What is the vision for Write-Back?

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Tableau is an amazing tool that allows analysing and exploring data and really empowers users on the constant search for facts that will support their decisions. One of its best aspects is how flexible it is when it comes to defining business rules and finding new ways to look at data. While most organisations nowadays can be accessed easily, there are times where user input is necessary, either for qualitative analysis or simply because you need data that you cannot capture automatically.

Tableau doesn’t have an input mechanism and therefore requires users to resort to external systems which limit their flexibility or even worse disrupts the flow of analysis when inputting the data. This why we created Write-Back.

As soon as we understood that Tableau was going to make an API extension available, we immediately decided this would be a great problem to solve. We started Write-Back as a simple tool on one of the first Tableau extension hackathons. We soon found out based on customer feedback that we would have to go with a more corporate approach and features such as auditing, security and supporting multiple database technologies. So we decided to move to a whole new architecture and create a new product from scratch.

We envision Write-Back as the product to complement Tableau for any use case requiring user input.

This means we want it to be a versatile tool that is not being tied to a specific business process and can easily adapt to a broad set of use cases. All its features should be easily configurable by dashboard creators in an iterative matching Tableau flexibility. End-users should find it immediately available on the dashboard, providing the necessary context for input and even feedback about the submission.

Up to version 2.0 we were fully focused on extending the use cases supported by Write-Back. After that we started mixing ease of use with new features, providing what we believe to be a good compromise between innovation and improved user experience. This allowed us to reach a point where the product can respond to an impressive set of use cases and even usage types.

We will keep building on these foundations, and we want to pursue a combination of multiple goals by:

  • Extending the number of use cases that can be configured, for instance by allowing more simple annotations being done straight from the dashboard without a pop-up;
  • Implementing a notification mechanism so that simple workflows, such as approval and review, can easily be implemented as well as making users aware of data that matters to them;
  • Creating a management tool that will facilitate all the setup and configuration via a user interface, rather than the current mechanism that requires some technical work on setting files. This tool will also open a lot of possibilities by making it easier to communicate directly with Write-Back admins; we are talking about user authorisation, automatic upgrades and even interactions with the support and commercial team.

We are getting great feedback both from Write-Back users and product demos, and this really makes us want to keep pursing an even better product to complement Tableau, making it an ever better tool to help organisations become increasingly data-driven.

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