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The Missing Element to Make Tableau
an Enterprise Solution: Version Control


The Power of Delivering Tableau Version Control

Imagine building a dashboard in Tableau, making numerous changes, only to realize you need to revert to a version from three hours or even days (or weeks!) ago. Or picture a team of data analysts, each making modifications to the same workbook, leading to confusion about who did what and when and potential errors. This is where having a version control process in Tableau would become your saving grace, saving you from losing important changes, having out-of-date dashboards, and unhappy business stakeholders.

In this blog post, we will define version control, exploring its importance, the current capabilities in Tableau, and why it’s a must-have in your data analytics toolkit.


Defining Version Control

When I think of version control, I liken it to the ‘version history’ capability on a Google document. Imagine you’re working on an important document, it records every edit made—whether it’s adding new text, deleting something, or making formatting adjustments. Each contributor’s changes are noted, and you can see who made what change and when. If a particular edit doesn’t work out, you can easily revert to a previous version of the document without losing all the work done up to that point.

Version control, also known as version management, in the BI & Analytics space is just like this but on a more complex scale; it’s a system that helps manage different versions of BI content. For example, a version process in Tableau is one where users can track and manage changes made to any Tableau objects such as workbooks, data sources, metrics, flows, Pulse, etc, over time with all updates being recorded and the possibility to roll back if needed. It allows users to keep account of any changes or modifications made within a project to avoid the need for repeated work.


Why would having the capability of version control in Tableau be so important?

Currently, Tableau only has version-like capabilities, which we’ll look at more in detail further on in this post, but having the ability to deliver version control in Tableau is crucial for several reasons; let’s explore the top three advantages:

1. Prevents Data Loss

With a version control process, every change made to a Tableau object could be tracked and stored. This means that even if a mistake is made or data is accidentally deleted, you can easily revert to a previous version, preventing data loss. By tracking all changes, version control also ensures the integrity of your data. You can be confident that your insights and reports are based on accurate, up-to-date information.

2. Facilitates Collaboration, Accelerates Delivery

In a team setting, multiple people might be working on the same Tableau workbook. Version control would allow for smooth collaboration, as it keeps track of who made which changes and when, avoiding conflicts and confusion.

3. Maintains Compliance

Version control is critical for compliance to ensure every change to dashboards and data sources is tracked and reversible. It simplifies audits by documenting modifications and enhances collaboration. It also safeguards against data loss and maintains the reliability and accuracy of analytics to align with regulatory standards (e.g. SOX, HIPAA, GxP).


What’s Tableau’s Current Version-Like Capability?

Currently, Tableau’s version-like capability is known as revisions but unfortunately has limited capabilities. Workarounds are complex and require scripting, or a lot of manual work as many people tend to save a Tableau workbook to a folder to capture a version of that content, plus revisions don’t identify changes or give users the ability to add notes. Equally, only those with a Creator or Explorer license can access the revision history. Tableau Cloud users are also limited to 10 revisions. There is a high demand for more Tableau version control capabilities by the community (here are some of the feature requests) and this is something Wiiisdom is very passionate about. I think you’ll want to take a look at this article straight away to find out more.


Be in control of your Tableau content

Being able to have a Tableau version control process is so important because it safeguards your data, facilitates seamless collaboration, and maintains the integrity of your work. While the current version control-like capability in Tableau is limited, it still provides a safety net for your data analytics projects. If you’re interested in finding out more about how Wiiisdom can help with implementing a Tableau version control process, get in touch with us today.

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