January 19, 2012 – Tableau emphasized data sharing and connectivity on the latest generation of its namesake business intelligence platform.

Central and new to Tableau 7.0 is the Data Server, a feature that enables any business data user to add their own customized needs or input from outside programs and sources, and publish an extract or database connection to the centralized data. Francois Ajenstat, Tableau’s director of product marketing, says that the aim was to give data under a central repository a twist of personal alterations – useful, for example, when data definitions hold different meanings across an enterprise – and functionality for sharing across the enterprise without losing the data model framework.

“One of the things about over centralized data is sometimes you lose a lot of flexibility. You get your centralized data sources, and they’re great for governance, but then you discover there are some things that have been left out, things that you would like to calculate but you can’t,” Ajenstat says. “We wanted to build it in a way to take advantage of centralized data, but not lose ways of making the data more robust.”

Other new features to version 7.0 include new maps and area charts in its analytics toolbox, enhanced analytics parameters and connections to Hadoop and Vectorwise.

Gartner research director Rita Sallam says the updated release presents scalability and readiness with its shareable data capabilities, which makes it a “differentiator” from some of its BI rivals. Still, Sallam says the underpinning of the data model should work to keep information on the level across business and IT users.

“[It’s] easier for enterprises to create data models and then have a consistency in how they define enterprise calculations and measures that they really don’t want each individual dashboard or interactive analysis author to make up on their own,” says Sallam.

For an on-demand Web seminar on the release, click here.