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
– 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
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!
- Experimentation with data – Ideas becoming putty in ones’ hands allowing one to continuously flow with them.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!