With the pace and complexity of running a business today, making informed decisions is more critical than ever. Companies rely on data to gain insights, drive growth, and maintain a competitive edge and many have turned to Tableau as a powerful tool to visualize and analyze data effectively.
For many organizations, hiring a Tableau consultant can not only provide invaluable expertise and support, but the right consultant can create actionable business value with insights much faster than an in-house team alone. In this guide, we'll explore what a Tableau consultant does, the traits and skills of a strong data/Tableau consultant, what goes into fees and hourly rates, and where to find the right Tableau consultants for your needs.
What Does a Tableau Consultant Do?
Tableau consultants play a crucial role in helping businesses unlock the full potential of Tableau. They can assist with valuable tasks in a Tableau deployment, such as:
- Tableau implementation, configuration, and deployment
A consultant can guide you through the entire process of setting up Tableau within your organization, ensuring seamless integration with your existing systems and data sources. With the right experience, a great Tableau consultant can help you avoid common mistakes by setting the right foundation for a Tableau deployment - namely, with data sourcing, user security, and content organization strategy.
- Developing custom dashboards and visualizations
A skilled Tableau consultant can create visually engaging and informative dashboards tailored to your specific business needs, providing insights and actionable information for decision-makers. The ability to tell a compelling visual story requires much more than simply understanding Tableau's interface. A great Tableau consultant should be able to elicit requirements directly from stakeholders.
- Integrating Tableau with other data sources and systems
Consultants can help connect Tableau to a wide range of data sources, such as databases, spreadsheets, and even niche third-party applications through custom API connections, to ensure that your data is completely connected, always up-to-date, and accessible to the right users. While Tableau offers a robust suite of data connectors, there are often nuances or non-standard data sources that need specialized development.
- Providing training and support for internal users
A consultant can offer customized training sessions and ongoing support to help your team become proficient with Tableau, ensuring that your organization gets the most value from the platform. This support can be valuable in saving time on self-paced learning videos that your team likely doesn't have time to watch.
Soft and Technical Skills of Great Tableau Consultants
When looking for a Tableau consultant, there are a few technical skills you'll want to assess in addition to non-technical (soft) skills that will likely have the biggest factor in a successful Tableau project. Let's start with the key technical skills to assess.
- Tableau Desktop: Proficiency in using Tableau Desktop to create interactive and insightful dashboards and visualizations is an absolute must. A great consultant should have multiple years of experience using this application and can speak to most of the interface/functionality. You can easily gauge comfortability by how quickly a consultant is able to change visualizations and update settings on the fly. If they are unable or uncomfortable demoing live, consider this a red flag.
- Tableau Cloud | Tableau Server: Expertise in configuring and managing Tableau Server or Tableau Cloud deployments may not necessarily be a requirement, but it is valuable knowledge for deploying content correctly. A consultant that understands how the hosting platforms (e.g. Server, Cloud) interact with Tableau workbooks will ensure that the final product is secured, optimized, and accessible to users. Without this understanding, you may end up with a subpar deployment.
- Data modeling: The ability to design and implement data models that facilitate efficient and accurate data analysis is crucial. Data is rarely clean and connected when a project kicks off.
- SQL: Proficiency in using SQL to query, manipulate, and analyze data from various data sources. SQL is the commonly accepted language of data and understanding how it is used to interact with data will no doubt make a Tableau consultant more effective in structuring and pulling performant data sets into Tableau.
- Python: Python is a popular, growing programming language for advanced manipulation functions and statistics. While a 'nice-to-have' for Tableau development, an experienced Tableau consultant with knowledge of Python can unlock new predictive analytics use cases for your organization.
- Data visualization techniques: Knowledge of best practices for creating clear, compelling, and effective data visualizations that drive decision-making. Understanding data viz best practices can be the difference between a well-adopted data product and 'just another' dashboard that frustrates end users.
Problem-solving skills and adaptability: A good consultant should be able to tackle various challenges and adapt their approach based on your organization's unique needs and goals. Tableau projects often require an iterative design approach as users make additional requests after playing around with new insights for the first time.
Collaboration mindset: A consultant should be able to communicate effectively with both technical and non-technical stakeholders, lead effective requirements-gathering sessions, and ensure that the final data product resonates with the end users who need to make real business decisions with the insights. Tableau development is a team sport.
Business acumen: A consultant should at least have a basic understanding (or ability to learn quickly) of your business model and how the project scope fits into broader business goals. This leads to the creation of clear, compelling, and insightful visuals that drive decision-making - with the nuances of your business model in mind.
- Project management: An experienced consultant will have the ability to plan, execute, and oversee projects efficiently, ensuring that deadlines are met and objectives are achieved. A strong project manager will allow you to focus on other business priorities instead of constantly overseeing project deliverables and expenses.
- Effective communication: Beyond collaborating with end users and team members, a strong communicator will be able to drive smarter adoption, education, and change management with Tableau deliverables by articulating the 'why' behind the final design.
How Much Does a Tableau Consultant Charge?
The cost of hiring a Tableau consultant can vary depending on several factors, such as their level of expertise, location, and the scope of the project. Hourly rates for Tableau consultants can generally range from $50 to over $200 per hour, with more experienced consultants typically commanding even higher fees.
When evaluating the cost of hiring a Tableau consultant, it's essential to consider not only their hourly rate but also the value they bring to your organization. A highly skilled consultant may charge a higher rate, but their expertise and efficiency can lead to better results and a much faster return on your investment - without the risk of poor delivery quality.
Developing front-end dashboards often requires a healthy dose of business understanding, technical abilities, and design skills to achieve successful outcomes quickly. The more ambiguous the request or unstructured the data, the more an experienced Tableau consultant pays back in huge dividends.
Where to Find Tableau Consultants
There are several avenues for finding Tableau consultants, including:
- Tableau Partner Network: Tableau's official partner network includes consulting firms like DataDrive that specialize in providing Tableau-related services. These certified partners have demonstrated expertise in Tableau and are well-equipped to support your organization's needs.
- Professional networking platforms: LinkedIn is one of the best resources for finding Tableau consultants, either by searching for individuals with Tableau expertise or by posting a job listing and inviting candidates to apply.
- Freelance platforms and job boards: Websites like Upwork and Fiverr can help you find freelance Tableau consultants or full-time candidates to join your team. Be sure to check for customer reviews, as some candidates may display others' Tableau Public work in their portfolio.
- Personal recommendations and referrals: Ask colleagues, friends, or industry contacts if they know any Tableau consultants who have delivered exceptional results. Personal recommendations can provide real, trusted feedback into a consultant's skills, work ethic, and overall fit for your organization.
Partner with DataDrive for Tableau Consulting
DataDrive is the highest-tier Tableau Partner that offers Tableau-specific enablement services to help organizations succeed with deployment, training, adoption, development, and ongoing environment administration. DataDrive is proud to be recognized as the Rising Star Partner of the Year for North America in 2022.
Our DataDrive team has successfully implemented Tableau for over 150+ organizations, including some of the largest brands in the world across retail, CPG, marketing, and eCommerce. Our certified team of consultants can guide you through every stage of your Tableau journey with an industry-tested approach to implementation, dashboard development, and structured training programs.
Looking to offload the headaches of Tableau environment management? DataDrive's Analytics Accelerator provides a scalable, secure, and governed Tableau reporting environment with an experienced data team to support iterative development and training alongside your team.
Choosing the right Tableau consultant for your business is crucial for maximizing the benefits of this powerful data visualization platform. By understanding the roles, skills, and traits of a great Tableau consultant and knowing where to find them, you can make an informed decision that will drive your organization's success.
Your Certified Tableau Consultants, Delivered.
DataDrive has helped over 150 organizations unlock the full potential of Tableau and ensure teams are well-equipped to leverage the power of data-driven decision-making. Reach out to discuss your Tableau needs with trusted Tableau experts.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What does a Tableau consultant do?
A Tableau consultant helps organizations implement, configure, and optimize Tableau for their specific needs. They can develop custom dashboards and visualizations, integrate Tableau with other data sources and systems, and provide training and support for Tableau users.
What are the traits of a strong Tableau consultant?
A strong Tableau consultant possesses technical expertise in Tableau and data analysis, problem-solving skills, adaptability, strong communication and collaboration abilities, and a deep understanding of data visualization best practices.
What soft skills and technical skills should be expected of a great Tableau consultant?
A great Tableau consultant should have a mix of soft skills like project management, teamwork, adaptability, and effective communication, as well as technical skills such as Tableau Desktop, Tableau Server or Tableau Cloud, data modeling, SQL, and data visualization techniques.
How much does a Tableau consultant charge? What is their hourly rate?
Hourly rates for Tableau consultants can vary widely, ranging from $50 to over $200 per hour. The cost depends on factors such as their level of expertise, location, and the scope of the project.
Where can I find Tableau consultants?
You can find Tableau consultants through the Tableau Partner network, professional networking platforms like LinkedIn, freelance platforms and job boards, or through personal recommendations and referrals.
Is it better to hire a Tableau consulting firm or an individual consultant?
The choice between hiring a consulting firm or an individual consultant depends on your organization's needs and preferences. A consulting firm, like DataDrive, can offer a wider range of data services and resources, while an individual consultant may provide more personalized attention. Evaluate your organization's specific needs and weigh the pros and cons of each option to make the best decision for your situation.
Why should I consider DataDrive for my Tableau consulting needs?
DataDrive is a Premier Tableau Partner with expertise and experience in Tableau implementation, support, and customization. By partnering with DataDrive, you can benefit from tailored Tableau solutions, dedicated support, and resources to deploy and manage a scalable, secure Tableau deployment.