectrum offers over 300 data preparation functions that support a wide range of use cases, including reporting, discovery analytics, data science, text analytics, and graph analytics.||Tableau Prep offers close to 100 functions that support basic BI and reporting use cases.|
|Spectrum contains a robust suite of enterprise-class security and governance capabilities that span different environments and have been battle-tested in highly regulated industries.||Tableau Prep offers solid governance features Tableau Catalog, but only covers the Tableau environment.|