Tableau 10.3 Adds Smart Recommendation Engine and Expands Data Connections to Include PDFs

Tableau Software, a provider of software for visual analytics, has announced new features in Tableau 10.3, which will be released next week.

“One of the things that we are really focused on is making sure that our innovation serves the breadth of our customer base from the smallest smart shops to enterprise organizations that have hundreds of thousands of employees," said Tableau's Dustin Smith.

The new release is designed to help organizations achieve insights faster with four key areas of innovation.  First, automated table and join recommendations enabled by machine learning algorithms simplify the search for the right data for analysis. Second, data-driven alerts allow for proactive monitoring of key metrics. Third, Tableau 10.3 connects with six new data sources for analysis, including PDF documents.  In addition, Tableau Online customers will be able to try a beta release of Tableau Bridge, which enables a direct connection to data stored on premises directly in the cloud to support hybrid data systems.

Four key enhancements in Tableau 10.3:

Smart database table and join recommendations powered by machine learning

Tableau 10.3 makes it easier for people to find the right data for their analysis with smart table and join recommendations.  “This is Tableau’s foray into using smart algorithms,” said Smith.

With this feature, he noted, Tableau is introducing a capability whereby normal, everyday users can ask about marketing leads, or number of employees, or anything else and drag out a table in Tableau, and automatically, as they start to ask questions, be guided to a trusted path. This provides a "data shepherd" that naturally and organically allows someone to not only shorten the time to insight but put themselves on a trusted and governed path, said Smith.

Leveraging machine learning algorithms, Tableau Server analyzes aggregate data source usage to recommend popular tables and corresponding joins across the organization. With recommendations, customers can save time by quickly identifying database tables that are relevant to their analysis and leveraging join recommendations to enrich their data, allowing them to automatically apply insights from experts and other users across their organization, increasing the overall quality of their data models. This new capability ultimately has implications for data governance, time-to-value, and correct utilization of data infrastructure, noted Smith.

Data-driven alerts

Tableau 10.3 makes it easier for users to stay engaged with the metrics that matter most to them. With new data-driven alerts, customers can receive notifications as their data crosses a pre-set threshold, ensuring they do not miss an important change in their organization. Customers can set alerts by pointing at the data on which they want to be notified.

“This is all about responding faster to important changes, and making sure that users don’t get blindsided at 8 am when something happened at 6 am,” said Smith.

Connect to more data

Tableau 10.3 also makes it easier for teams to access data, wherever it resides. In all, customers can now connect to more than 75 data sources via 66 connectors, without any programming, according to the vendor. “Tableau is obsessed with allowing more connections into data,” said Smith. New accessibility introduced with this release is the PDF connector, which allows people to directly import PDF tables into Tableau with one click. With an estimated 2.5 trillion Adobe PDFs worldwide, this enables a new area of data that can be leveraged for analysis. Additionally, Tableau now comes with new connectors to other popular data sources such as Amazon Athena, ServiceNow, MongoDB, Dropbox, and Microsoft OneDrive.

Hybrid data for the cloud

Tableau Online customers can now leverage data stored on premises directly in the cloud with the new Tableau Bridge. “This gets at the idea that people are in all stages of transition from on-premise to cloud. Although they may be moving to the cloud, they also have legacy data sources that they need and want to have access to from a SaaS analytical platform like Tableau Online, and Tableau Bridge provides that hybrid option,” explained Smith. Available to all Tableau Online customers to try, Tableau Bridge will allow a secure, live connection to on-premise data so that users no longer have to move data to perform a live query from Tableau Online. “This is very important for folks that have no interest in replicating rows of data in the cloud.”

A full feature list for Tableau 10.3 is available at

A free trial is accessible at