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Tableau Connectors Overview + Tableau Native & Third-Party Data Connectors List

Published: November 28, 2022
Last Updated: November 28, 2022
Support Team Lead at Alpha Serve
If you use Tableau for data processing and getting useful insights for your business you might have faced a lot of obstacles when trying to marry this powerful tool with other apps and software containing valuable information. In this article, we will tell you how you can ease this pain with Tableau connectors and will guide you on the most widely used solutions.
Tableau Connectors Overview + Tableau Native & Third-Party Data Connectors List
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Introduction to Tableau Connectors

Introduction to Tableau Connectors
Tableau is a powerful business analytics tool that helps to gather all the necessary data from different sources, clean it, and explore and transform it into actionable insights with a set of dashboards, data modeling tools, and visualizations. The question is how to feed all that data from other apps, platforms, or software tools. And here is when the connectors come in handy.

Basically, BI Connectors are solutions able to export data from one software to another seamlessly with no extra effort. Thus, Tableau connectors are tools able to fetch the data from third-party apps and services you’re using to Tableau Software where you can analyze it.

Tableau Data Connectors Types

Tableau supports a number of different data set formats you can upload and use in your visualizations and reports. It can be a spreadsheet or a text file stored on your PC, big data, relational, or cube (multidimensional) database on a server, as well as public domain data available on the web and cloud database, such as Google Analytics, Amazon Redshift, or Salesforce.

As we have already mentioned, you need connectors to link these data sources to Tableau. They can be divided into three main categories: Tableau in-built connectors — a set of tools designed by the platform’s developers to connect directly to certain data sources; plugins created by partner software development companies, and third-party connectors. Let’s explore each of them in more detail.

Tableau Native Connectors

You can access prebuilt data connectors from your Tableau Desktop. Simply go to the Start page and navigate to the Connect pane on the left side. You will see what data sources can Tableau connect to by default.

In the Search for Data section, there is a Tableau Server tab that allows finding data using Tableau Server or Tableau Cloud.

Below you will see supported file and server types in the corresponding sections. The servers you've recently connected to will be highlighted.

By clicking More you will be able to see the complete list of data connectors provided by Tableau. Among them, you will find Microsoft Access, Amazon Redshift, Azure SQL Database, Google Analytics, OData, SAP Sybase IQ, Spark SQL, etc. The full list of native Tableau Connectors you can find here.

The developer advises using native connectors (those you can find under the Connect section) for supported files and databases as they are designed specifically for those data types. Otherwise, you can opt for Other Databases (JDBC), Other Databases (ODBC), a Web Data Connector, or a Connector Plugin built using the Tableau Connector SDK to create a connector according to your requirements. But the main disadvantage of these kinds of connections is the limited support provided by the company, unlike Tableau-supported connectors.

In other words, you will be fully responsible for linking the apps and fetching your data.

Partner-Built Tableau Connectors

The other option may be partner-built connectors. These are solutions provided by third-party organizations or individuals but are completely in line with Tableau standards. You can find these connectors in the corresponding section of the Extension gallery. It was introduced recently, so the proposition is quite new but may be useful for businesses who need to fetch the data from a source not supported by Tableau and have no resources to build a custom one.

Normally, Partner Connectors utilize ODBC/JDBC model, so corresponding drivers should be in place.

To install this type of connector you will simply need to go to the connectors section of the Tableau Extension gallery, choose the connector you need, and download the .taco file by clicking on the Download button. Then you should insert the .taco file in the Tableau Repository\Connectors folder and relaunch Tableau Desktop. After you will be able to see the new connector, just select More under To a Server. Enter the requested information, and click Sign In. Wait while the connector retrieves your data into Tableau.

Third-party Tableau Connectors

One more option is to choose the connectors made by third-party software development companies. These apps are normally designed for more professional use and have advanced data export features like filters, additional sharing and scheduling options, etc that make the work with your data sets more precise and effortless. This option is best suited for demanding businesses who need a reliable solution with flexible possibilities and extended functionality but still cannot or deem it ineffective to build their own connections in Tableau or simply can't find the required connector among native and partner-built Tableau connectors.

A bright example is Alpha Serve’s Tableau Connectors.

There are three solutions: one for Jira, one for Shopify, and one for Zendesk. Each of them makes it possible not only to make seamless data connections in Tableau but also to export only relevant information with help of advanced filtering options, schedule regular data updates, and reports, as well as transfer sensitive information under the strictest safety standards. In such a way, you can save a lot of time and money and profit from creating interactive visualizations and receiving useful insights with your Jira data, exploring your eCommerce data from Shopify, or building complex Zendesk reports in minutes.

With the use of this type of data connectors, Tableau becomes a more effective tool, as you stream only necessary information and thus do not need extra time and effort for data cleaning.

Tableau Connectors List: TOP 10

Tableau Connectors List: TOP 10
To resume the above mentioned, there are a lot of useful data connectors in Tableau that may come in handy in different situations and work for your benefit altogether. In other words, different Tableau connection types may work perfectly for particular cases or data sources. You can combine them to achieve the best results according to your business needs.

To make it easier for you to decide which Tableau integrations to opt for, we will tell you about the most popular and efficient ones. So here is our top-10 list of Tableau connectors. It includes both native and a couple of third-party connectors and a guide on how to use them best.

1. Tableau Salesforce Connector

If you use Salesforce as a powerful CRM cloud-based solution to manage all aspects of sales, service, marketing, and analytics inside your organization, you would probably want to include it as a data source for your reports in Tableau.

It can be easily done by the native Tableau Salesforce Connector. The only thing you will need for this is to use OAuth. This option will also make it possible for using a custom OAuth client so that you could put your OAuth configuration in line with your company’s IT policies.

The app allows you to select a subset of columns to work with, refresh Salesforce data, use Tableau’s accelerators to quickly build informative dashboards, and create joins on any string fields and on fields that are constrained references between tables.

On the other hand, you will not be able to make live connections, extract filters, perform incremental updates to the extract, and view your data in the data grid.

Here you can learn more about how to install and prepare your data for further use with the connector.

2. Tableau MongoDB Connector

MongoDB is one of the most popular document databases in the cloud era (It has more than 37,000 customers in over 100 countries), used by innovator teams using agile methodologies to create, transform, and disrupt industries with the scalability and flexibility one may wish with the querying and indexing features. So, it’s not surprising, that this data source will be one of the most desirable within the Tableau environment.

However, MongoDB stores data in rich, multi-dimensional documents while BI tools need fixed schemas and tabular data. And there is a solution developed by MongoDB itself and available on the company’s website.

So, to link Tableau and Mongo DB you will need to download the connector and install the required drivers. Afterward, you will be able to make a connection from the Connect section on your Tableau Desktop. Here is the instruction on how to do this.

The app allows you to seamlessly create visualizations and dashboards that will help you obtain fully managed actionable insights using your multi-structured data, federate queries and analyze data across live clusters and S3, without additional time and developer resources.

3. Tableau Jira Connector

Jira is another tool widely used by agile teams for project management and far beyond. As a useful data source, it is a very valuable addition to your Tableau reports and dashboards.

Tableau Connector for Jira developed by Alpha Serve is one of the best solutions to integrate two tools. It provides flexible data selection options with the use of advanced filtering options and the possibility to fetch data from the Jira add-ons like Tempo and Advanced Roadmaps, allows regular data refreshes for up-to-date Tableau reporting, automated data relationships and the possibility to share your reports and visuals based on Jira data with customers, teammates, partners, and other stakeholders in the most convenient and safe ways. What is more, the app is free for small teams of up to 10 users.

For more data on how to install and use the Tableau Jira connector follow the links below:

4. Tableau Oracle Connector

Oracle Database is one more widely used tool that makes relational database environments simpler for customers and reduces management workloads. To make a Tableau Oracle connection you can use a native connector.

For using this app, you will need to install some drivers from this page and prepare some information including the name of the server, Oracle service name, port, or the TNS name, Initial SQL statement, and authentication method.

After successful installation, you will be able to drag exported tables to the canvas and select the needed sheet tabs for your analysis. It is also possible to use custom SQL to connect to a specific query if you do not need an entire data source for your particular data processing task.

As far as it is possible to make connections either with OCI or with JDBC drivers, it will be useful to know that you can also migrate the workbook to the Oracle JDBC connector if it was created with the Oracle OCI connector.

You can find more data on the connector and how to apply it here.

Separately you can make connections with Oracle Eloqua, Oracle Essbase, and Oracle NetSuite to make good use of these particular data. For example, some Eloqua tables can be customized to have more than 250 fields, and you can implement incremental refreshes for this connection type. And the Oracle Essbase connector allows working with either the generations or the levels of a dimension in Tableau, as well as choosing to include or exclude shared members.

5. Tableau Athena Connector (Tableau S3 Connector)

The other connection gaining popularity is Tableau and Amazon Athena, a query service designed to analyze data in Amazon S3 using standard SQL. With Tableau’s native Amazon Athena connector, you can integrate Tableau and Amazon S3 data for fast discovery and analysis, with drag-and-drop functionality.

You can see here how to set up the connection. Amazon Athena uses a JDBC connection, which you can customize using a properties file.

In Tableau, you can create worksheets, dashboards, and stories with the Athena data as well as connect to other data sources for comprehensive reports. With this BI platform, it is also easier to share insights with all the interested persons.

6. Tableau Redshift Connector

Amazon Redshift being a part of the larger cloud-computing platform Amazon Web Services is a fully managed, cloud-based data warehouse service allowing you to gain new insights for your business and customers which can be scaled to a petabyte or more, and of course, a valuable data source for your comprehensive data exploration and analyses.

You can add Redshift data with Tableau’s native connector. And here you will find detailed instructions on how to connect Tableau to Redshift.

The app makes it possible to modify the connection by appending driver parameters to the connection string in the Enter custom driver parameters text box. Read more about this here.

7. Tableau Zendesk Connector

When it goes to customer experience, Zendesk will be one of the first solutions that will come to mind. The platform provides a complete solution for customer support including interacting over messaging, live chat, social, email, or voice, building help centers, and using AI and bots. These valuable insights into your customers and their pains are definitely worth more accurate exploration in Tableau. And the best tool to make it happen is the Tableau Connector by Alpha Serve.

The app allows you to export all necessary information including Zendesk Support data related to Tickets, Ticket Metrics, Agents & Users, Satisfaction Ratings, Comments, Organizations, etc., to build comprehensive reports in less than 10 minutes. With this Tableau Zendesk connector, you can benefit from an entity relationship diagram dynamically created for your data source, advanced filtering options to include only relevant information, set up permissions, and receive qualified help from Alpha Serve’s technical support team if needed.

You can download Tableau Zendesk connector here.
Check the detailed Tableau Zendesk integration guide here.

8. Tableau BigQuery Connector

Google BigQuery does not need representation. This enterprise data warehouse is used by companies big and small to manage and analyze any data with machine learning, geospatial analysis, and business intelligence. If you connect Tableau to BigQuery, you may not only integrate your data sources but also make good use of forecasts, machine learning models, and other analytics options of BigQuery for better strategic decisions.

See here, how to integrate these two powerful tools, as well as how to customize the data import with the attributes to improve the performance of large result sets returned from BigQuery.

9. Tableau Shopify Connector

As the number one eCommerce platform in the world, Shopify does contain tons of useful information to explore and use for planning, prediction, and reporting purposes. Unfortunately, its own built-in analyzing features are limited in functionality, and here is when the integrations with BI platforms come in handy.

And Tableau Connector for Shopify developed by Alpha Serve is the best way to make links between these powerful tools.

The app allows the creation of multiple data sources to export various data ranges, and the use of filters to customize export data, i. e. pertaining to customers, orders, inventory, etc. You can also be safe about your store data as the connector does not collect and save any customer data.

Find Tableau Shopify Integration Guide here.

10. Tableau Snowflake Connector

Another popular solution, Snowflake, is also a useful addition to Tableau. As a fully managed SaaS that provides a single platform for data warehousing, data lakes, data engineering, data science, data application development, and secure sharing and consumption of real-time/shared data, of course, it may be a good source for building your reports, data models, and visualization, as well as for comprehensive dashboards that allow viewing a bag picture, forecasting and developing plans and strategies for future.

To connect Tableau to Snowflake, you can use the native connector. Here is a guide on how to integrate the two tools, set up the data source, and customize the connection using driver parameters. To use the connector you need OAuth, for which you must install the latest ODBC driver.

Final Words

Tableau is a powerful but intuitive data science and business intelligence tool able to transform any raw data into convenient formats and visualizations. It allows combining multiple data sources or exploring each one separately to create and publish insightful dashboards and share reports, graphs, and other data processing results with colleagues, partners, or customers without any coding. Tableau makes it easier to study business metrics in near-real-time, create performance benchmarks, spot market trends, increase compliance, and finally make better decisions to improve different aspects of your business.

In this article, we studied how to integrate Tableau with other platforms with different types of connectors& We saw that all of them may be particularly useful in different situations and can be used in various combinations to get better results. We also reviewed the best connectors available on the platform itself or developed by the partner and third-party organizations.

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