Top Tips from our Tableau Breakfast
This week we held a catch-up breakfast for some of our Tableau customers so they could share their projects and see the type of work their fellow Tableau users had created.
Here are the two common challenges they faced and how they overcame them:
Challenge: Changing Analytics Culture
Across the room, many felt that the main struggle for their projects was changing the reporting culture of their business; Tableau is a very visual and innovative tool but their colleagues are used to seeing thick printed documents.
Tip: Gradual Integration
The trick here was to approach change through gradual integration.
Some began by introducing Tableau content into their regular presentations but kept their Tableau workbook open in the background. This meant that when the audience asked questions, they were able to flick to the workbook and show them the answers; introducing the interactive aspects of Tableau.
Tip: Question the Norm
The interactive nature of Tableau allowed our customers to minimise a traditional report to a handful of dashboards that display only the vital performance indicators but allowed them to dig deeper into detail when needed. One lesson highlighted was to avoid replicating all the content from ‘traditional’ reports into Tableau – always question why each piece of data is being used and what value it adds to the dashboard.
“We can now stop producing 30 page documents and increase engagement in meetings”
Michael Mitchell, Gambling Commission
Once Tableau had been used in one area of their business and caught the eye of their management teams, there was interest in introducing Tableau to other areas of the business, such as HR.
Challenge: Data Structure
The group identified the importance of ensuring that the structure of the data was correct in the beginning. Many had previously worked on dashboards and found it difficult to label the visuals or understand what it was they were looking at. This meant that they had to go back to amend the original data to improve the output.
“The structure of the data means everything”
Steve Rose, Birmingham City Council
Tip: Tableau Version 9
Luckily, version 9 of Tableau has introduced user-friendly restructuring so that you don’t need to go back to the original source to edit the data. These tools helped Laura Balla, from the Gambling Commission, to visualise and restructure tricky survey data on the fly.
Today’s group was a mix of Tableau workbook creators, presenters and users. With this wide spectrum of perspectives and experiences, we identified 3 key learnings:
♦ Gradual integration is key – Tableau is often very different to our customers’ standard reporting and analysis tools. Buy-in is greater if you introduce it through presentations and reports- then open or publish the workbook to answer questions.
♦ Question the status-quo – Why is that in the report? Is it only because it was in the traditional report? Will replicating this cause confusion? Can I integrate that data another way?
♦ Invest in your data – Time spent on understanding the structure of the data in the beginning will prevent challenges visualising the data later.
“Tableau allowed us to do work we previously couldn’t do”
James Jervis, Midland Heart