Tableau’s Annual Conference #data17

Last week our data practice attended Tableau Conference 2017 in Vegas. The week was packed with other data enthusiasts with really interesting keynotes, breakout sessions and networking events. I was able to catch up with Steve and Michelle to put together our takeaways from #data17.

In my opinion Tableau’s biggest strength is the ability to create rich data visualizations. I was really impressed with the “Iron Viz” challenge where contestants were given 20 minutes and a data set from Zillow to create a custom visualization. The challenge was to map the rise and fall of the housing market in the US. In just 20 minutes it was amazing to see what Tableau was capable of at the hands of experts, with interactive heatmaps of the US changing over time, the ability to see drill down pricing trends in specific geographic areas by zip code and even link to current homes available. The challenge showcased how data can become truly multidimensional and “alive” with the robust visualization features Tableau offers.

A Common Challenge: Adoption & Scale

A common challenge I heard echoed across multiple presentations and industry examples at the conference: How do we (users) make the business case to gain adoption of Tableau and scale across the organization? I see this challenge as two-fold: the challenge of adopting new technology and shifting the “ownership” of data beyond traditional technical departments, as well as simultaneously showcasing business value, ROI and creating a true data driven culture. Easy, right?…

Common roadblocks and valid concerns on where to start are commonly voiced: challenges around data governance and controlling access to organizational data, issues with disparate data sources and integration, data quality issues, and the list goes on. I think a sometimes-simple solution can become clouded by trying to do everything at once.

Start Small and Visual

I heard numerous success stories that began as grassroots efforts in small departments standing up visualizations and dashboards that showcased ROI within their group. Having real examples of the impact key data has on the organization led to curiosity and organic adoption vs trying to make drastic, and in some cases, reckless transformations all at once. Small-scale efforts lead to a less intimidating approach to slowly begin a cultural shift of how organizations were viewing and utilizing data as a resource for decision making, in turn providing a less intimidating approach for other business units to gain buy in.

If you are looking for help with data strategy to help set the stage for Tableau, or a similar analytics tool, our team of experts is here to help.