Tableau enabling organisations to change

Change begins with me

When people think of a piece of software such as Tableau, they immediately think of it as a reporting or analysis tool. I believe the true value of introducing tableau into an organization is actually drive improved collaboration and decision making at all levels irregardless of role or function.

Often this requires a big cultural shift in the way the organization works. This article will be focused on how Tableau enables empowers everyone within the organization to look at data , have a play with the data with a view to enable the broader organization to make more informed decisions.

Different types of organizations

1. The “family business”  – Ultra conservative organizations

Old school business

– All decision making is based on gut feel and instinct. A data collection and analysis strategy is not in place, with no analytics team. Analytics is not valued and seen as a cost not as a business driver.

2. Old school BI enabled organizations – Companies that invested millions into their Cognos/ Microstrategy  cubes etc that have stock standard reports coming out of them. Report generation would take weeks and months with requests going to a central BI area.

3. Hybrid organizations – organizations who see the need for a faster way for business users to get access to information. Tableau used as a line of business tool to enable functional analysts ( sales, product marketing, finance) to drill into and see what is happening in the business.

4. Fully self serve organisations – all staff are given a tableau license, some training and encouraged to find the answers in the data themselves.

The case for analytics..

The first thing is to make management aware of why analytics is needed in the first place. After all,  Harvard Business review: Big data the management revolution can often be used to kick start discussion.The bottom line is that data-driven decision making were, on average, 5% more productive and 6% more profitable than their competitors. That approach certainly resonates well with senior management.

Check out another report by Mckinsey Big Data : Next Frontier for innovation, competition and productivity

Get inspired..

Reading a report is one thing, listening to Tableau’s CEO Christian Chabot speak is quite something else. Check out his presentation at the previous Tableau customer conference keynote on unleashing the human potential (not just automating the routine).

Tableau is really about 4 simple principles!

  1. Experimentation with data – Ideas becoming putty in ones’ hands allowing one to continuously flow with them.
  2. Speed – Analytics software needs to give immediate feedback just like a ink on paper. Advancements in technology like changes from film photography to digital photography make things a pleasure to use instead of missing opportunities.
  3. Expressiveness – Artist start with a blank canvas and carve out their thoughts in the medium like paper or wood. Tableau does this through a blank canvas.
  4. Control –  Artists need to be able to do it themselves and not just delegate eg: Leonardo da vinci didn’t fill in a painting request form!

I recall the first time i listened to the keynote,  i wondered to myself who is this guy. He is not just a good ‘public speaker’ but someone who speaks from the heart and Tableau at the end of the day is a story of organisational change and empowering everyone not just the BI or IT guy.

Reach out and speak to Tableau customers in the community 

Check out  the Tableau customer conference materials or Tableau customer stories within each industry. Reach out and connect to the tableau community especially  to people who have actually done it before, you will be surprised that the community is one that is incredibly supportive of each other and will often share tips and experience on how they managed to get a product like Tableau into the business.

Get an internal sponsor
Find an internal sponsor,  this is fundamental to building alliances within any company. This sponsor could be sales, product, marketing, finance, executives or anyone that has a business problem to solve. Download the tableau product, plug into the data and see what you can find that can drive improved business performance!

Showcase insight to management

Showcase what you have found to management and let everyone have a play with the dashboard. You will be surprised that different people will approach the tableau dashboard really differently to get insights out!

Most importantly, don’t be afraid. Start your journey now by downloading the product and having a look. It will most certainly change the way you think about analytics!

Journey into analytics


Thanks for stopping by! I am blogging to share my experiences with you on how i got started into analytics and hope it will give those inspire others to reach out and help others.

How did i get into analytics?

4 years ago while working as an senior analyst within a large insurer,  I was tasked with cutting SAS code to answer questions that business partners had. Why is my revenue ahead or behind budget, could it be due to the volume or price or mix of new business?

The trouble with this was that it took considerable effort and days to get answers to simple questions. I thought that there must be a better way so i went online and discovered that there was called Tableau.  For those new to Tableau, it is best described as a pivot table on steroids! Download it and give it a go. You can simply load data into the tool and then it draws fantastic looking graphs almost immediately.

Don’t take my word for it, go download the product and see how it works for yourself!

Having used Tableau with SAS for a few years, I came upon another tool called Alteryx.  One night , I came across an presentation by a BCG consultant at a Alteryx Inspire 2014 conference and it sparked my interest on how i could be using it within my company to help business users get to the answers they need faster.

For those new to Alteryx, It can be best described as a graphical drag and drop workflow that can be used to combine and pharse numerous data sources together in an easy to use way such that anyone can use it!

Alteryx is really a 3 in 1 product supporting data preparation, spatial analytics and predictive analytics and works fantastically well with Tableau.

Don’t try and do everything yourself!  Buy world class products that can make your analytics lives easier!