April 17, 2013

Your Investment in Tableau

Need Help Getting the Most from Your Investment in Tableau?

One can sometimes hit a ceiling after producing some amazing results with a data visualization tool such as Tableau. This can be due to lack of experience for tasks such as:

  • Inability to articulate the benefits of Tableau
  • Lack of analysis-ready data
  • Insufficient Knowledge  of Tableau Desktop
  • Insufficient Knowledge of Tableau Server


Articulating Benefits:

If no action is taken on the findings from your analysis, there will be little demand for your analysis in the future.  Lack of action may be due to many reasons, including resistance to change, lack of confidence in the analysis, or that the analysis is not communicated appropriately for the intended audience.

Recommendation:  Executive sponsorship of the analysis can address resistance. The burden is on the analyst to generate confidence in the analysis being performed and communicating it effectively. Involvement in external peer groups (e.g. Linked In, user groups), attending conferences and building an eco-system of colleagues will reveal ideas for overcoming this challenge.


Lack of Data:

While it is simple to perform data analysis when the data is neatly organized in a spreadsheet or even a data warehouse, what is one to do when the data is scattered about in multiple sources and is not easy to join? Many companies overcome this manually, sometimes investing more time in organizing the data instead of analyzing it.

Recommendation: Consider utilizing a data warehouse if you have hit the ceiling because of lack of well-organized


Insufficient Tableau Desktop Knowledge:

Data analysis is meaningful when the analyst has a good understanding of the data and the business context. People who have been using Excel or more advanced tools for analyzing data will not have any difficulty learning Tableau Desktop. Most organizations that don’t achieve high levels of proficiency in Tableau Desktop are ones where the data analysts haven’t had sufficient time to get hands-on experience and do research.

Recommendation:  Select people who already understand your data and have them trained in Tableau. Most companies choose to have their staff learn Tableau through trial and error and as needed to perform the analysis. Only the highly motivated individuals become proficient this way. Sending staff to Tableau training is another option. A third option is to have a certified Tableau consultant provide on-site training and mentoring to your staff.

Insufficient Tableau Server Knowledge:

Going from Tableau Desktop to Tableau Server